How to Make Easy Taco Pasta Casserole

Here is how to make easy taco pasta casserole that is perfect for a family weeknight dinner or for casual dinner parties with family or friends.

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This post is all about how to make taco pasta casserole.

Craving a dish that’s as fun to make as it is to devour? Enter taco pasta casserole—a fusion of beloved taco flavors with the comforting embrace of pasta.

If you’re the type of person who loves to whip up family friendly meals or comfort food, and you’re constantly on the lookout for recipes that strike the perfect balance between flavor, convenience, and, of course, a dash of creativity—then you’ll love taco pasta casserole.

Taco pasta casserole fits the bill perfectly, offering a delicious blend of seasoned ground beef or ground turkey, zesty salsa, gooey cheese, and savory ingredients, all baked into one hearty, crowd pleasing dish.

Let’s dive in to make a deliciously satisfying meal that’s sure to earn rave reviews from kids and adults alike. Taco pasta casserole is a perfect meal for those who love comfort food and flavorful dishes.

What is Taco Pasta Casserole?

Taco pasta casserole, sometimes known as taco pasta bake, is a dish that combines some of the best elements of Mexican cuisine with Italian pasta dishes. It typically includes cooked pasta mixed with seasoned ground beef or turkey, taco seasoning, salsa, cheese, and sometimes beans or corn.

The mixture is then baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. You can then serve the casserole with your favorite taco toppings, such as sliced avocado, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, fresh cilantro, or other great toppings.

Taco pasta casserole is a flavorful and hearty meal that is easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Taco Pasta Casserole Makes the Best Weeknight Dinner

Taco pasta casserole is an excellent go to solution for family weeknight dinners, and here’s why it’s a winner.

First, taco pasta casserole is all about convenience. If you love to cook but also have a busy schedule, you probably appreciate dishes that are quick and easy to prepare.

Taco pasta casserole fits the bill perfectly, requiring minimal prep work and using basic pantry staples to create a satisfying meal in no time.

Another good thing about taco pasta casserole is it’s versatility and crowd pleasing appeal. Taco pasta bake is a dish that caters to everyone’s tastes, especially the little ones who can sometimes be picky eaters.

The combination of familiar taco flavors with comforting pasta makes it a hit with both kids and adults alike. It’s the perfect comfort food.

Plus, taco pasta casserole is a one dish wonder. It’s a complete meal in itself, packed with protein, carbs, and veggies, which means less time spent in the kitchen and more time enjoying dinner with your loved ones.

And the best part? The leftovers! Taco pasta casserole reheats beautifully, making it a perfect meal for enjoying throughout the week. Taco pasta bake also makes the best leftovers to take to lunch, if you have a way to reheat it.

Taco pasta casserole is the perfect go to weeknight dinner solution for feeding family or friends. It’s quick, easy, and versatile, making it a staple dish for a busy kitchen. Whether it’s a busy weeknight or a casual gathering with friends, taco pasta casserole always delivers on flavor and convenience.

Taco Pasta Casserole is Perfect for Casual Entertaining, Too

Taco pasta casserole is an absolute gem for hosting dinner parties with friends, especially for someone who loves to cook up memorable meals for your loved ones.

It’s a dish that effortlessly combines all the best elements of Mexican cuisine with the comfort of a hearty pasta bake, making it a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

What you’ll love most is the versatility of this dish—you can easily customize taco pasta casserole to suit everyone’s tastes by offering a variety of toppings like creamy avocado, tangy sour cream, sliced black olives, and fresh cilantro.

The beauty of taco pasta casserole lies in its ability to feed a hungry bunch without breaking a sweat. You can simply adjust the recipe to make a larger batch, ensuring that no one goes home hungry. It’s the perfect dish for everything from a casual dinner party to a tailgating party.

Plus, taco pasta casserole pairs perfectly with a range of sides like zesty Mexican street style corn salad, crunchy chips and salsa, or a refreshing tossed salad, adding even more flavor and variety to the meal.

Taco pasta casserole makes a great go to dish for hosting casual get togethers with family and friends. It’s delicious, comforting, and easy to prepare, leaving you more time to enjoy the company of your favorite people. Plus, it’s a great dish to make ahead of time.

Does Taco Pasta Casserole Make Good Leftovers?

Taco pasta casserole typically makes delicious leftovers. The flavors tend to meld together even more as it sits, resulting in a tasty meal that’s often even better the next day.

