This easy taco casserole recipe is packed with full flavor taco meat in a tomato sauce, tons of cheese, and black beans in layers of tortillas. So good and so simple.
Taco casserole is Mexican comfort food at its best — a wonderful taco-like southwest casserole that is easy enough to be a weeknight recipe. Others might call it Taco Bake or Tortilla Taco Casserole. A great recipe to make ahead in the fridge for a few days or as a freezer meal.
I love good Mexican, and I'm showing my Gringo genes when I say I like ground beef for my tacos. I do like shredded beef, but that is a change of pace. I apologize for that, but it is just my midwest Gringo coming out.
This recipe had its original inspiration with several Mexican Lasagna recipes that used dry lasagna pasta and relied on the fluid to cook the pasta. But this is more of a taco meat version of my popular Healthier Chicken Enchilada Casserole in 60 Minutes and has only a slight relationship to the inspiration recipes.
A solid 4. My wife asked for seconds.
🌮Ingredients for Taco Casserole
Ground beef with an 80/20 fat content is the most common, and there is a point where excess fat can be drained to work. But lower fat ground beef is also acceptable.
There is lots of taste in this casserole, and ground turkey or ground chicken will work fine and only have a minor effect on the flavor.
One pound of ground meat is enough but if you like a meaty casserole as we do, use 1 ½ pounds of meat.
Flour tortillas hold up better than corn tortillas, but corn will still work. Choose a size that works best when cut in half to fit in your baking dish.
Corn chips are frequently suggested, but most are thin and get soggy, and fall apart.
The Seasoning and the Sauce
This recipe combines the seasoning of the meat and the sauce using my Best Ground Beef Taco Meat and Homemade Enchilada Sauce as a model with some adjustments.
The seasoning and tomato sauce is added to make a spicy beef mixture used in the casserole. Those ingredients will simmer in the casserole, so there is no need to simmer separately.
You can make separate taco meat and enchilada sauce like my linked recipes. Or even substitute a commercial taco seasoning with enchilada sauce if you want.
My preferred choices are a good quality cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or a Taco cheese blend of some type.
👨🍳How to Make Easy Taco Casserole
This smaller recipe is for a 6X9 or 7X10 baking dish. It also fits nicely in an 8X8 or 9X9 baking dish.
A double recipe fits nicely in a 9 by 13 full-size casserole dish, the same as a cake pan.
Assemble three layers of tortillas, meat mixture, and cheese. They are all the same, but the cheese is doubled on the top layer.
Once assembled, bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until the top cheese is nicely brown, some bubbling around the edge, and the center reaches 165°.
🍽️Serving and Storage of Taco Casserole
Top with the usual taco condiments. Common are chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, sour cream, sliced black olives, shredded lettuce, or cilantro.
Side dishes of refried beans, Mexican Rice, or tortilla chips with salsa are excellent compliments.
Yes, seal tightly and refrigerate for two days.
To freeze before cooking, seal tightly with plastic wrap and foil for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap before cooking.
Baking cold out of the refrigerator will take longer, so cook to 165° and not by color only.
Refrigerate for up to 4 days and freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350° conventional.
Chop one small onion. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown 1 pound of ground beef with the onion. Near the end of cooking, add 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic and cook additional 1-2 minutes—drain any fat.
Add 3 tablespoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper. Stir in a 4 oz can of green chilis, 15 oz tomato sauce, and 14 oz can of low sodium black beans drained and rinsed. Add optional 1 cup frozen corn. Mix well.
Cut six 6-inch flour tortillas in half.
Prep an approximately 6X9 baking pan with cooking spray. Start by covering the bottom of the pan with four tortilla halves with the straight cut edges to the sides and ends of the pan.
Add ⅓ of the meat mixture—about 2 cups and sprinkle with ½ cup of shredded cheese.
Repeat layering with tortilla, filling, and cheese twice more, but use the remaining cheese—1 cup on the final layer.
Bake in the preheated oven at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes until nicely brown and an internal temperature of 165°. Serve with the topping of your choice.
Easy Taco Casserole
- 1 pound ground beef - may use up to 1 ½ pound
- 1 small onion - chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic - crushed
- 15 oz black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn - optional
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 4 oz green chilis
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 6 flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheese of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350° conventional.
- Chop one small onion. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown 1 pound of ground beef with the onion. Near the end of cooking, add 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic and cook additional 1-2 minutes—drain any fat.
- Add 3 tablespoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper. Stir in a 4 oz can of green chilis, 15 oz tomato sauce, and 14 oz can of low sodium black beans drained and rinsed. Add optional 1 cup frozen corn. Mix well.
- Cut six 6-inch flour tortillas in half.
- Prep an approximately 6X9 baking pan with cooking spray. Start by covering the bottom of the pan with four tortilla halves with the straight cut edges to the sides and ends of the pan.
- Add ⅓ of the meat mixture—about 2 cups and sprinkle with ½ cup of shredded cheese.
- Repeat layering with tortilla, filling, and cheese twice more, but use the remaining cheese—1 cup on the final layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes until nicely brown and an internal temperature of 165°. Serve with the topping of your choice.
- Serve with topping of your choice.
My Private Notes
- You may use up to 1 ½ pounds of ground meat.
- Ground turkey should be fine in this recipe.
- Many would make this recipe with taco seasoning and enchilada sauce. You will like mine better.
- After cooking, good refrigerated for 2 days after cooking and frozen for 3-4 months.
- May be frozen before cooking for 3 months or refrigerated for 2 days.
- Easy to double and use a full-size casserole or cake pan.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally published on December 3, 2017. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.