This taco casserole, made with a combination of bold and flavorful ingredients, is the ultimate comfort food with a delicious south-of-the-border twist.
If you're looking for a way to shake up your next taco Tuesday, you're in for a treat with this scrumptious taco casserole.
It's a flavor-packed fiesta that includes all the same classic taco flavors everyone craves.
Made with crispy tortilla chips, layered with juicy, perfectly seasoned taco meat, beans, and gooey melted cheese, what's not to love?
This Mexican-inspired recipe will be a new family favorite you'll want to keep on regular meal rotation.
And the best part? Not only is it bursting with delicious flavors, but it's an incredibly easy casserole to prepare.
It's perfect for busy weeknights when you want a quick and hearty meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
Of course, nothing completes taco night quite like a refreshing cocktail. This Frozen Mezcal Margarita, one of these Mexican Cocktails with Vodka, or this fruity Mango Margarita are so delicious and are always the perfect companion to Mexican food.
Why This Recipe Works
This casserole has the perfect blend of classic taco flavors that all come together in one baking dish.
It's super easy to customize too! Feel free to add any of your favorite taco toppings. You can also adjust the spice level so the entire family can enjoy it, even the little ones.
There's no need to spend hours in the kitchen with this casserole. It's super easy to prepare, making it an awesome choice for busy weeknights when you need a delicious but quick meal.
What's Goes into This Recipe
- Ground beef - (preferably 90% lean ground beef)Onion
- Salsa (store-bought or homemade salsa)Water
- Taco seasoning (store-bought or homemade taco seasoning)
- Black beans - rinsed and drained
- Shredded cheese blend
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and instructions.
Substitutions and Additions
- Taco casserole bar: Instead of adding the toppings to the top of the entire casserole, set up small bowls with variety of different toppings and let everyone add their own.
- Taco beef: You can make this easy taco casserole recipe with ground chicken or ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Shredded chicken: Prefer shredded chicken? You can also use shredded rotisserie chicken to keep things easy.
- Chip choices: Instead of tortilla chips, you can use Doritos or Frito corn chips instead. For a softer option, you can tear flour tortillas or corn tortillas into pieces and use them in place of the chips.
- Cheesy options: Swap out the cheese and use any of your favorite melty cheeses. Pepper jack, Monterey jack cheese cheddar cheese are popular choices.
- Kick up the heat: If you like extra spicy Mexican food, you can add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes when adding the taco seasonings. You can also use spicy salsa or a spicy taco seasoning blend.
- Beans: Instead of black beans, feel free to us pinto beans, red beans, chili beans or even refried beans.
- Other veggies: Add other veggies to the ground beef mixture. Corn kernels, mild green chiles, bell pepper, mushrooms, or zucchini are great choices.
How To Make this Delicious Taco Casserole
Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Step 2. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, chopped onions, and minced garlic.
Step 3. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the meat and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes or until brown. Drain any excess grease/fat if needed.
Step 4. Add the taco seasoning, the salsa and the water.
Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
Step 5. Remove the meat mixture from the heat and mix in the black beans and just half of the shredded cheese.
Step 6. Crush up the tortilla chips and add about 2 ½ cups in an even layer into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Set aside the remaining crushed tortilla chips for later.
Step 7. Scoop the ground beef taco mixture evenly on top of the crushed chips.
Step 8. Sprinkle on the other half of the shredded cheese.
Step 9. Place in the baking dish, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Step 10. Once it hot and bubbly, remove it from oven and top with the remaining crushed tortilla chips.
Step 11. Add your favorite toppings and serve.
How easy was that? If you love easy meals, you've got to try this dump and bake meatball casserole, too.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For best results, store the toppings separately. You can reheat it in the microwave or bake in the oven at 350 F until heated through.
Sure! If you have leftovers, transfer them to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
You sure can! This casserole is a great dish for meal prepping or preparing ahead of time for a busy day.
The day before, just follow the recipe instructions and layer the seasoned ground beef, beans, salsa, cheese, and tortilla chips in a casserole dish as usual. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you're ready to pop it in the oven.
- To make cleanup a cinch, spray the casserole dish with a non-stick cooking spray before assembling the ingredients.
- If you're using a fattier type of ground beef, make sure you drain as much of the excess fat as you can. This prevents the casserole from becoming too greasy.
- If the filling seems too runny, you can add a few more crushed chips. You want the mixture to have the consistency similar to lasagna.
- For this recipe, we kept things quick and easy by using the pre-shredded cheese blend. If you have a little extra time, shredding your own from a block of cheese is always best. Pre-shredded has anti-caking ingredients that can sometimes prevent the cheese from melting smoothly.
More Mexican Recipes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef I used 90% lean
- ½ medium sweet onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 8 ounce salsa of choice
- 1 cup water
- 2 1 oz packets taco seasoning (or 4 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning blend)
- 15 ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
- 2 ½ cups shredded cheese blend divided
- 3 ½ cups crushed tortilla chips divided
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, chopped onions, and minced garlic.
- Use a wooden spoon to break apart the meat and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes or until brown. Drain any excess grease/fat if needed.
- Add the taco seasoning, the salsa and the water.
- Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the meat mixture from the heat and mix in the black beans and just half of the shredded cheese.
- Crush up the tortilla chips and add about 2 ½ cups in an even layer into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Set aside the remaining crushed tortilla chips for later.
- Scoop the ground beef taco mixture evenly on top of the crushed chips.
- Sprinkle on the other half of the shredded cheese.
- Place in the baking dish, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Once it hot and bubbly, remove it from oven and top with the remaining crushed tortilla chips.
- Add your favorite toppings and serve.
If you're using a fattier type of ground beef, make sure you drain as much of the excess fat as you can. This prevents the casserole from becoming too greasy.
Shredding your own sharp cheddar cheese gives this even more flavor!