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Taco Casserole is a cheesy, beefy, flavor-packed dinner recipe that’s ideal for crazy weeknights and parties alike! With just 15 minutes of prep time required, this is a certified easy dinner idea that even beginner cooks can feel confident making.
This easy taco casserole is basically a deconstructed taco baked in a casserole dish and topped with your favorite fixings. It’s one of my new favorite weeknight dinner ideas because it’s no fuss, filling, and totally delicious! We love serving it with sliced avocado, tomatoes, green onions, and tomatoes. You could also add a drizzle of crema or even sour cream thinned with a bit of milk. I’ve also served this dish at parties and it’s always a huge hit. You really can’t go wrong with taco-themed dinners.
If you like this taco casserole recipe, then you may also want to try this one-pot taco spaghetti. No one expects to find taco flavors in a plate of pasta, but once you taste it you won’t be able to stop eating it.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Taco Casserole
- Simple and inexpensive ingredients. There are no frills to be found here! This easy recipe utilizes lots of pantry staples and items that you can easily find at a grocery store.
- Perfect for parties, potlucks, and easy dinners. Need a dish you can bring to a party or potluck that everyone will love? You’ve found it! This recipe also doubles as a kid-friendly easy weeknight dinner as well as a party favorite.
- Lots of hidden veggies. Speaking of kid-friendly, this is a wonderful recipe to serve to those little picky eaters who don’t like veggies! They’re nestled in pretty well with the ground beef, so the selective palate at your table probably won’t even notice them.
What You’ll Need
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make this easy taco casserole. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- Olive oil
- Ground beef
- Yellow onion – You could also use white onion.
- Bell pepper – Red or green both work.
- Frozen corn
- Spices – Garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and cumin.
- Salt + pepper
- Diced tomatoes – You can use fire-roasted tomatoes for added flavor.
- Refried beans
- Tortilla chips
- Shredded cheddar jack cheese
- Toppings – Sour cream, avocado, jalapeños, tomatoes, whatever you like!
How To Make Taco Casserole
Here is a general overview of the steps involved to make baked taco casserole. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- Cook the ground beef. Start off by first sautéing the onions in a little oil over medium heat. Once softened, stir in the ground beef and break apart with a wooden spoon as you go. Cook until browned.
- Make it flavorful. Add in the bell peppers, corn, and seasonings to the ground beef. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until all veggies have softened.
- Layer it. In a 9×13″ casserole dish, add your first layer of refried beans. Top it with the ground beef mixture. Add a layer of crushed tortilla chips and finish with a layer of shredded cheese on top.
- Bake the casserole. Bake your taco casserole at 350°F for 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to serve when the cheese is melted and just slightly browned. Serve with your desired toppings, and enjoy!
Substitutions and Variation Ideas
You can customize your casserole in so many different ways! Here are just a few ways you can really make it your own:
- Change the meat – While ground beef is my favorite protein to use in this recipe, you can swap it out for turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based substitute.
- Change the beans – A smooth layer of refried beans is always my go-to for taco casserole. However, you can always change things up with some black or pinto beans instead.
- Use another type of oil – Not a fan of olive oil? Easily swap it with avocado or vegetable oil!
- Make it spicy – If you’re a spice lover, consider sprinkling in some crushed red pepper flakes and/or cayenne pepper along with the other seasonings. You can also serve this dish with a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce on top!
Tips for Success
This easy recipe is already pretty foolproof… But we can always make it better, right? Here are some ways to have guaranteed success with your taco casserole:
- Layer with care. When you’re layering this casserole, be careful not to mix the layers together. While they bake into one cohesive casserole that really makes for the best bite, you’ll want to make sure every layer is distinct when you’re assembling it in the baking dish.
- Don’t crush the chips too much. When crushing the tortilla chips, the goal is to get them into bite-sized pieces that are easy to eat. If you don’t want to crush them too finely, though, or the consistency will be way off.
- Don’t forget the toppings! While this taco casserole is downright delicious all by itself, it’s best when served with your favorite toppings. Consider serving your casserole with some sour cream, jalapeños, cilantro, avocado slices or whatever else sounds good to you!
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Once fully cooled to room temperature, any leftovers you may have will stay fresh for about 3-4 days in the fridge. The best part? It reheats well in the microwave! I LOVE having leftover taco casserole in my fridge because it makes for the best next-day lunch.
What to Serve with Taco Casserole
This taco Tuesday, don’t forget to serve this dish up with some seriously good sides and drinks! Here are just a few of my favorite recipes that compliment this easy dinner so very well:
- Sides – With a protein-packed entree that’s this heavy and cheesy, I like to serve it with freshly flavored veggie sides. Some of my favorites include Mexican Street Corn off the Cob or the similar (but still pretty different) Poblano Mexican Street Corn off the Cob.
- Drinks – If you’re hosting a party, you’ll want to compliment this entree with some adult beverages! Wash this casserole down with a Watermelon Paloma or a Frozen Pineapple Mango Margarita!
- Dessert – I mean, this is really the most important part of any meal… right? Finish off your final course the best way, with the most incredible Homemade Mexican Churros.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or vegetable or avocado oil
- 1 pound ground beef, can use turkey or chicken as well
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 ½ cup frozen corn
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can refried beans, pinto or black beans
- 1 ½ cups tortilla chips, slightly crushed
- 2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
- For topping: sour cream, avocado, jalapeño, tomatoes, etc.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add in ground beef. Break apart with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add in bell pepper, corn, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and stir well. Stir in tomatoes and continue to cook for 5-8 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
- Spread the refried beans evenly into a 9×13” baking dish. Top with the ground beef mixture in an even layer. Top with crushed tortilla chips and finish with a layer of cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve with desired toppings – sour cream, avocado/guacamole, jalapeño, cilantro, etc.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Friday 17th of February 2023
Made this for dinner last night, and my teenage boys really enjoyed it. I followed the recipe exactly but didn't include any extra toppings. I like that it included some veggies and was fairly easy to assemble. Even my husband, who was skeptical of it, enjoyed it and had a second helping. Thanks for the recipe!
Saturday 11th of February 2023
Made this last night and it was absolutely delicious and super easy. The only change I made was using an 8x8 because I wanted a thicker bean layer, and also it fit better in my fridge so I didn’t have to package leftovers lol.
This is definitely going into the regular rotation. We eat Tex Mex at least once a week (hello, Taco Tuesday!) and I’m always happy with a quick, easy, and yummy option. Thanks for a fun twist on tacos!!