Made with inexpensive ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes, Instant Pot Taco Pasta is an easy, all-in-one, cheesy, hearty pasta that is sure to become a family favorite.
By popular request, I took my recipe for Taco Pasta which features the flavors of classic beef tacos, and converted it to an Instant Pot recipe! This recipe for Instant Pot Taco Pasta is just as good as the original recipe but requires less hands-on time--making Instant Pot Taco Pasta the perfect weeknight meal.
- Two Favorites in One Dish. Beloved pasta meets irresistible tacos in this super flavorful recipe.
- Perfectly Cooked Pasta. Just like my recipe for Instant Pot Hamburger Helper and Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole, this Instant Pot Taco Pasta recipe delivers perfectly cooked pasta and a flavorful sauce.
- Family-Favorite One-Pot Meal. Flavored with taco seasoning and salsa, and finished with cheese and sour cream, Instant Pot Taco Pasta is downright delicious. Just like Instant Pot Burrito Bowl and Instant Pot Fettuccine Alfredo, everyone loves this cheesy, hearty instant pot recipe.
Notes On Ingredients
- Meat: Use lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken, or omit the meat altogether.
- Broth: Use low-sodium beef broth or vegetable broth, along with water to cook the pasta. The broth will help to add additional flavor to the pasta as it cooks.
- Taco Seasoning: Use homemade taco seasoning to control the sodium and additives, or your favorite store-bought packet of taco seasoning.
- Tomato Sauce: Use canned plain tomato sauce, not spaghetti sauce.
- Salsa: Salsa is one of my favorite short-cut ingredients, as it already has diced onions, peppers, and seasonings. It will help to add flavor to the taco pasta without the need for sauteeing onions, jalapenos, or peppers. Use your favorite jarred, not fresh homemade salsa, for the best consistency.
- Pasta: You can use whole wheat or regular noodles. You want to choose a pasta that will cling to the meat and sauce, like elbow noodles, shell pasta, or rotini noodles.
- Sour Cream: The addition of sour cream is optional, but makes the taco pasta super creamy and helps to tame the level of spice.
- Cheese: Use cheddar, Monterrey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend. Pro-Tip: Grate the cheese yourself, as it will melt more evenly than bagged shredded cheese.
- Beans: After the pasta has pressured cooked, feel free to add up to 32 ounces of canned beans that have been rinsed and drained. Pinto, red, or black beans, are all great options.
- Corn: Adding up to 2 cups of defrosted corn kernels adds a nice sweet flavor to this Instant Pot Taco Pasta. Add the corn to the pasta when adding the cheese and sour cream, as it just needs to warm through.
- Toppings: Taco Pasta has enough flavor, you can serve it plain. However, I do love topping as I would tacos with things like avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, sour cream, olives, etc. The toppings add a nice fresh flavor, along with textural interest.
How to Make Instant Pot Taco Pasta
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Brown Beef. If you are beginning this recipe with ground meat, you need to first saute the meat in a bit of oil using the saute function of your pressure cooker, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.
Step Two: Delgaze Inner Pot. Any time you saute ANYTHING in the Instant Pot, you want to add a bit of liquid and scrape up the browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot. This will prevent a burn notice and those little bits also add flavor to your final dish.
Step Three: Layer Ingredients. The way you layer the ingredients in this dish, just like Instant Pot Burrito Bowl and Instant Pot Ham & Cheese Pasta is crucial to preventing a burn notice and ensuring the pasta fully cooks. Add the liquid and seasonings, stirring to combine. Add in the elbow noodles and gently push down the noodles into the liquid to submerge. This will help the noodles to evenly cook. To further season our Taco Pasta, top the noodles with both salsa and tomato sauce. You don’t want to stir the tomato sauce or salsa into the noodles, just leave it right on the top of the noodles–that will also help prevent a burn notice.
Step Four: Pressure Cook. Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for exactly 5 minutes. This will ensure your noodles are PERFECTLY cooked. After 5 minutes, you want to release the pressure by using a long wooden spoon, or a pot holder, and knock the vent knob from the sealed to the venting position. And stand back, so you don’t get burned.
Step Five: Add Cheese and Sour Cream. Open up the Instant Pot and add in the cheese and sour cream if using. At this time, you can also add in corn or beans if desired. Give everything a good stir to incorporate and then place the lid back on the Instant Pot, just to allow everything to warm through.
Step Six: Serve. Serve the taco pasta plain or top as you would tacos, with tomato, avocado, additional cheese, cilantro, olives, sour cream, etc.
This recipe for Instant Pot Taco Pasta is not only incredibly simple to make but versatile. It can easily be made dairy-free, vegetarian, and even vegan-friendly.
- Vegetarian Instant Pot Taco Pasta: Omit the meat from this recipe and use vegetable broth in place of the beef broth. Layer the broth, water, taco seasoning, and noodles in the inner pot. Top with salsa and tomato sauce and pressure cook as directed. After the pressure has been released add 16-32 ounces of canned, rinsed beans, along with the cheese and sour cream. The beans will add protein, and fiber, and keep this dish hearty even without the meat.
- Dairy-Free Instant Pot Taco Pasta: Simply omit the cheese and sour cream from the recipe, or use dairy-free alternatives. To add a creamy, rich element to the dish, I would suggest topping with guacamole or diced avocado.
- Make it Vegan: Omit the meat, cheese, and sour cream from the recipe for Instant Pot Taco Pasta and use vegetable broth in place of the beef broth. Layer the broth, water, taco seasoning, and noodles in the inner pot. Top with salsa and tomato sauce and pressure cook as directed. After the pressure has been released add 16-32 ounces of canned, rinsed beans and serve with guacamole or diced avocado.
- Money-Saving Tip: If you would like to still add meat while cutting costs, use ½ pound of ground meat instead of a full pound. This dish will still be hearty, but you can cut back on the cost.
- Use Leftovers. If you happen to have leftover taco meat, use it in place of the browned meat and omit the taco seasoning from this recipe. Layer the leftover taco meat with noodles, broth, and water in the inner pot. Top with salsa and tomato sauce and cook as directed. You will save time making this recipe AND reinvent your leftovers into something delicious.
More Favorite Instant Pot Meals
- Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Ziti
- Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Instant Pot Sausage and Peppers
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- Instant Pot Lasagna
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If you tried this Instant Pot Taco Pasta, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below, letting everyone know how much you enjoyed this simple recipe.
Instant Pot Taco Pasta
- Turn the Instant Pot to the saute feature, add the oil, and let heat for 1-2 minutes. Once the instant pot has heated, add in the ground beef. Saute the beef, breaking it up as it cooks, until it is fully browned. Turn off the saute function, and if needed, drain off any fat from the beef. Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot.
- Add in 2 cups of beef broth and scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add in the water and taco seasoning and stir to combine. Add in the elbow noodles and gently push down into the liquid to submerge. Top with salsa and tomato sauce.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot. Set to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (hit manual and adjust time by using +/_ buttons until the timer reads 3).
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, do a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- Stir in cheese and sour cream. Place the lid back on the inner pot and let sit for 5 minutes to warm through.
- Serve with diced tomato, avocado, additional cheese, cilantro, and sour cream as desired.