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Instant Pot Taco Pasta

An Easy and Delicious Instant Pot Pasta Recipe Perfect for Busy Weeknight Dinners

This incredibly easy and delicious Instant Pot Taco Pasta is kid-approved and will be ready in no time so you and your family can enjoy a hearty meal on a busy weeknight. Ready in only 10 to 15 minutes, this fast and easy pasta dish explodes with so much delicious Tex-Mex flavor that it will leave your kids licking their plates and asking for more. This Instant Pot recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

instant pot taco pasta
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It’s been a long day, you’ve been running around like crazy, and all you want to do is get dinner on the table quickly so you can get on with the rest of your night. And you don’t feel like hanging out in the kitchen for a long time after making dinner either. But, you also want to make sure your family gets fed a good, hearty meal that they’ll enjoy. Trust me, I understand the conundrum. I live it every day!

Well, I’ve got just the recipe for you… A taco flavored pasta dish made in the Instant Pot that’ll solve all your dinner problems. And you will love how fast this recipe is to make and how great it tastes.

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Looking for more pasta recipes? My family’s favorite pasta dishes include my Cheesy Beef & Bowtie Pasta, my Cheeseburger Mac, and my Beef and Macaroni Casserole.

Taco Pasta Is the Perfect Weeknight Family Meal

I love cooking pasta in my Instant Pot because it’s so easy and quick and my family always devours it when I make it. This Instant Pot Taco Pasta is my latest venture into the Instant Pot Pasta world and my family approves! It’s so easy to make and has simple ingredients that I usually have on hand. It’s definitely gotten me out of a pinch when I’m short on time on busy weeknights.

instant pot cheesy taco pasta served on a plate and topped with cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream, and shredded cheese
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My kids love this Taco Pasta! They love that it’s so tasty and that I can have it ready in no time. They also really enjoy putting their own toppings on it, this way everyone gets what they want and there are no complaints. If what you want is an easy, quick, and delicious meal that your family will love, look no further! This Instant Pot Taco Pasta is it.

My nephew, who helped us with the video for this recipe, says that when he was editing the video he couldn’t stand looking at the image of the pasta anymore because he wanted to eat it again!! He’s one of my official taste testers, so that tells me the recipe is a winner!

Taco Pasta Ingredients List

This recipe uses a handful of simple ingredients like bowtie pasta, ground sirloin, diced tomatoes, and diced chiles. To give it that unmistakable taco flavor, I use taco seasoning. The pasta is then cooked in beef stock. Since this recipe uses such simple ingredients, I make sure to always keep them on hand. That way, I’ll be ready for those days that get crazy busy.

  • Ground Sirloin: I like to use ground sirloin in a lot of my Instant Pot recipes because it is very lean, which helps me avoid having to drain the meat before adding my other ingredients. Plus, it is very flavorful! Since ground sirloin is so convenient and so tasty, I highly recommend that you use it for most of your recipes that call for ground beef. The only caveat – it is slightly pricier, but this is one case where I’m willing to pay for the convenience.
  • Taco Seasoning: I use Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, but any taco seasoning will work. Just follow the instructions so you are properly seasoning the 2 lbs of ground beef.
  • Diced Tomatoes & Diced Green Chiles: Any canned tomato and canned green chiles will work for this recipe. I like to use organic varieties of canned tomatoes and green chiles for this recipe. Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes are usually my go for canned diced tomatoes and Rio Luna Organic Chopped Green Chiles are perfect for the green chiles.
  • Unsalted Beef Stock: Store-bought beef stock works well for this recipe because it’s mild flavor won’t overpower the taco seasoning. If you want to bump up the flavor a little more, then you can try using chicken stock instead.
  • Farfalle Pasta: My family loves bowtie pasta and we use it in a lot of dishes, but this recipe will work just as well with elbow macaroni, pasta shells, or rotini. Since these kinds of pasta have a similar size and weight, the cooking time should remain the same for all of them.
  • Shredded Mexican style cheese: I like using shredded Mexican style cheese, which is a blend of cheddar, Monterey jack, asadero, and queso quesadilla. This blend is mild and perfect for making a dish for kids. If you want to spice things up a bit, then you could substitute the Mexican style cheese for a shredded pepper jack.

