A pot of taco pasta skillet with a wooden spoon stirring it.

Let’s talk this creamy taco pasta recipe! This recipe. Y’all, this recipe is pretty much my idea of comfort food. I love mac and cheese, pizza, and ice cream as much as the next gal, but if I need comfort, a big, steaming bowl of this spicy, creamy taco macaroni is where I’ll go every. single. time.

We probably eat this taco pasta skillet at least once a week. Not only is it super delicious and good for you, but it also comes together in a flash. This is one of those one-pot wonders that leaves your belly full and your kitchen clean. It’s the perfect dish to eat on a crazy school night.

A pot of pasta and beef sits in a silver pan and is stirred by a wooden spoon.

Wait, do I really need to add THAT much water?

When you go to make this, you’re probably going to think I’m a little crazy, because at one point, I tell you to put three whole cups of water into the skillet. You’ll stir it around, and it’ll look like the pasta and other ingredients are drowning in a lake. It’ll look like it will never, ever come together to be the creamy taco macaroni skillet you see in these photos. You’ll get nervous. But fear not.

After a few minutes of boiling, the macaroni softens and absorbs some of the liquid, and the sauce becomes super rich, velvety, and, well, dreamy. We can call it dreamy, right?

What do I need to make this taco pasta recipe?

To make this simple skillet recipe, you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Green bell pepper
  • Ground beef
  • Canned diced tomatoes with chiles
  • Black beans
  • Store-bought or homemade taco seasoning
  • Whole-wheat elbow macaroni. Other small noodles, like small or medium pasta shells, will also work.
  • Full fat coconut milk (the stuff in a can) or plain Greek yogurt
  • Sour cream, shredded cheese, or fresh cilantro, for serving

Two bowls of the taco macaroni skillet sit on a white background. Two spoon sit nearby on a white napkin.

What else makes the sauce of this taco pasta skillet so creamy?

The second part of getting the sauce to be creamy is a cup of full fat coconut milk (the stuff that comes in the can). It lends just a little bit of sweetness, and a ton of velvety texture to the dish. If you don’t have coconut milk around, you can also sub in about half a cup of plain Greek yogurt. Just make sure to let the dish cool for a few minutes before mixing the yogurt in. Greek yogurt tends to break down and get clumpy and lumpy if it is mixed with too hot of food. Just take the pan off the burner for 5-10 minutes before you mix your yogurt in, and you should be good.

What if I don’t have macaroni noodles?

If you don’t have elbow macaroni, you can substitute in any other small pasta instead. Larger noodles may not cook through well enough in this recipe, but other small noodles should be just fine!

Pasta, black beans, beef and other ingredients cook together in a silver pan. A wooden spoon stirs the mixture.A pot of pasta and beef sits in a silver pan and is stirred by a wooden spoon.

How do I make this taco pasta skillet meet my dietary needs?

If you’re a vegetarian or gluten-free or dairy-free, this taco macaroni skillet will take a lot of adaptation and keep on keepin’ on. Leave out the beef and instead try lean ground turkey, more beans, or even cubed tofu. Use gluten-free pasta if that’s your bag. And if you don’t top the dish with sour cream, you’ve got a totally dairy-free dinner. Adapt away!

How can I make this into a school lunch?

If your kid loves this taco pasta as much as mine does, then take advantage of the leftovers by packing them for lunch. We heat up a portion in the morning and pack it in a thermos, which keeps it warm until lunchtime. Pack a condiment cup of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to top the pasta if your kid likes it that way!

Taco pasta skillet in a thermos next to a bento-style lunch box filled with apple slices, avocado, and cheese.

Also pictured with this school lunch:

  • Apple slices treated with Ball Canning Fruit Fresh
  • Avocado, also treated with Ball Canning Fruit Fresh
  • Cheese cubes
  • Greek yogurt to go on top of the pasta
Creamy Taco Pasta Skillet

Creamy Taco Pasta Skillet

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This one pot Creamy Taco Macaroni Skillet is comfort food at its finest! Serve it up topped with sour cream and fresh, minced cilantro.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package taco seasoning {or make your own}
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • Sour cream, shredded cheese, minced cilantro, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté until just tender and fragrant, about five minutes. Add in the ground beef, and cook until browned.
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes, black beans, taco seasoning, water, and elbow macaroni. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover with the lid to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is done and the sauce has thickened.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk. Spoon into bowls and top with desired toppings to taste.


Feel free to sub in plain Greek yogurt for the coconut milk. Just make sure you remove the skillet from the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before stirring in the yogurt, or it will separate.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 683Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 480mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 17gSugar: 5gProtein: 40g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. Love the looks of this! No coconut milk or greek yogurt on hand – but I have reg plain yogurt, 2% milk or almond milk. Suggestions? Thanks!

    1. You could just strain the regular yogurt through a fine seive or cheesecloth and make your own Greek yogurt. 🙂

  2. I’m in the market for some new pans as soon as I can afford them and OXO wasn’t even on my radar. Thanks so much for sharing – I’m excited to look into them!

  3. I made this last night and WOW. Just WOW. I was a bit reluctant to use the coconut milk but it is an inspired addition. Thanks for this gem of a recipe Cassie!

  4. This looks so great – love myself a good one pot recipe! Will definitely be trying it with my own taco spice blend soon 🙂

  5. Can’t wait to try this! You mention you avoid plastic in your kitchen. We are becoming more aware of what we use too, but I’m wondering about food storage. We’ve always used Tupperware style containers. I’m wondering what you use for food storage for leftovers or extras? Thanks!

    1. We use glass Pyrex, GlassLock, and Mason jars. The lids are still plastic on the Pyrex and GlassLock, but the glass is what is actually touching the food (and what it is microwaved in). We love them! We’ve been using the same ones forever, and they are still great. Our Pyrex lids are starting to split, but they’ve lasted MUCH longer than any plastic storage containers we’ve ever had.

      Pyrex: https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Storage-10-Piece-Clear-Blue/dp/B00005B8K5/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=batohero-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=TDKJBX4UDS7YAPWB&creativeASIN=B00005B8K5

      GlassLock: https://www.amazon.com/Glasslock-18-Piece-Assorted-Oven-Container/dp/B00LN810PM/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=batohero-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=GAFM43JM54JJMZTX&creativeASIN=B00LN810PM

  6. This looks AWESOME! And my oh my aren’t those pans pretty. Stainless and cast iron are all you really need in life… am I right?!

  7. Saw this on your blog this morning and headed to the grocery store for ingredients! I’m in grad school and need easy recipes that I can eat for the week. This is great and so delicious!

  8. Did they send you their pieces for free? That would be such a fun perk of cooking for a living. I too love the look of these pans. My fiance and I have been creating wedding registries and I may need to hunt these babies down. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. I am in desperate need of new pots and pans – and that oxo pan is gorgeous -and this dish I’m sure would even be a hit with my daughter who seriously eats almost nothing

  10. Love the new pan! Stainless is awesome, and I do love my ceramic-coated cast iron pots/pans too… This taco-inspired meal is making me hungry NOW! I have always done a sort of Italian version of this (no cream, lots of oregano, tomatoes, etc) but we are due for a change, especially during this never-ending winter (we continue to smash our cold temp records here in SW Ontario). Thanks!! 🙂