After the casserole cools, store leftover taco pasta casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, you can reheat slices of the casserole in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

Adding a sprinkle of cheese on top before reheating can help keep it moist and flavorful, as can adding a few drops of water to the casserole before reheating it.

Overall, taco pasta casserole is a convenient and satisfying option for leftovers, perfect for enjoying for lunch or dinner throughout the week.

Make Ahead Taco Pasta Casserole Ideas

Preparing taco pasta casserole a day ahead of time is a convenient option for busy days when you want a homemade dinner without the hassle of cooking from scratch.

To begin, follow the taco pasta casserole recipe up to the point of just before transferring the ingredients to a baking dish to bake in the oven. Transfer the casserole ingredients to an airtight container to store in the refrigerator overnight. Label the dish with the name and date before placing it in the refrigerator.

The next day, spoon the taco pasta casserole ingredients into a greased baking dish. Top the casserole with shredded cheese and bake it in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole ingredients are fully heated through to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by an instant food thermometer.

Taco Pasta Casserole Ingredients

Here’s a list of the ingredients used to make taco pasta casserole. Each ingredient adds up to make a delicious and flavorful casserole that many are sure to love.

  • Ground beef or turkey. Ground beef provides a hearty base for the casserole and adds protein. Ground turkey is a good substitute, and it can be a leaner alternative.
  • Taco seasoning mix. Taco seasoning infuses the casserole with classic taco flavors, including chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Pasta. Pasta—such as elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini pasta—serves as the main carbohydrate of the casserole, adding texture and substance to the dish. Plus, it soaks up all the great flavors.
  • Salsa. Salsa adds moisture, acidity, and depth of flavor to the dish, as well as a hint of heat depending on the type of salsa used.
  • Diced tomatoes. Canned diced tomatoes add sweetness and acidity to the casserole, along with bursts of intense tomato-y flavor.
  • Black beans. Black beans provide additional protein and fiber, as well as a creamy texture and earthy flavor, to the dish. Pinto beans can be used instead of black beans—they also add great flavor to the dish.
  • Sweet corn kernels. Corn adds sweetness and a bit of crunch to taco pasta casserole, balancing out the savory and spicy elements.
  • Diced green chiles. Diced green chiles lend mild heat and subtle smokiness to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile.
  • Minced garlic. Minced garlic infuses the casserole with aromatic garlic flavor, adding depth and complexity.
  • Smoked paprika. Smoked paprika adds a subtle smokiness and depth of flavor to the dish, complementing the other spices and seasonings, like garlic and cumin.
  • Ground cumin. Ground cumin adds warmth and earthiness to taco pasta casserole, enhancing its overall flavor profile.
  • Onion powder. Onion powder contributes a sweet and savory onion flavor to the dish, rounding out the seasoning blend.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese. Gooey melted cheddar cheese adds richness, creaminess, and a slightly sharp flavor to the casserole.
  • Salt and pepper. Salt and pepper bring out the many flavors of the dish.
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Monterey Jack cheese acts similarly to cheddar but with a milder flavor, adding creaminess and enhancing the overall cheesiness of the dish.
  • Optional toppings. Optional toppings—like sliced avocado, sour cream, or chopped fresh cilantro—add freshness, creaminess, and a burst of color and flavor to the finished casserole, allowing you to customize each slice based on personal preferences.

Together, these ingredients combine to make a flavorful and satisfying taco pasta casserole that’s perfect for a comforting weeknight family meal or for a casual gathering with family or friends.

How to Make Taco Pasta Casserole

Here’s a step by step guide on how to make taco pasta casserole. Taco pasta bake is easy to make using ingredients that are commonly found in many kitchens. Below you’ll also find a printable recipe with ingredients amounts for the dish.

To start, gather all the ingredients that you need to make taco pasta casserole: ground beef or turkey, onion, bell pepper, taco seasoning blend, pasta (such as penne or rotini), salsa, diced tomatoes, black beans or pinto beans, sweet corn kernels, diced green chiles, minced garlic, smoked paprika, ground cumin, onion powder, shredded cheddar cheese, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish to help prevent the ingredients from sticking.

Next, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it reaches al dente texture. Drain the pasta and set it aside for later use.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef or turkey until it’s browned and fully cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Break the meat into small pieces and stir it frequently as it cooks. If there’s any excess grease, drain it from the skillet.

