This easy Taco Casserole recipe is the ultimate weeknight comfort food. It’s a savory ground beef casserole filled with all of your favorite Mexican flavors! Made from tender beef cooked with zesty tomatoes, poblano peppers, and spinach, then layered with tortillas and lots of cheese.
A Cheesy and Easy Taco Casserole Recipe
This easy taco casserole recipe is flavorful, filling, and delicious. And easy, of course! It’s the perfect comfort food to make on weeknights and equally great for feeding a crowd. Make this Mexican casserole ahead and take it along to your next fiesta!
My taco bake is layer after layer of soft flour tortillas and a savory filling made with ground beef, spinach, veggies, and two types of cheese. This casserole recipe has all of our favorite Tex-Mex flavors baked into an easy and cheesy meal-in-one.
Why You’ll Love This Mexican Casserole
- Easy. This taco casserole recipe is easy to make and just as easy to customize. There are so many ways that you can make it your own when it comes to the filling, veggies, and toppings.
- Flavorful and Filling. Weeknight meals don’t get more satisfying than this zesty Mexican casserole with ground beef. It’s loaded with Tex-Mex flavors, kind of like an extra-cheesy baked version of a Taco Bowl.
- Good for You. This easy dinner idea is high in protein and healthy vegetables, for the ultimate family meal or potluck dish.
What You’ll Need
Below is a quick look at some of the key ingredients you’ll need to make your easy taco casserole. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for a full ingredient list and detailed instructions.
- Tortillas: Soft flour tortillas are best for this recipe, though soft corn tortillas will also work. You can use regular, low-carb, or whole-grain tortillas.
- Ground Beef: I use lean ground beef, but you can make this casserole using any ground meat you’d like. Ground chicken and ground turkey would also be delicious.
- Veggies: This recipe adds juicy diced tomatoes, spinach, and poblano peppers for a Tex-Mex kick. The veggies you add to the filling are also totally customizable (see the variation ideas later in the post for suggestions!).
- Cheese: Two types of shredded melty cheese really amps up the flavor and ooey-gooey factor of this casserole.
How to Make This Taco Casserole
Who’s ready to salsa? ‘Cause your tastebuds are about to do a happy dance. quick overview of how to make this delicious Mexican casserole:
- Prepare the taco filling. Brown the beef with olive oil, garlic, and seasonings, then stir in the diced tomatoes and poblano peppers. Continue to sauté the meat for another few minutes, until the veggies are tender. Lastly, add the spinach.
- Assemble the casserole. Add one layer of ground beef mixture to the bottom of a greased baking dish, and place a tortilla overtop. Layer on more meat, shredded cheese, and a second tortilla, and repeat. Finish with a final layer of meat and cheese.
- Bake. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the casserole at 350ºF for 30 minutes. After, let it bake for another 5 minutes uncovered, until the cheese is melted. Once your casserole is out of the oven, let it rest for a bit before garnishing.
- Add toppings. Top this casserole with all your favorite taco toppings. We love avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, crunchy tortilla chips, and fresh chopped cilantro. Sliced jalapeños would also give it a good kick.
How Hot Are Poblano Peppers?
The poblano peppers that I use in this casserole are a type of mild green chili pepper from Mexico. Also called ancho or chile ancho, poblanos have a light kick and a flavor that’s more smoky than hot. If you’d prefer a spicier casserole, go ahead and trade poblano peppers for your favorite hot chilies.
This Mexican-inspired casserole is basically the lazy chef’s twist on taco night (love!). It goes deliciously with so many easy sides. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to pair with a cheesy taco bake:
- Garnishes. The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings for a taco casserole. Serve with dollops of sour cream, and Restaurant Style Salsa Fresca.
- Rice. Rice is an easy way to round out a meal. One of my Mexican favorites is this Fiesta Rice. For a low-carb option, try Cauliflower Rice.
- Chips and Dip. For a fresh and easy appetizer, we love crunchy corn chips dipped in homemade Mango Guacamole.
- Spicy Sofritas. This Chipotle sofritas tofu copycat recipe is full of flavor and veggies. It’s the perfect meat-free side for this beefy taco casserole.
- Corn. Corn of all kinds is a classic Mexican side dish. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced Mexican street corn, a.k.a. Elote. It even inspired this zesty Mexican Street Corn Salad!
- Dessert. My Mexican Hot Chocolate Fudge is the perfect sweet and spicy finish to a weeknight Tex-Mex feast.
What kind of casserole doesn’t leave plenty of wiggle room for variations? Certainly not this one. Just like tacos, you can DIY this taco casserole to suit your family’s tastes. Try these ideas:
- Substitute Ground Beef. If you’d prefer a leaner filling, make this recipe with ground chicken or ground turkey, or pulled chicken or pulled pork. Leftover Salsa Verde Chicken also makes a great filling option.
- Seasoning. In place of chili powder, try Homemade Taco Seasoning. Feel free to adapt the spice level to your taste. You can also add fresh chopped herbs like cilantro.
- More Veggies. Sauté diced onions, red bell peppers, sweet corn, zucchini, or jalapeños to add to the filling.
- Change Up the Cheeses. Mix and match your favorite melty cheeses for even more flavor. In place of (or in addition to) Monterey Jack and Cheddar, try shredded Pepper Jack, Asiago cheese, or Queso Fresco.
- Vegetarian. To make a vegetarian taco casserole, substitute the ground beef with mushrooms, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, crumbled tofu, or your preferred meatless mince.
More Tex-Mex Recipes to Try
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-low heat.
Add the diced poblano and cook for 3 minutes, or until just tender; stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
Stir in the beef and season with chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.
Cook until meat is browned, stirring occasionally to break up the beef, about 6 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in fresh spinach and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
Combine the shredded cheeses in a bowl and set aside.
Coat a 2-quart or 3-quart baking dish with butter.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of the meat sauce.
Top with 1 flour tortilla and sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla.
Repeat layers, and top each layer with meat mixture and cheese before adding the next flour tortilla.
Finish off by spreading the remaining meat mixture on top and the remaining cheeses.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes; remove cover and continue to cook for 5 to 8 more minutes or until bubbly.
Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes; garnish with slices of avocado, cherry tomatoes, and tortilla chips, and serve.
- Make Ahead: This casserole can be prepared 1-2 days ahead. Brown the meat and layer the casserole in a baking dish following the recipe. Cover tightly and refrigerate the unbaked casserole and bake as directed whenever you’re ready!
- Seasoning: Make your own Homemade Taco Seasoning to use in place of chili powder.
- Grate the Cheese: Use freshly grated cheese whenever you can, as the bags of pre-shredded cheese don’t melt as nicely.
- Grease the Baking Dish: Coating the baking dish with butter or Crisco makes scooping, serving, and cleaning much easier.
- Store leftover taco casserole in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat as needed. It can also be used as a beef burrito filling.
- Freeze the casserole, before or after baking, for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking or reheating, adding extra time if needed.
Calories: 379 kcal | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Protein: 29 g | Fat: 23 g | Saturated Fat: 10 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g | Trans Fat: 0.3 g | Cholesterol: 82 mg | Sodium: 476 mg | Potassium: 732 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 4971 IU | Vitamin C: 31 mg | Calcium: 363 mg | Iron: 4 mg | Net Carbs: 13 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.