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Walking Taco Casserole (30 Minute Meal)

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Take your taco nights to a new level with our walking taco casserole. This easy to make dish features seasoned ground beef, heaps of gooey cheese, crunchy chips and all your favorite taco toppings baked in casserole form.

Our walking taco casserole recipe is an easy weeknight meal the entire family will enjoy. It’s also a fun twist on taco Tuesday, full of traditional taco flavor and is ready in about 30 minutes. 

Overhead view of Walking Taco Casserole in a 9x13 white baking dish and garnished with chopped tomatoes and black olives.

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We’re sharing tips to help you get the best results with this recipe. If you don’t need the tips, scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and a printable recipe card.

My inspiration for this delicious taco casserole came from a favorite party recipe, walking tacos. They are an easy way to serve a crowd because they’re made with small bags of Fritos or chips instead of taco shells.

You pile all of the taco fixings and toppings right into the bag of Fritos, and your guests can eat and mingle without getting all messy. This recipe is very similar, just in casserole version, which is better suited for a quick weeknight dinner. 

If you need another great hosting idea, I highly recommend a taco bar. It’s always a hit and requires very little effort on the host’s part, which I always appreciate. These are also great options to serve at a Cinco De Mayo celebration

Labeled ingredients needed to make walking taco casserole.

Casserole Ingredients

  • olive oil – to soften the onions. 
  • diced onion – adds flavor to the ground beef. 
  • garlic cloves – can use garlic powder if needed.  
  • ground beef – use lean ground beef for a healthier version or a fattier blend for more flavor.
  • spices: chili powder, cumin, onion powder
  • black beans – be sure to drain and rinse them. We’re not using the juice and it adds unnecessary sodium. 
  • salsa – we use mild or medium heat, but go with hot if you prefer a spicier dish. 
  • whole kernel corn – we used canned, but frozen works too. 
  • tortilla chips – adds a little crunch to the casserole.
  • Mexican cheese blend – freshly grated shredded cheddar cheese can be substituted. 
  • optional toppings: lettuce, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, black olives.

Lori’s Tip:

I love this recipe because I can customize it based on ingredients I have on hand or to picky eater’s preferences.

How to Make Walking Taco Casserole 

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Over medium-high heat, add the oil to a large skillet and cook the onions until they are soft. 

Side by side image of a skillet with onions and garlic added to the skillet with text overlay.

Stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

Add the ground beef and cook until it’s no longer pink (I use a ChopStir to break up the meat while it cooks). Drain the excess grease. 

Two images of ground beef added to onions and a skillet with seasonings added to ground beef with text overlay.

Stir in the spices, drained beans, corn, and salsa. Cook until it’s heated throughout. 

Side by side images of beans, corn, and salsa added to the ground beef and ingredients mixed together with text overlay.

Pour the beef mixture into the prepared baking dish. 

Two images of meat mixture poured into a white baking dish and crushed tortilla chips and cheese added to casserole with text overlay.

Top with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

Two images of casserole before baking and casserole after baking topped with garnished with text overlay.

Slice into squares and top individual servings with lettuce, olives, avocado, and sour cream if desired. 

Tips for Making 

  • The combination of spices used is similar to regular taco seasoning mix. 
  • Wait to add the additional toppings until you’re ready to serve.
  • ​We like to set up a toppings station, so everyone has the option to add the toppings they like to their walking taco bake. 
A slice of walking taco bake garnished with chopped tomato and black olive on a white dish with a fork.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Meat: ground turkey, ground chicken or ground pork.
  • Beans: drained and rinsed pinto beans, kidney beans, or refried beans.
  • Use salsa verde or enchilada sauce in place of the salsa.
  • Seasonings: use a batch of homemade taco seasoning or a packet of store bought taco seasoning.
  • Chips: Frito corn chips or Doritos.
  • More flavor: add a can of diced green chiles.
  • Creamier: Before adding the veggies, toss in 2 ounces of softened cream cheese. 

How to Store 

Store the leftover taco casserole covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Please note, as the casserole sits the chips will soften and will not be as crispy. 

Reheat in the oven or microwave, then add more toppings and garnishes. 

What to Serve With 

This easy taco casserole is hearty and has enough ingredients and toppings that it doesn’t require a side dish. But if you do want to serve sides, it goes well with Mexican street corn, my 6 ingredient fiesta salad, or Arepas con Queso. You can also see how we have taco night without serving rice and beans every time to switch things up. 

With bold flavors and easy preparation this walking taco bake is sure to become a staple in your recipe rotation. So don’t wait – make a batch today and level up your taco nights.

**Save Walking Taco Bake Recipe for Later**

Two photo collage of a slice of walking taco casserole on a white plate garnished with tomato, olive, cilantro, and cream cheese and an image of the full casserole dish with text overlay.
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A slice of Walking Taco Casserole on a small white dish with a fork.

Walking Taco Casserole

Take your taco nights to a new level with our walking taco casserole. This easy to make dish features seasoned ground beef, heaps of gooey cheese, crunchy chips and all your favorite taco toppings baked in casserole form.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 551kcal
Author: Lori @ A Reinvented Mom

Ingredients

Casserole Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, about ½ cup finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 15- ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15.5- ounce jar salsa
  • 10.5- ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 ½ cups tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese

Optional Toppings

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Black olives

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions have softened.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add ground beef to the pan and break apart with a ChopStir or wooden spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through. Drain grease if necessary.
  • Add chili powder, cumin and onion powder and stir to combine.
  • Add the drained beans, corn and salsa and heat through.
  • Pour the meat mixture into the greased baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips and top with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • Substitutions: see the blog post for variations and substitutions.
  • Wait to add the toppings and garnishes until you’re ready to serve.
  • How to store leftovers: store ungarnished taco casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Note that the chips will soften up when stored in the frig & won’t be as crispy. Reheat in the microwave and add toppings before serving.
  • Nutritional information doesn’t include optional toppings.
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Nutritional Estimate

Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1247mg | Potassium: 871mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1131IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 363mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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