Skip to Content

Beef Enchilada Pasta (One Pan Meal)

If you’re a fan of Mexican flavors and quick, one-pan meals, you’re in for a treat with this Beef Enchilada Pasta recipe! This delightful fusion of cheesy, savory goodness brings together the best of both worlds, making it a go-to dinner option for busy nights.

Scoop of easy on pot beef enchilada pasta being removed from the pan.

In my house, we absolutely love our Mexican-themed nights, and this Beef Enchilada Pasta has become a favorite addition to our rotation. With tender ground beef, al dente pasta, and a rich, smoky enchilada sauce, this recipe is a breeze to whip up in a single pan. Not to mention, the minimal cleanup after dinner is a welcome bonus, making it a true weeknight favorite! So, let’s dive into this delicious Beef Enchilada Pasta and enjoy the convenience of a flavor-packed one-pan wonder!

Bowl of beef enchilada pasta with a fork in the pasta.

Ingredients for Beef Enchilada Pasta

  • Olive Oil – Provides a base for sautéing. Feel free to use your favorite cooking oil.
  • Lean Ground Beef – Lean ground beef provides the protein element without an excessive amount of grease. I recommend using 85/15 or leaner.
  • Onion – Adds a touch of sweetness and aromatic complexity.
  • Garlic – Provides a fragrant, spicy kick.
  • Taco Seasoning – Infuses classic Tex-Mex spices.
  • Dry Rotini Pasta – Gives the dish a sturdy texture with its spiral shape, ensuring the sauce clings perfectly to each nook and cranny.
  • Water – Essential for cooking pasta and creating a sauce.
  • Enchilada Sauce – The heart of the recipe, bringing smoky, slightly spicy flavors.
  • Colby Jack Cheese – A creamy, melty finish for that indulgent touch of cheesiness.

Making the One Pan Beef Enchilada Pasta

  1. Saute – Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the beef and onion, cooking for 5-7 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink and the onion has softened. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Season – Add the garlic and taco seasoning and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Combine pasta and sauce – Add the dry rotini pasta, water, and enchilada sauce to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil to allow the flavors to meld and the pasta to start cooking in the sauce.
  4. Simmer – Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet, and let it simmer. Stir occasionally as the pasta absorbs the flavorful liquid and becomes tender, typically taking 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add cheese – After the pasta reaches the perfect al dente texture and most of the liquid is absorbed, remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the shredded Colby jack cheese, creating a creamy, melty finish that beautifully ties all the flavors together.
  6. Serve – Now that your one-pan Beef Enchilada Pasta is ready, serve it piping hot directly from the pan. For an extra burst of flavor and personalization, top it with your favorite enchilada toppings, such as fresh cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, or sliced black olives, if desired.
Collage showing four steps to make the cake and pudding.

Variations and substitutions

Protein options Swap the ground beef for ground turkey, chicken, or a plant-based alternative like tempeh. You can also use cubed raw chicken breasts or add shredded chicken.

Pasta varieties Experiment with different pasta shapes, like elbows, bowtie, rotelle, or even tortellini for a unique twist. Substitute regular pasta with whole wheat or gluten-free pasta for dietary considerations.

Cheese options Replace colby jack with Monterey Jack, pepper jack, cheddar, or a Mexican blend of cheeses for a varied flavor.

Beef broth – You can substitute beef broth for water when adding liquid to the recipe for a richer and meatier flavor. It adds depth to the dish and enhances the overall savory profile of your Beef Enchilada Pasta.

Add veggies Toss in sautéed bell peppers, corn, or black beans after you’ve sautéed the beef, onion, and seasoned the mixture with garlic and taco seasoning and before adding the pasta, water, and enchilada sauce. Stir them in to incorporate them well with the beef and onion mixture.

Spinach or kale can be added for a healthy, leafy green addition just before you remove the skillet from heat in the final step (before stirring in the cheese). Stir until they wilt and blend into the dish.

Spice it up – You can control the spice level in this dish through the enchilada sauce. Use a mild sauce for a less spicy result or a hot sauce for a spicier pasta. For those who crave an extra kick, consider adding ¼-½ teaspoon of ground cayenne along with the taco seasoning to elevate the heat. Adjust to your taste preference and spice tolerance. Remember, it is easier to add than take away!

