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Taco Bake Recipe

This Taco Bake Casserole recipe is a must for your Tuesday nights. This hearty dish brings together the essence of traditional tacos with layers of seasoned ground meat, beans, salsa, gooey cheese, and vibrant veggies. Topped with crushed Doritos for an irresistible crispy finish, this meal promises a delightful fusion of textures and bold flavors that will make it an instant family favorite.

taco bake caserole in a baking dish with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream
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Why You Will Love This Recipe

This is a fusion of two beloved dishes—tacos and casseroles—that combine the flavors of a traditional taco in a convenient, baked dish.

  • Convenience: It’s an easy way to serve tacos to a group without assembling individual ones.
  • Variety: Casseroles allow for creativity. You can add various ingredients like beans, corn, different meats, or veggies to suit different tastes or dietary preferences.
  • Feeding a Crowd: Taco bakes are great for parties, potlucks, or family gatherings because they can be made in larger quantities.
  • Leftovers: It’s a dish that often reheats well, making it ideal for leftovers for the next day’s lunch, meal prep, or dinner.
flour tortillas on a flat surface
torn pieces of flour tortillas on a flat surface

Taco Seasoning

I like to use my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. You can also use a store-bought pack or blend if you wish. When making your own seasoning blend, you have control over the ingredients, allowing you to adjust flavors and avoid unnecessary additives or preservatives that might be present in store-bought seasoning packets.

homemade taco seasoning spices in a white bowl
salsa, canned black beans, diced tomatoes, and kernel corn in separate cans and glass bowls

What Type of Meat to Use

  • Ground Beef: This is the most traditional choice for taco casserole. It offers a classic flavor and works well with taco seasoning and other ingredients.
  • Ground Turkey: A leaner option compared to beef, turkey can be a healthier choice. It absorbs flavors well and works nicely in taco seasoning.
  • Ground Chicken: Another lean option that brings a different flavor profile to the casserole. It can be a bit lighter than beef and adds a unique taste.
  • Meat Substitutes: Vegetarian or vegan alternatives like crumbled tofu, tempeh, or meatless ground crumbles can be used to create a meatless taco casserole.
  • Shredded Chicken: Instead of ground meat, you can use shredded cooked chicken for a different texture and flavor. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken.
  • Seafood: Shrimp, lobster, or crab will also work.
a collage with 4 photos with ground beef cooked in a skillet with homemade taco seasoning

How to Make Taco Bake Casserole

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until the meat is browned.
  2. Add taco seasoning to the skillet and stir to combine with the meat mixture.
  3. Stir in black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through.
  4. Layer the bottom of a baking dish with half of the tortilla pieces.
  5. Spoon half of the meat mixture over the tortillas.
  6. Add another layer of tortillas and then the remaining ground beef. Top with salsa and then grated cheese.
  7. Bake.
grated cheddar and monterey jack cheese in separate glass bowls
a collage of 4 photos with layered taco bake casserole in a ceramic baking dish
a collage of 4 photos with layered taco bake casserole in a ceramic baking dish

Substitutions and Additional Add-In Ideas

  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Black Olives
  • Crushed Doritos or Tortilla Chips
  • Guacamole or Sliced Avocado
  • Salsa or Pico de Gallo
  • Sliced Jalapeños
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chopped Green Onions or Scallions
  • Diced Bell Peppers
  • Chopped Jalapeños or Green Chilies
  • Refried Beans or Pinto Beans
  • Rice
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips
taco bake caserole in a baking dish with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream

What Type of Pan to Use

You will need a 9×13 baking dish or 12-inch pan/cast iron skillet.

A ceramic baking/casserole dish or cast iron skillet works well because both conduct heat evenly. You can also use a glass dish.

taco bake caserole in a baking dish with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream

How to Make Sure it Isn’t Too Dry

  • Sauce and Moisture Balance: Ensure you have enough liquid components in the casserole. Ingredients like salsa and diced tomatoes. These items are included in the recipe.
  • Layering Ingredients: Layering torn tortillas at the bottom of the dish helps absorb excess moisture and prevents the bottom from becoming dry.
  • Avoid Overcooking: Be mindful of the baking time. Overcooking can lead to dryness. Check the casserole towards the end of the baking time to ensure it’s heated through and the cheese is melted but not overly baked.
taco bake caserole in a baking dish with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream

How to Make Sure it Isn’t Too Soggy

  • Drain canned ingredients well and pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Do the same with the ground meat.
  • Layering is key. Adding multiple layers of tortillas will create a barrier that can help prevent the dish becoming too soggy by absorbing excess moisture.
  • I’ve tested this dish with both flour and corn tortillas. Both will work, but if yours turns out soggy, I’ve found corn tortillas tend to hold up better than flour tortillas in a casserole. They can withstand more moisture.
  • Bake Uncovered: Covering the casserole dish traps steam, which can lead to excess moisture. Bake the taco bake uncovered, allowing some moisture to evaporate.
  • Once the casserole is done, let it sit for a few minutes before serving. This allows excess moisture to be absorbed or evaporate slightly.
taco bake caserole on a plate with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream

Can You Prepare it in Advance?

