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Nov 09

Cheesy Taco Pasta

Cheesy Taco Pasta

Oh. My. Goodness. I was pretty optimistic about this recipe to begin with but it still managed to exceed my expectations. To me, this Cheesy Taco Pasta is the perfect comfort food: cheesy, beefy pasta with taco flavoring and juicy salsa vegetables. It tastes like a guilty pleasure but you don’t even have to feel guilty after! If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may know that I love my cheddar cheese as sharp as possible, so I decided to go half and half with the 2% and full fat shredded cheeses to maximize the flavor while still keeping it P+ friendly. I am happy to report that it resulted in a perfectly decadent cheesy flavor. This recipe is extremely simple with virtually no prep time and I can’t say enough about how warm, cheesy, comforting and indulgent it tastes. Drop what you’re doing and make this right now! You won’t be disappointed. To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!

Cheesy Taco Pasta

Cheesy Taco Pasta

This Cheesy Taco Pasta is perfect comfort food: cheesy, beefy pasta with taco flavoring and juicy salsa vegetables!


  • 8 oz wheat pasta
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 oz packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups chunky salsa
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup fat free sour cream
  • ¾ cup shredded 2 % reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, I used extra sharp
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • While pasta is cooking, place ground beef in a large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the beef as it cooks. When the beef is cooked, drain any grease from pan. Add the taco seasoning, salsa and water and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes or until pasta is done cooking.
  • Once pasta is done, drain pasta and add it to the beef mixture. Add the sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cheese will melt when thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
Nutrition Information:
376 calories, 37 g carbs, 5 g sugars, 13 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 29 g protein, 6 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
MyWW SmartPoints per (1 rounded cup) serving: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Green: 10 SmartPoints/ Blue: 10 SmartPoints/ Purple: 6 SmartPoints
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Adapted from Lauren’s Latest


140 comments on “Cheesy Taco Pasta”

  1. Yum! I think I’ll make this next time my DBF is in town!

  2. It’s definitely DBF-friendly!

  3. I make something like this and add black beans and corn to it 🙂

    • I definitely think I’m going to try that next time. I liked this recipe but both the hubby and I felt it was missing something, and I think some black beans and corn – and maybe some fresh cut peppers and tomatoes could do the trick!

    • Sorry you thought it was missing something. Hope you’re able to adapt it to your tastes!

  4. this is great, I was looking for a warm pasta dish for dinner, and the timing was perfect… can’t wait for DH to get home to try it!

  5. Oh my, this looks delish! I can’t wait to try it. My kids saw the picture and said, “Mommy, can we make that NOW”. LOL! Thanks, Emily, for your wonderful recipes.

  6. Hope you all love it! Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it. 🙂

  7. My mouth is watering… lol

  8. Emily, did you use regular sour cream…or did you use light or fat free?


  9. Very good. Also really easy and quick.

  10. Fat free sour cream, sorry.

    Anonymous – glad you liked it!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Thanks so much, Emily. I am making this now! YUMMMMM!

  13. This was DELICIOUS! Perfect winter comfort food that’s easy on your waistline 🙂

  14. Yay! Glad it was such a hit!

  15. I saw it and instantly decided I needed to make. i don’t have the shell pasta but I have regular macaroni so I will use and it’ll be awesome still. Love and thankies.

  16. will be making soon. seems like something the man and i will both love.

  17. Emily, I love your pretty white plates. The plating is SO appetizing here. I think I’ll be making this tonight 🙂

  18. Amber – definitely! Any kind of pasta will work.

    Reena – let me know what you think!

    Kelly – thank you! That means a lot to me :). I got my dishes at Linens N’ Things before they went bankrupt and these were actually the store brand, so I don’t think they exist out there in the marketplace anymore. Let me know what you think of the pasta!

  19. My coworker was just RAVING about this today! I can’t wait to make it myself!

  20. Thanks Erika, I hope you love it too!

  21. Made it last night for my DBF… he RAVED about it! I had to substitute cause we’re super low on groceries: ground turkey & jabañero spices. I also use non-dairy products: soy Veggie Slices (cheese) and soy Sour Supreme. Despite all my changes, I always trust your recipes to be awesome! Thanks!!

