Instant Pot Taco Pasta is like eating an unstuffed chicken taco, with lots of creamy melted cheese! Made with only 8 ingredients and in less than 30 minutes in 1 pot, taco pasta is a fantastic flavorful dinner for families on busy or lazy nights.
Anytime I cook pasta in my Instant Pot, I am grateful that this wonderful product was created!
Instant Pot pasta recipes can be true 1 pot meals, with no draining and less cleanup than when using the stove. And this recipe is just that.
Instant Pot Taco Pasta combines the ease and comfort of pasta with the flavors of tacos and their traditional toppings. Plus lots of cheese to make a creamy chicken taco pasta.
Diced chicken is sauteed with taco seasoning, then mixed with bell peppers, onions, salsa, corn and lots of cheddar cheese. It's all pressure cooked with the pasta— in only 3 minutes! The flavor is incredible!
Yes- that's chicken that I make taco pasta with. Most recipes use ground beef, but we love it with chicken.
Letting the pasta cook in the taco seasoning, vegetables, and broth takes the flavor intensity to the next level.
It was a hit with my kids. I made it early in the morning and the smell was so amazing they begged to taste it. Which then turned into them eating it for breakfast.
Taco pasta is easy to make, so if you've never made pasta in the pressure cooker or made it and had a bad experience, let this recipe convince you that it does work.
⭐️ This recipe works in a 6 or 8 quart pressure cooker of any brand. It has not been tested in a 3 or 10 quart cooker.
Why You'll Love Making Chicken Taco Pasta in the Instant Pot
- Just 8 ingredients.
- It's a true one pot meal.
- It is ready in less than 30 minutes, from preparation to completion.
- It's cheesy and creamy!
- It's versatile— use beef, ground turkey, or make it vegetarian.
To make it you need:
- short pasta (shells, cavatappi, ziti, or your favorite short pasta)
- diced chicken
- taco seasoning
- onion and garlic
- colorful bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow are the best)
- milk (I use evaporated, but any dairy milk will do)
- cheddar cheese
Garnishings: fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa or diced tomatoes.
💡 Tip: For the cheese to melt and turn creamy, you must use freshly shredded cheese and not pre-shredded bags.
📖 Recipe Variations
- Make it spicy by using hot salsa or adding jalapenos
- Keep it kid-friendly with mild salsa
- Keep it extra kid-friendly and don't add "green" cilantro when serving
- Use ground beef or ground turkey without changing the recipe steps or time
- Add black beans and/or fresh diced tomatoes along with the corn
- Change up the cheddar cheese and use taco, Mexican blend, or monterey jack cheese (or a combination)
- For a thicker sauce, use heavy cream
For a veggie loaded taco pasta, double the amount of peppers and corn.
🔪 Step-By-Step Directions
Here's how to make Instant Pot taco pasta:
- Set the Instant Pot to saute for 5 minutes. Add olive oil, diced chicken and the taco seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes. During the last minute, add the peppers, onion and garlic.
- Add 1 cup of water and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Then put in the pasta and rest of the water, milk salsa, corn, salt and pepper. Do not stir. Seall the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 3 minutes.
- Quickly release the pressure. Remove the inner pot to a trivet and wait 2 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese in handfuls, not all at once. Stir as it's added.
- Stir until the cheese is completely melted. Taste and add additional salsa if desired.
⭐️ Use this quick calculation to determine pressure cooking pasta cook times. Find the cook time range on your box for al dente pasta. Divide the lower number in half and subtract 1. For a more al dente pasta, subtract 2. Pressure cook on high for that length of time.
Then serve and enjoy! Recommended garnishings are extra cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro.
Taco pasta is a full meal on it's own. But if you'd like to serve it with a side dish, a simple salad is a great choice. Chips and salsa also make a good appetizer for taco pasta.
You can even make salsa right in the Instant Pot too!
💡 Tip: Let the pasta sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will thicken the sauce and allow the flavors to intensify. The longer it sits, the more the taco flavors will stand out!
Instant Pot Taco Pasta
- 6 or 8 quart pressure cooker
- 1 lb chicken, diced
- 1 taco seasoning packet
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bell pepper, red/yellow/orange
- 16 oz short pasta
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups milk (evaporated or other dairy milk)
- 1 ½ cups salsa
- 1 can corn
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 ½ cups cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- cilantro, for garnishing
- Set the Instant Pot to saute for 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, diced chicken and the taco seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes. During the last minute, add the peppers, onion and garlic.
- Add 1 cup of the water and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Then put in the pasta and additional 3 cups of water, milk, salsa, corn, salt and pepper. Do not stir. Seal the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 3 minutes.
- Quickly release the pressure. Remove the inner pot to a trivet and wait 2 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese in handfuls, stirring as it's added. Mix until the cheese is completely melted. Taste and add additional salsa if desired.
- Serve garnished with cilantro, extra cheese, sour cream, or diced tomatoes.
Instant Pot taco pasta keeps in the fridge for around 5 days. It is not freezer-friendly, as the pasta will lose it's texture.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Please let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.