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Instant Pot Taco Pasta

This Instant Pot Taco Pasta is Tex-Mex comfort food at its best! Tender ground beef embedded in al dente pasta that’s covered in a creamy and super flavorful sauce from the garlic, meaty fats, onions, rich beef stock, salsa and various other seasonings. I mean, what more could you want?!

What you should know About This Instant Pot Dish

Serve your Instant Pot Taco Pasta as is or add some toppings such as guacamole, diced tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream or even some shredded lettuce.

While this taco pasta is great for storage, I doubt that you’ll have any leftovers at all!

instant pot taco pasta recipe with sour cream cheese sprinkled on top with parsley to garnish

How To Store Your Left Over Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Any leftover taco pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, you can either heat it up on the stovetop on a medium heat till warm throughout or in the microwave. In both instances, it’s a good idea to add a splash of water or stock to the leftover pasta mix to help break up the sauce which would have thickened during storage.

Can I Freeze This Tex-Mex dish?

Yes, you can! Most pasta dishes freeze well for up to 3 months and this Instant Pot Taco Pasta is no exception!

Once your taco pasta has completely cooled, transfer it to an airtight container for storage in your freezer. If you are planning on making this meal ahead of time, consider freezing your taco pasta in individual portions. That way, you only need to defrost the exact amount at any given time!

Make sure that you thaw your frozen pasta in the fridge overnight before reheating.

taco pasta salad made in the instant pot in white bowls with salt and pepper shakers

What Variations Can I make with this Taco Pasta Instant Pot Recipe?

I’m glad you asked! The great thing about most pasta recipes is the versatility when it comes to changing up ingredients for this taco pasta instant pot recipe. Here are some ideas that you can try if you’d like to adapt this taco pasta recipe:

  • If you don’t have heavy cream on hand or don’t enjoy cooking with it, use sour cream or plain yogurt instead. Just make sure that you stick to full fat options regardless of what you choose – it helps to create that irresistible pasta sauce and adds to the rich flavor of the meal.
  • This Instant Pot Taco Pasta can also be made with ground chicken, pork, or turkey if you don’t enjoy beef. You may want to use chicken stock or even vegetable stock if you choose ground meat other than beef.
  • For an extra kick of heat in this taco pasta, use a hot salsa instead of the mild, add in some hot sauce or some cayenne pepper. Personally, I love adding in a few dashes of Cholula brand Hot sauce for a layer of added heat.
  • For a vegetarian version of this dish, use drained & rinsed black beans, crumbled tofu, or Beyond Beef Ground “beef”.
  • Instead of using cheddar cheese, consider using a blended cheese, Cotija cheese (a parmesan-like Mexican cheese) or Queso Fresco (a soft and crumbly Mexican cheese). Those cheeses do not “melt” like fresh grated cheddar cheese, but it will add different layers of flavor.
instant pot taco pasta in a white bowl and wooden spoon

Tips For Making My Easy Instant Pot Taco Pasta:

  • First and foremost, use freshly grated cheese. Bagged cheese has an anti-caking coating on it (potato starch), and will make the pasta look grainy.
  • If it’s proving tricky to remove anything stuck at the bottom of the pot, simply deglaze with either a little bit of water or some of the stock. This should prevent the BURN message from appearing. If you’re using ground turkey or chicken, be sure to deglaze the pan! Ground turkey and chicken have less fat, so it’s natural juices will not help in the deglazing the bottom of your liner.
  • The pasta must be covered in liquid before you set your Instant Pot to cook. Push your pasta down with a spatula, keeping the ground beef at the bottom so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot while cooking.
  • This timing will create a slight al dente pasta – pasta is easy to overcook as pasta continues to cook while being served. If you want a softer pasta then you’ll need to pressure cook for 5 minutes instead as I did for my Instant Pot chicken mac and cheese.
  • At first glance, it might look like extra liquid, but it’s not. Trust me, once you’ve added the cheese and cream it’ll thicken up to the ideal consistency. The liquid sauce also thickens naturally as it cools.

Here’s how it looks step by step.

More Easy Instant Pot Pasta Recipes To Make

Yield: 6-8

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

This taco pasta dish made in the Instant Pot easy great Taco Tuesday Alternative, and makes an easy one pot meal!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef 85-90% lean
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup mild salsa homemade or store-bought
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 12 ounces uncooked medium pasta shells
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese about 1 ½ cups, shredded
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves chopped


  1. Press on the SAUTE button, and brown the beef breaking it up as you go until it's all brown.
  2. Add the diced onion, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Switch off the SAUTE setting.
  3. Season with taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Then add tomato sauce, salsa, and pour in the stock.
  4. Add the pasta over the ground beef, and with a spatula push it in the liquid so it's all covered. If necessary add a little bit of water to cover it.
  5. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and set the valve on SEALING locked position. Press on PRESSURE COOK or MANUAL on high for 4 minutes.
  6. Allow the Instant Pot to come to pressure, and cook. Once the cooking has finished, quickly release the steam.
  7. Give the pasta a quick stir, then stir in the heavy cream and cheese until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

Did you make this recipe?

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