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Easy Taco Casserole

This easy taco casserole recipe gives you all the yumminess of a taco in one convenient dish.

It’s perfect for busy weeknights and great for kids.

Homemade Taco Casserole
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Easy Taco Casserole

As much as I love all things taco, I don’t always have the time to prepare everything. 

That’s why I love this dish.

It’s as easy as cooking the beef and layering it up with chips and cheese – kind of like a Mexican lasagna

Trust me, if you’re on the hunt for a crowd-pleaser that’s packed with flavor, this easy taco casserole recipe is for you!

Ingredients

The ingredients here are what you might expect from a good beef taco. That said, you can change this up as you like!

  • Ground Beef – I love the rich flavor you get from beef, but you could use pork or chicken if you want something leaner.
  • Salsa – You can’t have Mexican food without good salsa! I like it spicy but use your fave.
  • Onions – They’ll cook during baking, but feel free to add them to the beef to infuse the flavor.
  • Mayonnaise – This might not be a typical taco ingredient, per se, but it works well to add a creamy note to the beef. 
  • Seasonings – You’ll use chili powder and cumin, which you can adjust to your own taste.
  • Tortilla chips – Some will soften, and some with crisp up in the oven for a pasta-like layer. 
  • Cheese –  You’ll use cheddar and Monterey Jack, a great pairing that will melt beautifully. But again, go with your faves!
Cheesy Taco Casserole with Ground Beef, Corn and Tomatoes

How to Make Taco Casserole

This taco casserole bake is super straightforward, and you’ll find detailed instructions below.

But for now, here are the highlights:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C).

2. Cook the beef and add the extras. The meat should be browned and no longer pink. Stir everything until it’s well combined.

3. Assemble the casserole and bake. Layer it like a lasagna: meat, chips, cheese, repeat. Then cover and bake for 30 minutes until it’s bubbly.

4. Serve and enjoy! Let is cool a little, then dig in.

Tips & Tricks

When kept simple, this is excellent for the entire family. But go ahead and make it your own!

Need some inspiration? Here are a few tips and tricks to make this a stunner:

  • Serve with toppings. Things like pico de gallo, sour cream, and plenty of guac make this casserole even better. Plus, it’s more taco-like with the extras.
  • Mix up the cheeses. For example, Mozzarella will give you a nice cheese pull, and Gouda will give it a smoky finish.
  • Shred your own cheese. I know those bags are convenient, but they don’t melt as well.
  • Use taco seasoning for ease. Go for any brand you like at any spice level.
  • Make it extra filling. Simply mix in some beans or corn. These ingredients will also add a bit more protein and color to the meal.
  • Dial up the heat. Use spicy seasoning or salsa. Or throw in chopped jalapeños for a boost of heat.
  • Add extra crushed chips. Toss them on top immediately before serving the casserole. They’ll give you a lovely crunch.
  • No ground meat? No problem. Substitute with shredded chicken or pulled pork instead. Use leftover rotisserie chicken or make your own pulled pork with BBQ for a fun flavor contrast.
Taco Casserole with Mayonnaise, Corn, Onions and Tomatoes

Substitutions and Variations

If you enjoy this taco casserole and want to make it more often with a few tweaks, I’ve got you covered!

  • Make it vegetarian/vegan. Instead of ground meat, use chopped mushrooms or tofu crumbles in taco seasoning. Also, use vegan cheese.
  • Add extra veggies. Beans and corn or great, but you could easily add a blend of diced peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and even sweet potato,
  • Use salsa verde and shredded chicken. This’ll make a whole new meal, but it will be the same basic layers.
  • Vary the chips. Try flavored of spicy chips for a bolder taste. Doritos are my go-to. As long as they’re tortilla chips (regular potato chips will turn to mush), they’ll work.
  • Add rice. This dinner will go even further with some tasty Mexican rice in the mix. Or serve it on the side, of course.
  • Use cream cheese instead of mayo. Doing so will give you a thicker filling. It’ll also keep the chips from softening too much. Make sure it’s at room temp, and beat it in a bowl until smooth before mixing into the recipe.
  • Drain the salsa. If it’s too watery, the chips could go soggy. Simply drain off most of the excess liquid. You’ll still have all the flavor without watering down the casserole.
  • Opt for chili instead. Using chili instead of the meat mixture will save you prep time. It should still give you similar results/flavors.

Storing the Leftovers

This meal is best made and served on the same day because the chips will turn soggy if you store them for too long.

That said, you do have a few options.

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To store. Keep leftovers in an airtight container overnight for the next day. Add extra chips before serving to make up for the lack of crunch.

I don’t recommend keeping this for longer or making it ahead.

Though you could make the meat mixture ahead and store that in the fridge. Then assemble the layers the day you want to eat it.

More Tex-Mex Recipes You’ll Love

Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Air Fryer Quesadillas
Quick and Easy Nachos

Easy Taco Casserole

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes
Calories

482

kcal

This easy taco casserole recipe gives you all the yumminess of a taco in one convenient dish. It’s perfect for busy weeknights and great for kids.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips, divided

  • 4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

  • 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C) and lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces and shred the cheese. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef. Stir frequently until browned and crumbly, around five to seven minutes.
  • Drain and discard any excess liquid when the beef is no longer pink. Then add the salsa, diced onion, mayonnaise, chili powder, and cumin, and stir to combine.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and spread half of the mixture over the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Top the meat with half of the chips, followed by half of the shredded cheese.
  • Repeat the layers once more, starting with the beef mixture and ending with the other half of the cheese.
  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is bubbling at the sides.
  • Serve with a dollop of guacamole and the toppings of your choice.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

19 thoughts on “Easy Taco Casserole”

  1. I wanted to try this recipe but my grocery store had run out of ground beef, so I ended up with ground turkey instead. Let me tell you this is probably one of the best recipes I have ever made in a very long time! It came out so good! this is a new family favorite of our house! 🤗❤️👌

    Reply
  2. I’d like to print this recipe without the entire explanation of it. It would be nice if there was a “print recipe” at the top like many other recipes .

    Reply
    • Hi Dianne, if you scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post, you can click “print” on the photo, and you’ll be able to print the recipe on one page. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi there! You add the mayonnaise after browning the beef, when you add the salsa and other ingredients. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Kim!
      Yes, unfortunately if you freeze and thaw this dish, the chips will go soggy.
      But you can make it as instructed, minus the chips, then wrap and freeze.
      Let it thaw in the fridge when you want to eat it, then bake as instructed.
      Then, serve it with fresh chips crushed on top 🙂

      Reply
  3. If substituting cream cheese for mayo, do I need to use a hand mixer to soften it before adding to the ground beef?

    Reply
    • Hi Janice!
      Yes 🙂
      Make sure it’s at room temp, and beat it in a bowl until smooth before mixing into the recipe.
      I’ve added this to the post, so thanks for asking!

      Reply
  4. The recipe does not call for beans or corn, but that is in the picture…do you add those and if so how much.

    Reply
    • Hey, Patricia. The beans and corn are optional in this recipe. I always add them. I like whole kernel corn and chili beans, though some people prefer black beans or even refried beans.

      I use the closest thing to a 15- or 16-ounce can that I can find for both. (I think the exact measurements are like 15.25 ounces or something.) Add them in after the beef layer when layering. Hope that helps! 🙂

      Reply

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