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Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Sharing my Queso Taco Pasta Bake recipe today!
Queso Taco Pasta Bake

I think you are going to love this Queso Taco Pasta Bake recipe I developed last week! It’s full of simple everyday pantry items we usually have and full of great Mexican flavors.

I made a homemade queso sauce that you will be tempted to break the tortilla chips out and dive right in….that actually gets mixed in with the pasta and beef making a casserole the whole family is going to love!

Can’t wait to hear how you like this one, it went over great in our family. Enjoy!

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Let’s start by making the queso. Melt your butter then whisk in your flour, salt and peppa!

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Whisk for about 30 seconds then slowly add the chicken broth. You’ll increase the heat, whisking until nice and thick. Takes close to 5 minutes.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Time for some beautiful cheese.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Give it a nice stir, should melt within a minute.

Nice and cheesy.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Add 1/2 cup of your favorite mild salsa and voila’ you’ve got queso. Set this baby aside.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Dice an onion and get it sauteeing in the pan. Add some garlic too.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Brown your ground beef.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Add a lovely can of mild Rotel tomatoes.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Add some cumin and lime juice for a yummy taco meat.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

How cute are these pasta noodles?! Found them at World Market, however use any small pasta you like.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Once your noodles are cooked, add them to a big pot with the beef.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Beauty shot πŸ™‚

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Time to add that delicious queso sauce.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Give her a good stir, taste, then season a tad bit more if needed.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Transfer to your nice big baking dish.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

Top with more shredded cheese please.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

I added a little mozzarella too, but use what you like.

Queso Taco Pasta Bake

This is what comes out of the oven. Pure gorgeousness πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy thisΒ Queso Taco Pasta Bake!

Queso Taco Pasta Bake


Queso Taco Pasta Bake

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup prepared mild salsa

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onions

1 tablespoons minced garlic

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

One 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes, mild

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3/4 pound small pasta of your choice

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to melt. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper for about 30 seconds until bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Increase heat to high while whisking until thickened. Takes 3-5 minutes. Stir in cheese and salsa, turn off heat and set aside.

3. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground beef, salt and pepper, cooking until browned. Drain fat if necessary. Add tomatoes, cumin and lime juice, stir to combine.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and run under cold water.

5. Transfer beef, noodles and queso to a large pot or dutch oven over medium low heat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to your liking. Transfer to prepared baking dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Makes 8 servings

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Queso Taco Pasta Bake

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105 Responses | Comments RSS

  1. 1

    All that cheese! Yum! And I love World Market…great finds there on just about anything!

  2. 2

    I’ll be making this one this week! Sounds YUMMY!!!

  3. 3

    This looks great! Perfect weeknight meal πŸ™‚
    Also, love the new design..I tweaked mine too this weekend. SO fun!

  4. 4

    Salt and Peppa. I TOTALLY got that.

    This looks so cheesy and full of yum. Going on my dinner list!!

  5. 5

    Mmmm! I am totally digging the pasta right now. Carbs, carbs, carbs! πŸ˜€ Oh, pregnancy…how I love you. πŸ˜€ This looks amazing. And thank goodness for World Market. I don’t know what I would do without their awesome pastas.

  6. 6

    This pasta looks amazing. You had me at homemade queso! I cannot wait to give it a try very soon. As luck would have it, I am working on my menu plan today. πŸ™‚

  7. 7
    Lauren says:

    This sounds so delish!!

  8. 8

    Yum, Yum, Yum! This is going on my must-make list for sure!

  9. 9
    Molly Carter says:

    I need this now, Jenny! Looks perfect for a weeknight meal.

  10. 10

    Mmmm…loving the Mexi twist on pasta! This looks amazing!

  11. 11

    All our favorite Mexican flavors in one gorgeous casserole. Yum!

  12. 12

    WHAT? This is a culmination of ALL of my wet dreams, EVAR. I just died.

  13. 13
    Jennifer says:

    This look soooo good!

  14. 14

    Love these one-pot meals, Jenny! My kids love Mexican flavors AND pasta, so I’ll be trying this out. Thanks!

