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Instant Pot Creamy Taco Pasta is a creamy, cheesy, delicious dinner ready in about 30 minutes. It’s like a beefy Mexican Mac and Cheese.

bowl of creamy instant pot taco pasta with sour cream and tomatoes

If you’re looking for an easy dinner recipe made with ground beef and pasta with a little south-of-the-border flavor, you’re going to love this delicious Instant Pot Creamy Taco Pasta. It’s one of my family’s favorite Instant Pot recipes, and it’s also a reader favorite and popular on Pinterest!

Taco pasta is like homemade Hamburger Helper, only better! It’s super kid friendly. And since it’s a one pot dinner made entirely in the pressure cooker, there’s hardly any clean-up!

I don’t think you can ever have too many easy ground beef recipes, especially Instant Pot ground beef recipes. I probably make ground beef in the Instant Pot for dinner once a week, so I try to prepare it a different way each time.

How to Make Creamy Taco Pasta in the Instant Pot

This easy taco pasta is based on one of our favorites —  one pot taco pasta. It’s basically a combination of taco meat and pasta, and it’s perfect for those days when you can’t decided between Italian and Mexican food for dinner.

To make taco pasta in the Instant Pot, you start out by browning a little ground beef. When the meat is no longer pink, you add your seasonings. I like to make my own homemade taco seasoning mix, but you can easily use a packet if that’s what you prefer.

Then, you layer a box of uncooked pasta shells, water or beef broth and some salsa over the beef. Next, pressure cook it all for only 4 minutes. You can add a minute if you like your pasta softer.

beef and pasta and water and salsa in instant pot

After the pressure cooking is done, you stir it all up and add a little sour cream and cheese. The sour cream adds a creamier texture and a tangy flavor to the pasta, and it’s what we would normally add to our tacos. And of course, you have to have cheese!

I use a combo of cheddar and Monterey jack, or just Colby Jack. But, you could use all cheddar if you prefer.

Grating your own cheese works best since many packaged shredded cheese varieties contain cellulose to prevent caking. Some people find this makes melted cheese a little gritty, although I’ve used Kirkland’s shredded cheese without any problems.

beefy taco pasta on spoon in pressure cooker

Beef it Up

For extra beefy taco pasta, you can use 2 pounds of beef but keep the amount of pasta the same. You can add a little more taco seasoning for extra flavor if you want and maybe more sour cream and cheese if needed.

By the way, you can use frozen beef if you forget to thaw some out! Just cook a pound of frozen beef for 10 minutes or 2 pounds for about 20, and it should be thawed enough to crumble up.

If you want to make taco pasta with corn or canned black beans, go for it! Just throw them in before pressure cooking, and you’ll have a hearty, one pot meal!

Add Toppings

You can add as many of your favorite taco toppings over the pasta. Try:

  • Homemade guacamole
  • Spicy Pico de Gallo You can never have too many taco toppings, right?!
  • Chopped jalapeño peppers
  • Sliced radishes
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sour cream
  • Crushed corn chips or tortilla chips
bowl of taco meat and shells on the table
5 from 24 votes

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

By: Dee
Instant Pot Creamy Taco Pasta is a creamy, cheesy, delicious dinner ready in about 30 minutes. It's like a beefy Mexican Mac and Cheese.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
pressure time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or use taco seasoning instead of spices
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onions
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1-pound box medium pasta shells, uncooked
  • 4 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 ½ cups chunky tomato salsa
  • ¼ cup sour cream use 1/2 cup for extra creaminess
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
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  • Hit SAUTE on the Instant Pot, and when it reads hot, add the olive oil. When it reads hot again, add the ground beef, and break up meat with a flat spatula
  • When meat is no longer pink, add the sea salt, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onions and pepper, and stir until well coated.  
  • Hit CANCEL, then add the pasta shells, water and salsa. Do not stir. Cover, then turn valve to sealing position 
  • Hit PRESSURE COOK for 4 minutes, and when pot beeps, hit CANCEL, and do a gradual quick release
  • When pin drops, carefully remove lid, and gently stir pasta. Stir in sour cream and cheeses until well combined and serve immediately 



Recipe was made in 8-quart Instant Pot with Barilla pasta and On the Border mild chunky salsa. Can be made in 6 quart without changing anything.
Can substitute 1 packet of taco seasoning for the spices.
For frozen beef, cook 1 pound for 10 minutes with 1 cup water or broth for 8 quart and 1/2 cup for 6 quart. Meat should be thawed enough to break up and proceed with recipe.


Calories: 189kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 678mg, Potassium: 316mg, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 520IU, Vitamin C: 1.1mg, Calcium: 194mg, Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Looking for more Instant Pot ground beef recipes?

Recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020

instant pot creamy taco pasta on serving spoon
instant pot creamy taco pasta on square white plate
instant pot creamy taco pasta on plate with radishes, peppers and tomatoes

My family loved this easy Instant Pot creamy taco pasta. I hope you enjoy this easy dinner as much as we do!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Kate says:

    So quick, easy and flavourful! My other half is insanely picky but he loved this pasta dish. I halved the recipe, used 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning as I have a huge jar of it and sort of eyeballed the other ingredients. So good, I will be making this a lot. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Kate. Thanks for the wonderful review!

  2. Whitni says:

    Turned out amazing from frozen ground beef! We all liked this so much I printed it, since I know I’ll be making it several times over in the future.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked the taco pasta!

  3. Janee says:

    For gluten free people. 8 minutes for gf rotini, doesn’t matter the brand. Delicious.

  4. Christine says:

    One of y favorite instant pot recopes!5 stars

  5. Kira says:

    This was delicious and a great twist on a classic dish!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you liked the pasta, Kira. Thanks!

  6. James says:

    Made this for dinner last night. Yummy! Was hoping for leftovers but the kids ate everything up! This is going to be a new family favorite.5 stars