The great thing about this list of ingredients is that they are all readily available (you may have most of them) and most kids like them all.

Frequently Asked Questions About Taco Pasta

There is not much that you could get wrong with this recipe, however, just like with any recipe, there are always a few questions that you may have. Here, I will answer the questions that readers have already asked and questions that you’re likely to have about this Instant Pot Taco Pasta.

homemade one pot taco pasta served on a plate with bowls of shredded cheese and fresh cilantro behind the plate
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What Kind of Beef Is Best for Taco Pasta?

I love the convenience of cooking this pasta dish in the Instant Pot and that includes the fact that it’s a one-pot meal, no draining of the pasta and in my case, no draining of the meat either. Some of you may ask why I don’t drain it. The reason is simple, I always buy ground sirloin which is typically 93/7 or 90/10, meaning it has little fat content so there’s no need to drain.

What Kind of Toppings Are Good With Taco Pasta?

Oh, the possibilities are endless! Just think of what you like to put on tacos and go with that. We love topping our Instant Pot Taco Pasta with shredded cheese, diced avocado, pico de gallo, freshly chopped cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. Yummy!

Do I Have to Add Toppings?

Nope! If you need to save even more time, then just serve the pasta as is, straight out of the pot, with no toppings. It is absolutely delicious! I usually take the few minutes that it takes the pasta to pressure cook to prep the toppings, but I have also served it alone and it’s gobbled up just the same!

Substitutions for Taco Pasta

I get lots of questions about substitutions for my recipes. So, I’d like to address the most likely questions you’ll ask about substitutions for this Taco Pasta recipe. If there is a question that I’ve missed, ask it in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

taco pasta topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, and cilantro with a small bowl of pico de gallo in the background
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Can I Make This Pasta With a Different Kind of Meat?

While I prefer making this recipe with ground sirloin, you don’t have to buy ground sirloin. You can make this Taco Pasta with almost any kind of ground meat you like. It’s perfect with ground turkey, ground pork, and ground beef. You could also make it using shredded chicken. If you use a higher fat content beef, then I recommend you drain the fat after browning it.

Can I Use A Different Type of Pasta?

Yes, you can! I would recommend using elbow pasta, pasta shells, or rotini. Each of these kinds of pasta have a similar size, weight, and cooking time to farfalle. You could also use penne, ziti, or rigatoni but the cooking times will probably need to be adjusted up. The penne and ziti will require a 4 to 5 minute cook time and the rigatoni will require a 7 to 8 minute cook time in the pressure cooker.

Can I Use Chicken Stock Instead of Beef Stock?

Yes, most definitely. Really, any stock will work, but either chicken or beef stock will give you the best flavor. The flavor of chicken stock may even edge out the beef stock depending on what brand you buy because most beef stocks are made primarily using vegetables like mushrooms and very little beef. You could also use stock or bone broth, which is a hybrid of stock and broth.

What If I Don’t Have Unsalted Stock?

I like to use unsalted stock in this recipe because the taco seasoning contains salt. You can substitute the unsalted stock for normal stock, but it may make the dish too salty. You could reduce the amount of taco seasoning used by two to three tablespoons to help avoid the dish being too salty when using normal stock.

Kitchen Prep Tools, Utensils & Appliances

Here is a list of the kitchen prep tools, utensils, and appliances I used to make this recipe.

Prep Tools & Utensils

Since this recipe is essentially a one-pot dump meal with a few simple ingredients, you’ll need very few utensils and cleanup will be minimal.

