Easy Tortilla Taco Casserole Recipe
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This Taco Casserole recipe is loaded with tortillas, ground beef, corn, salsa and lots of shredded cheese, all baked in layers until bubbling and hot! It’s a fall and winter staple that’s full of crave-worthy Mexican flavors.
Watch Video: Best Taco Casserole
This taco bake casserole is packed with protein, veggies, tortillas, and of course taco seasoning. It’s Tex Mex cuisine at its best just like our Frito Pie Casserole and Taco Pasta. Hearty and filling, always a crowd fave!
Even though it looks fancy, it’s super-easy to make. You can also make it ahead since it’s freezer-friendly. Then throw it in the oven and bake whenever you need a quick and comforting dinner. It’s also perfect for feeding a crowd, whether you’re planning a potluck, game day party or even Cinco De Mayo!
The best part of this recipe is that it’s highly adaptable: want to use chicken instead of beef? Rice, frito chips or even doritos instead of tortillas? Want to add more veggies such as beans? No problem!
How to make taco bake casserole
Making a taco casserole only requires 10 minutes of prep. I always have extra tortillas at home, so I use them as the base layer for my casserole. You can break them into smaller pieces to fit your dish if needed.
For the filling, first fry the ground beef and then toss with other taco fillings in the skillet. I use storebought salsa and frozen corn to save time. Of course you can make your own salsa if you’re inclined. Cook until thickened, and make sure to drain excess liquid or your tortillas can become soggy.
Once this filling is done, you’re now ready to assemble. Add layers of tortillas (use flour tortillas for a softer texture or taco shells for a crispier texture), meat filling and cheese, repeat until the pan is full:
And that’s it! Bake for 20 minutes in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven and voilà – dinner is served!
Can I use ground chicken instead of ground beef?
Yes, ground chicken, turkey or pork also work for this recipe. If you’d like to make it vegetarian, you could substitute beans.
Can I use tortilla chips or doritos?
Yes, tortilla chips, corn tortilla, doritos, fritos, tater tots or biscuits can be used. If you choose to use tortilla chips or doritos, you’ll need to crush them into smaller pieces to layer properly in the baking dish. They will also have a crispier texture.
How to reheat taco casserole?
For individual portions of leftover taco casserole, you can transfer to a microwave-safe plate. Microwave until steaming hot throughout, about 2-5 minutes depending on the portion size.
Can I freeze taco casserole?
Yes, taco casserole freezes incredibly well. Make sure your beef mixture is completely cool before assembling. Cover the unbaked casserole tightly with foil, label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake a frozen taco casserole, cover with foil and place in the oven at 350°F for 45 minutes. Then remove foil and cook another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
Tips for the best taco casserole
- Browning the beef produces a lot of the flavor, so take the extra minute or two if needed to get the beef browning in the skillet, raising the heat if necessary. I recommend draining excess fat so the casserole doesn’t become greasy.
- After adding other filling ingredients, cook your beef mixture until the sauce thickens and be sure to drain excess liquid so your casserole isn’t soggy.
- I use the mix of cheddar and jack cheese as they melt easily. You can also use mozzarella.
- You can use whole wheat tortillas, extra-lean ground beef and low-fat cheese to make this dish healthier.
- To serve a taco casserole, you can add toppings such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, olives or cilantro, along with a salad side dish.
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Easy Tortilla Taco Casserole Recipe (+ Video)
- 1 pound ground beef, (I recommend using 90% lean ground beef, if yours has more fat, make sure to drain it after frying so your dish is not too greasy.)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning, store-bought packet or homemade
- 3/4 cup salsa, or canned diced tomatoes (You don’t need to drain the liquid.)
- 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
- 3 cups shredded cheese, (I use the mix of cheddar and jack cheese, but you can use your favorite cheese that melts well.)
- 10-12 flour tortillas, or corn tortillas, 6-8 inch size
- cooking spray
- toppings such as cilantro, optional
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Place a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with oil and add the ground beef.
- Stir for 5-6 minutes until the beef is partly browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Strained out any accumulated fat.
- Add in salsa, corn and taco seasoning. Stir for 2-3 minutes, cooking until the sauce thickens. Drain any excess liquid. (this will prevent the tortillas from becoming soggy.)
- Place tortillas to cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish (You can break the tortillas to cover the gaps).
- Top with half of the beef mixture. Then add 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
- Repeat the above step (Add more tortillas, beef mixture and cheese).
- Then add another layer of tortillas, and finish with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is fully melted.
- Serve warm with desired toppings.
- To replace flour tortillas with tortilla chips, you’ll need to break them into smaller pieces for easier layering.
- You can cook the beef mixture ahead of time, and assemble right before baking.
- Make it Keto: Swap out tortillas for lettuce for a low-carb option.
- Nutrition estimate does not include toppings.
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
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Editor note: Published December 29, 2017 and updated November 4, 2019.