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30 Minute Walking Taco Casserole

The entire family loves this Walking Taco Casserole recipe! Made with seasoned taco meat, tomatoes, beans, cheese and crunchy chips it’s a family favorite and it’s perfect as an easy weeknight meal. 

Don’t forget to load it up with all your favorite tacos toppings!

Walking taco casserole in a dish with a large spoon.

Oh, and add this easy casserole to your taco bar and Cinco de Mayo recipe ideas!

What is a Walking Taco Casserole?

I heart alllll the taco recipes. Classic taco salad? Yes!!! Shredded chicken tacos? You betcha!

So really, it should come as no surprise that I’m super excited to show you this walking taco casserole. SO much yum!

If you’ve ever been to a farm auction, or even a sports concession stand, you’ve probably been introduced to the beauty of a walking taco.

The concept of walking tacos basically takes everything that is soooo good about taco ingredients and mixes it all together. The whole taco party is spooned into small bags of corn chips (or Doritos if you want to start a debate) to be eaten with a fork while you’re cruising around.

Basically, it’s all that in a bag of chips…See what I did there??!?

Anyhow, this walking taco casserole recipe puts the walking into a delicious casserole form that will make your taste buds sing and is perfect for feeding a hungry family or group.

And it’s a great graduation party option, too. Oh and a weeknight dinner.

This one is a jack of all trades. You can dress it up, dressing it down or make it however you like it!This one has field meal written all over it, friends!

If you like my One Pot Chili Mac or taco recipes in general you’re gonna love this one. Let’s get started…

Ingredients

Ingredients in walking taco casserole on a countertop.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe

  • Ground beef – you can also use shredded chicken but if you’re a tried and true walking taco fan, beef it is.
  • Taco seasoning – you can use store bought or use homemade taco seasoning.
  • Cream cheese – for a melty but not overly cheesy addition.
  • Rotel style tomatoes – the brand name is Rotel, which is what I’ve always called it. At the store, look for this or the equivalent can of diced tomato with green chilis.
  • Ranch style beans – ranch beans are pinto beans that have some tomato sauce and seasonings incorporated into them. You could also use plain canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
  • Frito corn chips – if you don’t have a bag of fritos in the pantry, tortilla chips or nacho Doritos also work.
  • Mexican blend cheese – this cheese usually blend has monterey jack, cheddar and asadero and queso quesadilla cheese.
  • For serving: think of whatever you like adding to your tacos here! Shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, jalapenos, green onions and black olives, to name a few.

How to make this taco casserole

Grab your favorite medium sized casserole dish and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook and crumble the ground beef, then add taco seasoning.

If your beef is lean, you may not need to drain it. If it does have some fat after cooking, you know what to do. Discard the fat before adding the seasoning.

Cooked ground beef in a skillet with taco seasoning.

In goes the cream cheese, rotel tomatoes and beans. Give everything a stir until it’s mixed well and the cream cheese has melted in and incorporated with it’s new buddies.

Seasoned ground beef in a skillet topped with tomatoes and beans with a wooden spoon.

Spread into the baking dish, then top with the fritos and shredded cheese. Ummmm, my mouth is watering!

White casserole dish topped with frito chips and shredded cheese.

Then, bake it for about 15 minutes in the oven until it’s heated through and the cheese is melted.

Tips for the best walking taco casserole

  • Drain the rotel and beans so they don’t make the dish too soupy.
  • Let everyone add their own toppings to their plate. If you’re like me, you have a picky eater or two and this way everyone is happy with their finish dinner.

To make ahead of time

This is a great dish to make ahead of time! Assemble as instructed, then before baking, just top it with foil and refrigerate for up to two days.

Note: when you make it this way, the chips will be a little bit soggier, which is actually how I like it! Otherwise you can assemble it without adding the cheese and chips. You’ll add those right before baking.

This also makes it a great meal to share with a neighbor or family with a new baby in the house!

Plated walking taco casserole in individual portions.

Recipe Variations

  • Use ground pork or ground turkey instead of the ground beef.
  • Mix up the types of cheese used. Plain old shredded cheddar is just as good if you have it in your fridge.
  • Use Dorito nacho chips or tortilla chips.

Storage

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Other Tex Mex Recipes

Here are some other recipes I think you’ll love!

Mexican Ground Beef Casserole

Mild Pico de Gallo

Mexican Chopped Salad

made with love, Deanne
Yield: 6 servings

30 Minute Walking Taco Casserole

Walking taco casserole topped with dollops of sour cream and jalapeno slices.

Made with seasoned taco meat, tomatoes, beans, cheese and crunchy chips it's a family favorite and it's perfect as an easy weeknight meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cubed  
  • 1 (10 ounce) can rotel style tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Ranch style beans, drained
  • 3 cups Frito corn chips 
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (optional for garnish)
  • Optional toppings for serving: shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, jalapenos, sliced green onions, black olives

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375° and spray a 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. In a large skillet, cook and crumble the beef until it is no longer pink. Drain fat if needed. Add the taco seasoning and stir.
  3. Add cream cheese, rotel, and beans. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and combined.
  4. Spread the ground beef mixture evenly in the baking dish and top with a layer of fritos and cheese.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove and serve with your favorite toppings.

Notes

It's easy to make your own taco seasoning which allows you to control the sodium and the heat.

No ranch style beans? Sub in pinto beans, kidney beans or black beans.

This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to bake. If it's coming out of the fridge, add about 15 minutes to the cooking time.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 981Total Fat: 61gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 1294mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 40g

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