A taco-inspired casserole with pasta shells and smothered in cheese, this cheesy, beefy, comforting taco casserole uses ingredients you can easily keep on hand. Cheesy Taco Pasta Bake is going to be a weeknight favorite! FYI: If you don’t want to take the time to bake it into a casserole, you can just serve it out of the pot after it’s mixed together and top each serving with a handful of grated cheese. YUM! Either way, it is absolutely delicious!
This is a great and easy meal to take to someone who needs a meal. It’s kid-friendly, but it’s also full of all the flavors adults like, too. It’s a crowd favorite!
If you don’t have a taco seasoning packet on hand, don’t worry. I have a recipe for how to make Homemade Taco Seasoning. Our family loved this dinner, and so did my in-laws. I can’t wait to hear if it’s a hit for your family, too.
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Step-by-step pictures for how to make Cheesy Taco Pasta Bake
Frequently Asked Questions about how to make Cheesy Taco Pasta Bake
what pasta shapes are the best to use in this casserole?
I love to use shells for this casserole because they catch pieces of the beef and other ingredients, but you could use elbow, butterfly, or even penne if you want to.
can I use ground turkey in place of the ground beef?
If you use ground turkey in place of ground beef, I suggest that you replace the tsp of salt with beef bullion to keep some of the beef flavor in the casserole.
is this casserole spicy?
No. The way it is written I suggest using mild Rotel. If you would like it to be spicier, you can use original or hot Rotel and also use a jalapeño in place of the poblano pepper.
will a Jalapeno pepper in place of a poblano pepper be okay in this recipe?
Yes, you can use a jalapeño in place of a poblano pepper. If it is a small jalapeño, you might want to use two. Just be sure to get all the seeds out, unless you want to make it spicy. If you do, then add as many seeds as you want to.
Is it okay to add a can of corn and/or a can of black beans to this Cheesy taco Pasta Casserole?
I like this casserole as is, but if you want to make it go farther or just like the addition of corn and beans, go for it!
- 1 (16 ounce) box of medium pasta shells, cooked according to packet directions
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup red or yellow onion, diced small
- 1 poblano pepper, diced small
- 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel (We prefer mild.)
- 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
- 1 packet taco season or 3 tbsp Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
- Cook the shell pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the salt and pepper.
- When the ground beef is mostly browned, add the diced onion and poblano pepper. Continue cooking until onion and peppers are tender.
- Next, add the cream cheese, Rotel, and taco seasoning. Mix well.
- Add the ground beef mixture to the cooked pasta. Mix until well combined.
- At this point, you can serve it as is with a sprinkling of shredded cheese on each serving, or you can make it into a casserole bake by pouring the mixture into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top it with the shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot through and the cheese is nicely browned.
- Either way, it will be delicious.
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