Valerie Brunmeier’s Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet

From Valerie: This is hands-down one of the quickest, easiest recipes in my collection. It’s a variation of a casserole I’ve made for ages that I’ve modified to take place all in one pan in about 30 minutes from start to finish. The familiar Mexican flavors make it a great family-friendly choice. Instead of purchasing a packet of taco seasoning from the grocery store, make a batch of my homemade mix and keep it on hand for all your Mexican-inspired dishes

Reprinted with permission from The Foolproof Family Slow Cooker by Valerie Brunmeier, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


For the Flavor Fiesta Taco Seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (I used a pinch)

For the cheesy taco pasta skillet:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Flavor Fiesta Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chiles
  • 8 ounces uncooked short dry pasta like fusilli, rotelli, elbows or penne
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheeses, divided

For the garnish:

  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Sour cream


1 Assemble the seasoning mix: Combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and chili flakes in a small bowl.

Note: This will make more than you need for this recipe. Store leftovers in a covered glass jar. 

Taco Pasta Skillet Recipe combine spices and herbs in a white bowl for seasoning mix

2 Cook the ground beef with onions and garlic: Place a large deep skillet or sauté pan with a lid over medium heat and add the ground beef, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring to break up the meat, until browned. Drain off as much of the excess grease from the skillet as possible and return it to the heat.

One Skillet Cheesy Taco Pasta cook the ground beef and onions in a skillet

3  Season and simmer: Add the fiesta taco seasoning mix and stir to combine it well with the beef. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, chiles, and pasta. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

One Skillet Cheesy Taco Pasta add tomatoes and simmer Taco Pasta Skillet Recipe add beans and simmer Taco Pasta Skillet Recipe add pasta and simmer

3 Add the corn and simmer: Remove the cover, stir in the corn, and simmer for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce has been mostly absorbed.

Taco Pasta Skillet add the corn and simmer

4 Stir in the cheeses: Turn the heat off and stir in half of the Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and cover the skillet for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Top with the black olives, cilantro, and green onions.

Taco Pasta Skillet Recipe stir in the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses

5 Garnish and serve: Garnish individual servings with sour cream, if desired. The pasta will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge in a covered container.