  • Stackable Measuring Cups: You will need a dry ingredient measuring cup to measure out the taco seasoning. I’m all about space savings in the kitchen and always try to purchase utensils that will help me make the best use of my drawer and cabinet space. A good set of stackable measuring cups is a must for any space-conscious kitchen.
  • Large Liquid Measuring Cup: For the beef stock, you’ll need a 4 cup liquid measuring cup. I’ve had this large measuring cup for years and it’s been great.
  • Large Silicon Spoon: When cooking the ground beef, you’ll want to use a wooden or silicone spoon to break up the beef into smaller and smaller pieces as it cooks. I always use this pretty aqua spoon. I love it because it does what it’s supposed to do, and it matches my kitchen.
Appliances & Cookware

You can make this recipe in either the 8-quart Instant Pot6-quart Instant Pot, or Mealthy MultiPot 2.0.

Instant Pot Accessories

Make sure to check out my post on Must-Have Accessories for the Instant Pot. You’ll find a complete list of all the top accessories that can be used with your Instant Pot.

How To Make Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Whether you’re an Instant Pot beginner or you just like to follow visual step-by-step instructions, here you’ll find detailed instructions along with some other great tips and suggestions.

taco pasta in the instant pot
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This recipe is ready to serve in 10 to 15 minutes and the family absolutely loves it! Every time I make this dish for my family, we empty the pot. There are never any leftovers. This is one of those recipes that will leave the kids licking their plates. Let’s get started making this quick and easy Instant Pot meal.

Gather the Ingredients

Gather all the ingredients together. You may have most of these ingredients in your pantry already. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of ground sirloin
  • ⅓ cup of taco seasoning
  • 1  can of diced tomatoes, 14.5 ounce
  • 2 cans of diced green chiles, 4-ounces each
  • 3 cups of unsalted beef stock
  • 1 pound of farfalle pasta
  • 2 cups of shredded Mexican style cheese

Brown the ground sirloin

Select the ‘Sauté’ button on your Instant Pot and make sure that the ‘Sauté’ temperature level is set to ‘More’. If it is not, push the ‘Adjust’ button and cycle through the temperature settings until ‘More’ is selected. Then allow the pot to heat up until the digital display reads ‘Hot’. Once the Instant Pot is ‘Hot’, add the ground sirloin to the pot and cook it, continually breaking it apart into smaller and smaller pieces and tossing it until it is fully browned. This usually takes anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the taco seasoning, tomatoes, and green chilis

Once the ground beef is fully cooked, add the taco seasoning, the can of diced tomatoes with juices (do not drain), and the two cans of diced green chiles to the pot and stir them into the meat until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Continue cooking the mixture of ground beef and vegetables for another minute.

Add the beef stock and pasta

Turn off the ‘Sauté’ function and then add the beef stock to the pot. Using a spoon, stir the stock into the ground beef. Next, add the pasta to the Instant Pot and, using a spoon, gently push the pasta down into the stock until most of it is moist and submerged. There is no need to fully mix the pasta into the stock.

Close the pot and set the cook time

Close the Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to ‘Sealing’. Next, set the pot to cook on ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’, ‘High Pressure’ for 3 minutes. The ‘come to pressure’ time for this recipe is very quick since the ingredients in the pot are already warm.

Perform a NPR and open the pot

Once the 3-minute cook time has completed, allow for a 2-minute natural pressure release (NPR). This will let the pasta continue cooking while allowing any foam that has built up inside the pot to subside. This helps us avoid a big mess that a quick pressure release might cause when cooking starchy pastas in the Instant Pot. After two minutes have passed, release any remaining pressure from the pot. You can open the pot once all of the pressure has been released and the pin has dropped.

Add the shredded cheese

Open the pot and, using a large spoon, mix the pasta and beef together. Next, add the shredded cheese and mix it into the pasta until it has fully melted into it.

Serve and enjoy your taco pasta

There you have it, a delicious and hearty pasta dinner served in under 20 minutes. Just add a few of your favorite taco toppings and I guarantee that your family is going to clean their plates and ask for more.

taco pasta instant pot recipe served on a plate with bowls of cilantro and shredded mexican cheese in the background
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Did you make this Instant Pot Taco Pasta? I make this one for my family so much and they just can’t get enough of it. It has become one of the most requested pasta recipes in our home, and I’m sure it will become one of the most requested pasta dishes in your home as well. I’d love to hear in the comments when you try it.

