Taco Casserole

Taco Casserole

Do you love the flavor of tacos? You can enjoy this easy Taco Casserole, perfect for a weeknight. You can make this casserole recipe in advance and heat it when you are ready to serve.

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Time saving make ahead casserole

Sometimes you want the perfect make-ahead casserole. I love to prepare a few extra items on Sunday when I have spare time and reheat during the week.

This way I can have a hot meal on the table that wasn’t picked up at a drive-through, and I have plenty to take to work to help me save some money. I try to brown bag it a few days a week, so I can make my budget stretch a little more.

What is Taco Casserole?

Taco casserole is a lovely way to make tacos without actually making tacos.

You get all of the delicious flavors of tacos but built like a casserole in different layers rather than in a shell.

Taco bake recipe ingredients

Most of the ingredients for this recipe you probably already have in your pantry! Plus add in whatever your favorite toppings are. 

These are the ingredients you’ll need for the recipe:

  • Ground beef
  • White onion
  • Taco seasoning mix
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • Refried beans
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream, optional garnish
  • Green onions, optional garnish

Basically your standard taco necessities with a little bit of a twist!

taco casserole ingredients

Ingredient notes and variations

I use corn tortillas in this taco casserole recipe. They are perfect for those who love or need gluten-free meals. I warm the corn tortillas in hot oil before placing them into the casserole. This helps the tortillas become pliable. Also, when they cook, they can crisp up just a bit and this keeps the fillings in place.

I also use a Mexican blend of cheese. You can use cheddar, Colby, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or Colby Jack.

For the sauce, I combined an inexpensive bottle of salsa with the Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies. I want the sauce to have lots of body and flavor, but I didn’t want all of the heat in the salsa. I often toss in a can of Rotel when I am making a tomato sauce; it adds a little something extra.

If you like, you could add these ingredients customize the casserole to your liking:

  • Black olives
  • Green chilies
  • Corn
taco casserole in a baking dish and on a plate

What kind of meat is the best for this Mexican casserole with tortillas? 

Ideally, you will use ground beef for the taco casserole recipe. But, if you would like another option, you can always use shredded chicken as well!

How to make Taco Casserole with tortillas

  1. Brown the ground beef with chopped onions.
  2. Drain and place the cooked beef in a bowl.
  3. Add taco seasoning mix and water to the beef.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  5. Cut corn tortillas in half and cook them in the hot oil then drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  6. Blend the salsa and Rotel tomatoes in a blender.
  7. Heat refried beans slightly in a microwave.
  8. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with tortillas.
    fried tortillas in a baking dish
  9. Spread refried beans over the tortillas.
  10. Spread the ground beef over the refried beans.
    taco casserole seasoned ground beef and onions layer
  11. Pour the sauce over the meat.
    taco casserole sauce layer
  12. Place tortillas over the ground beef.
  13. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions if desired.
taco casserole on a light blue plate and in a glass baking dish

Recipe Variations

  • If you do not want to make your own tortillas, you are welcome to replace them with store-bought tortilla chips.
  • Instead of using Mexican cheese, you can use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella as well.
  • You can add in either some black olives, can of corn, can of green chilies, or avocado on top!
  • Spice up this recipe all you want by choosing a hotter salsa or hot Rotel tomatoes.

Can you prep this taco casserole recipe in advance?

In order to make the recipe up ahead of time, just prepare it as the recipe says, and then just pop the prepared casserole in the fridge before you bake it.

Just pull it out of the refrigerator when you are ready to bake it.

Can you freeze taco casserole?

If you want to freeze the taco casserole, instead of putting the casserole in the fridge after prepping it, place the covered casserole in the freezer.

It will last 3 months in the freezer before it needs to be tossed.

When you are ready to eat it, pull it out of the freezer 24 hours ahead of time and let it thaw in the fridge. Then just bake it at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

taco casserole on a plate

Love Mexican food? Try these recipes!

Check out more of my easy Mexican food recipes and the best dinner casserole recipes here on CopyKat!

taco casserole on a plate and in a baking dish

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Taco Casserole with Tortillas

This easy taco casserole with tortillas, ground beef, and cheese is a great make-ahead meal. It reheats so well!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Taco Casserole
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 371kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 can Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Optional garnish

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium-sized skillet, brown the ground beef with chopped onions.
  • Drain and transfer the cooked beef to a bowl.
  • Add taco seasoning mix and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Cut corn tortillas in half. Heat corn tortillas halves in the hot oil then drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Combine salsa and Rotel tomatoes in a blender. Blend to make a sauce.
  • Heat refried beans slightly in a microwave to make them spreadable.
  • Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with half of the corn tortillas.
  • Spread refried beans over the corn tortillas.
  • Spread the ground beef over the refried beans.
  • Pour the sauce over the ground beef.
  • Place another layer of the remaining corn tortillas over the ground beef.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. At this point, you can wrap the casserole and freeze it.
  • Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Serve the casserole with sour cream and sliced green onions if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 838mg | Potassium: 420mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 695IU | Vitamin C: 5.8mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 2.6mg

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