  22. Hooray! Glad you and DBF loved it and that you were able to adapt it using non-dairy products. Thanks for posting! 🙂

  23. Uh…. yum! This was wonderful! I exchanged half of the shredded cheese and the sour cream with a couple of light swiss laughing cow (cut down on the dairy – I’m intolerant – little bit is okay though so I wanted to reduce the chances of me getting sick :). I also added some tabasco for a kick. My bf LOVED LOVED LOVED it.

  24. Glad you were able to adapt it and that you loved it! 🙂

  25. made this night for my roommate and sister. Amazing! Everything we have made has been a keeper. Thanks so much!

  26. I found this on Pinterest, and someone had tagged it “low calorie”. Do you have the nutritional values? thanks!

    • My site was originally intended to only include Weight Watchers points but I am currently trying to go back through all of my recipes and add nutrition information. I actually had this one calculated but hadn’t posted it yet so it was easy! Nutrition info now posted above. 🙂

  27. thank you!!

  28. Thanks for another great one! DF gave it “two thumbs up” and we’re both looking forward to some delicious leftovers for work tomorrow. I used rotini pasta because it’s what I had on hand and it turned out great.

  29. Hi Emily its Tiffany lol..I forgot to rate this recipe.
    I made it for my family which included picky eater cousins haha!
    They all gobbled it up. My 2 year old cousin said “more please, yummy”.
    It was awesome 🙂

  30. Hi there! I’m new to your blog – I lOVE it! I’ve been doing weight watchers and am always looking for tasty, ww friendly recipes! Plan on making this tonight! Question – when you say 8oz. whole wheat pasta, do you measure 8oz. cooked or uncooked? Thanks!

  31. This was delicious! My grocery store didn’t have 95% lean ground beef, so I used ground turkey and it was super delicious!!! So meaty and cheesy!! I will definitely make again

  32. This looks great, but I’m not a sour cream fan. Can you actually taste it in this recipe?

    • I don’t really like sour cream either but you can’t taste it in this recipe. It’s more there to make it creamy. If you want to sub plain greek yogurt you probably could but I really don’t think you’ll notice the sour cream!

  33. YUMO! I am making it with ground turkey and it is cutting out a point! Something to think about it! WOO HOO!

  34. This was delicious! I accidentally used too much water (apparently I should learn how to read!) but it still turned out yummy! My DH loved it too!

  35. This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it.

    Do you think it needs the full 1.5 cups of shredded cheese (and two different kinds)?

    • I wouldn’t have posted it that way unless I thought it was the best way to make it, but of course you’re welcome to adapt any recipe any way you’d like!

  36. Made it this weekend and it was really good. Thanks!

  37. I made this for Sunday dinner and it was awesome! My DBF has 3 servings and took one for lunch! I can’t wait to have leftovers tonight!

  38. I’m brand new to WW and so glad I came across your website, can’t wait to try this meal and lots of others!

    I was just wondering though, you said ths taco pasta was 9 points plus per serving, but when I put in the nutritional info in the WW calculator it comes out 10 pp, just wondering which is more correct?

    • I get a little more in depth on my FAQ page, but basically since I use different sources to determine the Points+ (WW recipe builder) and NI (My Fitness Pal recipe builder) there are occasional discrepancies. I follow WW so I always use the P+ total from the WW recipe builder, but you are free to use whichever you trust more!

    • Also be careful when adding ingredients into recipes because fruits and veggies added to the recipe builder WILL count towards points because it simply takes the total NI.

  39. literally shoving this in my mouth right now…it is amazing!!! can’t wait to have it again tomorrow for lunch! i love your site…can’t wait to make more!

  40. Awesome recipe!! My husband LOVES it!! This is my new favorite blog!

  41. I made this for my Easter dinner while DH was away (and I’m making it right now!) and I just love it 🙂 You’re totally right when you say it’s an indulgent comfort food–last time I made it, I needed a little extra comfort, and tonight I do too, and it totally hits the spot!

