Taco Casserole loaded with all your favorite Mexican ingredients makes an easy, quick weeknight dinner. With ground beef, beans, and crunchy Frito topping.
Just like Oven Baked Beef Tacos, this casserole dish is an easy way to prepare your favorite Mexican Dinner for a crowd. No need to prepare individual tacos, just bake all the ingredients in one casserole dish and enjoy!
Easy Taco Casserole is an easy family-friendly dinner that’s perfect for weeknight dinners. It’s easy to make and the total time is just 40 minutes. Made with delicious layers of Refried Beans, ground beef, taco seasoning, melty cheese, and a crunchy chip topping.
This casserole comes together quickly and is great for beginning cooks to try out. You’ll be amazed at how simply it comes together. The flavorful layers all bake together easily for a creamy, melty, and flavorful dinner. It’s your favorite taco dinner baked into an easy casserole.
Taco Casserole recipe is great to make if you have a lot of kids eating. Making a regular taco dinner can easily turn into a mess, and be time consuming. You’ll either have to spend a lot of time making individual tacos, or let your kids assemble it themselves. Either way, you’ll probably end up with a lot of taco filling on the table and floor.
This Easy Taco Casserole is a great way to avoid the mess. After cooking the meat mixture you bake it all in one casserole dish so there’s minimal cleanup, and it’s easy for everyone to serve themselves.
HOW TO MAKE TACO CASSEROLE
- Start by browning the ground beef and onion in a large skillet. This step is very important to make sure the meat is properly cooked. Cook them together in the skillet until the onion is fragrant and the ground beef is no longer pink. It should only take about 6-8 minutes.
- Once browned, make sure to drain the excess fat from the meat so you don’t end up baking it into your casserole.
- Add in the water and taco seasoning. Stir in the seasoning and water until the water has cooked out.
- Add in the salsa and stir the beef mixture together one more time.
- Spray your baking sheet with vegetable oil or another non-stick spray so that the casserole doesn’t stick to it.
- Put in a layer of refried beans, then add the salsa layer over that, then top it with cheese.
- Bake as it is for 20 minutes. Take the casserole out of the oven and add broken up Frito chips to the top, then bake for another 10 minutes. Waiting to add the chips until later will make sure they stay crunchy and crisp.
- Before serving add your favorite taco toppings like lettuce, diced tomatoes, and black olives.
MORE CASSEROLE DINNERS
Along with being an easy dinner, this is also a great recipe to make ahead of time. You can easily double the recipe and serve one Taco Casserole on the day you cook it, and save the other for later.
- Prep the casserole and bake it for the 20 minutes without the chips.
- Then cover the casserole and store it in the freezer.
- This casserole is completely freezer-friendly before you add the chips and toppings.
- It will keep well in the freezer for 3 months.
- When you’re ready to serve your frozen dinner, let it first defrost in the fridge overnight.
- Once it’s thawed add the chips to the top and cook it for 10 minutes or until warmed through.
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VARIATIONS ON TACO CASSEROLE
- Meat: Instead of using the beef mixture in this recipe, try cooking ground turkey or chicken in the skillet for the meat mixture.
- Beans: For some more texture you can add black beans with the refried beans layer of the Taco Casserole.
- Cheese: This recipe uses shredded cheddar cheese. Some other cheeses you can use in this taco recipe are Mozzarella, Monterey Jack cheese, or a Mexican-style 4 cheese blend.
- Chips: Rather than using Frito chips as the topping for this casserole, you can use simple tortilla chips or even Doritos for some extra flavor.
- Add-ins: One of the great things about casserole recipes, is that you can add ingredients you have on hand and experiment with the recipe. Try any ingredients you typically enjoy in tacos. Some to add are chopped jalapeno, green onions, or bell pepper. You could also add in some extra seasonings like chili powder, garlic salt, or onion powder.
MORE EASY TOPPINGS FOR TACO CASSEROLE
There are so many great toppings you can add to Taco Casserole recipe such as tomato, shredded lettuce, and black olives. For some other toppings try guacamole, sour cream, salsa, corn, and cilantro.
MORE MEXICAN RECIPES
HOW TO STORE TACO CASSEROLE
- Serve: Don’t leave this Taco Casserole at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: You can store your leftover Easy Taco Casserole recipe in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: The recipe will also last well in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to let it cool to room temperature before putting it in an airtight container. You can cut the casserole into serving size portions for a ready-made lunch.
- 1 pound ground beef , (85/15)
- 1 yellow onion , diced
- 2 cups salsa
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning , or one packet
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cans refried beans
- 2 cups cheddar cheese , shredded
- 2 cups Fritos chips
- 1 cup romaine lettuce , thinly sliced
- 1 vine tomatoes , diced
- 1/2 cup black olives , sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
- Add the ground beef and onions to a large skillet on medium high heat and break it apart as you cook it, for 6-8 minutes, until no longer pink.
- Drain excess fat before adding in taco seasoning and water.
- Stir well and cook until water has evaporated then add in the salsa and stir.
- Layer the baking dish with refried beans, taco salsa mixture and cheese.
- Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes, top with Fritos and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Top with lettuce, tomato and olives before serving.
Our family loved this. I used just 1 can retried beans for the bottom layer & it worked fine. Easy to make & flavorful!
Sounds perfect! Thanks for the 5 stars, Cheryl.
Do the refried beans go on the bottom, then the ground beef mixture on top of that?
Correct 🙂 Enjoy!
What I loved about this recipe is that is so delicious and easy to make. We love taco casserole at home and we were totally craving for it so I decided to try this recipe and we definitely enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Natasha. Thanks for the 5 stars.
This recipe is amazing! Made it for my family the other day and they cannot stop raving about how good this recipe is. Thank you for an easy to follow recipe!
You’re welcome, Natasha.
I love taco casserole, I had it growing up. I can’t wait to compare this with my moms!
Really easy to put together and tasty. I used my own taco seasoning, tortilla chips (Fritos would be even better I bet). Didn’t have tomatoes or olives and it reheats nicely as well.
Thanks for the 5 stars, Anu. Glad you were able to customize it to what you had on hand.
I love these recipes, no time at all to cook.. thanks
How much water?
1/2 cup, sorry about that, I fixed the recipe!
This recipe has been around a long time and is called Frito Pie. I have been making this since I was a kid and I am 70 years old
Hi Anita! We actually have a Frito Pie recipe on the site! It’s a fan favorite, it includes chili beans and enchilada sauce in it. This one swaps in refried beans and is a bit heartier. Here’s the other recipe for reference: https://dinnerthendessert.com/frito-pie/
Looks good. I think I will try it next week. How much water are you suppose to add. I couldn’t find it in the recipe. Thanks.
Hi Linda, I edited it to include the water, sorry about that!