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Quick & Easy Walking Taco Casserole

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If you love tacos, this quick and easy Walking Taco Casserole is a recipe you need.  With only a few simple steps and minimal ingredients, it will become your go-to weeknight dinner that the whole family loves.

Serving walking taco casserole with toppings.
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What is a Walking Taco?

This walking taco casserole recipe is the baked version of walking tacos.  Traditionally walking tacos are a portable meal because taco toppings are added to a small bag of tortilla chips and eaten straight from the bag.

Transforming all of the flavors into an easy taco casserole allows you to simplify the process.  It truly is the perfect easy weeknight meal.

What goes into this recipe

Ingredients needed to make walking taco casserole.
  • Lean Ground Beef:  Go with something that is 90% or more lean so that it doesn’t require much work draining grease.  
  • Rotel:  A combination of tomatoes and green chiles, it is the perfect addition to this recipe.
  • Taco Seasoning Mix:  Grab a couple packets of taco seasoning mix.
  • Cheese:  A good Mexican blend cheese works great because it is a combination of good melting cheeses.  All cheddar cheese would also be fabulous.
  • Chips:  I love to use tortilla chips like a bag of Fritos but Doritos would also work great.  See this Doritos Ground Beef Casserole too.

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Substitutions and Variations

Meat- Use lean ground turkey or ground chicken for the filling.  This would also be a great place to use leftover taco meat.

Rotel-  Add your favorite salsa or salsa verde instead of a can of Rotel.

Taco Seasoning- A couple of packets from the grocery store work great but if you have a good homemade taco seasoning recipe, use it.

Water- If you prefer to use something other than water, go with beef stock or enchilada sauce.

Chips- Fritos are a great option but so are any flavor of Doritos tortilla chips.

Additions- Add a can of black beans, pinto beans or kidney beans to the filling for extra great flavor.  Canned or frozen corn would also be a great addition to the filling.  For a creamy texture, add a brick of cream cheese to the filling and stir until it is melted.  

Topping Ideas

Anything that you love on tacos works as a topping for this easy dinner recipe.

I like to lay out sliced black olives, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, green onions, avocado, sour cream and pico de gallo. 

How to make a Walking Taco Casserole

1. Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain the excess grease and add the Rotel, taco seasoning, water and spices.  Stir until everything is nicely combined and a bit of the water has evaporated {2-3 minutes}.

2. Pour the meat mixture into a 9×13 baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread the meat mixture out into an even layer.

Steps 1 and 2 of making a walking taco casserole. 1, making the ground beef filling. 2, pour filling into prepared dish.

3. Top the seasoned ground beef with an even layer of shredded cheese. and then top with a bag of Fritos chips.

4. Then top with a bag of Fritos chips.

Steps 3 and 4 of making a walking taco casserole. 3, top with shredded cheese. 4, top with Fritos chips.

5. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until you have melty cheese.

6. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.

Steps 5 and 6 of making a walking taco casserole. 5, bake the casserole. 6, serve with taco toppings.

Expert Tips

  • Bake this delicious taco casserole in an oven-safe skillet instead of a baking dish.  This will help with the after dinner clean up and make it an even more convenient dinner recipe.
  • Adjust the spice level of the casserole by using a mild, medium or hot Rotel.  This allows you to customize the dish depending on how much spice you and your family love.
  • Make the dish ahead of time, refrigerate and bake when you are ready to use.  It is always great to have a make ahead dinner.
  • Allow everyone to customize their own serving.  Set out taco toppings and have everyone pile them on a serving of the casserole. You can also do it with this Chicken Taco Casserole.
  • Use a foil pan to make this dish.  Using a foil pan gives you more flexibility.  It also allows you to give this casserole to a friend for a special treat.

Storing, Reheating and Freezing

Store- Leftovers can be covered in plastic wrap in the original casserole dish or stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3 days.

Reheat- To reheat this dish you can use the oven or the microwave.  For the oven, preheat it to 350 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is heated through.  To microwave, place a single serving on a microwave safe plate, cover and heat for 1-2 minutes.

Note:  If you want crispy chips be sure to reheat in the oven because they will soften when they are refrigerated.

Freeze-  This recipe can easily be frozen for up to 3 months.  Be sure to tightly cover the dish before freezing.

RECIPE FAQs

How do I serve a walking taco bake?

This easy casserole is perfect for taco night!  Serve it on taco Tuesday, for Cinco de Mayo or simply for weeknight dinners.  It has your favorite taco flavors, just add your favorite toppings after baking.

Is Frito Pie and walking tacos the same thing?

They are alike in the fact that a lot of the same ingredients are used.  The difference is that walking tacos are served from a bag of chips while a Frito pie is served on a plate.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes!  This is the perfect make ahead recipe.  Assemble the casserole, refrigerate and bake when you are ready.  For extra crispy chips, add them right before baking.

Looking down on a whole baked walking taco casserole.

Do you love easy casserole recipes? Try these…

Did you try this recipe?Leave a ⭐️ review below and tag @practicallyhomemade on Pinterest!

Serving a walking taco casserole.

Quick and Easy Walking Taco Casserole

Take everything you love about a good walking taco and transform it into a quick and easy Walking Taco Casserole that everyone will love.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 582kcal
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 10 ounces Rotel {tomato and green chilies}
  • 2 ounces taco seasoning {2 packets}
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded cheese {Mexican Blend}
  • 9 ¼ ounce bag of Fritos chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  • Begin by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess grease. Add Rotel, taco seasoning, water, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Top with shredded cheese and Fritos corn chips.
  • Bake for 20-25  minutes.  Serve with your favorite taco toppings.   Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • Bake this delicious taco casserole in an oven-safe skillet instead of a baking dish.  This will help with the after dinner clean up and make it an even more convenient dinner recipe.
  • Adjust the spice level of the casserole by using a mild, medium or hot Rotel.  This allows you to customize the dish depending on how much spice you and your family love.
  • Make the dish ahead of time, refrigerate and bake when you are ready to use.  It is always great to have a make ahead dinner.
  • Use a foil pan to make this dish.  Using a foil pan gives you more flexibility.  It also allows you to give this casserole to a friend for a special treat.
  • To reheat this dish you can use the oven or the microwave.  For the oven, preheat it to 350 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is heated through.  To microwave, place a single serving on a microwave safe plate, cover and heat for 1-2 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 1715mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1195IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 279mg | Iron: 5mg
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