Taco casserole is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a casual gathering with friends and family. This easy taco bake is about to become your most requested family favorite recipe.
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Homemade taco meat - lean ground meat such as beef, or pork, or for a leaner version, use ground chicken or ground turkey. You can also make a vegan modification by using lentils or a combination of black beans and lentils, similar to my Vegan Meat Tacos.
- Taco seasoning - you can also make your own taco seasoning or use pre-mixed taco seasoning packets. The main ingredients you need here are ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, ground chili or ground cayenne pepper, herbs + salt, and black pepper. You can totally omit the spicy peppers or use less so the whole family can enjoy them.
- Cheese - I like to use Colby Jack, Monterey Jack cheese, or Cheddar cheese for this recipe. If you can buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself it will melt so much better than store-bought shredded cheese.
- Salsa - you can adjust the level of spiciness by using mild, medium, or hot salsa. Or if you have more time you can make my 15-minute enchilada sauce and use it instead of salsa. It is spicy though, but as you'll be making it yourself, the heat level can easily be adjusted.
- Fritos/tortilla chips - optional, but you can still use them for the top layer. Add the Fritos once the casserole is baked on top of melty cheese.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large skillet, brown the beef with onion over medium-high heat. Drain any excess grease from the skillet.
Stir in taco seasoning with 3 tablespoons of water and simmer for about 7 minutes.
📋 JULIA'S TIP Ground chicken and ground turkey are great substitutes for beef but these won’t be as flavorful and the taste is slightly different than the original version.
Add salsa, black beans, and corn. Give it a good stir and remove it from the heat.
Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch casserole dish (I used 8 x 11 inches) with cooking spray or butter.
Arrange 2 tortillas at the bottom of the dish and add half of the cooked ground beef mixture and a layer of cheddar cheese (½) on top. Repeat the layers.
Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and casserole bubbly around the edges.
Let the taco bake rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with your favorite taco toppings. Enjoy!
No fancy equipment is needed. Here are the basics:
- You don’t need to cover the casserole but if you see the top is getting too brown, cover it with aluminum foil.
- Allow the casserole to set for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. This will help the cheese set and make it easier to serve and portion out.
- I recommend using lean ground meat so you don’t end up with a lot of grease in the bottom of the casserole. Or you can use an 80/20 ground beef and scoop out the excess fat with a slotted spoon later. The flavor is still pretty good when using lean meat.
- Mix and match! You can easily switch out some of the ingredients and use your favorite toppings or whatever you have in your kitchen. For example, black beans can be swapped for pinto beans or red kidney beans and onion for sliced green onions.
- Feel free to adjust the heat level to the entire family can enjoy. Use mild salsa or simple tomato sauce and make your own taco seasoning where you can adjust the spicy ingredients amount yourself.
- If you like it more spicy add finely chopped fresh or jarred jalapenos or green chiles. Important note: To keep it enjoyable and still a little spicy and smoky, I recommend removing the seeds and the membrane from fresh peppers first.
- Use homemade taco seasoning rather than store-bought as these are often high in sodium and may contain fillers.
- Serve with lots of vegetables or a simple side salad or in lettuce wraps instead of tortillas for tacos. Or if possible, make your own homemade tortillas.
- When choosing salsa, check for the ingredient list that there are no additional and ''not needed'' ingredients and fillers. Or make your own. Enchilada sauce is one of my favorites to use.
Feel free to use whatever you have and you can totally add extra toppings to make it more flavorful.
Here is what we love to add to this Mexican casserole:
Freezing And Storing Instructions
- To Store. Let the casserole cool to room temperature and transfer to an airtight container or food-safe storage bag. For best flavor and texture consume within 2-3 days (ideally within 24 hours as the tortillas will become too soggy anything after that).
- To Freeze. You can also freeze unbaked taco casserole for up to 3 months. Or freeze leftovers. To reheat leftovers, allow the bake to thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 350 degrees, covered with aluminum foil until warmed through.
Common Recipe Questions
You can make your own taco seasoning or use pre-mixed taco seasoning packets. If you don't have it, the main ingredients you'd need here are ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, ground chili or ground cayenne pepper + some dried herbs + salt, and black pepper.
Absolutely, these taste very similar and I often will mix things up and use what I have at the moment. By the way, taco seasoning makes a great chili.
I wouldn't say it is the authentic thing, just like the entire taco casserole recipe. For a traditional Mexican taco, fillings vary a lot and many things can be added to a tortilla and still called a taco.
If you like Taco Tuesday Dinners, try these readers' favorite recipes next!
I do take liberties in adapting the recipes to suit our family's taste preferences and making these more Yummy Bowl-appropriate, hope you enjoy them!
Looking for more amazing Mexican food recipes? Don't miss our tasty Mexican recipe collection. Here are some of our favorites:
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Taco Casserole With Tortillas
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 brown/yellow onion (diced)
- 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning ( or 1 package taco seasoning mix)
- 1 can 15-ounce mild salsa
- 1 can 15 ounces of black beans
- 1 can 15 ounces corn (drained, or use freshly cooked)
- 4 taco-size corn tortillas (6-inch or gluten-free tortillas)
- olive oil (for cooking or more as needed)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large skillet, brown the beef with onion over medium-high heat. Drain any excess grease from the skillet.
- Stir in taco seasoning with 3 tablespoons of water and simmer for about 7 minutes.
- Add salsa, black beans, and corn. Give it a good stir and remove it from the heat.
- Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch casserole dish (I used 8 x 11 inches) with cooking spray or butter. Arrange 2 tortillas at the bottom of the dish and add half of the cooked ground beef mixture and a layer of cheddar cheese (½) on top. Repeat the layers.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and casserole bubbly around the edges.
- Let the taco bake rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with your favorite taco toppings. Enjoy!
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
This recipe was inspired by Spaceships and Laserbeams