  15. 15

    PS> Love the new look over here!! *whistles*

  16. 16

    Fantastic Jenny! It’s like a fiesta fresh out of the oven. πŸ™‚

  17. 17

    This pasta bake looks so delicious, Jenny! Great flavors you used! Thanks for reminding me about World Market’s great pasta selection, too. Though I don’t need any more excuses to go there more than I do already…

  18. 18
    Candice says:

    Can’t wait to make this! But looking at the print directions, it looks like you left out putting the cheese into the queso at the end of step two.

  19. 19
    Jennifer says:

    I have been looking for a quick and easy queso recipe and the one you made here looks like it could be the one! Have you tried just this queso with tortilla chips? Was it flavorful enough to stand alone?

    • 19.1
      Jenny says:

      Hi Jennifer, I tasted it with my finger and it was delicious. You could always add seasonings to your liking πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  20. 20

    looks so so delicious eventhough I don’t eat beef. Love Mex food!

    • 20.1
      Gwen M says:

      I think you could easily make it with shredded chicken or shredded pork!

      • 20.1.1
        Ashley says:

        I plan on making this with ground turkey….I think that would be another option if you don’t like beef. The chicken or pork sound great as well!

  21. 21
    Tracy says:

    Ohh this looks delicious! Printing this out so I can make this for my hubby & I. We love anything with a taco flavouring to it.

  22. 22
    Maria says:

    Great weeknight meal!

  23. 23
    Stephanie says:

    What cute pasta! I think even picky kids would love this! Thanks!

  24. 24
    Becks says:

    Yum!! This reminds me of your bestie’s Cheeseburger Mac, which is already in my bi-weekly rotation!

    I might have to change it up this week. πŸ™‚

  25. 25

    Jenny, this recipe looks great. What a perfect quick weekday dinner idea. And all that cheese— LOVE IT!

  26. 26

    Yumm! Looks so easy and delicious!

  27. 27
    Lynna H. says:

    looks incredible!!!

  28. 28
    Molly says:

    So do we use 1 1/2 c. Cheese in the sauce and then 2 c. cheese on top? Is that why there are two cheese entries in the ingredients? Thanks!

  29. 29

    I think I just found Wednesday night’s dinner. And I think I have everything on hand which is always a bonus!

  30. 30
    RecipeNewZ says:

    I love this recipe! It’s so flavorful, simple, colorful and beautiful! What more can one ask for? You have a wonderful site πŸ™‚

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and other posts πŸ™‚ ) on a new photo based recipe sharing community that launched only last week. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) –

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board πŸ™‚

  31. 31

    […] also found my next “have to try” recipe. It’s called Queso Taco Pasta Bake from It sounds delicious. So far, I have pinned the photo to my Food Favorites […]

  32. 32
    Gwen M says:

    Made this for supper tonight, it was really good!!!! I might try using grated queso cheese in the queso sauce, maybe add some chopped bell peppers to the meat! But my family loved it!!!!!

    • 32.1
      Gwen M says:

      Can’t wait to go to World Market for pasta the next time we go to the city. I used bow tie tonight in mine!

    • 32.2
      Michelle says:

      I never heard of queso cheese that you can grate! Where can I find that? I need to try it… been trying to perfect a queso recipe, and so far nothing is nearly as good as restaurant queso.

  33. 33
    Kim B. says:

    Oh my goodness does this look YUMMY!! Will definitely be making soon πŸ™‚

  34. 34
    Ashley says:

    I made this for dinner tonight since we actually had ALL of the ingredients at home. That rarely happens. We usually have to make a trip to the store for something. It was so yummy and a huge hit at my house! πŸ™‚

  35. 35
    Kimberli says:

    This looks delicious, I will be making it this week for my family – I don’t think they’ll object too much after I tell them it involves homemade queso!! πŸ™‚ Now to find a World Market near me to find some of that fun pasta…

  36. 36
    Allison says:

    OK This recipe looks amazing, however for some reason the beef isn’t working for me… I’m thinking I’d swap out beef for ground turkey thigh meat… Or is that sacrilege?

