This Easy Taco Casserole is everything your love about crunchy beef tacos but in baked casserole form! It’s packed with crumbly taco meat, crispy tortillas, black beans and cheese, then topped with your favorite taco toppings.
If you love a crunchy loaded taco, then you’ll love this easy taco casserole. It’s a deconstructed version of crunchy ground beef tacos and tastes delicious. Seasoned ground beef, black beans and gooey cheese is topped with your favorite taco toppings like chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and more.
You can easily adapt this taco bake casserole to fit your taste by using your favorite toppings. You can also omit the black beans, if desired. No matter how you choose to top this casserole, it’s perfect for game day gatherings and potlucks!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s super easy to make with a short list of uncomplicated ingredients.
- From start to finish, this easy taco casserole recipe takes under an hour to make.
- You can prep most of the casserole in advance, making weeknight dinners quick and easy.
- It’s customizable and the toppings are endless.
Ingredients You Need
- Ground Beef – Lean (80/20) ground beef is preferred as it isn’t too fatty and is still juicy and flavorful. You can substitute with ground chicken or turkey instead but cook it with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to keep it moist. You can also swap out the ground beef for your favorite plant based meaty crumbles to make a vegetarian taco casserole.
- Black Beans – You can omit or substitute with another 1/2 pound of ground beef.
- Red Onion – You can substitute with a yellow onion, if desired.
- Green Bell Pepper – You can substitute with any type of bell pepper.
- Cheese – This recipe uses both shredded Cheddar Cheese and shredded Monterey Jack Cheese. Use a blend of cheese shredded fresh from a block. It’s creamier and more flavorful than bagged shredded cheese.
- Taco Seasoning – Use 3 tablespoons or 1 packet of your favorite dry taco seasoning.
- Beef Broth – You can substitute with water, but the beef broth adds a bit more flavor.
- Tortilla Chips – Use your favorite tortilla chips or taco shells and break them up into smaller pieces. You can substitute the tortilla chips with a layer or original fritos or nacho cheese doritos.
- Toppings – Choices for toppings are endless and include shredded lettuce, sour cream, sliced avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, salsa, green onions, black olives and more. Choose your own toppings.
OPTIONAL: Give the casserole a boost with more fillings like a layer of cooked rice, refried beans or corn kernels.
How to Make Easy Taco Casserole
This recipe is a two step process where you first cook the ground beef mixture and then layer the filling with the cheese and tortilla chips in a baking dish before baking.
- Brown ground beef and veggies – Add the ground beef, onion and green bell pepper to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the ground beef is browned and no longer pink. Drain the grease from the skillet.
- Thicken the taco meat – Next, stir in the cheddar, taco seasoning and broth and cook until the cheese is nicely melted and the taco meat mixture thickens (about 3 minutes.)
- Stir in the black beans – Remove the skillet mixture from the heat and stir in the black beans.
- Assemble the taco casserole – Add half of the cooked ground ground beef mixture to a greased baking dish as the first layer of the casserole.
- Add the tortilla chips – Next, spread the tortilla chips in an even layer over the top.
- Top with remaining taco meat.
- Finish with cheese and bake – Sprinkle a layer of cheese on top and bake until the cheese begins to brown. Keep an eye on the oven so the cheese doesn’t burn.
- Garnish and serve – Garnish with your favorite taco toppings and serve with sour cream or hot sauce on the side.
You can cook the meat mixture up to 2 days in advance. Let it cool completely, then keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake your casserole.
Repurpose leftover taco casserole as a burrito filling. The layer or tortilla chips will give your burrito a yummy crunch.
Yes! If you have leftover taco meat, you can skip cooking the ground beef and jump ahead to assembling and baking.
Other Mexican-Inspired Recipes
- Skillet Green Chile Chicken Chilaquiles
- Chile Rellenos Casserole
- Mushroom Fajitas
- Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet
Did you try this easy taco casserole dinner? Leave a recipe rating and review below.
Easy Taco Caserole
- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef, (or ground chicken or ground turkey)
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning, (1 envelope)
- 1/2 cup beef broth, (or water)
- 15 ounces black beans, (1 can)
- 1 cup tortilla chips, broken into small pieces
- 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese
- Chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, sour cream, cilantro, hot sauce, (optional toppings)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray the inside of a 1 1/2-2 quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large skillet set over medium heat, cook beef, onion and green pepper until no longer pink; drain any excess grease.
- Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, taco seasoning and broth. Cook and stir until cheese is melted and mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the black beans, then transfer half of the mixture to the greased baking dish. Spread the tortilla chips in an even layer, then top with the remaining beef mixture.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Garnish with your favorite toppings. Serve with sour cream and hot sauce.