Walking Taco Casserole

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Get ready to fall in love with the ultimate comfort food delight, the Walking Taco Casserole. With layers of flavorful ground beef, gooey cheese, and the satisfying crunch of Fritos, this dish is a guaranteed winner for both weeknight dinners and lively gatherings alike.

Suitable for Gluten Free diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

Close uop view of a Walking Taco Casserole in the casserole dish.

This Walking Taco Casserole recipe is a game-changer. It’s all the flavors of your favorite walking taco but baked into a hearty casserole.

Imagine seasoned taco meat mingling with beans, zesty Rotel, and your favorite salsa, all topped with a melted Mexican cheese blend.

The best part? You can whip up this dish in a jiffy with everyday ingredients. And here’s the lowdown, peeps. Not only is this Walking Taco Casserole super quick to make, but it’s also incredibly versatile. You can customize it to your heart’s content. It’s like a taco playground on a plate.

And if you love casseroles, you might want to check out this John Wayne Casserole and this easy Cornbread Casserole.

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In the mood for a twist? Use this casserole as a delicious topping for taco salads, top it with Guacamole, or spread sour cream and enchilada sauce for a unique flavor kick. With this Walking Taco Casserole, there’s no end to the fun and flavor you can create.

Why Make This Walking Taco Casserole Recipe

  • Versatile Family Favorite – It’s a versatile family favorite that can be easily adjusted to cater to everyone’s taste preferences. Whether you’re catering to picky eaters or spice enthusiasts, this dish has got you covered.
  • Leftover Magic – With this Walking Taco Casserole, you can transform leftovers into a delicious next-day meal. Its reheating magic keeps the flavors intact, making it a perfect option for a hassle-free yet satisfying lunch or dinner option.
  • Budget-Friendly – It is such a budget-friendly, easy weeknight meal, allowing you to create a substantial and tasty meal without breaking the bank. Its simple ingredients and easy-to-find pantry staples make it an affordable yet impressive option for any occasion.
  • Easy Cleanup Solution – Say goodbye to post-dinner cleanup misery. Its one-dish preparation means you’ll spend less time cleaning up and more time enjoying your meal with loved ones. Simplify your cooking routine without sacrificing flavor or fun.

Ingredient Notes

  • Lean ground beef – Opt for lean ground beef (80-85 percent lean) to keep the dish light yet flavorful. You can also substitute ground turkey for a healthier twist.
  • Frito corn chips – While Fritos are recommended for an authentic frito taco casserole experience, you can use any sturdy corn chips for a similar crunch.
  • Diced tomatoes with green chiles – If Rotel is unavailable, you can use diced tomatoes and add some chopped green chiles for that extra kick of flavor.
  • Taco seasoning mix – Feel free to use store-bought taco seasoning, but your blend can enhance the dish with a personalized touch.
  • Finely shredded Mexican blend cheese – While Mexican blend cheese works best, you can experiment with other shredded cheese varieties like cheddar or Monterey Jack for a different flavor profile.
  • Pinto beans – Use drained pinto beans to add a hearty texture to the casserole. You can also opt for canned refried beans as a flavorful alternative.
  • Salsa – Incorporate your favorite salsa to infuse the casserole with a burst of tangy and spicy flavors. Feel free to adjust the heat level according to your taste preferences.
  • Minced garlic cloves – Freshly minced garlic provides a rich and aromatic undertone to the dish. You can use garlic powder as a substitute if fresh garlic is unavailable.
  • Toppings – Customize your casserole with an array of toppings, including chopped cilantro, guacamole, shredded lettuce, sour cream, jalapenos, lime wedges, diced avocado, black olives, and additional salsa for an extra burst of flavor.
the ingredients for this Walking Taco Casserole Recipe.

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Make A Walking Taco Casserole

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card further below.

  1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/ 176 degrees C and grease a baking dish or casserole dish with oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. While you wait, brown ground beef and onions on medium-high heat in a large skillet and then drain the fat.
  3. Next, stir in the drained can of pinto beans, Rotel, and salsa. Then add taco seasoning and stir until combined. Continue to heat the seasoned ground beef mixture on medium heat until it is heated through.
  4. After, crush half of the Fritos corn chips and sprinkle in the bottom of the dish. Then, pour the seasoned ground beef into your prepared baking dish and add shredded cheese on top. Add remaining corn chips on top of the cheese.
  5. Last, bake the casserole for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the middle is heated through.
  6. Finally, serve with toppings from the list above or your favorite taco toppings.
image collage showing the steps for Walking Taco Casserole.

Pro Tips

  • You can use your homemade taco seasoning, or store-bought will work, too.
  • Use an oven-safe skillet instead of the casserole dish to make this an easy weeknight meal in just one pan.
  • If you do not like corn chips, you can use Doritos or tortilla chips instead. The entire family loves this part the most!
  • For a lighter casserole, you can leave out the chips altogether.
  • Those who enjoy walking tacos will really love this recipe for walking taco casserole. You can even toss it into a chip bag and eat it on the go.
  • You can use chili powder if you do not have the taco seasoning ingredients.
  • Instead of Rotel, you can use diced tomatoes with or without green chiles.
  • Here are some of my favorite things to use to make this recipe. How many of these do you have already?

