Slow Cooker Taco Pasta is a comforting pasta dish with so many different flavors like salsa, vegetables, taco seasoning, and Mexican cheddar cheese.
The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is as you use canned veggies and beans, so it cuts down on prep time.
Be sure to check out my other easy slow cooker recipes, too!
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Some other delicious recipes you can make in your slow cooker like taco casserole or taco soup are also perfect for the entire family.
In addition, you can make lasagna, beef teriyaki, or chicken pot pie pasta in your crockpot or slow cooker.
Slow cooker taco pasta
This creamy taco pasta is a family favorite and is one of the easiest slow cooker recipes with so little prep time.
You can make just about anything in the cooker as you would in the oven or instant pot.
You can even find a great macaroni and cheese recipe to make for your next game night with your family and best friend.
In addition, if you are looking for a similar recipe to make on the stove, try this delicious ground beef and pasta dinner.
A delicious hamburger helper, made with small shell pasta.
Be sure to check out the rest of our easy pasta recipes, too!
Slow cooker Ingredients needed:
These are the basic ingredients for this easy recipe.
Scroll down the page for the detailed instructions on the recipe card.
- Low sodium chicken broth
- Lean ground beef
- Chopped red or green bell pepper
- Jalapeno: Deveined, deseeded, and diced.
- Crushed tomatoes
- Salsa: Mild or medium both work.
- Black beans
- Taco seasoning mix
- Lime juice
- Small shell pasta
- Shredded Mexican cheddar cheese.
How to make slow cooker taco pasta from scratch?
- Brown: First, preheat a large skillet on medium-high heat. After adding the meat, season it with salt and pepper. Then, cook beef, stirring it often, until it is brown. Then move it to the slow cooker.
- Add the rest: Next, add the rest of the ingredients except for the shredded cheese and pasta, stirring well.
- Cook sauce: Cook on low heat for about five to six hours or on high for two to three hours.
- Cook pasta: Lastly, stir in the pasta and cook on high temperature for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Serve: Finally, stir in the cheese and serve with your favorite toppings like sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime.
- Add veggies: For even more great flavors, add your family’s favorites like chopped white onion, fresh cilantro, green chilies, minced garlic clove, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, or other delicious veggies.
- Less fat: For less fat, try using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
- Less heat: If you are not a fan of spicy food, feel free to leave out the jalapeno.
- Other broth: Feel free to use beef broth instead of chicken.
- More beans: Add more beans and some rice for a tasty dinner the whole family will love.
- Vegetarian: You could also replace the beef with beans for a vegetarian taco pasta.
- Bigger shells: Using medium pasta shells will also work for this recipe.
How to serve:
This cheesy taco pasta recipe lest you make the best use of your time doing whatever you want while it cooks.
Serve with sour cream, Pico de Gallo, and lime.
Or you can try one of these serving suggestions:
- Add a spoonful of enchilada sauce to the top of the taco pasta ingredients before serving for an extra savory taste.
- Similarly, a few tablespoons of Old El Paso taco sauce on top adds more flavor.
- Serve with a nice bread like crusty French bread or Irish soda bread to soak up the sauce.
- A bowl of tortilla chips with this dish would also be delicious.
- This dish goes great with a fresh green salad.
- Avocado slices or guacamole also go great with this cheesy taco pasta recipe.
Frequently asked questions
Can I put dry pasta in a slow cooker?
Yes, making uncooked pasta in a slow cooker is easy.
Just add it to a liquid as the last ingredient in whatever recipe you are preparing.
For example, with this easy slow cooker taco pasta recipe, you would cook the ground beef and other ingredients for several hours before adding the pasta and cooking for another 10 to 20 minutes.
What is the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker?
The difference comes from how the food is heated.
With a crock pot, the pot sits inside of a container that gets hot on bottom as well as the sides, so it cooks all over.
The slow cooker heats slower than the crockpot because it only heats from the bottom.
Is this a healthy meal?
If you make this recipe as is, the calories per serving are 432, there are 34 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of fat.
However, you also get fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. To decrease the fat and calories, try using ground turkey or chicken.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: A great way to save leftover pasta is in an airtight container in the fridge. It will be good for three or four days. Be sure to let the food cool to room temperature before storing.
- Freeze: Put leftovers in a freezer container if you cannot finish them in a few days. They will stay good for about three months.
- Defrost: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use.
- Reheat: Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- We used a 10-inch skillet for this recipe, but you can use a smaller or larger one.
- The pasta cook time will vary depending on the size and brand of your crock pot. Check for doneness after 10 minutes to be sure.
- This is one of those great recipes that taste even better the next day. Probably because the flavors have time to meld with each other.
- If you would rather, cook your pasta separately on the stovetop in 1.5 cup water on medium heat until it is just tender. Then, drain pasta and add it to the cheesy pasta about five minutes before serving.
- You can use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned if you want.
- If you do not have shells, you can use penne, rotini, or elbow macaroni.
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 jalapeño, deveined deseeded and diced
- 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup jarred salsa
- 15 ounce can of corn (drained)
- 15 ounce can black beans (drained)
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 12 ounces small shell pasta
- 1 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook the meat, breaking it down with a wooden spoon, until browned. Transfer beef to the slow cooker.
- Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, crushed tomatoes, salsa, corn, beans, taco seasoning, lime juice, and chicken broth. Stir everything. Close the lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
- Open the slow cooker and stir in the dry pasta. Cook on high for 10-20 minutes. Start checking for doneness at 10-12 minutes.
- After that, stir in the cheese until melted. Serve topped with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime on the side.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 658Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 1300mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 11gSugar: 10gProtein: 53g
Nutrient values are only estimates provided by online calculators. Various factors can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.
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