Easy Taco Casserole Recipe | The Recipe Critic

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Easy taco casserole is beef, cheese, and tortilla chips layered up and loaded with rich flavor throughout.  It is an easy-to-make, crowd-pleasing dinner that will be a hit with everyone!

Isn’t Mexican food so delicious?! We love it so much around our house! If you want to make some delicious side dishes to go with this casserole, then you should make this Mexican Rice, these homemade tortilla chips, and then end the night with Tres Leches for dessert!

Some taco casserole on a plate loaded with veggies and sour cream.

Easy Taco Casserole Recipe

I was told about easy taco casserole by a friend who said that I just had to make it! Once I tried out this recipe, it quickly became a favorite! I loved it because it was so easy to throw together!  I already had the ingredients on hand, and within 20 minutes, it was already in the oven!

On top of being easy, this taco casserole was absolutely delicious. It had perfect taco flavor, and I loved the crunch from the tortilla chips. Everyone loved it!  There is really no end to how buildable and versatile this casserole is.  My kids were content to keep it simple with just meat, cheese, and chips, while I layered it up with my favorite toppings.  I added avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and chopped lettuce! It was a fun way to mix up a taco night!

Taco Casserole Ingredients

The base of these ingredients is so easy, and you probably already have most of them on hand! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Hamburger meat: Lean ground beef is best for less grease and tender meat.
  • Onion: You combine this with the meat to cook, which infuses a lot of flavors.
  • Tomato Soup: This is what you will simmer the meat in.
  • Water:  The water helps cook the meat and incorporate seasonings.
  • Taco Seasoning: You can make your own homemade taco seasoning with this recipe or packaged seasoning works well with these tacos too.
  • Tortilla Chips: Adds a crunch to the casserole. Make them at home in the air fryer with this recipe!
  • Grated Mexican Cheese: Helps bind the casserole together and gives great flavor!
  • Toppings: Lettuce, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, olives, and anything else that you love!

How to Make a Taco Casserole

This taco casserole is so easy to make. And I love that I can make it ahead of time and freeze it for later! See the tips below on how to store it and freeze it for later.

  1. Brown the Meat: Brown the ground beef with the onion in a skillet. Add the tomato soup and taco seasoning with one can of water.
  2. Layer: Break up tortilla chips. Layer chips, hamburger mix, and cheese in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Repeat layers ending with cheese.
  3. Bake: Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Add Toppings: Serve with favorite toppings like sour cream, lettuce, green onions, and black olives!
6 pictures showing how to brown your meat, add in the sauce and seasonings, layer it on chips and add cheese on top!

Topping and Variations

The great thing about this taco casserole recipe is that it leaves room for you to make it unique for you and your family! Let me know what your favorite version is!

  • Protein: Try it with ground turkey, ground chicken, shredded chicken, shredded pork, or finely sliced steak (sirloin, flank steak, or skirt steak is best).
  • Cheese: Pepper jack is awesome in this casserole, but any of your favorite cheeses will work.  I encourage you to use freshly grated cheese. It works better for melting because pre-shredded cheese is often coated with preservatives that keep it from melting properly.
  • Chips: For more flavor, try Doritos or Fritos instead of the tortilla chips.  Or, if you plan to freeze or make ahead, try flour or corn tortillas instead of chips.
  • Layers: Refried beans, guacamole, salsa, black or pinto beans, rice, or tater tots all make great layer additions or substitutions.
  • Optional Garnish: Cherry tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocado, serrano peppers, red bell peppers, pico de gallo, sliced olives, or diced jalapenos.

The top view of taco casserole in a 9x13 baking dish.

Storing Your Casserole

One thing I do to save myself time when making this easy taco casserole is to make and freeze the meat mixture ahead of time.  (It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.) Then, I can just thaw out the meat, throw together the other layers, and have the entire thing heating in the oven in minutes!  This will also prevent any sogginess in your chips that would happen from storing the casserole already layered.

  • To Store AFTER Baking: Let cool, then place in an airtight container, refrigerate, and use within 3-4 days.
  • Make and Take: Make in a foil pan if planning to deliver to a friend or family member.  This way, they can just dispose of the pan when they are done enjoying the meal.  Write the baking directions on the top of the foil pan for them, so they have heating directions handy.

Taco casserole being scooped out with a wooden spoon.


Add Toppings

  • Serve with favorite toppings like sour cream, lettuce, green onions, or black olives.


Updated Post On: September 7, 2022
Originally Posted on: July 31, 2012

Serves: 6

Calories401kcal (20%)Carbohydrates19g (6%)Protein23g (46%)Fat26g (40%)Saturated Fat12g (60%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gMonounsaturated Fat10gTrans Fat1gCholesterol89mg (30%)Sodium940mg (39%)Potassium602mg (17%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar6g (7%)Vitamin A985IU (20%)Vitamin C11mg (13%)Calcium301mg (30%)Iron3mg (17%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course

Cuisine Mexican

Keyword taco casserole, taco casserole recipe

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