    • I’m so happy this was a hit, Amelia! This is definitely my kind of cheesy, beefy comfort food. Thanks for letting me know you agree! 🙂

  42. I have this on my list to try next week! Do you serve anything with it as a side? thanks!

  43. I just made this for lunch after a long week of essay writing and all nighters. It tastes like ‘study food’ (i.e. taco bell, chips, taquitos, things high in fat, sodium, calories, icky stuff) but is not something I have to feel bad about eating! I’m so excited! This is definitely going to make regular appearances. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • I’m so glad this helped you get through a rough week – I hope all your hard work was worth it! Happy to hear you loved it so much. 🙂

    • I just made it again and I’ve also made it for my new housemates. This is going to be one of those recipes that has already become part of my no recipe needed repertoire!

  44. Seriously AMAZING! I have already made this twice and my husband just loves it! (PS his favorite food is homeade tacos) We can’t get over how delish this is (and WW friendly!). I can’t wait to eat it for lunch today again! Trying the Chicken Al Fredo pizza tonight! 🙂

  45. My picky daughter and I loved this recipe! I added some olives at DDs request. Definitely been added to my list of kid approved recipes.

  46. This one wasn’t a hit at my house….It reminded us too much of Hamburger Helper…. We couldn’t taste the cheese at all (and I followed the recipe exactly). I have yet to find a recipe that beats the meatloaf muffins! 🙂

    • Sorry to hear you didn’t like this one! I’ve never had Hamburger Helper (is that weird? haha) so I can’t compare, but this tasted cheesy to me! Thanks for reminding me about those meatloaf muffins. I haven’t made them in forever and now I want them again ASAP!

  47. I made this tonight and it was awesome! My husband and son loved it as well and said it is a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I can’t wait to try more.

  48. Made this tonight. Amazing! I am not a fan of regular jar salsa so I used Rotel instead. Yum!! Such a fan of your recipes!

  49. Three happy diners at our house tonight after this dinner, and we’re all looking forward to leftovers for lunch. I used only 2% cheese and it was still great. We’ll definitely have this again – it was quick, easy and delicious. Thanks!

  50. this was AMAZING!!! My husband and two small girls ate it up as directed. Me? I added crushed red pepper flakes AND pickled jalapenos. HOLY CRAP, my mouth is watering AGAIN. Love love love this and it was sooooo easy to make!!! A huge hit in my house!!!

  51. Made this last night for picky, junk food addicted DBF and we both LOVED it! He doesn’t like to try new things and is trying to gain weight while I am a bit of a foodie and trying to lose weight so it’s so rare to find a recipe that fits both of our needs and taste buds! Thanks for making a dish that does just that! Will DEFINITELY be making it again! Ps. I added a little sriacha and cajun seasoning.

  52. Another great recipe! So glad I found your site, there hasn’t been one we haven’t liked yet! Slow cooker buffalo chicken Friday ( tomorrow is leftover taco pasta of course!)

  53. Made this last night, soo delicious! So easy! (I’m all about easy) Perfect for left overs the next day.
    Thanks so much!

  54. The cheesy taco pasta was delicious! I will definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe.

  55. LOVE!! We’ve been experimenting with your recipes (neither my husband or myself are cooks) We both loved this as did our 2 year old. I used Medium Salsa and it had just the right kick!!!

  56. Just made this for dinner, super yummy and super easy!!!!

  57. This sure was YUMMY !!! I Loved it, and plan on making it again. 🙂

  58. Hi Emily, this looks great! I’m wondering if you think it would be ok to omit the sour cream?

  59. This is my go-to meal when I’m in a rush! Because there are so few ingredients, I always have them on hand. My family DEMANDS this meal at least once every 10 days or so! In a pinch, I can quickly thaw some meat, throw it all together and please everyone…and all without using up all my weekly WW points (which is what use to happen)! LOVE LOVE LOVE this meal – and every other dish I’ve tried on Emily Bites!

  60. Made this tonight, it was quick and easy and best of all DELICIOUS!!! Even my picky 14 year old daughter liked it. I love so many of your recipes, they have been lifesavers since I started WW a year and 55 pounds ago!

