Taco Spaghetti Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min.
This simple, kid-friendly taco spaghetti casserole is a perfect mashup of two favorites, and the cheesy goodness is ready in less than an hour!

Updated: Apr. 19, 2024

When I’m in the kitchen, I love to create recipes that combine classic family favorites, resulting in dishes like cheeseburger soup or buffalo chicken lasagna. One of my family’s favorite comfort food mashups is taco spaghetti. It’s perfect for busy weeknights since it takes only 20 minutes of prep time.

Made with seasoned ground beef, black beans, salsa and plenty of shredded Mexican cheese, this taco spaghetti casserole will be the new favorite on your family’s list of Taco Tuesday recipes.

Ingredients for Taco Spaghetti

  • Ground beef: Taco spaghetti is just one of many ground beef dinner ideas that can use 1 pound of meat. Simply add the meat to a skillet, cook it until browned and add your favorite taco seasoning.
  • Taco seasoning: For this taco spaghetti recipe, you can either make homemade taco seasoning or pick up the best taco seasoning from the store.
  • Spaghetti: Cooked al dente, long tendrils of spaghetti are the perfect vessel for soaking up scrumptious sauce.
  • Black beans: A can of black beans adds texture while packing extra fiber and protein into this simple pasta recipe.
  • Canned tomatoes: Canned tomatoes add moisture, plus a burst of juicy tomato flavor, to the sauce. For extra punch, choose a can of Rotel tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes.
  • Cheese: A pile of Mexican cheese is always a must when it comes to tacos and other southwestern casserole recipes. Mix it directly into the sauce for creaminess, and then melt some on top for a gooey, cheesy finish.
  • Salsa: You can use any jar of your favorite salsa brand, whether it’s chunky or smooth, mild or spicy. Alternatively, any one of these homemade salsa recipes would be fantastic stirred into this taco spaghetti casserole.


Step 1: Cook the spaghetti

Cooking Spaghetti in a large pan on a wooden tableTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Break the spaghetti into thirds, and cook it according to the package directions for al dente noodles.

Step 2: Brown the beef, then add the seasoning

Cooking beef in a dutch oven using a spatula to stir the beefTMB Studio

While the noodles are cooking, cook and brown the ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium heat for six to eight minutes, until no longer pink. Break the meat into crumbles as it cooks.

Drain the beef, and then stir in the taco seasoning and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Editor’s Tip: When choosing ground beef for taco spaghetti, follow a similar line of thinking as you do when choosing ground beef for burgers. Something with at least some fat will yield the most flavor.

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

Tomatoes cheese and beef mixed inside a dutch ovenTMB Studio

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, 1 cup cheese and the salsa.

Combining the spaghetti with beef mixture in a dutch ovenTMB Studio

Drain the spaghetti and add it to the beef mixture. Toss to combine.

Step 4: Bake the casserole

Taco Spaghetti in a baking tray on a wooden tableTMB Studio

Transfer the taco spaghetti casserole to the prepped 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes.

Sprinkling cheese on Taco Spaghetti in a baking panTMB Studio

Uncover and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for three to five minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted. Let the casserole stand for five minutes before serving.

Editor’s Tip: Garnish taco spaghetti with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, additional salsa, a dollop of sour cream or sliced avocado. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is another zippy way to finish this dish.

Taco Spaghetti served in a plate with vegetablesTMB Studio

Taco Spaghetti Variations

The best part of this dish is its endless versatility. Just as with taco recipes, what you put into a taco (and taco spaghetti) is limited only by your imagination.

  • Change the meat: For a leaner taco spaghetti casserole, use ground turkey or chicken. If you have leftover shredded chicken, pork or slow-cooker carnitas, that may also be used in this dish.
  • Opt for different beans: If you have a choice of beans at Chipotle, why not give yourself that choice at home too? Swap in pinto beans for the black beans, or omit them altogether if you prefer a taco pasta without beans.
  • Try a different pasta shape: For the smaller hands and mouths at your table, consider a different pasta shape. Rotini, penne, farfalle or medium shells would all work well in this easy taco pasta recipe.
  • Make it extra spicy: If you like spicy foods, you can choose a different variety of taco seasoning or opt for the spicy salsa of your choice. Additionally, diced jalapenos or another type of pepper would serve as a tasty garnish with a kick.
  • Add vegetables: For a taco spaghetti casserole packed with veggies, consider stirring in 1 cup sweet corn kernels when you add the black beans to the pasta. You could also saute up to 1 cup diced bell peppers, onions or poblano peppers in the Dutch oven while browning the beef.

How to Store Taco Spaghetti

Taco spaghetti may be refrigerated for three to five days in an airtight storage container. To reheat the casserole, warm it in a 350° oven, covered, until heated through. You may also warm leftovers in the microwave with a splash of water or broth, if needed, to rehydrate the pasta.

Can you freeze taco spaghetti?

Yes, you can freeze spaghetti noodles, as well as many recipes made with them—like taco spaghetti! To freeze this casserole, cool the unbaked, assembled dish and sprinkle it with the remaining cheese. Cover the dish tightly and freeze it for up to three months.

To use, partially thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the casserole, covered, for 55 to 60 minutes or until heated through and a thermometer inserted in the center reads 165°.

Taco Spaghetti Tips

Taco Spaghetti in a plate on a table cloth placed on a wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Can you cook taco spaghetti on the stovetop?

If you want to skip the oven, you can make taco spaghetti entirely on the stovetop as a one-dish pasta recipe. Instead of transferring the mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish, simply heat it through in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. Once the spaghetti is hot, remove it from the heat, sprinkle it with the Mexican cheese blend and cover it with the lid of your Dutch oven until the cheese is melted.

What can you serve with taco spaghetti?

Taco spaghetti casserole can be served with any of your favorite Mexican-style or southwestern sides. A skillet cornbread, refried beans and a vat of homemade guacamole would all be fabulous choices to consider.

Watch how to Make Taco Spaghetti

Taco Spaghetti

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 8 servings.


  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 2/3 cup salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Break spaghetti into thirds; cook according to package directions for al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in beans, tomatoes, 1 cup cheese and salsa. Drain spaghetti; add to beef mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 439 calories, 16g fat (7g saturated fat), 60mg cholesterol, 927mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 4g fiber), 24g protein.

I came up with this kid-friendly taco spaghetti recipe one afternoon when I was using up leftover spaghetti and ground beef. When I'm lucky enough to have extra time, I make two batches and freeze one. —Johanna Van Ness, Wichita, Kansas