Walking Taco Bake is a 30-minute weeknight dinner the entire family will love. We've taken the fun from walking tacos and made a quick and easy casserole. Perfect for Taco Tuesday!
Simple ingredients, including ground beef, salsa, and melted cheese, are layered with crunchy corn chips in this easy taco casserole.
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- Why you will love this walking taco bake
- Ingredients to make walking taco casserole dish
- How To Make This Walking Taco Bake
- Taco bake substitutions and additions
- Storage and make ahead directions for taco bake
- What to serve with walking taco casserole recipe
- More delicious casserole recipes
- Quick and Easy Walking Taco Bake with Fritos
When my son was young, we would build tacos in a bag of chips for a fun, quick dinner. The kids loved this meal's simplicity and that it didn't take long to eat. It was the perfect dinner after a ball game, for a neighborhood gathering, or birthday party.
I have made a grown-up version of the walking taco where we aren't in such a hurry to eat. Sit down and enjoy this delicious, easy-to-make Mexican casserole.
Why you will love this walking taco bake
- Quick and easy: You can get this meal on the dinner table in about 30 minutes.
- Cheesy good: Smothered in cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, this cheesy casserole is hard to resist.
- Crowd-pleaser: Everyone loves taco-based meals.
- Adaptable: Change the ingredients to suit your taste; spice it up or make it vegetarian—so many possibilities to go with your favorite taco toppings.
- Versatile: This delicious walking taco casserole can be served as a game day snack, appetizer, or main dish. You can also serve it for Cinco de Mayo or for an easy weeknight dinner.
Ingredients to make walking taco casserole dish
- Ground Beef - Use lean ground beef for the taco meat.
- Taco Seasoning - Store-bought taco seasoning works well, or make your own taco seasoning with this homemade taco seasoning recipe.
- Salsa - Store-bought red salsa or homemade salsa will both work, as will pico de gallo. Or try this homemade salsa.
- Water - This helps to activate the taco seasoning.
- Rotel Tomatoes - Use Rotel diced tomatoes if you can find them. If not, use any brand of diced tomatoes and add a green chili or jalapeno.
- Cheese - Use a combination of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese, or use pepper jack or Colby jack. Any shredded cheese will work.
- Frito Corn Chips - These corn chips add some crunch to the taco bake.
- Sour Cream
- Green Onions
How To Make This Walking Taco Bake
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Drain excess grease and return the beef to the pan. Add taco seasoning, water, salsa, and Rotel tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture begins to thicken, 5 - 8 minutes.
Step 3: Add the beef mixture to a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the ground beef mixture. Add the corn chips over the cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Step 4: Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.
Taco bake substitutions and additions
- Use ground chicken or ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Make it vegetarian and use refried beans, pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans, or add the beans to the meat mixture for a heartier Mexican casserole.
- Add a bit of heat to the ground beef and mix with some chipotle in adobo sauce, jalapeno chili, green chiles, or a touch of chili powder.
- Substitute tortilla chips or Doritos for the Fritos.
- Stir cream cheese into the ground beef for a creamier taco bake.
- Switch out the salsa for enchilada sauce.
- Mix in any Mexican blend cheese if you can't find cheddar or Monterey Jack.
Storage and make ahead directions for taco bake
Fridge: Leftover taco bake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
It is best to store leftovers without the toppings so only add the toppings to what you think you will eat right away. Make sure the casserole has come to room temperature before storing it in the fridge.
Freezer: Yes, you can freezer this casserole. Make an extra and freezer for a quick dinner down the road. Add beef mixture to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge. Put he beef mixture in a casserole dish, add cheese and chips. Casserole will need to bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Make Ahead: If you are making ahead, wait to add the corn chips until you are ready to bake (they will get soggy). You can prepare the first layer of the casserole and then finish it off before you put it in the oven. If making ahead you'll need to bake for 25-30 minutes when coming from the fridge.
Reheat: It's best to reheat this casserole in the air fryer or oven to crisp up the corn chips. They will become soggy and stale-tasting when microwaved.
What to serve with walking taco casserole recipe
Serve refried beans, black beans, Spanish rice, or a simple salad with this taco casserole.
Also called taco in a bag, this recipe name came from the way they are sometimes eaten which is 'walking around.' All the taco ingredients are placed inside the individual bags of Fritos and eaten without a plate.
Walking taco is also called taco in a bag or Frito pie.
If you've been served a walking taco in a bag you just need to grab a fork and eat it. If you make this recipe you can sit down and eat it at your dinner table with a plate along with a fork.
Though similar in ingredients, walking tacos are not the same as nachos. Nachos are usually eaten while sitting down whereas walking tacos are sometimes eaten standing up. Nachos are also a shared dish while walking tacos are individual servings.
More delicious casserole recipes
- Simple Potatoes Breakfast Casserole - Perfect for holiday mornings.
- Leftover BBQ Chicken Casserole - You can't beat this casserole with chicken and BBQ Sauce.
- Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole - This is NOT your ordinary tuna casserole. A must try!
- Hamburger Green Bean Casserole - A hearty dinner that is creamy and delicious!
Quick and Easy Walking Taco Bake with Fritos
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Drain any excess grease and return the beef to the pan. Add, taco seasoning, salsa, and Rotel tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until begins to thicken, 10-15 minutes.2 pounds Ground Beef, 1 packet Taco Seasoning, ½ cup Salsa, 1 can Rotel Tomatoes, ¼ cup Water
- Add the beef mixture to a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the ground beef mixture. Add the corn chips over the cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.1 cup Cheddar Cheese, 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, 4 cup Frito Corn Chips
- Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.Lettuce, Sour Cream, Tomatoes, Green Onions, Cilantro, Jalapenos, Avocado, Salsa