Cowboy Spaghetti Recipe | The Novice Chef

Cowboy Spaghetti Recipe | The Novice Chef
Cowboy Spaghetti Recipe | The Novice Chef

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 40 minutes

Total Time 50 minutes

Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

This hearty cowboy spaghetti recipe is a cross between a beefy chili and a traditional spaghetti dinner. Loaded with crispy bacon, pinto beans, spicy tomatoes and lots of melty cheese, it’s the ultimate Tex-Mex comfort food!

Saucy cowboy spaghetti with fresh cilantro on top. Saucy cowboy spaghetti with fresh cilantro on top.

Why You’ll Love This Cowboy Spaghetti Recipe

Spice up pasta night with this comforting and perfectly spiced cowboy spaghetti! Here’s why you’ll love it too:

  • Tex-Mex: Smoky cumin, melty cheese, pinto beans and spicy tomatoes create an authentic Tex-Mex flavor.
  • Hearty: You get plenty of pasta, tender beans, bacon and beef in every bite! You won’t leave the table hungry after this hearty and filling dinner!
  • Easy: Just like regular spaghetti, we make the meat sauce and then toss in the pasta. Top it with cheese and bake until bubbly.

Love Tex-Mex dinners? You may also love our chicken fajitas, easy taco pasta or these kid favorite spaghetti tacos!

Labeled ingredients for cowboy spaghetti. Labeled ingredients for cowboy spaghetti.

What You’ll Need

Gather your ingredients before starting, this recipe moves fairly quick once you get going! Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Spaghetti: Thin spaghetti will also work, but I don’t recommend a thick noodle like fettuccine.
  • Bacon: Go for regular or thick-cut.
  • Ground Beef: I prefer lean ground beef, but you can use regular ground beef and drain out the excess grease.
  • Onion: White or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is best, but garlic paste or powder will work in a pinch,
  • Pinto Beans: Homemade Mexican beans or canned pinto beans, drained well.
  • Tomato Sauce: Use plain tomato sauce, with no added seasonings.
  • Rotel: These are canned diced tomatoes with green chilis. Use mild, original or hot. If you don’t have Rotel, use a can of fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, ground cumin and Mexican oregano.
  • Cheese: I use a combination of shredded cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese.
Plates of Tex-Mex pasta with fresh cilantro on top as a garnish. Plates of Tex-Mex pasta with fresh cilantro on top as a garnish.

How to Make Cowboy Spaghetti

It’s just like making your favorite tomato pasta but with a smoky Tex-Mex twist. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full detailed instructions.

  • Spaghetti: Boil the pasta, drain and set aside.
  • Bacon: Cook the bacon in a skillet, until crispy. Set it aside, keeping the grease in the skillet.
  • Brown: Add the ground beef, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Cook everything, breaking apart the meat as it cooks, until the beef is well browned.
  • Season: Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, Rotel, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Add half of both cheeses and mix well.
  • Assemble: Add the cooked spaghetti and toss to combine. Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake: Transfer skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melty. Let rest for 5 minutes, serve and enjoy!

Chef’s Tips & Variations

Make sure your cowboy spaghetti turns out just the way you like it:

  • More Veggies: If you want to add more veggies, corn or diced bell peppers are great additions.
  • Swap the Protein: Use ground chicken, spicy pork, or turkey instead of beef. For even more Mexican flavor, try using ground chorizo!
  • Spicy: The easiest way to increase the heat is by using the hot version of rotel. You can also sauté finely chopped jalapeño or serrano peppers, with the beef and onions, for an extra kick of heat.
  • Toppings: Sour cream, hot sauce, sliced green onions or fresh cilantro all add extra flavor and texture.
Plate of cowboy pasta with melty cheese and fresh cilantro.Plate of cowboy pasta with melty cheese and fresh cilantro.

Serving Suggestions

This cowboy spaghetti is a hearty dinner all on its own, but would go great with a cantaritos cocktail. Pair it with a side of Mexican bean dip and tortilla chips for an addictive appetizer. My authentic guacamole and salsa ranchera are more family-favorites.

If you like street corn, you’ve got to try my elote and Mexican street corn salad! For dessert, how about a traditional flan or a batch of homemade churros!

Picking up tomatoey pasta with a fork.Picking up tomatoey pasta with a fork.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

While best served fresh, it will save and reheat fairly well for lunch the next day.

  • Fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often, until warm. You can also heat it in a skillet over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Freezer: Store it in freezer-friendly containers in serving-size portions. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

More Yummy Spaghetti Recipes To Try

Landscape photo of cowboy spaghetti.Landscape photo of cowboy spaghetti.

Pin Recipe

Yield: 6 servings

Cowboy Spaghetti

This tomatoey cowboy spaghetti recipe with tender beans, onions, and jalapeños is topped with melty cheddar for an easy Tex-Mex dinner.

Prep Time10 minutes

Cook Time40 minutes

Total Time50 minutes


  • 1 16 oz package spaghetti
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14 oz can rotel
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper jack cheese, divided Pickled jalapeños, to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain (reserve 1 cup of pasta water) and rinse pasta with cool water to prevent sticking.

  • While the noodles cook, in a large oven-proof skillet (or dutch oven), cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. If you have more than a tablespoon of bacon grease, remove the excess grease, if desired.

  • Add the beef, onions and garlic and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.

  • Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, rotel, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Add half of the cheddar and half of the pepper jack cheese and stir into the meat.

  • Toss the noodles into the beef mixture, then top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until warmed through and cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes then serve.


Serving: 1, Calories: 416kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 120mg, Sodium: 503mg, Potassium: 572mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1151IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 315mg, Iron: 4mg

Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Written by bourbiza mohamed

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