Do you love the flavor of tacos? You can enjoy this easy Taco Casserole, perfect for a weeknight. You can make this casserole recipe in advance and heat it when you are ready to serve.
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Time saving make ahead casserole
Sometimes you want the perfect make-ahead casserole. I love to prepare a few extra items on Sunday when I have spare time and reheat during the week.
This way I can have a hot meal on the table that wasn’t picked up at a drive-through, and I have plenty to take to work to help me save some money. I try to brown bag it a few days a week, so I can make my budget stretch a little more.
What is Taco Casserole?
Taco casserole is a lovely way to make tacos without actually making tacos.
You get all of the delicious flavors of tacos but built like a casserole in different layers rather than in a shell.
Taco bake recipe ingredients
Most of the ingredients for this recipe you probably already have in your pantry! Plus add in whatever your favorite toppings are.
These are the ingredients you’ll need for the recipe:
- Ground beef
- White onion
- Taco seasoning mix
- Vegetable oil
- Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
- Refried beans
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream, optional garnish
- Green onions, optional garnish
Basically your standard taco necessities with a little bit of a twist!
Ingredient notes and variations
I use corn tortillas in this taco casserole recipe. They are perfect for those who love or need gluten-free meals. I warm the corn tortillas in hot oil before placing them into the casserole. This helps the tortillas become pliable. Also, when they cook, they can crisp up just a bit and this keeps the fillings in place.
I also use a Mexican blend of cheese. You can use cheddar, Colby, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or Colby Jack.
For the sauce, I combined an inexpensive bottle of salsa with the Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies. I want the sauce to have lots of body and flavor, but I didn’t want all of the heat in the salsa. I often toss in a can of Rotel when I am making a tomato sauce; it adds a little something extra.
If you like, you could add these ingredients customize the casserole to your liking:
- Black olives
- Green chilies
What kind of meat is the best for this Mexican casserole with tortillas?
Ideally, you will use ground beef for the taco casserole recipe. But, if you would like other options, you can always use shredded chicken or ground turkey as well!
How to make Taco Casserole with tortillas
- Brown the ground beef with chopped onions in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Drain and place the cooked beef in a bowl.
- Add taco seasoning mix and water to the beef. Stir to combine.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
- Cut corn tortillas in half and cook them in the hot oil then drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Blend the salsa and Rotel tomatoes in a blender.
- Heat refried beans slightly in a microwave.
- Line a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish with tortillas.
- Spread refried beans over the tortillas.
- Spread the ground beef over the refried beans.
- Pour the sauce over the meat.
- Place tortillas over the ground beef.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions if desired.
- If you do not want to make your own tortillas, you are welcome to replace them with store-bought tortilla chips.
- Instead of using Mexican cheese, you can use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella as well.
- You can add in either some black olives, can of corn, can of green chilies, or avocado on top!
- Spice up this recipe all you want by choosing a hotter salsa or hot Rotel tomatoes.
Can you prep this taco casserole recipe in advance?
In order to make the recipe up ahead of time, just prepare it as the recipe says, and then just pop the prepared casserole in the fridge before you bake it.
Just pull it out of the refrigerator when you are ready to bake it.
Can you freeze taco casserole?
If you want to freeze the taco casserole, instead of putting the casserole in the fridge after prepping it, place the covered casserole in the freezer.
How do you prepare the casserole for freezing?
You can freeze the whole casserole very easily. Prepare the whole casserole in the pan, do not bake it. Cover the top will foil, and freeze overnight. Then lift the casserole out of the pan, then wrap it with foil, and then wrap it with plastic wrap. Then when you are ready to bake the casserole, remove all protective coverings, place it back into the pan, and wrap with foil, and allow it to thaw overnight before baking.
How long will taco casserole with tortillas last in the freezer?
It will last 3 months in the freezer before it needs to be tossed.
When you are ready to eat it, pull it out of the freezer 24 hours ahead of time and let it thaw in the fridge. Then just bake it at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Love Mexican food? Try these recipes!
Popular Dinner Casserole Recipes
- Dorito Casserole
- King Ranch Casserole
- Sausage Casserole
- Spaghetti Casserole
- Taco Cornbread Casserole
- Taco Spaghetti Casserole
- Tamale Casserole
Taco Casserole with Tortillas
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 package taco seasoning mix
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 18 corn tortillas
- 1 1/2 cup salsa
- 1 can Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
- 1 can refried beans
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized skillet, brown the ground beef with chopped onions.
Drain and transfer the cooked beef to a bowl.
Add taco seasoning mix and 1/2 cup of water.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Cut corn tortillas in half. Heat corn tortillas halves in the hot oil then drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.
Combine salsa and Rotel tomatoes in a blender. Blend to make a sauce.
Heat refried beans slightly in a microwave to make them spreadable.
Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with half of the corn tortillas.
Spread refried beans over the corn tortillas.
Spread the ground beef over the refried beans.
Pour the sauce over the ground beef.
Place another layer of the remaining corn tortillas over the ground beef.
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. At this point, you can wrap the casserole and freeze it.
Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Serve the casserole with sour cream and sliced green onions if desired.