This taco bake is a layer of crushed tortilla chips topped with beans, seasoned ground beef and cheese. Add your favorite taco toppings for a quick and easy dinner that’s sure to please the whole family.
If you love tacos, you’ll adore this taco bake. It’s got plenty of meat, beans and cheese, all accented with tortilla chips and covered with a variety of fresh toppings. I often set out bowls of assorted toppings then let everyone make their own creations for a fun and interactive meal.
How do you make taco bake?
This recipe starts with ground beef, which is cooked in a skillet with onions, tomatoes and taco seasoning. Stir in the refried beans to make the filling for this dish. Place a layer of crushed tortilla chips or taco shells on the bottom of the baking pan. Add the meat mixture, along with a layer of shredded cheese. Bake your taco casserole until it’s bubbling and the cheese is melted, then add some toppings and serve immediately.
Tips for the best taco bake
- I typically use 90% lean ground beef, it has plenty of flavor but is not overly greasy. If you use beef with a higher fat content, be sure to drain off any excess grease after you cook it.
- I recommend grating your own cheese instead of using the pre-shredded variety. The bagged grated cheese is often coated with anti caking agents and preservatives, and does not melt as well as freshly shredded cheese.
- This dish can easily be doubled for a crowd and makes for great leftovers. If you’re planning to save some of the dish for leftovers, wait to add the toppings until your taco bake has been reheated.
- To crush your tortilla chips, place them in a resealable bag and use a rolling pin or meat mallet. You can also use taco shells instead of chips if you prefer.
There are so many different ways to customize the flavors of this taco bake to your tastes.
- Protein: Use cooked diced chicken or ground turkey instead of the ground beef.
- Cheese: Try pepper jack instead of cheddar for a bit of a spicy kick. You can also use Colby Jack for a different flavor.
- Chips: Instead of regular tortilla chips or taco shells, try a flavored chip such as nacho cheese chips, or you can use a layer of flour or corn tortillas on the bottom.
- Beans: Use a can of drained and rinsed black or pinto beans instead of refried beans.
- Vegetables: You can add extra vegetables to your beef mixture such as bell peppers, diced green chiles or corn.
- Toppings: You can top your casserole with sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo, olives, pickled jalapenos, green onions or cilantro.
My kids ask for this taco bake on a regular basis and I’m always happy to oblige. It’s a simple yet satisfying meal with plenty of bold Mexican style flavors!
More Mexican inspired meals
Taco Bake Video
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
- 1/2 cup onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
- 16 ounce can refried beans
- 1 1/2 cups tortilla chips coarsely crushed
- 1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- Toppings such as shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream and sliced olives
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces with a spatula.
- Add the onion and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the taco seasoning, diced tomatoes and refried beans. Stir to combine. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until mixture has just thickened.
- Spread the crushed tortilla chips in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Pour the beef mixture over the chips and top with the cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Add toppings if desired, then serve immediately.