This easy and flavorful Ground Beef Pasta recipe is ready in about 25 minutes using everyday ingredients. It’s the perfect dish for simple family dinners!

Large skillet filled with a simple ground beef pasta dish garnished with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

The whole family can enjoy this simple yet soul-warming ground beef pasta recipe. It has a rich tomato sauce and loads of flavor. The cook might enjoy it most of all, because it’s so quick and easy to make!

Life is busy, so weeknight dinners need to check a lot of boxes, and this one meets the mark. It’s:

  • Ready in about 25 minutes. Minimal prep and not much to wash up, either.
  • Cozy and comforting. This is the kind of meal everyone looks forward to on the family menu.
  • Made of pantry staples. Everyday ingredients combine to impart big flavor.

Serve this ground beef pasta with a green salad and Italian dressing, roasted garlic green beans, or steamed peas or broccoli. Add garlic bread, knots, or breadsticks to feed a happy crowd.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Labeled overhead image of ground beef in a package, dried pasta, chopped yellow onion, parsley, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cream, Parmesan, and spices all measured into prep bowls.

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions. Find full amounts in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  • Pasta. Any shape works, though I prefer smaller ones with ridges to hold the meat sauce. Penne, rigatoni, and shells all fall into this category.
  • Ground beef or ground sirloin. You can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken, but if doing so, add a drizzle of olive oil to the skillet before browning the meat. I recommend using a lean ground beef, roughly 90% lean, or draining off the excess fat.
  • Onion. I default to yellow onion for this recipe, but a sweet onion would also be tasty.
  • Tomato paste and tomato sauce. These combine to give flavor and richness to the sauce. I like to buy tubes of tomato paste so they keep for a long time and I can use just a little bit at a time. It’s also fine to swap diced tomatoes for the tomato sauce; add them together with all juices from the can.
  • Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Cream. A little goes a long way to enrich the sauce without making it too heavy. You can substitute half and half in a pinch.
  • Grated Parmesan. The most delicious finishing touch.

Fresh parsley or fresh basil leaves make a pretty garnish at the end, if you have them on hand, but I personally wouldn’t run to the store just for those.

How To Make Easy Pasta with Ground Beef

Let’s make the easiest and most delicious dinner! 

This is a general overview. As always, you will find full instructions with exact ingredients and times in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  1. Boil water, salt well, and cook pasta just to al dente.
  2. Crumble and brown beef and onion together. If using ground beef, you do not need to add extra butter or oil: the meat will render enough fat on its own. If you’ve chosen to substitute ground turkey or chicken, warm a drizzle of olive oil in the skillet before adding the meat.
  3. Make the sauce. Stir in the tomato sauce, paste, and seasonings, then let simmer to thicken slightly.
  4. Mix it all together. Stir in the cream, followed by the pasta and Parmesan.

Pro Tip

Always sample and season with salt and pepper to taste! It’s more common to add too little salt than too much. For this recipe I would add at least 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to the skillet.

Close up of ground beef pasta with Parmesan in a skillet.

Variations & Add-Ins

  • Gluten-Free: Use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this recipe work for you.
  • Dairy-Free: Omit the Parmesan and use a plant-based heavy cream, such as Silk or Califia Farms.
  • Add Veggies: Stir 2-3 handfuls of chopped curly kale, baby spinach, or broccoli florets, or 1 cup of frozen peas or corn into the sauce at the same time as you add the cream.
  • Add Kick: Try this similar recipe for chili garlic beef and shells.

Recipe FAQs & Expert Tips

Should I drain ground beef for pasta sauce?

If you use a relatively lean cut of ground beef or ground sirloin, 90% lean or greater, you most likely will not need to drain any excess rendered fat to still have a healthy and tasty sauce.

If your meat has a higher percentage of fat, particularly 80% or anything less, I recommend draining off the fat after browning the meat and before adding any seasonings. You can do this either by carefully pouring the liquid fat into an old can or other container that can be thrown away, or by dabbing around the edges of your pan with paper towels to absorb the fat.

Small pasta bowl filled with a serving of ground beef pasta.

Storage & Reheating

  • Storage: Place leftovers in any airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. (These are our favorite meal prep boxes for the fridge.)
  • Warming: Reheat in the microwave or in a small pan over medium heat on the stovetop. If the sauce becomes too thick for your liking, add a splash of water and stir well to thin it back out.
  • Freezing: This sauce freezes very well, so it’s terrific to make ahead or even make a double batch and thaw as needed to mix with pasta for a very quick dinner.

Related Recipes

In the market for more easy ways to use ground beef? Teriyaki ground beef, Korean ground beef bowls, a ground beef enchilada casserole, and unstuffed peppers are among our favorites.

Of course, ground beef tacos are always a crowd-pleaser! I love the convenience of this Instant Pot version, and my son’s all-time favorite dinner is ground beef baked tacos.

Prefer a simple pasta dish? Roasted tomato spaghetti or lemon broccoli pasta are favorites here!

No matter what you choose, I hope one of these recipes makes your busy weeknights a little bit better!

If you try this Ground Beef Pasta recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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4.96 from 24 votes

Ground Beef Pasta

Easy, flavorful, and ready in about 25 minutes using everyday ingredients. It's perfect for simple family dinners!


  • 8-10 ounces pasta any shape
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to serve
  • fresh chopped parsley optional garnish


  • Boil a large pot of water, add a generous pinch of salt, and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, set a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, crumbling the meat into pieces as you go
  • When the meat is mostly browned and the onions are tender, stir in the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, followed by the tomato sauce. Stir well and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Stir in the cream until warmed through, then add the drained pasta and the Parmesan. Toss well and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I usually start with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and about 10 cranks of fresh-ground black pepper.)
  • Serve right away with more Parmesan and chopped parsley, as desired. Enjoy!


  • Beef substitutions: If using ground beef, you do not need to add extra butter or oil for this recipe. The meat will almost immediately render enough fat on its own for the onion to cook properly. If you’ve chosen to substitute ground turkey or chicken, warm a drizzle of olive oil in the skillet before adding the meat.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 481 kcal, Carbohydrates: 52 g, Protein: 36 g, Fat: 14 g, Saturated Fat: 7 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0.4 g, Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 727 mg, Potassium: 952 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g, Vitamin A: 852 IU, Vitamin C: 10 mg, Calcium: 116 mg, Iron: 5 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!