Put a fun twist on taco night (or a zesty twist on pasta night) with Mexican Spaghetti! This easy Tex-Mex pasta recipe is loaded with juicy tomatoes, spicy jalapeños, black beans, and plenty of cheese bulked up with ground beef and flavored with homemade taco seasoning.
Turn your Mexican-inspired pasta dinner into a real fiesta with this list of Popular Mexican Drinks!
The Best Taco Spaghetti Ever
We’re spicing things up at the dinner table this week with Mexican spaghetti! This also answers the question: Why choose between taco night and pasta night when you can have both?
Taco spaghetti is an all-in-one meal that’s loaded with juicy tomatoes and seasoned ground beef, along with Tex-Mex staples like tongue-tingling jalapeños, sweet corn, and black beans. It’s an easy pasta recipe that’s ready in under an hour, packed with tons of flavor thanks to a zesty homemade taco seasoning blend.
If your family loves Southwestern flavor about as much as they love pasta, prepare to be blown away by this fiesta-worthy dish.
What You’ll Need
Below is a short run-down of everything you’ll need to make this easy Mexican pasta recipe. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts and recipe details.
- Spaghetti – Use your favorite brand of uncooked spaghetti noodles. This recipe will also work with other long pasta, like linguine or fettuccine. Leave the short pasta noodles in the pantry for this one!
- Onion and Garlic – For aromatics. You’ll need either one small yellow onion or about 3/4 of a white onion. Freshly minced garlic cloves can also be substituted with one teaspoon of garlic powder if needed.
- Ground Beef – You can also use ground chicken, pork, or turkey.
- Tomato Sauce and Tomatoes – You’ll need a can of store-bought tomato sauce, as well as canned diced tomatoes. You can also use homemade tomato sauce if you prefer.
- Jalapeños – Canned jalapeños, chopped. Feel free to use fresh jalapeños or serranos too.
- Corn – Use fresh or frozen.
- Black Beans – Canned black beans work great. Remember to drain and rinse them beforehand.
- Cheese – This recipe calls for freshly grated Pepper Jack and Monterey Jack cheese. You can substitute sharp cheddar, Muenster, or your preferred cheese blend.
- Taco Seasoning – It’s easy to make your own taco seasoning with a combination of chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, cumin, onion and garlic powders, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper. Of course, if you have a favorite store-bought taco seasoning, that’s fine too.
How to Make Mexican Taco Spaghetti
You’ll soon see why this Tex-Mex spaghetti quickly becomes a family favorite! Here’s how to make it:
- Make the taco seasoning. In a bowl, whisk together the spices for the homemade taco seasoning.
- Cook the pasta. Next, boil the pasta according to the directions on the package. Set aside the drained pasta for the time being.
- Brown the beef. In a large skillet with a lid, sauté onion in a bit of oil, then add the beef and minced garlic. Continue to cook until the beef is browned. Drain any excess grease, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomatoes. Now, add canned tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, and stir in a spoonful of taco seasoning. Leave everything to cook and reduce for a few minutes.
- Finish with add-ins. Lastly, stir in your Tex-Mex add-ins: black beans, corn, and diced jalapeños, before transferring the cooked spaghetti to the skillet. Give the pasta a generous sprinkle of grated cheese, then toss it in the meat sauce to coat. Place a lid over the pan and let it simmer until the cheese is melted.
- Serve. After about 10 minutes, your Mexican spaghetti is ready to serve! Load up servings with your favorite taco toppings (see below for ideas) and dig in.
Tips for Success
Below are some hot (caliente) tips for making the best Mexican-style pasta:
- Cook the pasta al dente. Aim to cook the spaghetti until just barely al dente at first. This way, it won’t become overcooked and mushy when it simmers in the sauce later on.
- Use fresh tomatoes. The canned tomatoes in this recipe can be substituted with fresh tomatoes if you’d like. Add them to the pan along with their juice.
- Make it a one-pot recipe. Who doesn’t love a one-pot dinner? Add 3 cups of chicken or beef stock to the sauce. Place the uncooked spaghetti inside, cover the pan, and let it simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Then, continue with the recipe as usual.