Once the meat is cooked, add the diced onion and diced bell peppers to the skillet. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender.

Next, add the taco seasoning mix, minced garlic, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and onion powder to the skillet. Stir well to combine the seasonings with the meat, creating a flavorful taco filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, seasoned meat mixture, salsa, diced tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn kernels, and diced green chiles. Mix everything together until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Tip: At this point, you can allow the taco pasta casserole blend to cool slightly, before covering the mixture and refrigerating it to bake the next day. Or you can bake the casserole for a delicious and satisfying dinner.

Transfer the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly to ensure a more even bake.

Sprinkle the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses over the top of the pasta mixture, covering it completely with a generous layer of cheese.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and the flavors to meld together.

If baking a made ahead taco pasta casserole mixture, then the casserole may need slightly longer to bake—about 30 to 35 minutes or so. Bake the casserole until it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by an instant read food thermometer.

Once the cheese is melted and bubbly, remove the foil from the baking dish and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and slightly crispy on top.

Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish the casserole with optional toppings such as sliced avocado, sour cream, or chopped cilantro if desired.

Slice the casserole into portions and serve hot, enjoying the delicious fusion of taco flavors and comforting pasta in every bite.

The Best Side Dishes for Taco Pasta Casserole

Here are some side dishes that complement taco pasta casserole nicely, and they are also easy to make.

  • Mexican Street Corn Salad: A refreshing salad made with grilled corn kernels, cotija cheese, lime juice, mayonnaise, and chili powder.
  • Black Bean and Corn Salad: A colorful and nutritious salad made with black beans, corn, diced bell peppers, red onion, cilantro, and a tangy lime vinaigrette.
  • Tossed Salad. A simple salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado dressed with a vinaigrette would provide a fresh contrast to the rich flavors of the casserole.
  • Grilled Vegetables. Grilled bell peppers, onions, yellow squash, and zucchini seasoned with herbs and spices would be a flavorful and healthy side dish option.
  • Cornbread. A slightly sweet and savory cornbread would be a delicious accompaniment. Jalapeño cornbread would make an especially great side dish for those who like things spicy.
  • Guacamole and Chips. Serve some homemade guacamole with tortilla chips for a tasty snack or side dish.
  • Fruit Salad. A light and refreshing fruit salad made with a combination of fresh fruits such as pineapple, mango, strawberries, and grapes, and tossed with a Greek yogurt, honey, and mint dressing would make a tasty side dish or dessert. Watermelon salad makes a good side salad during summer.

Choose one or more of these side dishes to round out your meal and create a delicious and satisfying spread.

Easy Taco Pasta Casserole

Here is how to make an easy taco pasta casserole that the whole family will love.

Easy Taco Pasta Casserole

Here is how to make an easy taco pasta casserole that the whole family will love.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword dinner recipes, ground beef recipes, ground turkey recipes, pasta recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Author Sweet Bacon & Pecans

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 1.25 oz. packet taco seasoning mix
  • 12 oz. pasta (such as elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels fresh, frozen, or canned
  • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chiles
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup beef stock or chicken stock
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Optional toppings: sliced avocado sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced ripe olives, chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until it is al dente. Drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the ground beef or ground turkey to the skillet, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the meat is browned and fully cooked through. Use a spatula or meat masher to break the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain any excess grease from the pan.
  • Add the diced onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  • Add the taco seasoning blend, minced garlic, smoked paprika, ground cumin, onion powder, ground black pepper, and salt to the cooked meat and vegetables mixture. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, seasoned meat mixture, salsa, diced tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn kernels, and diced green chiles. Mix well to ensure everything is well combined.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Pour ½ cup of beef stock or chicken stock evenly over the casserole.
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses over the top of the pasta mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove the foil and bake the casserole for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and slightly crispy.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve taco pasta casserole, garnished with optional toppings such as sliced avocado, sour cream, or chopped cilantro, if desired.

Notes

  • Feel free to adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or less diced green chiles. For a spicier dish, use hot diced green chiles or add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to the dish.
  • Leftover taco pasta casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. Reheat casserole in the microwave or oven to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by an instant read food thermometer, before serving.

This post was all about how to make the best taco pasta casserole.

  • Featured photos by LauriPatterson via Canva.com
  • Photos and images are for illustration purposes only.

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