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Taco Casserole

Loaded with ground beef, rice, cheese, and more, this crowd-pleaser Taco Casserole is topped with crunchy tortilla chips and smothered in an irresistible homemade nacho cheese sauce.

Taco casserole surrounded by the ingredients that made it.


You are in for a seriously savory, incredibly delicious treat. This taco casserole is comprised of perfectly browned ground beef, rice, and plenty of cheese, all in a beautifully seasoned creamy tomato sauce topped with a layer of crunchy tortilla chips and perhaps the most glorious nacho cheese topping ever. From the nostalgia of the cheese sauce to the crunch of the chips to the ooey-gooey taco-esque filling, this casserole is unmissable.

Why You’ll Love This Taco Casserole Recipe

  • Great flavor. Who doesn’t love nachos? This casserole takes all of the flavors of your favorite Mexican appetizer and turns them into a complete meal.
  • Texture. I love the crunch of the tortilla chips sandwiched between the hearty, gooey beef filling and the velvety nacho cheese.
  • One pan wonder. Do all of your sauteing, simmering, and baking in one large ovenproof skillet for easy cleanup.
  • Room for experimentation. Play with ingredients to make it your own. Try different meat or cheese, consider other toppings, use more or less (or different) spices, etc…
Overhead view of all the ingredients used for Taco Casserole.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Onion
  • Lean ground beef: You could use ground turkey or chicken if you’d like.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Tomato paste
  • Chicken broth: Feel free to use beef or veggie stock instead.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, cuminpaprika, and pepper. Smoked paprika and/or oregano would be lovely additions as well.
  • Cooked white rice: I suggest using long-grain rice such as Jasmine or Basmati. Long-grain brown rice would also work.
  • Cheese: I used shredded cheddar and shredded Monterey Jack, but you could use what you have on hand. Pepper Jack would be delicious.
  • Sour cream
  • Crushed tortilla chips: If you’d like to use Doritos or Fritos, you can.
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Toppings: I went with tomatoes, avocado, hot sauce, and green onions, but feel free to use black olives, pickled jalapeños, black beans, or any other taco topping you can think of.

How to Make a Taco Casserole

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Saute the onions. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until translucent.
  • Brown the beef. Add the beef and sauté until browned and cooked through.
  • Make it saucy. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, followed by the chicken broth, tomato sauce, and seasoning. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Bulk it up. Stir in the rice, 1/2 cup cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, and sour cream.
  • Bake. Cover the filling with tortilla chips and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Nacho cheese in a pot.
Make the nacho cheese topping.
  • Make nacho cheese sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the remaining flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until it thickens a bit, and then stir in the remaining cheese, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Put it all together. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked casserole and garnish with toppings.
Taco casserole in a skillet with a scoop taken out of it.

Serving Suggestions

This taco casserole is a full meal in and of itself. That being said, I love serving it with some extra veggie sides. A light salad with my Light and Creamy Avocado-Lime Salad Dressing or a side of Elote (Mexican Street Corn) would be my top picks. And, if the mood is right, treat yourself to my Very Berry Margarita Spritzer.

How to Store & Reheat Extras

  • To store. Note that taco casserole gets soggy as it sits, so it’s best to enjoy it sooner rather than later. Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container (ideally without the toppings). You can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat. Transfer the leftover taco casserole to a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, microwave a portion in 30-second intervals until warm.
Overhead image of a plate loaded with taco casserole.

More Easy Casserole Recipes

Casseroles are such a great way to feed a crowd (or just your household with plenty of leftovers). Here are a few of my other favorite cozy casserole recipes to get you through the winter.

Taco casserole surrounded by the ingredients that made it.

Taco Casserole

Katerina | Diethood
Taco Casserole made with layers of ground beef, tomatoes, tortilla chips and lots of cheese!
5 from 7 votes
Servings : 8 serves
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


For the Casserole
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound 98% lean ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups chicken broth
  • 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • ½ cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
For Serving
  • chopped tomatoes, for serving
  • avocado, sliced, for serving
  • hot sauce, for serving
  • sliced green onions, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  • Heat oil In a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook for 2 minutes or until it begins to soften.
  • Stir in the ground beef and, using a wooden spoon, break up the meat, and cook until the beef is browned and cooked through. Drain the fat and return the pan to the burner.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute, then add tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked rice, 1/2 cup cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, and sour cream.
  • Top with tortilla chips and bake until the top is golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the cheese sauce:
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons flour and cook for about a minute.
  • Stir in the milk and bring to a simmer.
  • When milk begins to thicken, stir in the remaining 2 cups of cheddar, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • When the casserole comes out of the oven, pour the cheese sauce over the tortilla chips.
  • Garnish the casserole with green onions, drizzle with hot sauce, and serve.


Calories: 514 kcal | Carbohydrates: 37 g | Protein: 29 g | Fat: 27 g | Saturated Fat: 14 g | Cholesterol: 92 mg | Sodium: 761 mg | Potassium: 655 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 1225 IU | Vitamin C: 5.9 mg | Calcium: 405 mg | Iron: 3.4 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: taco casserole, taco casserole recipe, take bake casserole
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179 comments on “Taco Casserole”

  1. Taco night just got an upgrade with this taco casserole recipe! The layers of flavors and the cheesy goodness—it’s comfort food at its finest. A definite hit with my family!

  2. This is my new favorite dish to make for Taco Tuesday! I made it last week, and I’m making it again tonight. It’s perfect with a big bowl of tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops!

  3. Well since I am a flower garden nut probably some gardening goodies and books. I fancy setting on the porch in the evening reading after a day weeding. LOL!

  4. If I won the gift card I would buy some toys and treats for my pets, a seed kit for my Aerogarden. I would probably use the remainder toward a new Wacom tablet.

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