  61. Thinking of making this tonight.. I’m not opposed to beef but how do you think it’d be with ground turkey? Wondering if saving a point or two is worth the change in taste. Thanks! 🙂

  62. I made this for the first time tonight and it was so good!! My husband loved it too! I didn’t have hamburger on hand so I used ground turkey which didn’t seem to affect the taste! Thank you so much for all of these amazing recipes! Your blog is my go to for dinners 🙂

  63. I made this tonight but subbed rotel tomatoes for the salsa and 4 wedges of Laughing Cow Lite Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese for the cheddar cheese. Loved it!

  64. Yum–I made this recipe last night, and it was great! I’ll admit to changing a few things, adding some extras, but not so much because I thought the original would be bland or anything. Mainly I added what I had on hand, and I have to say the end results was even better than an old favorite, Hamburger Helper “Crunchy Taco” (Now I look back and say, did I really eat that a few times a month? Why?).

    I added a can of LS black beans in, to bump up the fiber. Grated carrots and some white corn. Instead of salsa, which I’m not a fan of (I don’t do heat well, plus chunky tomato problems make me gag..I’m odd that way), I used a combo of tomato paste and LS beef broth. Turned out really, really good! Top it all off with some crushed up white corn chips…I almost went back for seconds, but held back. Barely.

    Thanks for this recipe, I love finding new ones, and even if I tweak them myself, I still need that base recipe to begin with! 😀


  65. I can’t wait to make this tonight for supper. Will probably try and sneak some green pepper into it just to spread it out even further. Emily, I LOVE this site. You have the best recipes….It feels like a treat but you’re not even treating yourself if you stay within your points. You’re making my WW journey VERY enjoyable. Tried the cheeseburger wraps the other day, by the way. The bf and I can eat like it’s nobody’s business but both agreed we could only handle one each haha! Keep up the great work.

  66. This recipe was a total hit!!! When I initially saw the amount of pasta required and that you get 6 servings out of it, I was like, yeah….let’s see about that, but honestly, I was amazed at how far it stretched. I got 6 servings and each serving is a great size. Very happy with this. And nothing weird in the recipe either! I did add an onion and a green pepper just to stretch it further. I think I may add mushrooms next time. This was amazing, Emily. Thanks again!

  67. This was a great meal! I used medium salsa and it kicked the flavor up a bit. I thought it was not going to have enough pasta but after making it saw that it was just the right amount. Thank you for such wonderful recipes!

  68. All the cheese melted right away and it wasn’t very cheesy at all. The leftovers were very bland for this reason. This is going into the ‘miss’ file for sure.

  69. Hi I have just found your website and was so excited to find loads of wonderful recipes. Rushed to shop and bought the ingredients for this and we just had it for lunch. Wow it was amazing, I’m from the UK so I had never had Tacos before, this will become a family favourite I’m sure. Thank you x x x

  70. Made this last night.. It is so delicious! Can’t wait to eat leftovers today! And soooo easy to make!

  71. My husband and I LOVE this! It’s a weeknight favorite!

  72. What is the serving size for this?:)

    • The # of servings and serving size is listed right under the recipe title in the recipe section of the post! 🙂

  73. I made this the other night and my man and his friend DEVOURED it! I was left with a small portion, ha! Anyways, I featured this on my blog. Added a few additional ingredients and baked it. It was delicious! Obviously, I gave you credit because you are awesome, but check out the additional ingredients and let me know what you think! http://kellicipes.blogspot.com/2014/06/pasta-taco-bake.html

  74. I think.I probably commented last year but we are still loving this dish!
    Im pretty positive my husband would eat this nightly.
    We always use ground turkey. My husband asked me to make it for lunch today and we are out of meat but he still wanted it so well see how it is meatless, Im sure it will still be delicious!

  75. What is the serving size for the 9 Pts?

    • Hi Holly, the serving info is listed directly under the recipe title in the recipe section of the post! 🙂

  76. I made this tonight. It was divine. I hate everything wheat, but I tried it and you couldn’t even taste that the shells were wheat. I used to make a similar dish that had chili beans and enchilada sauce it in, but I thought this version was just as good, if not better. Even my 5 year old ate it, and he won’t eat anything I cook. Epic win.