MORE QUICK AND EASY PASTA RECIPES

This Taco Pasta recipe is a fantastic option for those crazy hectic days when you need a quick and delicious dinner that your family will love but don’t want to have to resort to fast food or takeout. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes from start to finish and uses ingredients that the entire family will love. There are so many fast and delicious ways you can make pasta in the Instant Pot. Here are some more quick and easy pasta recipes, perfect for busy weeknights.

More quick and easy pasta recipes you’ll enjoy:

Looking for even more pasta recipes to make in the Instant Pot? If you want to make a super simple dump and start pasta recipe, try my Instant Pot Cream Cheese Pasta With Sausage. You really can’t get any easier than this recipe. And for a pasta recipe that will leave everyone wanting seconds, try my Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe.

For a full list of all the pressure cooker pasta recipes on this blog, check out my Instant Pot Pasta Recipes post.

Looking for more Tex-Mex Recipes? If you’re looking for more Tex-Mex flavor, then try my Instant Pot Taco Soup recipe. This soup packs all the delicious flavor of tacos into a soup bowl!

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Pasta, ground beef, tomatoes, and chiles flavored with taco seasoning

Rating
4.8 from 15 votes
Servings
8
DifficultySuper Easy
Cooking Method(s)
  • Instant Pot
IP Pressure LevelHigh
IP ProgramManual / Pressure Cook
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
3 minutes
Pressure Release
2 minute NPR
Total Time
10 minutes
Recipe by: Valerie Cooper
Pasta Night and Taco Tuesdays collide in this wonderful mashup where Tex-Mex meets Italian. This 10-minute Instant Pot recipe brings you the taste of a fully loaded taco in a pasta dish. The whole family will love this one.
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Course: Main Course
Category: Casseroles, Pastas
instant pot taco pasta
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Ingredients

Directions

  • Press the 'Sauté' button on the Instant Pot. Ensure that the 'Sauté' heat level is set to 'More' and allow the pot to warm up for a few minutes. As soon as the digital display reads 'Hot', add the ground sirloin to the pot and sauté continually breaking up the meat into equal pieces until it is fully cooked.
  • Add the taco seasoning, diced tomatoes with juices, and green chilis to the Instant Pot and mix them into the ground beef. Continue cooking for another minute.
  • Cancel the 'Sauté' function, then add the beef stock to the pot and mix it into the meat.
  • Layer the pasta on top of the beef and, using a large spoon, gently push it down into the beef stock so that most of it is submerged and damp.
  • Close the Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to 'Sealing' and then set the pot to 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook', High Pressure with a cook time of 3 minutes. Once the cook time has completed, allow for a 2-minute natural pressure release (NPR).
  • Release any remaining pressure after the two minute NPR has completed. Open the pot and then mix in the cheese until it has fully melted into the pasta.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

While every effort is made to correctly calculate these nutritional facts, they should be used as general guidance as they may not be 100% accurate.

Calories: 577kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 753mg | Potassium: 943mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 405mg | Iron: 5.1mg

Notes

Some things you should know about this Instant Pot Taco Pasta recipe.

Don't mix in the pasta. Don’t mix the pasta into the other ingredients. Using a spoon or spatula, gently push the pasta down into the beef stock until most of it is damp and slightly submerged in the stock. That’s it!

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make this Instant Pot Taco Pasta recipe your own.

Better cooked beef. While it may be tempting, don’t put the ground beef in the pot until it reads ‘Hot’. I used to put the beef in too early and have noticed that if I just wait a few minutes and let the pot heat up until it reads ‘Hot’, my ground beef will cook so much better and faster.

