This easy taco casserole recipe is the ultimate Mexican comfort food at home. This meal is fairly inexpensive, crowd-pleasing dinner that takes less than an hour to prepare and will leave your guests asking for more!
🌟 Why this recipe works
This easy taco casserole is such a simple Mexican dish to whip up in a hurry that uses minimal ingredients and cooking equipment, making it the perfect midweek meal for busy moms. Plus, the casserole recipe is great for freezing and reheating for those nights when you don't have the time or energy to cook.
The flavor of the ground beef mixture combined with the beans and salsa is really what makes this dish shine. Then, by layering in the tortillas and cheese, you get a dish that is hearty and filling but still has that amazing Mexican flavor that everyone loves.
Unlike most Mexican dishes that are spicy, this one is milder in comparison, making it a great option for those who are not fans of spicy food. However, if you want to add a little bit of heat, there are variations to suit your tastes.
So, if you're looking for an easy, flavorful, and FREEZER-FRIENDLY taco bake casserole, look no further! This dish is sure to become a family favorite.
And if you have a slow cooker at home, try our Mexican shredded beef. The tender meat is perfect for this recipe, and tacos, fajitas, burritos, or enchiladas.
🍽 Key Ingredients
Taco casserole is a budget-friendly recipe made with common pantry staples like ground beef, black beans, salsa, and tortillas.
Onion - Onion is the base ingredient for the ground beef mixture. You can use any type of onion, but we prefer yellow onions because they are a little sweeter in flavor.
Red bell pepper - Bell peppers add a little bit of crunch and sweetness to the casserole.
Ground beef - Use lean ground beef so that the casserole isn't too greasy.
Taco seasoning - Any store-bought version will do, or make our easy homemade taco seasoning mixture.
Black beans - Beans are a great source of protein and fiber. We like to use black beans because they have a hearty texture and hold up well in the casserole.
Salsa - Jarred or packet salsa is an easy way to add flavor and acidity to the casserole.
Corn tortillas - The tortillas are layered in between the beef mixture and cheese to help soak up all the delicious flavors.
Shredded cheddar cheese - Cheddar cheese is our favorite for this recipe.
If you don't have some of the taco casserole recipe ingredients, you can substitute them for something similar. Here are some suggestions.
Some great cheese options for this taco casserole are Monterey Jack cheese, a Mexican cheese blend, or even Colby.
If you don't have black beans in the pantry, you could use pinto beans, kidney beans, or even chickpeas.
A can of diced tomatoes with green chilies or even a jar of marinara sauce will work well in this recipe as a substitute for salsa.
You could use flour tortillas or crushed tortilla chips as a substitute for corn tortillas.
If you are looking for a ground beef alternative, try ground chicken or turkey.
🔪 How to make taco casserole
This easy taco casserole is so simple to make and only requires a few minutes of prep time. The best part is that it can be made ahead of time and frozen for those busy weeknights.
- Finely dice the onion and red bell pepper.
- Wash and drain the can of beans.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees Celsius).
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion, cooking until softened.
Add ground beef, cooking until the beef is browned, then add the red bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the black beans, taco seasoning, and 1 cup of salsa to the seasoned ground beef.
Stir the taco meat and remove it from the heat.
Pour the remaining salsa into a prepared baking dish and cover it with a layer of 4 corn tortillas.
Pour ⅔ of the taco meat mixture over the top and ⅓ of the shredded cheese.
Lay the remaining corn tortillas on top, followed by the remaining beef mixture and remaining cheese.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
Once the cheese is melted remove the casserole dish from the oven.
Top with your favorite taco toppings and serve.
Topping suggestions: chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, chopped green onion, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream
💭 Cooking tips
Spray the foil
If the top layer of cheese is touching the aluminum foil, spray it with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to it.
📖 Recipe Variations
With just a few altercations to this taco casserole, you turn it into something for everyone's taste buds.
Crunchy taco casserole
For a crunchier taco casserole, use fried tortilla chips or make our quick and easy super crispy air fryer tortilla chips.
Spicy taco casserole
If you like it spicy, add 2 diced green chilies and ½ teaspoon of chili powder to the taco meat mixture. You can also use 2 or 3 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce to give the taco casserole an additional kick.
🥗 What to serve with
There are so many delicious recipes to serve with taco casserole, and when Taco Tuesday comes around - and you want a table full of budget-friendly Mexican recipes - this list of the best cheap dinner ideas will save you!
It is packed with cheap recipes from around the world, like carnitas, Mexican fried rice, 5-ingredient beef enchiladas, taco soup, and more.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
Can I make taco casserole in the instant pot?
Yes, you can make this recipe in an instant pot or even a slow cooker.
Can I make taco casserole ahead of time?
Yes, this recipe can be made ahead of time and refrigerated/frozen for those busy weeknights.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
When your taco casserole is completely cool, you can store any leftovers for meal prep.
Fridge - Transfer the leftover casserole to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer - The best way to freeze leftover taco casserole is to use freezer bags or freezer containers. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reheating - When you're ready to reheat your taco casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the casserole dish in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
You could also use the microwave to reheat individual portions. Just place the desired amount on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 1-2 minutes until hot.
👪 Serving size
This taco casserole will yield about 6-8 servings, making it perfect for a family dinner or small gathering. If you're serving a large crowd, you may want to double the recipe.
Taco-bake casserole is a delicious, budget-friendly meal that the whole family will love. Made with ground beef, beans, salsa, and cheese, this easy casserole comes together quickly and can be on the table in just 30 minutes. Serve it with your favorite toppings for a complete meal that everyone will enjoy.
Easy Taco Casserole Recipe
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 cup Chopped yellow onion
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 Red bell pepper - chopped
- 2 tablespoons Taco seasoning - store bought in a bowl
- 15 ounce can Black beans - rinsed and drained
- 1½ cups Jarred salsa - divided, I used medium, one 16 ounce jar
- 8 Corn tortillas
- 8 ounces Shredded cheddar cheese - or Mexican cheese blend, 2 cups
- Optional Toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, chopped green onion, fresh tomatoes, sour cream
- Finely dice the onion and red bell pepper.
- Wash and drain the can of beans.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees Celsius).
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion, cooking until softened.
- Add ground beef, cooking until the beef is browned, then add the red bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the black beans, taco seasoning, and 1 cup of salsa to the seasoned ground beef.
- Stir the taco meat and remove it from the heat.
- Pour the remaining salsa into a prepared baking dish and cover it with a layer of 4 corn tortillas.
- Pour ⅔ of the taco meat mixture over the top and ⅓ of the shredded cheese.
- Lay the remaining corn tortillas on top, followed by the remaining beef mixture and remaining cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Once the cheese is melted remove the casserole dish from the oven.
- Top with your favorite taco toppings and serve.
- Topping suggestions: chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, chopped green onion, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream