Go Back
+ servings
taco pasta shells in a white casserole dish with the name in text

Taco Pasta Shells

Taco pasta shells is an easy, hearty recipe that will satisfy the whole family. They're loaded with beef, cheese, and tast taco flavors.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 315kcal


  • large skillet
  • large pot
  • 9x13 casserole dish


  • 30 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ large onion diced
  • 1 packet or 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 ½ cup salsa I used Cocina Fresca
  • 4 cups Mexican cheese blend divided
  • 2 - 3 medium tomatoes diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Sour cream topping optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9x13 baking pan or casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and add an optional pinch of salt to flavor the pasta. Once it is boiling, add in the pasta shells and cook as per box directions until al dente. Then drain the water and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat and brown the ground beef, stirring occasionally. Add the onions in midway and then continue to cook until the beef is browned and the onions start to become translucent.
  • Then add the water and taco seasoning and mix until well combined. Add and mix in the salsa and then put the heat on a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Mix in half of the cheese and remove from heat.
  • Take a spoon and fill each pasta shell with the ground beef mixture and place into the prepared baking pan in a single layer. Top with the remainder of the cheese and add the diced tomatoes and jalapenos. Cover tightly with foil then bake for 30 minutes. If you want to brown the cheese on top, bake uncovered for the last 10 minutes.
  • Once it is done baking, remove from the oven and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve, and enjoy!


The box of pasta shells I got contained 36 shells. Cook the entire box because some shells may be broken or may break during boiling.
Make sure to use at least 1 ½ cup salsa otherwise it will be too dry. If it is too spicy, you can use just 1 cup of salsa and add an extra ½ cup water.
Make sure to use lean ground beef otherwise the pasta will be too greasy. If you purchased a fattier package of meat, you can scoop the excess grease out or use a paper towel to help soak some of it up.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 702mg | Potassium: 565mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1246IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 400mg | Iron: 2mg