Simple Taco Salad Casserole

This delicious taco salad casserole recipe uses simple ingredients and offers a ton of flavor. It comes together in one pan and is easy to customize to your family’s tastes.

a cheesy casserole on a white plate with lettuce and tomato

There are nights that are made for big, extravagant meals.

They are delicious and laborious in the best way possible.

Then, there are nights when you need a quick meal that the entire family loves and that you can get on the dinner table in minutes.

Sometimes, the best meals are those that use minimal, yet tasty ingredients and take little, to no time to throw together.

I created this flavorful walking taco casserole one evening when I had leftover taco meat that I needed to use after a Taco Tuesday taco bar.

It has now become one of our favorite recipes the whole family looks forward to.

a cheesy casserole on a white plate with lettuce and tomato

What is a Taco Salad Casserole?

This taco salad recipe combines the best a taco salad has to offer, but in an upside down kind of way.

The meat is warm and gooey with the melted cheese and delicious fillings.

When you layer crispy taco chips and cheese on top, toast it in the oven, and then top it with your fresh toppings it is out of this world!

Consider this a taco salad in casserole form.

a cheesy taco salad casserole on a white plate with lettuce and tomato

Why you’ll love this easy Taco Bake

  • Do you have a busy weeknight that requires an easy weeknight dinner? This family favorite is exactly what you need for times like that!
  • I love how you can customize this dish to suit your family’s taste preferences.
  • This is a great meal to whip up when you have some taco beef mixture left over. Make tacos one night and turn it into a different meal the next with this delicious taco casserole.
  • The topping choices are endless- cheddar cheese, black beans, black olives, salsa, and more!
  • This easy taco casserole is a healthy option that is super filling.
  • You use basic kitchen ingredients for this dish, most of which you can simply dump out of a can!
a cheesy casserole on a white plate with lettuce and tomato and a fork

Tell me about this Taco Casserole

  • Taste– You have all of the classic flavors you look for in your Mexican recipes paired with the simplicity that comes with a casserole. Add your favorite taco toppings and you have a great family meal.
  • Texture– This easy taco casserole recipe has a layer of tasty taco meat paired with corn, black beans, and Rotel tomatoes. On top of that you get the crunch of crushed nacho cheese chips or regular tortilla chips. Add to that the creamy, gooey melted cheese and it is a perfect combo!
  • Ease– If you love the ease of a one-pot, dump and go meal then you’ll love this recipe.
  • Time– Do you already have taco meat prepped? Then, this will take 5 minutes to throw together and 20 minutes to heat through. If you need to make your meat, add on 5 extra minutes for cooking time. No matter what, this meal is a 30 minute meal from start to finish- tops!
ingredients laid on a counter for taco salad casserole

Ingredients for Taco Salad Casserole Recipe

  • Taco Meat– Add your lean ground beef or ground turkey to a large skillet and brown it until no longer pink. I like to cook mine a few minutes longer than it needs because it burns off some of the grease.
  • Diced Tomatoes– I prefer to use Rotel tomatoes, but I have used regular diced tomatoes with no trouble.
  • Salsa– To add some flavor, I like to add a tad of salsa. Use your favorite kind- pineapple salsa, mild salsa, green salsa!
  • Corn– This gives this recipe a subtle sweetness to offset the spicy.
  • Black Beans– Our family loves black beans, but I’ve also used kidney beans, pinto beans, and even refried beans when I didn’t have these. This recipe is super forgiving!
  • Tomato Sauce– I use a small can of tomato sauce to give a bit of “sauciness” to the dish.
  • Taco Seasoning Mix– Use a packet of taco seasoning or 2 tablespoons of your own homemade taco seasoning. This adds so much flavor.
  • Taco Chips– I like using nacho cheese taco chips, but you can crush up regular taco chips or even a taco shell in place of chips!
  • Shredded Cheese– This is another way you can switch the flavor profile up with this dish. Cheddar cheese works great, but amp up the spice with pepper jack cheese or a Mexican blend cheese. One thing is for certain… use lots of cheese!
  • Shredded Lettuce– After you bake this casserole, you’ll pile it high with cold romaine lettuce and all of your favorite toppings.
  • Toppings– This is a great way to elevate this dish with pico de gallo, green onions, and a dollop of sour cream.
collage for steps on how to make taco salad casserole

