Crockpot Taco Pasta has all those qualities that you look for in slow-cooked pasta meal. Hearty beef, a creamy cheesy sauce, and comforting pasta that warms you from head to toe. Plus, it takes less than 15 minutes to put together.
Best of all, it’s inexpensive to make, and if your kids like tacos, they’ll LOVE this taco pasta.
***This post has been updated November 25th, 2021
Slow Cooker Taco Pasta – Comfort Food at it’s Finest
I’ve been making this taco stew dish for a few years now and it seriously never disappoints. There are a few great reasons why this recipe is so easy to love.
- It takes 15 minutes to put together.
- The cost to make it is super reasonable and the recipe is versatile depending on the ingredients in your pantry.
- It feeds a crowd because it’s hearty.
- It cooks all day and is ready when you are.
Similar to my Instant Pot Taco Soup recipe, this slow cooker taco stew is a ‘set it and forget it’ meal. Get it going early in the day, and dinner will be ready when you’re hungry. Simply boil up the pasta, add it to the crockpot, and you’re ready to sit down for supper.
This Crockpot Taco Stew is inexpensive and easily accessible at any grocery store (or in your pantry right now!)
- Ground beef – I used lean ground beef, but any type you have on hand will work.
- Pasta of your choice – I used ditalini because I love the shape, and I think it’s the perfect size for this dish.
- Taco seasoning – Use your favorite brand packet of taco seasoning. However, if you prefer to make your own, this recipe on how to make your taco seasoning is fantastic, dleicious and customizable.
- Cream cheese – Your favorite brand is perfect.
- Diced tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes is what I used but look further below for other suggestions on what kinds of tomatoes you can use.
- Broth – Beef broth is preferred, but chicken broth will work just fine if thats what you have on hand.
How to make this taco pasta casserole
I think you’ll find it’s super easy to make this crockpot dinner. You’ll want to brown the ground beef and onions before putting them in the cooker. You don’t have to, but I recommend it.
This is what takes most of your time to make this dish.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3.
COOKS TIP: Bringing the cream cheese to room temperature before adding it to the rest of the ingredients helps make it dissolve in the crockpot faster.
Can I just cook the pasta in the crockpot?
Yes and no. I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but it comes down to the type of pasta your using, and how busy you are that day.
Smaller pasta will cook quicker than larger-sized pasta. Macaroni and ditalini will cook faster than bow ties, for example.
So if you wanted to add macaroni without cooking it stovetop, add it to the crockpot about 30 minutes before serving, and add an extra cup of broth to compensate for the pasta. This is tricky as it’s difficult to say exactly how much liquid the pasta will absorb, so if you’re not busy that day, then you can watch the pot and add more if you need it.
That’s why I recommend cooking the pasta you choose on the stove, so that way it’s perfectly cooked to the way you prefer and you can add it at the end of cooking.
I hope that you give this recipe a try and when you do, please let me know what you think by leaving a ***STAR RATING*** and comment below, or shoot me an email at Joanne@thesaltypot.com.
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ small onion, diced (or onion powder, 1 tsp)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin, OR leave out the chili powder and cumin, and use a packet of taco seasoning
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temp and cut into little chunks
- 14 oz canned diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 small can green chilies
- 2 c beef broth
- 8 oz uncooked pasta, smaller type pasta
- as desired, salt and pepper
- Gamishes avocado, shredded cheddar, black olives, sour cream
- In a pan, brown the beef. While browning, add the onions, garlic, chili, cumin (or taco seasoning packet), and salt and pepper.
- Transfer the beef mixture to the slow cooker bowl
- Add the beef broth, cream cheese, green chilies, and canned tomatoes. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, high for 2 – 3.
- In the last half hour of cooking, cook the pasta stovetop, drain, and then add to the stew.
- On serving, garnish with any of the listed ingredients you wish.
- Using canned fire-roasted tomatoes adds extra flavor and really heightens the dish.
- You don't have to take the steps in browning the beef, but it helps to bring a deep beefy flavor, plus ground beef cooked but not browned sometimes looks unappetizing.
- Use any small pasta like macaroni or small shells. I don't recommend using orzo because that's too small of a pasta shape for this dish.
- So if you wanted to add macaroni without cooking it stovetop, add it to the crockpot about 30 minutes before serving, and add an extra cup of broth to compensate for the pasta. This is tricky as it's difficult to say exactly how much liquid the pasta will absorb, so if you're not busy that day, then you can watch the pot and add more if you need it.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 804mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 24g
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.