This Taco Casserole is a great make-ahead or freezer meal! It features layer upon layer of all your favorite Mexican flavors, plus you can use your choice of ground beef, chicken, or turkey!
On busy nights, nothing beats this easy Mexican casserole recipe! It can be assembled 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 feeling under the weather, but I think they were getting a little tired of it — so I opted for Mexican. This taco casserole with corn tortillas is a family pleaser and can be adjusted to suit your tastes.
Why You’ll Love This Mexican Casserole Recipe
- Easy to customize
- Bold savory flavors
- Make-ahead options
- Feeds the whole family, plus leftovers
- Most of the cook time is in the oven
Key Ingredients to Make Taco Casserole with Corn Tortillas
- 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.
- TACO SEASONINGS – A tasty combination of chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. I find that a homemade blend has more flavor and just tastes better overall, but you could substitute a packet of taco seasoning if needed.
- GREEN CHILIES – These add a nice flavor and mild heat to the Mexican casserole, but feel free to leave them out if you prefer.
- PINTO BEANS – Just regular ol’ plain pinto beans, not the kind that comes seasoned or in sauce. Black beans are a good substitute.
- RED ENCHILADA SAUCE – Use homemade enchilada sauce or store bought (my favorite brand is Hatch). This taco casserole recipe is pretty forgiving, so you can adjust the amount of sauce based on the size of the can or how much you prefer in general.
- CORN TORTILLAS – You can use flour tortillas instead, but my family prefers this taco casserole with corn tortillas. I find that flour is a little too soggy for our tastes.
- CHEESE – I typically use Colby Jack, but any great melting cheese will do. You’ll get the best results and flavor if you grate it yourself.
Instructions to Make Mexican Casserole
BROWN THE GROUND BEEF: Combine the ground beef with the chopped onion and seasonings, then cook until there is no more visible pink. Break up the beef with a wooden spoon or spatula so you end up with crumbles. And remember to drain any grease before proceeding.
ADD MIX-INS AND SAUCE: Stir in the green chilies and pinto beans, plus any other mix-ins you may want. Once everything is well combined, stir in the enchilada sauce until it’s been evenly distributed.
ASSEMBLE TACO CASSEROLE: This process is pretty straight forward — if you’ve ever made lasagna, it essentially works the same. Start with a layer of corn tortillas in the bottom of a greased casserole dish (not sauce first). Add 1/3 of the meat mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat two more times.
BAKE: Place the Mexican casserole in a 350 degrees F oven and bake 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 should hold its shape instead of sliding everywhere on your plate.
Feel free to make this Mexican casserole recipe your own with a few easy swaps/changes!
- Replace the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey.
- Use a packet of your favorite taco seasoning in place of the dried seasonings listed. However, I prefer to use my own stated in the recipe. I find it has more flavor.
- Swap the pinto beans for black beans or another favorite bean.
- Add more vegetables — corn and shredded zucchini are two great options.
- Top with sliced black olives before baking.
Can I make this taco casserole recipe ahead of time?
Yes, and you have options! You can assemble this casserole 24 hours in advance, then 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 also freeze the assembled taco casserole. Allow it to cool completely, then 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. Then warm on the counter and bake as directed above.
What is the best way to reheat taco casserole?
Once baked, you can warm individual portions in the microwave or pop larger leftover sections right back in the oven. Warm for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F until the center is hot and the cheese is melty.
Leftover taco casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container.
Can I make Mexican casserole without meat?
While I haven’t tried it myself, I don’t see why not! Swap the ground beef with plant based crumbles, a few different types of beans, or extra veggies. You’ll just need to adjust the order of how you cook things on the stove to accomodate the changes.
- A simple side salad
- Easy Spanish Rice
- Refried Beans
- All the toppings! Sour cream, tomatoes, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and more.
More Easy Mexican Dinner Recipes
- Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
- Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadillas
- Mexican Pulled Pork
- Creamy Taco Soup
Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think about this Taco Casserole recipe!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or cheese is melted and casserole is hot and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- 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: 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.
- 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.
- Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.