Instant Pot Taco Pasta


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


Instant Pot Taco Pasta is an easy Instant Pot pasta recipe that’s full of flavor! With ground beef, pasta shells and taco seasonings, this cheesy pasta is a favorite dinner idea.

Cheesy taco pasta in an Instant Pot with a serving spoon.

This Instant Pot Taco Pasta recipe is adapted from my Slow Cooker Taco Pasta, which has been a reader favorite for years. (And a personal favorite of mine, too!)

Many people have asked how to make the slow cooker recipe in an Instant Pot, so I started recipe testing. I’m happy to share that this taco pasta is every bit as delicious made in the Instant Pot as it is in the slow cooker! It’s one of my very favorite Instant Pot ground beef recipes, along with this easy Instant Pot spaghetti.

The Instant Pot develops amazing flavor in a fraction of the time and this taco pasta is no exception. The flavors of salsa, taco seasoning and ground beef come together beautifully after just a few minutes of pressure cooking. Stir in some cheese and you’ll have a pot of cheesy pasta that is so good, you’ll want to go back for seconds.

If you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, see my beginner’s guide on how to use an Instant Pot. Then try more of my best Instant Pot recipes!

How to Make Instant Pot Taco Pasta

There are just a few simple steps to making this easy taco pasta recipe. You can brown the ground beef right in your Instant Pot using the sauté function. The pasta also cooks right in the pot. One pot recipes are so convenient!

  1. Brown the ground beef using the sauté function on your Instant Pot. Ground beef after browning.
  2. Add chopped bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, salsa, corn, taco seasoning and broth (or water) to the pot. Other ingredients added to the pot.
  3. Stir and scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the pasta and press it down into the liquid, but do not stir. Press the pasta down into the liquid but do not stir.
  5. Pressure cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Quick release the pressure.
  7. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy!

We love this Instant Pot taco pasta with a dollop of sour cream and a little more shredded cheese sprinkled on top. A green salad and some bread are our favorite sides for this meal.

The finished dish served in a white bowl, with sour cream.

Cooking Pasta in the Instant Pot

I love to cook pasta in my Instant Pot because it is just so easy. I’ve learned a few tips from my experience that I’d like to share with you.

  • Rather than stirring the pasta into the cooking liquid, just press it down until most of the pasta is submerged in the liquid.
  • Use a quick release to prevent your pasta from overcooking. I recommend a controlled quick release, which means that you slowly move the valve to the venting position, a little bit at a time. You can use the handle of a long spoon to move the valve – this keeps your hands away from the hot steam that will escape. The controlled quick release will prevent starchy pasta water from spraying out of the valve as the steam releases.
  • Don’t overfill the pot. Since pasta expands while cooking, it’s recommended that you don’t fill your pot past the 1/2 fill line. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend doubling this recipe in a 6 quart Instant Pot. If you have an 8 quart pot, a double recipe may fit (but I haven’t tested this).

Close up of cheesy taco pasta with beef on a serving spoon.

Recipe Tips:

  • Four minutes of pressure cooking time is perfect for cooking most brands of medium shell pasta. However, if your pasta box says that it takes 12 or more minutes to cook the pasta on the stove, I recommend increasing the pressure cook time to 5 minutes.
  • You can try other short pasta shapes in this recipe, but may need to adjust the cooking time slightly. See the previous note about pasta cooking times.
  • You can lighten up this recipe by replacing the ground beef with ground turkey or a can of black beans (rinsed and drained). If using beans, I recommend adding them after pressure cooking. Stir the beans in and let the pasta rest for a couple of minutes to warm the beans.
  • When you open the Instant Pot lid after pressure cooking, the pasta may look too watery. Give it a stir and let it sit for a minute or two and the extra liquid will absorb into the pasta.
  • I would describe this taco pasta as just a little spicy when made with mild salsa. If you want it less spicy, you can reduce the amount of taco seasoning and replace some of the mild salsa with additional crushed or diced tomatoes. For spicier pasta, use medium salsa.

 

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Cheesy taco pasta in an Instant Pot with a serving spoon.
Print Pin
5 from 5 votes
This Instant Pot Taco Pasta is an easy Instant Pot pasta recipe that's full of flavor! With ground beef, pasta shells and taco seasonings, this cheesy pasta is a favorite dinner idea.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot taco pasta
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 405kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup jarred salsa I used mild
  • 15 ounce can corn drained
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth or water I use one 14.5 ounce can broth plus enough water to total 2 ½ cups
  • 12 ounces medium shell pasta about 4 ¼ cups dry
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot. Add the ground beef to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, crumbling the meat, until browned. Press Cancel to turn off the saute function.
  • Add the bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, salsa, corn, taco seasoning and chicken broth or water to the pot. Stir and scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and press it down into the liquid but do not stir. Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the cook time to 4 minutes at high pressure (see note below about pasta cooking time).
  • The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time ends, immediately do a controlled quick release by slowly turning the steam release valve to the venting position using the handle of a long spoon. Once all of the steam has escaped and the pin drops down, open the Instant Pot lid. The pasta may look liquidy but give it a stir and the extra liquid will be absorbed by the pasta.
  • Stir in the cheese and serve.

Notes

  • Four minutes of pressure cooking time is perfect for cooking most brands of medium shell pasta. However, if your pasta box says that it takes 12 or more minutes to cook the pasta on the stove, I recommend increasing the pressure cook time to 5 minutes.
  • You can try other short pasta shapes in this recipe, but may need to adjust the cooking time slightly. See the previous note about pasta cooking times.
  • I would describe this taco pasta as just a little spicy when made with mild salsa. If you want it less spicy, you can reduce the amount of taco seasoning and replace some of the mild salsa with additional crushed or diced tomatoes. For spicier pasta, use medium salsa.
  • You can lighten up this recipe by replacing the ground beef with ground turkey or a can of black beans (rinsed and drained). If using beans, I recommend adding them after pressure cooking. Stir the beans in and let the pasta rest for a couple of minutes to warm the beans.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 548mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1176IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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