Taco Casserole

September 1, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

Taco Casserole – all the delicious flavors of a ground beef taco in loaded up and layered casserole form! It’s destined to become a new staple dinner recipe!

Close up image of slice of layered taco casserole being removed from baking dish.

Taco Bake Casserole Recipe

I’d say tacos are easily one of the worlds best foods so of course you could never have too many ways to prepare them. Especially when it’s a fun twist, and absolute comfort food like this!

Hearty corn tortillas are layered with a perfectly seasoned beef filling that’s also loaded up with lots of veggies, then it’s topped with tons of cheese. And it’s layered again and again.

It’s like a Tex-Mex lasagna and it’s undeniably delicious!

And you can top it off to your hearts content with all your favorite taco toppings. Or just leave it as is and you’ll still have an perfectly tasty meal in one.

Overhead image of taco casserole in glass baking dish set over a blue cloth.

Taco Casserole Ingredients and Substitutes

  • Olive oil: Vegetable oil may be used instead.
  • Red onion: Yellow onion works great too.
  • Red bell pepper: Another color of bell pepper can be used or try another pepper like Anaheim or poblano.
  • Lean ground beef: Ground turkey is another good option.
  • Salt and pepper: Add to taste.
  • Garlic: 1 tsp granulated dried garlic will work if needed.
  • Chili powder: You could try it with another type of chili powder like Ancho or mild New Mexican.
  • Cumin: There’s not really a great substitute here but 1 tsp ground coriander will also add an earthy flavor.
  • Black beans: Pinto beans are great alternative.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes: Diced tomatoes with mild green chilies would be good too.
  • Corn: This can be omitted or replaced with another vegetable like sautéed diced carrots, cauliflower or zucchini.
  • Lime: Lemon works too in a pinch.
  • Cilantro: Nothing really to substitute here, if you hate it just omit it.
  • Cheddar and Monterey jack cheese: A pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese will taste great too.
  • Corn tortillas: Flour tortillas could work but I wouldn’t be a fan (just like I don’t like enchiladas made with flour tortillas), so I guess it comes down to personal preference.

Taco Casserole

How to Make Taco Casserole

  1. Prepare oven and baking dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Saute veggies: Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, saute 4 minutes. Scoot to the far side.
  3. Brown beef: Crumble in beef, season with salt and pepper. Let brown on bottom, then break up beef and continue to cook until browned. Drain fat.
  4. Bloom spices: Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook 1 minute longer.
  5. Add fillers: Stir in black beans, tomatoes, corn, water, lime juice, and cilantro and remove from heat.
  6. Spread 1/3 of tortillas in baking dish: To assemble casserole, layer 10 tortilla halves along bottom of baking dish, work to cover whole bottom surface as best possible.
  7. Top with 1/3 beef mixture: Spoon and spread 1/3 of the beef mixture over tortilla layer.
  8. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheeses: Toss cheeses together and spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over beef layer.
  9. Repeat process twice: Repeat this layering process with tortillas, beef filing and cheese two more times.
  10. Bake: Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes.

Collage of four images showing four steps of making ground beef taco casserole filling.Collage of four images showing taco casserole filling and showing steps to layering casserole with tortillas, filling and cheese.

Can it be frozen?

Yes. It freezes well. To do so:

  • Bake according to directions.
  • Freeze remaining or individual servings in airtight containers.
  • Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat portions in the microwave.

What to Serve with It

It’s basically a meal on it’s own but I like to serve it with the classics if I choose to add a side:

Variations

  • Make it spicy: Add a diced jalapeno along with the bell pepper or some cayenne pepper. Or just finish it with lots of Mexican hot sauce like I do.
  • Make it saucy: Skip the water and add 1/2 cup tomato sauce to the beef filling instead.
  • Finish with extra toppings: Try toppings like tomatoes, lettuce, onion, lime, cilantro, avocado, guacamole, radishes, sour cream, pico de gallo, olives, etc.
  • Try another protein: Cooked shredded chicken, beef or pork would be delicious too.

Taco casserole shown from the side.

More Tasty Taco Recipes to Try

Close up image of slice of layered taco casserole being removed from baking dish.
5 from 6 votes

Taco Casserole

Hearty corn tortillas are layered with a perfectly seasoned beef filling that's also loaded up with lots of veggies, then it's topped with tons of cheese. And it's layered again and again. It's like a Tex-Mex lasagna and it's undeniably delicious!
Servings: 10
Prep30 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped red onion or yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs. lean ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder*
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese**
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 15 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into halves
  • Taco toppings (optional, see notes)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, saute 4 minutes. Scoot to the far side.
  • Crumble in beef, season with salt and pepper. Let brown on bottom, then break up beef and continue to cook until browned. Drain fat.
  • Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in black beans, tomatoes, corn, water, lime juice, and cilantro and remove from heat.
  • To assemble casserole, layer 10 tortilla halves along bottom of baking dish, work to cover whole bottom surface as best possible.
  • Spoon and spread 1/3 of the beef mixture over tortilla layer.
  • Toss cheeses together and spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over beef layer.
  • Repeat this layering process with tortillas, beef filling and cheese two more times.
  • Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes.
  • Finish with optional toppings then cut into slices. Serve warm with lime wedges if desired.

Notes

  • *If you'd like to make it spicy add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (and more to taste) along with the chili powder. Or dice 1 - 2 a jalapeños and add along with the bell pepper.
  • **For a quicker option you could use 4 cups pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese.
Taco Toppings
These are optional but do add some delicious flavor if you'd like to add a few.
  • Mexican hot sauce (such as Cholula or Tapatio)
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Cilantro or lettuce
Nutrition Facts
Taco Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 578 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Fat 38g58%
Saturated Fat 22g138%
Cholesterol 129mg43%
Sodium 765mg33%
Potassium 652mg19%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 3201IU64%
Vitamin C 47mg57%
Calcium 756mg76%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.