Try different pastas. This recipe works great with farfalle (bowtie pasta) but should work just as well with elbow macaroni, shells, or rotini. You shouldn’t have to make any time adjustments with these smaller kinds of pasta. So feel free to mix it up.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few ideas for serving your Instant Pot Taco Pasta.

Top it like a taco. For even more taco deliciousness, top this pasta with a dollop of sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado, shredded Mexican style cheese, and cilantro. A little hot sauce can liven this dish up even more.

Serve with a side salad. This pasta would be perfect served with a Tex-Mex inspired side salad. Just toss together some cherry tomatoes, avocado, black olives, purple onion, corn, and cilantro and then spread over a bed of romaine. Lightly top with a Southwestern or Lime dressing and enjoy.

instant pot taco pasta
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  • Dayna says:

    Has anyone attempted cutting this in half? This is a large batch for one person.

  • Melanie says:

    I don’t have diced tomatoes, can I use Rotel instead?

  • Holly says:

    Hi Valerie!
    I am wondering about the 3/4 cup taco seasoning. It seems like that is a lot compared to the small packets used to season ground beef for tacos. Two pound of meat usually takes 2 ounces of seasoning. I guess the extra ounces are for the pasta?

    • Hi Holly! That’s the amount of taco seasoning I felt gave this pasta dish the best flavor. You can adjust it to whatever amount you feel comfortable with. The Old El Paso container of seasoning I buy which is linked above, suggests 1/4 cup per pound of meat. So yes, I add another 1/4 cup for the pasta. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  • Dustie says:

    Made this dish for a dinner party and it was absolutely delicious and very easy to make. Everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. I’m not a great cook but this was super easy. Thanks!

  • Constance says:

    This was awesome. Quick and easy and everyone loved it. Thanks for Sharing.

  • Vanessa says:

    This was delicious and so easy to make!

  • Amber says:

    Does the pasta come out tender or el dente? Our family likes the pasta cooked, should we do it for a little longer than 3 minutes?

  • Marlena says:

    I made this with ground turkey instead of ground beef, which is our preference. It came out delicious. This recipe will become part of our rotation.

  • Haley says:

    This was so delicious! & super easy & quick! Great for a quick last minute or late night dinner!

  • Renee says:

    I made this dish, my entire family loved it! Best part is that it was super easy, fast and sooooo delicious!

  • Danielle says:

    I attempted this tonight and it burned no matter what I did. I even dumped it out, scraped all the burn out and put it back with more liquid and it burned again. I finally just finished it in a regular pot.

  • Dawn says:

    It took me over a year to finally decide to get the Instant Pot and I am so glad I did. I didn’t realize how much I would use it, but I find myself making so many things in it! We love tacos here and this look so amazingly good 🙂

    I have found that Walmart has been carrying 96% ground beef now. At least ours has it, not sure if all over. I love it because it has the heart healthy label on the package! It is perfect for meals in the IP.

  • LEE says:

    what can i use instead of green chiles?

  • Erika Fultz says:

    I made this tonight and, while it was good, it was REALLY spicy. I enjoy some heat, but even my nephew, who likes hot sauce on everything, said it was spicy. I’ll make this again, but I’ll use 1/2 c max.

  • Sandy says:

    I love tacos, we had them tonight. I saw your recipe and can’t wait to try it. Sounds easy and good.

  • Sue A says:

    Hi Valerie,

    This looks delicious but I have one question on the seasoning. You call for 3/4 cup of seasoning in the recipe but you show that you use the Old El Paso packets. Does 3/4 cup equate to 1 or 2 packets since the packages are typically based on 1# of ground beef.

    • Hi Sue! Thanks for your question. I actually have a big plastic bottle of Old El Paso Taco seasoning. If you have to use packets, then 3 packets would probably be closer to what you need. I recommend those plastic spice bottles they sell. They come out cheaper than the packets. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Shelly Sweet says:

      Question…Can your Taco Pasta recipe be cut in half for the IP? Since it’s only for the 2 of us, 2 pounds of ground sirloin, etc. is way too much food, and we don’t want too much in leftovers. Thank You!

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