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Taco Casserole

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Taco casserole is a simple dinner that will satisfy the whole family. Top this casserole with your favorite taco toppings to give it your own personal spin!

Taco casserole garnished with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro next to a fork on a stoneware plate.

Is there anything more comforting than a casserole?

Maybe it’s just because I grew up in the Midwest, but casseroles are total comfort food to me. Whether it’s Jiffy corn casserole alongside a holiday meal or cheeseburger tater tot casserole for a weeknight dinner, casseroles just make me happy.

This taco casserole is my family’s latest favorite. It’s a 30-minute meal that I can quickly make on a weeknight and we can all add our favorite toppings to it. 

What could be better than that?

Ingredients for taco casserole arranged on a wooden countertop.

WHAT IS TACO CASSEROLE?

There are honestly so many different ways that you could make a taco casserole. This just happens to be my version!

For me, I want my casserole to have a flavorful filling, a little bit of crunch, and some nice melty cheese. 

I whipped up a simple taco meat with some ground beef, my homemade taco seasoning, and some tomatoes and diced green chiles. That gets mixed with refried beans and sour cream for even more flavor.

Taco meat being stirred in a black skillet with a wooden spoon.

For the crunch, I turned to crushed tortilla chips on the bottom of the casserole and on top, and added some shredded cheese for that melty factor!

Look, is this the prettiest casserole? Absolutely not. But is it delicious? It totally is!

My friend made this for her family recently and her 8-year-old son said, “Yum, yum, yum!” I’ll take that as a rave review.

Overhead view of taco casserole being assembled in a white casserole dish.

HOW TO MAKE TACO CASSEROLE

If your kids love this casserole because it’s delicious, you’ll love it because it’s so easy to make. You could definitely have dinner on the table in 30 minutes with this one!

Ingredients you’ll need

We make tacos a lot, so I usually have most of the ingredients for taco casserole already on hand. It uses:

  • Ground beef: You could easily make this casserole with ground turkey instead of ground beef if you prefer!
  • Diced onion: I like adding some onion to the ground beef for extra flavor.
  • Diced green chiles: Canned green chiles are one of my favorite ways to add more flavor to taco meat. I always grab mild green chiles, but use hot ones if you want some extra spice!
  • Canned diced tomatoes: These add both flavor and liquid to the ground meat mixture.
  • Taco seasoning: I like to use my homemade taco seasoning, but you can use a packet of seasoning if you prefer.
  • Refried beans: I love refried beans alongside my tacos, so adding some to this casserole just makes sense! You could always swap the refried beans for a can of drained and rinsed black beans, instead.
  • Sour cream: This adds flavor and also adds some creaminess to the casserole.
  • Crushed tortilla chips: The most fun part of making this recipe is crushing an entire bag of tortilla chips! 
  • Mexican-style shredded cheese blend: You can’t forget the cheese! You can use any good melting cheese you like in place of the Mexican-style blend. Cheddar, pepperjack, or chihuahua cheese would all be great here.
Assembled taco casserole in a white baking dish, ready to go in the oven.

Making this recipe

To make this casserole, start by browning the ground beef with the onions. If you used a fattier ground beef, go ahead and drain off the fat and return the meat and onions to the pan.

To the meat, add the green chiles, the undrained tomatoes (you need that juice from the tomatoes!), and the taco seasoning. 

Let that simmer for about 5 minutes, then take it off the heat and add in the beans and sour cream. 

White casserole dish filled with baked taco casserole, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Spread half of the crushed chips along the bottom of a greased baking dish. I like to use a baking dish that’s in the 2.5-quart to 3-quart range for this.

Spoon the filling over the top of the chips, top it with the cheese, and then finish it with the rest of the crushed chips. Bake the taco casserole until the cheese is melted and the casserole is nice and hot.

Overhead view of taco casserole about to be served out of a white baking dish.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Wondering how to serve your taco casserole? The best thing about this recipe is that you can top it with any of your favorite taco toppings!

You could even put out a whole array of toppings so everyone in your family can dress up their plate exactly the way they like it. Some of our favorite toppings include:

  • Sour cream
  • Diced fresh tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Pickled onions

Serve it alongside some Mexican rice or Mexican street corn salad and you have a great meal everyone will love.

Close up view of taco casserole on a stoneware plate, with a bite about to be picked up with a fork.

MAKE-AHEAD AND FREEZING TIPS

You could easily prep this casserole ahead of time to make for an even easier meal during the week.

Make and assemble the casserole as written, but leave off the top layer of tortilla chips. Cover the casserole tightly and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.

When you’re ready to bake, just add the top layer of tortilla chips and bake according to the recipe directions.

If you’d like to freeze the casserole, cover it with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil before freezing for up to a month. Thaw, add the tortilla chips, and bake. 

Since it’s so easy to prep ahead of time and can be topped however you like, this taco casserole makes a great dish to take to a friend who just had a baby or a neighbor in need of a home-cooked meal.

Spoons in the corner of a casserole dish of baked taco casserole.
Taco casserole on a stoneware plate next to a fork and sliced avocado.

Taco Casserole

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Taco casserole is a simple dinner that will satisfy the whole family. Top this casserole with your favorite taco toppings to give it your own personal spin!

Ingredients

Additional toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Diced fresh tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Pickled jalapeños

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 2.5 to 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and onions. If necessary, drain the fat and return the mixture to the pan. Add the green chiles, diced tomatoes and taco seasoning; stir to combine and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, until heated through. 
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the refried beans and sour cream until well combined.
  4. Add half of the crushed tortilla chips to the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon the ground beef mixture over the top; top with the cheese, followed by the remaining tortilla chips.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through.
  6. Serve with additional toppings as desired.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6
Amount Per Serving Calories 491Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 109mgSodium 938mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 6gSugar 5gProtein 30g

Did you make this recipe?

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Shannon

Thursday 30th of December 2010

Sounded good, and tasted even better! I substituted ground turkey and fat-free sour cream, and my husband and I couldn't taste the difference! (Not sure how much healthier we made it, but we can lie to ourselves, right?) Love your blog, and this recipe has earned its place in my recipe box!

Allison

Monday 4th of May 2009

Made this tonight, it was really good. A bit spicey for the kids, but next time I'll leave out the jalape├▒os & that should help. Thanks for posting this! Very yummy!

The PeachPost

Sunday 19th of April 2009

Great recipe!!! The only change that I made is that I used Crumbles by Morningstar -definitely a low fat option.

Leslie

Wednesday 11th of March 2009

Oh my word! This looks sooo delish..the more fat the better sometimes!

The Educated Plate

Tuesday 3rd of March 2009

Sounds delicious, but I'm still wondering what you made for dessert? Whatever it was I'm sure it was yummy!

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