This beef and bean taco casserole is a fun twist on taco night, and is a great way to feed a crowd or hungry family! Freezer-friendly, this recipe is also great for meal-prepping or taking to a friend in need!
If you’re looking for an amazing way to jazz up a regular taco night, this beef taco casserole is the recipe for you! A mixture of seasoned ground beef and black beans is mixed with salsa and cheese, then baked until hot and bubbly. Play around with toppings like shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, jalapeño slices and more! My favorite topping is some crunchy Fritos corn chips… it gives this taco casserole a “walking taco” feel, which my kids just love!
It seems like every region here in the U.S. has a type of food that it’s known for. Here in the Midwest, I think if there’s one thing we’re known for, it’s the casserole. Of course, other places in the country serve up casseroles too, but Midwesterners will turn anything and everything into a casserole!
Dishes like this beef taco casserole are amazing because they’re easy to put together, make-ahead/freezer-friendly, they’re ultra comforting, and kids love them.
Doesn’t that make you just want to dig in?
WHAT IS A TACO CASSEROLE
It’s everything you love about tacos, but in a super-comforting casserole form. My version uses ground beef, and that 2 pounds of meat is stretched farther by using black beans as well. Normally I use a package of taco seasoning, but if you have a homemade seasoning blend that you love, feel free to use that!
IS TACO CASSEROLE HEALTHY
As written, this recipe isn’t exactly healthy or figure-friendly, but with a few substitutions you could make it lighter. Swapping regular ground beef for extra lean ground beef, or even ground turkey would be a great way to make this taco casserole healthier. I promise, you won’t even be able to tell! Using reduced-fat shredded cheese is another way to lighten up the dish. Also, to reduce the sodium content, make sure you’re using reduced-sodium canned ingredients.
Feel free to play around with the toppings too… whatever you like on your tacos, will go perfectly on top of this casserole!
CAN YOU MAKE THIS TACO CASSEROLE WITH DORITOS
Ohhhh absolutely! Nacho cheese Doritos, Cool Ranch Doritos, regular tortilla chips, lime tortilla chips, chili cheese Fritos… the sky is the limit. My kids love the “walking taco” meal, which is where a lunch-box sized bag of Fritos is opened and topped with taco meat, cheese and toppings. This makes a portable taco salad, which is popular with kids everywhere! Topping this casserole with the Fritos makes this feel just like that, and my kids go crazy over it!
CAN YOU FREEZE TACO CASSEROLE
Yes! This taco casserole freezes beautifully, which makes it great for meal prepping, or even making a meal for a sick friend. To thaw, just set the casserole in your refrigerator overnight, and by dinner time the next day, it should be fully thawed. Full freezing instructions are below the recipe at the end of the post!
IS THIS TACO CASSEROLE SPICY
I would say this casserole is about a Medium heat level, as the jalapeño and green chiles add a bit of heat. If you’re looking to spice it up more…
- Add more than one jalapeño to the beef mixture, or don’t seed the peppers first
- Use medium or hot picante sauce
If you’re looking to tone down the heat and make it more mild…
- Swap out the jalapeño for a green bell pepper
- Make sure you use mild picante sauce
- Drizzle casserole with sour cream or Mexican crema to mask any heat
- Baking dish – this baking dish is a total workhorse for me!
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- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs. ground beef (I usually use 80/20)
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pkg taco seasoning
- 1 - 2 (15 oz each) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 (4 oz each) cans diced green chiles, drained
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 5 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 (16 oz each) jars picante sauce or salsa
- 3 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9×13 or 3 quart baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add ground beef and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon or potato masher, until browned and mostly cooked, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add onion and jalapeno to beef. Cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute. Beef should be fully cooked and brown at this point.
- Drain any fat and return to skillet. Stir in taco seasoning, black beans, green chiles, salt, pepper, tomato paste and picante sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes.
- Set skillet aside and add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.
- Transfer beef mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
- Bake approximately 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with desired toppings and serve!
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