This Creamy Taco Pasta is a cheesy, ooey-gooey and addicting one pot meal perfect for any night of the week. Like a cheesy hamburger helper but so much better!
If you’re a fan of taco-flavored things, pasta and cheese, then you’re going to LOVE today’s Creamy Taco Pasta recipe! Made with fun pasta shells, taco-seasoned ground turkey, light cream cheese and sharp cheddar cheese, this dish is like that cheesy hamburger helper I loved as a kid but so much better!
Kids love how cheesy and creamy it is, adults love the lean protein from the ground turkey and everyone loves the pasta shells. Aren’t they just the cutest thing ever?!
From start to finish, this taco pasta takes only 40 minutes to make – that’s just about enough time to finish a glass or two of wine and sing along to your favorite Frank Sinatra songs in the kitchen. And the grand prize when you finish that glass of wine is a bowl of this cheesy goodness!
How to make Cheesy Taco Pasta
Making this taco pasta is so easy. All you do is…
- cook the ground meat with some tomatoes and taco seasoning
- mix in some cream cheese until it melts
- fold in some cooked pasta shells and cheese
That’s it! It’s not complicated at all, but the flavor is out of this world.
The secret is in the combination of the taco seasoning and the cream cheese. It makes every bite feel very decadent without being overly creamy. It’s creamy, cheesy and savory in the best way possible that keeps me coming back for “just one more bite.”
This recipe is a big deal for me because in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not the biggest pasta lover. I know, I know – I’m crazy! There’s only one other pasta recipe on Isabel Eats and it was posted a loooonng time ago.
But let me explain – it’s not that I don’t like the taste of pasta, it’s just that given the choice between pasta and something else, I usually choose something else.
So I decided to challenge myself and step a little outside my comfort zone. I set out to make a pasta recipe that I 100% loved and would happily make over and over again, and I’m proud to say that I did it!
This recipe is freaking delicious and I hope you love it as much as I do!
More easy weeknight meals you’ll love
For the homemade taco seasoning**
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
For the pasta
- 8 ounces medium pasta shells (about 3-4 cups dry)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions (about 1 small onion)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
- 1 pound ground turkey (or chicken or beef)
- 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 ounces light cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped cilantro and tomatoes, for topping
- In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the taco seasoning. Mix to combine and set aside. (Alternatively, you can substitute the homemade mix with 1 packet of store-bought taco seasoning if you prefer.)
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onions and cook for about 5 minutes until onions have softened and are translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add ground meat, break up with a spatula and cook until no longer pink and fully cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and taco seasoning. Stir to combine and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add water and cream cheese. Stir together until the cream cheese has fully melted to create a sauce.
- Add cooked pasta and shredded cheddar cheese. Gently toss to combine until the cheese has fully melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Top with chopped cilantro before serving.