You can, but I wouldn’t if you are looking for the best texture. Allowing the meat and the rest of the toppings to sink into the tortillas for an extended period of time will add a good amount of moisture to the dish. If this doesn’t bother you, go for it.

Prep it in advance and cover it with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Be sure to allow it to come to room temperature before baking.

taco bake caserole on a plate with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream

How to Store

Leftovers can be stored tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days.

How to Reheat

You can reheat the dish in the microwave, oven (350 degrees until warm), or air fryer (350 degrees until warm).

Freezer Tips

You can freeze the dish tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.

a forkful of taco bake caserole on a plate with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream

Pair With These Recipes

Chipotle Rice Recipe
Pollo Asado Recipe
Spicy Shrimp Tacos
Pan Seared Salmon
Instant Pot Black Beans

Smoked Salsa
Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
Homemade Queso Cheese

Oven Baked Roasted Corn on the Cob

taco bake caserole in a baking dish with Doritos, olives, lettuce, and sour cream
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

Taco Bake Recipe

This Taco Bake Casserole recipe is a must for your Tuesday nights. This hearty dish brings together the essence of traditional tacos with layers of seasoned ground meat, beans, salsa, gooey cheese, and vibrant veggies. Topped with crushed Doritos for an irresistible crispy finish, this meal promises a delightful fusion of textures and bold flavors that will make it an instant family favorite.
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American, Tex Mex
Keyword taco bake, taco bake recipe, taco bake with Doritos, taco casserole, taco casserole with Doritos
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 460kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef, turkey, chicken, or sausage
  • 15.5 oz canned diced tomatoes and chilies Drained and pat dry.
  • 15.5 oz canned black beans Drained and pat dry. You can also use refried beans.
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn Frozen (thawed and drained) or 12 oz canned (drained)
  • 6 tortillas 6 inch tortillas; Loosely torn into pieces.
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese You can also use another cup of cheddar.

Homemade Taco Seasoning (You can also use a store-bought packet)

Optional Toppings

  • 1-2 cups crushed tortilla chips or Doritos
  • shredded lettuce
  • black olives
  • sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until the meat is browned. Drain any excess fat. Pat the beef dry with paper towels to blot any excess fat. This will help prevent the dish from becoming soggy as it bakes.
  • Add the taco seasoning to the skillet and stir to combine with the meat mixture.
  • Stir in the black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through.
  • In a 9×13 baking dish, layer the bottom of the dish with half of the tortilla pieces.
  • Spoon half of the meat mixture over the tortillas.
    You can also add half of the grated cheese here if desired.
  • Add another layer of tortillas and then the remaining ground beef. Top with salsa and then grated cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Cool before serving and sprinkling optional toppings throughout.

Notes

  • To prevent the dish from getting soggy, drain canned ingredients well and pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Do the same with the ground meat.
  • I’ve tested this dish with both flour and corn tortillas. Both will work, but if yours turns out soggy, I’ve found corn tortillas tend to hold up better than flour tortillas in a casserole. They can withstand more moisture.
  • Once the casserole is done, let it sit for a few minutes before serving. This allows excess moisture to be absorbed or evaporate slightly.
  • If you want to keep your chips crunchy, only add them when you’re ready to serve the dish.
  • I always buy blocks of cheese and grate them myself. I do not recommend using pre-shredded, bagged cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-caking agents, such as potato starch or cellulose, to prevent clumping and make it last longer in the store. These coatings interfere with the cheese’s ability to melt smoothly and affect the texture of your dishes. When you grate your cheese fresh, it doesn’t have these additives and preservatives, resulting in a more velvety and evenly melted cheese.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 21g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
Recipe Rating




Melissa

Monday 15th of January 2024

SO good! This taco bake was fantastic! I love the versatility of this recipe-you can make it as mild or as spicy as you want! Another home run!

staysnatched

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

So versatile!

Heather

Monday 8th of January 2024

My husband says, “PIN IT”. 😂 It was great! Thank you!

staysnatched

Monday 8th of January 2024

Haha! Thank you to your husband!