Mexican Casserole

  • This Mexican Casserole is a great make-ahead or freezer meal! Plus, you can use ground beef, chicken, or turkey!

    Top down picture of Mexican Casserole topped with sour cream, avocado, and tomatoes.

    An easy weeknight meal!

    This Mexican Casserole is a great meal for those busy nights. It can be made in advance so it’s ready to pop in the oven when you are. It can even become a freezer meal!

    I don’t know about you but I am always in need of an easy meal. It’s been a little crazy around my house with everyone being sick so meal time needs to delicious but easy.

    Usually, I like to make this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup when everyone is sick but I think they were getting a little tired of it so I opted for Mexican. This casserole is a family pleaser and can be adjusted to suit your tastes.

    4 images showing how to layer the Mexican Casserole.

    Ingredients

    • Beef- use whatever % fat you have on hand. Just be sure to drain any excess grease after browning.
    • Onion- I usually use white because it’s what I always have on hand but use what you have.
    • Chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper- standard taco seasonings. I like to make my own blend but you could also substitute a packet of taco seasoning for these seasonings.
    • Green chilies- adds nice flavor to the dish but feel free to leave them out if you prefer.
    • Pinto beans- you can also replace with black beans.
    • Red enchilada sauce- use homemade enchilada sauce or store bought. I also give a range in the can size because different brands have different size cans. This recipe is pretty forgiving. I like a lot of enchilada sauce so I buy a bigger can. My favorite brand is Hatch. It’s pricier but if I’m not making my own I want a flavorful sauce.
    • Corn tortillas– you can use flour tortillas but my family prefers corn. I find flour is a little too soggy for our tastes.
    • Cheese- I typically use colby jack but use any great melting cheese.
    A spatula pulling up a large piece of Mexican Casserole with a nice cheese pull.

    How to make Mexcian Casserole

    Step 1: Brown beef

    Brown the ground beef with the chopped onion, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Remember you can replace the dried seasonings with a packet of taco seasoning if you prefer. Drain any grease before proceeding.

    Step 2: Mix-ins and sauce

    I typically add green chilies and beans because I always have those on hand. Feel free to change things up if you prefer. Stir in the enchilada sauce.

    Step 3: Assembly

    It’s pretty straight forward. If you’ve ever made lasagna before it’s the same process. Start with a layer of corn tortillas (not sauce first), 1/3 of the meat mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat 2 more times.

    Step 4: Bake

    Bake this casserole at 350 degrees F uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is hot and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving to let everything settle. This way it isn’t sliding everywhere on your plate.

    A slice of Mexican Casserole on a white plate with a fork.

    Substitutions/changes

    • You can replace the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey.
    • Replace the dried seasonings with a packet of your favorite taco seasoning. However, I prefer to use my own stated in the recipe. I find it has more flavor.
    • Replace the pinto beans for black beans or another favorite bean.
    • Feel free to add more vegetables. Corn and shredded zucchini are 2 great options.

    Make-ahead options

    • You can assemble this casserole 24 hours in advance. Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before baking and remove the foil. You may need to add 15 minutes to your bake time.
    • You can freeze the assembled casserole. Cool completely after assembly. Cover well with foil and freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator 24 hours in advance. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before baking and remove the foil. You may need to add 15 minutes to your bake time.

    Serving suggestions

    • A simple side salad
    • All the toppings! Sour cream, tomatoes, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips.

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    5 from 4 votes
    A slice of Mexican Casserole on a white plate with a fork.
    Mexican Casserole
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    40 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr
     

    This Mexican Casserole is a great make-ahead or freezer meal! Plus, you can use ground beef, chicken, or turkey!

    Course: Beef, Main Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Keyword: mexican casserole, taco casserole
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 755 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • 2 pounds (1kg) ground beef
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 (10-15ounce) (282-425g) cans red enchilada sauce (OR 2½-3⅓ homemade enchilada sauce)
    • 1 (15 ounce) (439g) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 (4 ounce) (113g) can chopped green chiles
    • 18 corn tortillas
    • 4 cups (450g) shredded colby jack cheese
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, set aside.

    2. In a large skillet brown the ground beef with the onion, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper until no longer pink. Drain any extra grease. Stir in the enchilada sauce, beans, and green chiles.

    3. Place 6 tortillas in the bottom of prepared pan. Top with ⅓ of the meat mixture and ⅓ of the shredded cheese. Repeat this process 2 more times for a total of 3 layers.

    4. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or cheese is melted and casserole is hot and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    Recipe Notes
    1. You can replace the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey.
    2. Replace the dried seasonings with a packet of your favorite taco seasoning. However, I prefer to use my own stated in the recipe. I find it has more flavor.
    3. Replace the pinto beans for black beans or another favorite bean.
    4. Feel free to add more vegetables. Corn and shredded zucchini are 2 great options.
    5. MAKE-AHEAD: You can assemble this casserole 24 hours in advance. Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before baking and remove the foil. You may need to add 15 minutes to your bake time.
    6. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Cool completely after assembly. Cover well with foil and freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator 24 hours in advance. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before baking and remove the foil. You may need to add 15 minutes to your bake time.
    7. Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

    SERVING SUGGESTION

    • A simple side salad
    • All the toppings! Sour cream, tomatoes, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips.
    Nutrition Facts
    Mexican Casserole
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 755 Calories from Fat 243
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 27g42%
    Saturated Fat 15g94%
    Cholesterol 151mg50%
    Sodium 676mg29%
    Carbohydrates 32g11%
    Fiber 13g54%
    Protein 55g110%
    Calcium 531mg53%
    Iron 5mg28%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.
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