This Taco Casserole is everything you love about a taco! Skip the shells and save yourself the mess! Make this Mexican dinner in a casserole with layers of seasoned ground beef, salsa, beans, tortilla chips, and cheese!
We make our own taco seasoning from ingredients we have, because who doesn’t like tacos for dinner? Even our children are happy to eat tortillas or burrito bowls with rice! I like to make a 3 lb seasoned beef mixture with beans for homemade burritos or tacos, then leftovers are made into this taco casserole! But, if you make any taco dinner you need to try our all-time favorite creamy jalapeno sauce that pretty much makes its way to almost all our taco dinners!
Taco casseroles can go by names such as Mexican Lasagna, Beef Taco Bake, or Beef Nacho Casserole. Some are made with corn tortilla chips and others with flour tortillas but I like to call it “leftover taco dinner”! Meaning, it’s the perfect time to use up whatever leftover taco ingredients you have, like the broken bits of leftover tortilla chips sitting around or an odd couple of hard shell tacos leftover in the box that you have no use for and maybe even the seasoned beef that you didn’t use up for tacos the night before. Well, this the time to put those into use! However, it’s still a casserole you can easily make from scratch because you only need a handful of simple ingredients!
Nevertheless, tortilla or corn chips add tremendous crunch versus flour tortillas although either is really workable. I like to bake the beef and chips then the fresh taco fixings before serving. Matter of fact you can even sprinkle the shredded cheese before serving and it’ll still look pretty! I love how forgiving this taco casserole is! You can literally put it together from refried beans, whole beans, ground turkey, corn, or cheddar cheese sauce if you want!
Not to mention how many dirty dishes you could save from all the prep bowls you’d have if you threw a taco party. This Taco Casserole is like your favorite weeknight dinner but all layered in one dish!
What is a Taco Casserole?
A taco casserole is a layered dish made from taco toppings that you’d likely see inside a taco. Like any taco meal start from making the base (protein filling from beef, chicken, or beans.) Layer it up with tortillas (crushed hard shell tacos, chips, or flour tortillas), and cheese. Next, bake until hot and bubbly. Don’t forget to garnish with all your favorite taco toppings!
Taco Topping Ideas:
Taco Casserole Variations:
My version of taco casserole is easy and made from simple ingredients, including chips, beef, beans, cheese, and taco toppings for garnish. Here are some ideas to mix up the taco ingredients to create a Mexican Lasagna that suits all your taco cravings:
Crunchy Taco Casserole: If you love some crunch, use crushed up tortilla chips (Fritos corn chips), broken up hard shell tacos, or Doritos chips to layer your taco lasagna!
Mexican Lasagna: To make a lasagna-style casserole use soft corn or flour tortillas when making your casserole.
Nacho Beef Casserole: Swap out the shredded Monterey Jack Colby cheese for a canned cheddar cheese sauce or Velveeta cheese! Processed cheese makes things creamier!
Vegetarian Taco Casserole: Not into meat? Make it meatless by omitting the beef and adding another can of your favorite black beans!
What goes with a taco bake?
Since a taco casserole is a hearty meal, it goes best with veggie toppings and a dairy-based sauce.
Taco Topping Ideas or Sides:
- Lime wedges
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Tomatoes (diced)
- Onion (diced)
- Crushed tortilla chips
- additional shredded cheese
- sour cream
- creamy jalapeno sauce
- chipotle sauce
- fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro
- refried beans
The Best Kind Of Cheese?
Mexican-inspired dishes, go best with Mexican-style cheeses including Monterey Jack Cheese, Cheddar, Asadero, and Queso Quesadilla cheese.
Can I use Chicken?
I think ground turkey, chicken, or beef would all work. To make a chunkier casserole simply cut meat into chunks when cooking.
Tortilla Chips or Flour Tortillas?
I like the extra crunch and texture in corn chips or tortilla chips. However, soft flour tortillas are also delicious in casseroles like enchiladas.
Tips for Taco Casserole:
- Use leftover chips, tacos, or flour tortillas for layering.
- Mix up the beans for pinto, black, or kidney beans.
- Got leftover taco filling? Use it up instead of making a beef mixture from scratch!
- Try out different melting cheeses like Velveeta, canned cheese sauce, or cheddar cheese!
More Mexican Dinners:
- Taco Bell Quesadilla Recipe
- Taco Salad Recipe
- Cheesy Potato Griller Taco Bell Copycat Recipe
- Taco Bell Potato Recipe (Copycat Recipe)
- Soft Shell Tacos
How To Make a Taco Casserole:
- 2-quart baking dish
- 12-inch non-stick skillet
- 1 lb ground beef
- 15 oz pinto beans (mashed in its liquid)
- 1 cup salsa
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
- 2 cups crushed tortilla chips
- 8 oz Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese (grated)
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 tomato (chopped)
- 1/2 onion (diced)
How To Make Easy Taco Casserole:
- In a large skillet, fry the beef over medium-high heat until browned. Add the beans, taco seasoning, and salsa. Simmer to desired consistency.
- Layer with half the chips, beef mixture, and remaining chips into a 2-quart baking dish. Top with the cheese and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Garnish with lettuce, tomato, and onion before serving.
- To Use Flour Tortillas: cut up 6 flour tortillas (8-inch) or 8 corn tortillas (6-inch), into 1-inch pieces.
- Cheese- Omit the 8 ounces of cheese and top the baked casserole with 4 ounces of cold shredded cheese instead with the other fresh toppings.