How to Make this Classic Taco Recipe

  1. Cook Beef– Brown the beef on medium high heat in a large skillet until no longer pink. Drain grease and add the diced tomatoes, salsa, drained corn, drained black beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning to the meat.
  2. Assemble Taco Casserole– Top the brown ground beef mixture with crushed chips and lots of shredded cheese.
  3. Bake Casserole– You only need to pop the skillet in the oven long enough to melt the cheese until golden brown.
  4. Top with Toppings- The last step is to pile high with your favorite fresh ingredients and favorite taco fixings and enjoy this easy dinner!
taco tuesday taco bar use up extra taco meat

Add ins for this Taco Salad Casserole

  • Cherry Tomatoes– These make an excellent fresh topping for this easy meal.
  • Diced Red onion– Give your meal a bit of crunch and zip with finely diced onions.
  • Avocado– No taco night would be complete with either sliced avocado or some fresh guacamole.
  • Fresh Cilantro– Chopped cilantro is one of my favorite taco toppings because it adds a fresh flair to any taco dish. Make sure you add it to your table on your next taco night!
  • Lime Wedges– My kids love squeezing fresh lime wedges on their taco plates and I have to admit, it elevates the dish so much.
  • Sliced Black Olives- Albeit not the normal topping for tacos, they do add a bit of tang to this taco salad casserole.

How to Store Leftover Taco Salad Casserole

This casserole keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.

Before you store your leftovers, it is best to remove the shredded lettuce so you can easily reheat this meal and not have sad, wilted lettuce on top.

How to Reheat this Great Recipe

Reheat this recipe by popping your casserole dish into the oven on medium high heat and warming for 15 minutes.

a cheesy casserole on a white plate with lettuce and tomato

Tip for Making this Taco Casserole Recipe

Switch this up every time to make it to keep it fresh and exciting.

Don’t worry about adding your favorite taco flavors to this meal.

Add this on top of corn chips for a taco salad frito pie.

Make it extra creamy by adding in 3 ounces of cream cheese to the meat filling.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

A great way to add flavor without the yucky ingredients is to mix up your own seasonings.

It is easy, it is economical, and tastes better because you can get the exact flavor profile you like.

This is an easy recipe for taco seasoning that works for every taco dish.

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Taco Salad Casserole be made Ahead of Time?

Yes, this recipe can be made ahead of time, but wait until your going to bake it to add the crushed chips on top. If you add them and then refrigerate the casserole they will get limp and soggy.

Can you freeze taco salad casserole?

If I want to make this in advance and freeze it, I prefer to make the hearty meat filling, pop it in a freezer bag, and freeze that until I’m ready to assemble the entire casserole.

Taco Salad Casserole Recipe

a cheesy casserole on a white plate with lettuce and tomato

Taco Salad Casserole

Liz Quick
This delicious taco salad casserole recipe uses simple ingredients and offers a ton of flavor. It comes together in one pan and is easy to customize to your family’s tastes.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
0 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 people
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 9 x 13 casserole dish, or large oven safe skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, or Rotel
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 1 15 ounce can corn, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups crushed nacho cheese chips
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. On your stove, brown the beef on medium high heat in a large skillet until no longer pink.
  • Drain the grease from the meat and return it to the skillet.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, salsa, drained corn, drained black beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning to the meat. If you aren't using an oven safe skillet, simply add your meat mixture to a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  • Top the brown ground beef mixture with crushed chips and lots of shredded cheese.
  • Cook your casserole in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
  • The last step is to pile high with your favorite fresh ingredients, such as shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes, and your favorite taco fixings.

Notes

Add ins for this Taco Salad Casserole

  • Cherry Tomatoes– These make an excellent fresh topping for this easy meal.
  • Diced Red onion– Give your meal a bit of crunch and zip with finely diced onions.
  • Avocado– No taco night would be complete with either sliced avocado or some fresh guacamole.
  • Fresh Cilantro– Chopped cilantro is one of my favorite taco toppings because it adds a fresh flair to any taco dish. Make sure you add it to your table on your next taco night!
  • Lime Wedges– My kids love squeezing fresh lime wedges on their taco plates and I have to admit, it elevates the dish so much.
Keyword taco salad casserole

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