  37. 37
    Kate says:

    I saw this yesterday (I am new to your blog) and it is in the oven now, can’t wait to try it :o) and to try out some of your other gorgeous looking recipes, I have two very picky toddlers at home and so many of your recipes look like they will be winners. Thank you!

  38. 38
    Lora says:

    Looks great! Any thoughts on how this would freeze as a make-ahead meal? Thanks!

  39. 39
    Sheila says:

    Thought.. rather than in the oven for 25-30 mins, since everything is already cooked, could you put it under the broiler for 5 minutes to melt the cheese? The queso & pasta mix reminded me of my mac & cheese. I give it that baked feel by sprinkling cheese on top and a quick stop under the broiler.

    I’m always trying to make weeknight meals even faster.

  40. 40
    Carol says:

    I made this tonight and my family and I just loved it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  41. 41
    patsy says:

    What a fun way to enjoy Mexican flavors with pasta… and I love the pasta shape!

  42. 42

    This looks delicious. I LOVE those little pasta noodles. I’ll have to check our local Walmart and see if they carry them there. I hope so! Thanks for sharing.

  43. 43
    Alyssa says:

    Doesn’t get better than homemade queso & pasta!Can’t wait to try this!

  44. 44
    Maricar Rillera says:

    The pictures and the food looks very tempting! what kind of camera/lens do you use?

  45. 45
    Kay says:

    Made this this week and followed recipe exactly. Used whole wheat fusilli pasta. Exquisite!!!! Would not change a thing. Leftovers were just as fabulous!

  46. 46
    Alicia says:

    This looks ABSOLUTELY GRUBBIN’. I’m going to cook this tonight. Can’t wait!!Thank you for sharin’ this recipe.

  47. 47

    […] dinner: Queso Taco Pasta Bake. Forget the pasta – with a sauce like this, pass the tortilla […]

  48. 48
    Jason says:

    You are amazing, it’s just a matter of time before you get your own show on The Food Network!

  49. 49
    Kelly S. says:

    Have you tried making this ahead of time? I take dinner to my in-laws once a week and want to make this but am wondering how it would do made the night before…thoughts?

  50. 50
    Paula says:

    how much is 3/4 lb pasta? and is that cooked or dry? how do i know?

  51. 51

    […] Taco Pasta Bake- to add bell peppers and chopped […]

  52. 52
    Christina says:

    Made this last night. Doubled the recipe, but only used 1 can of rotel because someone in the house dislikes tomatoes. Everyone loved it! Used a spicy salsa since it was all I had in the house. Had a kick! Also used garlic & onion powders instead of actual onion/garlic because of said picky tomato hater. Great easy recipe, reheats well!

  53. 53
    Terri says:

    Tried it tonight. Everyone loved it. Also made the itty bitty chocolate chip/oreo cookies, those were a hit as well. Thank you for sharing.

  54. 54

    […] from Picky Palate, Serves […]

  55. 55
    Amber says:

    This is amazing, thank you so much for sharing! Got it off pinterest and I love it!

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Melissa Crotts says:

    Can’t thank you enough for sharing this recipe!! I found it on Pinterest, made it tonight and it was DELICIOUS!

  58. 58
    Katie says:

    Looks sooooo good. My small family loves Mexican cuisine. I’m going to have try this as we do similar things at our home but haven’t tried something quite like this.

  59. 59
    Katie says:

    Just made this tonight for dinner — AMAZING!! My hubby was excited just reading the list of ingredients and looking at your pictures. When it was almost ready for the oven, he said there was no way it could be bad! We loved it, and it may have become our go-to Mexican meal. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!!

  60. 60
    Lesley says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! Made it last week … the family loved it!

  61. 61

    […] Queso Taco Pasta Bake, a quick casserole style dinner that the whole family loves. […]

  62. 62
    Meg's says:

    Made a ton for our family of 2 adults and two littles. Froze half if it. Planning to thaw and bake another night.

  63. 63
    Cindi says:

    This queso is to die for…I love this dish and the family
    loved it…I did not add or delete anything..served it with
    a salad..amazing!!!!!