- Use leftover veggies. Chop up leftover veggies like carrots and Mexican squash, then add them to the pan with the beef. Pasta recipes are a great way to use up those leftovers!
Toppings and Variations
When it comes time to serve your taco pasta, get creative! Try these Mexican-inspired topping ideas:
- Diced avocado
- Mexican crema (or, try Easy Avocado Crema!)
- Cilantro or parsley
- A squeeze of fresh lime
- Sour cream
There are also loads of easy ways you can customize this recipe to suit your family’s tastes. Here are some quick variation ideas:
- More or less spicy. Adapt the heat levels in your pasta sauce by using more or fewer jalapeños. You can also make a milder taco seasoning by leaving out some of the chili powder, cayenne, crushed pepper flakes, etc.
- Different protein. As mentioned earlier, the ground beef in this recipe can be substituted with ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork instead.
- Vegetarian. Make it a vegetarian pasta by replacing ground meat with your choice of plant-based alternative. Good vegetable protein options are crumbled tofu, cooked lentils, diced mushrooms, or even chopped cauliflower.
Let’s turn this Mexican pasta dish into a Southwestern-style feast! Serve a plate of zesty spaghetti with a side of tortilla chips and Salsa, Homemade Queso, or cheesy Vegetarian Nachos. For another flavorful side or starter, try Portobello Mushroom Fajitas, Taco Crostini, or Chicken Enchiladas.
Lighten up a meal with a side of fresh homemade Pico de Gallo, Grilled Corn Salad, or Mexican Squash. And of course, wash everything down with a refreshing Watermelon Margarita (made alcohol-free for the kids!). If you want to go the cocktail route, this Blood Orange Margarita might be just the refreshing sip you need.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Spaghetti
Mexican spaghetti can be stored airtight in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat the pasta in a saucepan on the stovetop, with a bit of broth or water sprinkled over top to help loosen up the sauce. Alternatively, you can speed up the reheating process in the microwave, too.
Can I Freeze Taco Spaghetti?
The best way to freeze this recipe is to prepare the taco meat sauce right up until you would add the spaghetti and cheese. Instead, allow the pasta sauce to cool, then store it airtight in a container or freezer bag to keep frozen for up to 3 months.
Whenever you’re ready to serve, defrost the pasta sauce in the fridge, boil your spaghetti, and add the pasta and cheese to finish the recipe as directed.
Why not follow up your meal with something sweet? Check out 16 Popular Mexican Desserts, and visit the recipe finder for even more easy Mexican dinner ideas.
Mexican Taco Spaghetti
For the pasta:
- 12 oz spaghetti uncooked
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1.25 lbs ground beef
- 12 oz canned tomato sauce
- 21 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1-2 canned jalapeños chopped
- 1 cup yellow corn
- 3/4 cup canned black beans drained and rinsed.
- 3/4 cup Pepper Jack cheese grated
- 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the taco seasoning:
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika regular or smoked
- Mexican crema
- Make the taco seasoning. Mix all the ingredients for the seasoning mix in a small bowl until well combined. Set it aside.
- Cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and add the pasta. Place it over high heat and let it come to a boil. Cook according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- Cook the beef. Add about 1 tbsp of oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and let it cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and beef. Let them cook for 6-9 minutes or until the ground beef has browned slightly. Carefully pour out any excess fat from the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the tomatoes. Pour the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes into the pan. Add 1 1/2 tbsp of homemade taco seasoning. Mix well to combine and let everything cook for 8-10 minutes or until it reduces slightly. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the add-ins. Toss in the black beans, corn, and jalapeños. Transfer the spaghetti back into the pan. Sprinkle with Pepper Jack and Monterey Jack cheese to taste. Stir well and reduce the heat to low. Place the lid on the pan and let the spaghetti simmer for another 10 minutes. The cheese should be nice and melty.
- Serve. Serve and garnish with your favorite toppings. Enjoy.