  77. Loved this so tasty and quick to come together. Leftovers are even better. I threw in a ton of shredded romaine lettuce and made a taco pasta salad for lunch today. So good- thank you!

  78. How many cups of uncooked pasta for this recipe? It says 8oz?

    • Hi Michelle, I don’t generally measure uncooked pasta in cups as it’s much more accurate to weigh in ounces. Do you have a food scale? It would depend on what type of pasta you use! 8 ounces of pasta generally makes about 4 cups *cooked* pasta, so if you just want to cook up some pasta and measure out 4 cups to use in the recipe, that should work. Hope you enjoy!

  79. I just made this and this is delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  80. I see that it says a serving is 9pp but how much is one serving? Thanks for your help!

    • The serving info is located directly under the recipe title in the recipe section of the post 🙂

  81. Mexican style comfort food at its best. So very good. Will be making this often!

  82. I personally LOVED it. I wish I would have read all the comments though. Instead of traditional salsa I had corn n black bean salsa. Maybe too carb heavy? BUT it did give it a kick which was delish! Also added no sour cream to save a few points as my Aldi store only had their gourmet white shells. Any who, thanks for Sharing.

  83. This may be a dumb question but, I am new to weight watchers and want to make sure I am not eating a bigger portion than I should. I saw that you said it has 9 servings in it. Is this 1 cup servings? This recipe looks amazing that you for sharing as it is recipes like this that don’t make me feel as if I am ‘Dieting’ 😀

  84. Never mind the prevoius comment i just found the serving size hahaha thanks anyways!!

  85. So good! I didn’t have beef so I used lean ground pork and it was still amazing!!

  86. Just made this and it was fantastic! I didn’t have chunky salsa so I substituted a can of Rotel and used ground turkey instead of beef. So spicy and delicious.

  87. Made this tonight and thought it was really good!! Super easy too – no chopping! The only change I made was to use regular taco seasoning, which for us, was not too salty. I didn’t have to add any additional salt. I’ll definitely make this one again! I might add some corn just for texture, but it’s really good just as is! Thank you!

  88. oh my gosh! This was delicious!!! Only problem I had was sticking to my ONE serving!!!

  89. I got 12 points on the recipe builder?? on WW

  90. OMG!! IT WAS GREAT love it, I am going to put some black beans and corn in tomorrow’s left over.

  91. Do you think I could freeze half for another meal later in the month

    • I really don’t freeze anything so I am the worst at answering this question. Give it a shot and report back!

  92. Will any chunky salsa do?

  93. Hello ~ I’m researching and trying to figure out the point system. I want to make this kind of recipe, but I am not sure what a serving size is to make this 10 points..can you tell me what a serving size of this you used to come up with 10 points..thank you

    • Hi Mary, the serving information for each recipe is located directly underneath the recipe title in the recipe section of the post. Hope that helps. Enjoy!

  94. Tried this tonight and it was delicious. Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe!

  95. This is one of my go-to Emily Bites dinners! I actually make it with all low fat cheese and it’s still as delicious as ever.

    Currently making a double batch (though one batch makes a lot!) for a family potluck party today. Since Its not just for me I’m doing the half regular and half low fat cheese as written…. I just know everyone will love it! Last family cookout in the summer I brought the Emily Bites Dorito Taco Salad and they lovvveeed it.

  96. I have made like 10 of your recipes so far and have loved every one of them. I love that they are family friendly and weight watchers friendly. My boyfriend loved the blt pizza and he and my kids loved the pizza meatloaf. I go to your website first when planning my weekly menu. I made this one for dinner tonight and it smells delicious. P.S. my name is Emily too!!

  97. I have been making this recipe since 2012 and it is a favorite in our family. I do make one substitiution; I use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of Sour Cream. Thank you for the recipe.

  98. This is a favorite of mine. I just put it in my recipe builder for Purple and it came to 8 SP per serving, not 6. Wondering where the discrepancy is?

  99. Wondering if anyone has a substitution for the salsa…none in the house and can’t run out to get any…I do have taco sauce and every spice known to man 😀

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