Delicious Variations

  • Favorite toppings – Customize your casserole with your preferred taco toppings, such as black beans, corn, sliced green onions, kidney beans, chili beans, or fresh tomatoes.
  • Ground turkey – Opt for ground turkey or ground chicken as a leaner alternative to beef, reducing the fat content and calorie intake. Shredded chicken or turkey can also be used interchangeably.
  • Different flavor – Experiment with ground pork for a distinct and unique flavor profile in your Walking Taco Casserole.
  • Other cheese – Feel free to substitute the Mexican cheese blend with your favorite cheese variety. Try shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey jack cheese for a personalized touch.
  • Add cream cheese – Introduce softened cream cheese or sour cream to the beef mixture for an extra creamy and indulgent texture in your casserole.
  • Refried beans – Explore the option of using refried beans instead of pinto beans to add a rich and velvety element to your Walking Taco Casserole.

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – You can assemble the walking taco casserole a day in advance, cover it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.
  • Store – Your leftover walking taco casserole will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • Freeze – You can freeze the walking taco casserole in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. 
  • Reheat – Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave for one or two minutes or cover it and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

FAQs

Why is it called walking taco casserole?

It is called a walking taco, as it is typically made with an individual size of opened chips topped with seasoned meat, shredded lettuce, salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

It is supposed to be a bag of chips with all the taco ingredients you enjoy that you can eat on the go.

This taco casserole dish is similar, but instead of making it in a bag, you bake it in a dish.

What is the difference between the walking taco and Frito pie?

The difference Between the Walking Taco and Frito Pie is the following:

The walking taco casserole, at times, incorporates refried beans and sour cream, while Frito pie does not. The walking taco casserole resembles a bag of chips with assorted taco ingredients, whereas the Frito pie comprises chili layered on top of Frito corn chips.

Also, this casserole allows for the use of various chip types, whereas a Frito pie specifically utilizes Fritos.

Who invented the taco?

There is archaeological evidence that indigenous people invented tacos as they ate them in the Valley of Mexico thousands of years ago. They were just flat tortillas filled with fish and veggies.

Others claim that the taco was first enjoyed in the 1700s when Mexican silver miners used to wrap meat in tortillas to enjoy while mining. They got their name from the little charges of gunpowder wrapped in paper they used to blow holes in the walls.

Close up view of a Walking Taco Casserole in the casserole dish.

Similar Recipes

Looking for more EASY, delicious, and flavorful recipes? I’ve got you covered. Check out my full collection of Casserole Recipes, or start a few of my most popular recipes:

And if you love all things casserole, check out my What is a Casserole post for handy information, tips, and even more recipes!

Serve The Walking Casserole With:

  • For an authentic and satisfying experience, serve your Taco Casserole with fresh guacamole, crisp lettuce, and tangy sour cream.
  • You can also serve walking taco casserole with tortillas for guests to make burritos or whatever they like.
  • Use leftover seasoned taco meat mixture to make tacos, nachos, or whatever Mexican dish you want for Taco Tuesday or any day.
  • Use a good-sized casserole dish to ensure this dish cooks evenly.
  • A skillet to cook the ground beef to perfection.
  • Sea salt flakes that allow for easy seasoning adjustment to cater to your preferred taste profile.
  • For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

More Casserole Recipes

If you love our best Walking Taco Casserole, then try these other casseroles too.

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Close uop view of a Walking Taco Casserole in the casserole dish.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Walking Taco Casserole

Make this flavorful Walking Taco Casserole for a Tex-Mex delight!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Servings: 4
Calories: 785kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds (680g) ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small red onion minced
  • 15 ounces (425g) pinto beans can, drained
  • ½ cup (125ml) salsa mild or hot
  • 10 ounces (425g) Rotel tomatoes can
  • 4 tablespoons taco seasoning store-bought or homemade
  • 9.25 ounces (156g) Fritos or cheesy Doritos ½ bag
  • 2 cups (250g) Mexican blend cheese freshly shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 170 degrees C and grease a 9×9 baking pan. Set it aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the ground beef with the onion and cook until browned. Drain the grease.
  • Stir in the drained can of pinto beans, Rotel, salsa, and the taco seasoning. Stir well until the mixture is heated through.
  • Transfer the beef mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the top.
  • Spread Fritos corn chips or Doritos over the shredded cheese.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven and add your favorite toppings from the suggested list.
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Video

Notes

    • You can use your homemade taco seasoning, or store-bought will work, too.
    • Use an oven-safe skillet instead of the casserole dish to make this an easy weeknight meal in just one pan.
    • If you do not like corn chips, you can use Doritos or tortilla chips instead.
    • For a lighter casserole, you can leave out the chips altogether.
    • Those who enjoy walking tacos will really love this recipe for walking taco casserole. You can even toss it into a chip bag and eat it on the go.
    • You can use chili powder if you do not have the taco seasoning ingredients.
    • Instead of Rotel, you can use diced tomatoes with or without green chiles.
    • Storage – Your leftover walking taco casserole will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 785kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 451mg | Potassium: 554mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 4mg

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Recipe Rating




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  2. 5 stars
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