Make it vegan – To transform this dish into a vegan delight, substitute the ground beef with a plant-based alternative like crumbled tempeh or a meatless ground “beef” product such as Beyond Beef or Impossible Beef. Choose dairy-free shredded cheese and check the enchilada sauce to ensure it’s vegan-friendly. Most dry pasta found in stores are vegan, but it’s always best to double check.

Pot full of easy beef enchilada pasta.

Tips for success

  • Lean ground meat – I recommend using lean ground beef, ideally 85/15 or leaner, to avoid excess grease in this recipe.
  • Use a ‘ridged’ pasta – Feel free to use your favorite dry pasta in the recipe. I recommend using one that has a lot of curves or ridges so the sauce has something to cling to. Elbows, bowtie, rotelle are all great options. Regardless of what pasta you settle on, you will want 8 ounces of dry pasta.
  • Simmer slowly – When simmering, don’t rush. A slow simmer allows the pasta to absorb the flavors and cook evenly. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Season to taste – Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed during the cooking process to achieve the perfect balance of flavors in your Beef Enchilada Pasta, ensuring every bite is seasoned to your liking.
  • Use fresh shredded cheese– Freshly shredding your cheese from a block yields a smoother melt compared to pre-shredded bagged cheese, which may contain anti-clumping agents that hinder its smooth melting. Freshly shredded cheese contributes to a creamier, more indulgent finish in your Beef Enchilada Pasta.
Scoop of easy on pot beef enchilada pasta being removed from the pan.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

The pasta can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to three months. Ensure the pasta has cooled completely to room temperature before freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Beef Enchilada Pasta FAQs

Can I make this dish in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the Beef Enchilada Pasta ahead of time, which is especially convenient for busy days. When doing so, consider cooking the pasta just until it’s slightly under al dente. This prevents it from becoming too soft when you reheat the dish. As you refrigerate or freeze the prepared pasta, keep in mind that it will continue to absorb liquid. So, when you’re ready to serve, you might need to adjust the consistency by adding a little more sauce or liquid and gently reheating it until it reaches your desired texture. This way, you’ll enjoy the same great taste and ideal pasta texture as when it was freshly cooked.

Can I use fresh pasta instead of dry pasta?

While it’s possible to use fresh pasta, it’s important to note that fresh pasta has a shorter cooking time and won’t absorb as much liquid as dry pasta. The liquid absorbed by the pasta during the cooking process contributes significantly to the overall consistency and flavor of the dish. If you opt for fresh pasta, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly to prevent it from becoming overcooked or overly soft. Be mindful that the final texture and sauce consistency may vary from the traditional recipe, so it’s recommended to test and adapt as needed to achieve the desired outcome.

Want more easy recipes?

Check these out.

Scoop of easy on pot beef enchilada pasta being removed from the pan.

Beef Enchilada Pasta

Savor Tex-Mex and Italian fusion in our one-pan Beef Enchilada Pasta. Quick, customizable, and perfect for meat or plant-based eaters. Make it ahead for easy, crowd-pleasing dinners!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet of taco seasoning
  • 2 ¼ cups dry rotini pasta 8 ounces
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans of red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups cheddar jack cheese shredded

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the beef and onion and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink and the onion has softened. Drain any excess grease.
  • Add the garlic and taco seasoning and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add the pasta, water, and enchilada sauce and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, and serve.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • The pasta can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to three months. Ensure the pasta has cooled completely to room temperature before freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • I recommend using lean ground beef 85/15 or leaner in this recipe to avoid excess grease.
Love this recipe?Follow @semihomemadekitchen for more!

Sharing is caring!

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie - Semi Homemade Kitchen

Friday 15th of March 2024

[…] Beef Enchilada Pasta […]

Easy Baked Rigatoni with Ground Beef - Semi Homemade Kitchen

Tuesday 27th of February 2024

[…] you love easy cheesy beefy pasta recipes as much as I do, check out this one-pan beef enchilada pasta […]

18 Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas for When You Want Good Food on a Slow Day

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

[…] Get the Recipe: Beef Enchilada Pasta […]

18 Winter Dinner Recipes to Really Satisfy Your Comfort Food Cravings

Saturday 13th of January 2024

[…] Get the Recipe: Beef Enchilada Pasta […]

cpg

Sunday 22nd of October 2023

My family devoured this dish. Everyone enjoyed- Especially me because it was so easy to put together- and easy to clean up. Next time I think I will make double so that we can have left overs

Semihomemadekitchen

Sunday 22nd of October 2023

So glad to hear you enjoyed it! It is a favorite in my house too.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.