  64. 64
    Betsy R. says:

    I was craving pasta and Mexican, what a great combination! I enjoyed this meal a lot. My husband was looking for more of a spicy heat factor and added some Frank’s to his dish. I also thought that it would be saucier. Next time I will double the cheese sauce and maybe make a section with jalapenos on top for my hubby.

  65. 65

    I just made this tonight, and it was a hit with the whole family. I loved all the gooey cheese; it was filling and satisfying. I really liked that the recipe called for a homemade queso, rather than the jarred varieties I have seen used in similar recipes. I will mark this one a winner!

  66. 66
    Hannah says:

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and I finally made it yesterday…amazing! I used ground turkey instead of beef, and still delicious. I will definitely be making this again soon! (and possible making extra queso for dipping; I couldn’t stop licking the spoon.)

  67. 67
    Brooke Browne says:

    I made this once before with some basic pasta and it was great. Then I found the pasta you used at World Market and immediately ran to get the rest of the ingredients. I’m adding a poblano pepper with the onions and I’ll see how it goes….

  68. 68

    […] Queso Pasta Bake really means cheese sauce and more cheese on top!Β  This is basically a beefed up mac and cheese recipe – literally – it has beef in it Β  I am a sucker for pasta dishes. […]

  69. 69
    J. Dean says:

    This recipe was very delicious. I doubled it for our family of 8, & had a small amount of leftovers. While this is delicious, & most of the ingredients are usually in your pantry or freezer, it did take a while to make.

  70. 70
    Noreen says:

    This was absolutely delicious! Are you sure you used a tablespoon of cumin? That seemed like way too much. I used 1/2 tsp and it had wonderful flavor. I also used rotel with chilies and added some fresh chopped cilantro. Everyone cleaned their plates!

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Amy says:

    So I made this last night, but took longer to make than I thought and threw it in the fridge to heat up tonight. Its a great dish. Love the taste. Thank you for sharing!

  73. 73

    […] Queso Taco Pasta Bake. Served with fruit salad. […]

  74. 74
  75. 75
  76. 76
    Hanna says:

    What kind of pasta would you recommend for this?

  77. 77

    […] Queso Taco Pasta Bake. A family favorite. Not sure of sides yet, as we’re getting low on fruits and veggies because we had to take money out of our budget this week to buy ice cream for my son’s class party and cat food. […]

  78. 78
    Ginny says:

    This is delicious! I love how the queso had chicken broth in it!

  79. 79
    Sarah says:

    I LOVED this dish. It was simple (I know because even I could make it) and delicious! I am making this for my whole family this weekend!! Thanks for an awesome recipe, Jenny!

  80. 80
    A Young Wife says:

    Found this recipe on Pinterest! I don’t know how I missed it first time around. My husband loves queso and thought this was so good! We added turkey and it was delicious! Your pasta noodles are so cute too!

  81. 81
    Allie says:

    Why did I never think to pair pasta and mexican before!? Vegetarian foodie here so I took your idea and put my own spin on it. I added peppers, beans, corn and cilantro. It’s currently in the oven but I tried (a few) bites before I put it in and it was delicious! I can’t wait for my family to taste it – my 5 year old with her love of mexican and mac and cheese will be in heaven πŸ™‚

    I just knew I needed to come on here and say THANKS for the blueprint of a great recipe!

  82. 82
    Crystal says:

    This looks amazing! I’m going to the store now so I can make this. Thank you so much for having a from scratch queso recipe with easy instructions. I can’t believe I didn’t find this earlier

  83. 83
    Julie says:

    This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it!! In the last part of the directions it says to transfer, beef, noodles and queso to large pot over medium heat. Are you supposed to cook it more before transferring to baking dish and baking?

  84. 84
    Macey M says:

    I Just made this! And while it was delicious, I like tons of flavor! So, to add extra depth of flavor, I added half of a pack of dry ranch dressing seasoning. I would also do what the recipe suggests and add monzerella cheese as well as cheddar (even using the fiesta blend bag of cheese would be good too! Once again, it’s a depth of flavor thing for me πŸ™‚ I am so glad I came upon this recipe, it is definitely a new favorite!!!

Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!