As much as I love all things taco, I don’t always have the time to prepare everything.
This easy taco casserole gives you all the flavors you would want from a beef taco in one convenient dish.
A table full of taco fillings and additions might be a sight to behold. Still, sometimes I just want something simple and delicious.
That’s why I love this recipe. It’s as easy as cooking the beef and layering it up with chips and cheese like a Mexican lasagna.
While it bakes, you can finish the laundry, read a book, or even make up an awesome guacamole.
Either way, you’ll have a satisfying dinner on the table in under an hour.
Looking for a crowd-pleaser that’s packed with flavor but so easy to throw together on a rainy Thursday? In that case, this easy taco casserole is for you!
Easy Taco Casserole
I can’t be the only one getting sick of the sight of my kitchen. After the year we’ve all had, it feels like all we’ve done is cook.
So I’ve been looking for easy recipes that don’t skimp on flavor.
With seasoned ground beef, salsa, onions, tortilla chips, and oodles of melted cheese, this definitely fits the bill!
Once you have the beef browned and drained, you’ll stir in a mixture of salsa, onion, and mayonnaise.
This gets layered with tortilla chips and cheese before being baked to perfection.
Like with lasagna, the meat and cheese will bubble up, and the chips will slightly soften.
There are a few great ways to modify this recipe, so read on and preheat your oven! I know you’ll want to try this right away.
Ingredients for Taco Casserole
The ingredients here are what you might expect from a good beef taco. Keep it simple or add in some extras for something over-the-top.
- Ground beef – I love the flavor you get from ground beef, but you could use pork or chicken if you want something leaner.
- Salsa – You can’t have Mexican food without a good salsa!
- Onions – They will cook during baking, but feel free to add them into 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 salsa and beef.
- Seasonings – This recipe uses 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 that pasta-like layer you would get from a lasagne.
- Cheese – This recipe uses cheddar and Monterey Jack, which are a great pairing and will melt beautifully.
Tips for Making Easy Taco Casserole
When kept simple, this dish is excellent for the entire family.
- If cooking for a crowd, I would suggest keeping it mild but having a side of chilis or a spicy aioli on hand for those that like it hot.
- Mix up the cheeses for different flavors.
- Try shredding your own cheese so that it has maximum melting possibilities. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating to prevent it from sticking, and it can affect how it melts.
- If you don’t have any chili or cumin, try using a packet of taco seasoning instead.
- Don’t forget to drain your meat, or the dish will end up watery.
- Try adding a layer of beans or corn for extra color and texture.
- For the best mouthful, try to keep the layers even so that you get everything in one go.
- Substitute taco shredded chicken for something different.
- If you like it spicy, sprinkle in some jalapenos, or use spicy tortilla chips in the layers.
Variations for Taco Casserole
As mentioned above, you can substitute the ground beef with ground pork or even spicy shredded chicken.
This would make an incredible meatless meal if you took the meat out altogether and used these Asada mushrooms!
Beans are a great way to bulk the dish out. Either refried or black beans would make fabulous additions, depending on which you prefer.
The real beauty is that you can top it with anything and everything you love in tacos.
Storing the Leftovers
This dish is best made and served on the same day. Although you could make the beef ahead, the tortilla would likely become soggy if not baked right away.
You might find that the longer it sits after cooking, the more the chips will soften.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for no more than four days and serve with extra tortilla chips for added crunch.
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