This Taco Casserole recipe is such a fun and easy way to do taco night! It’s made with layers of tortilla strips, turkey, beans, corn, green chiles, tomatoes and salsa, all topped with plenty of cheese and baked to perfection. This Mexican casserole dish has become a go-to dinner option because my family can’t get enough of it!

serving of taco casserole on a white plate served with salsa and diced avocado

Fabulously amazing recipe! Just awesome! It’s super easy to put together and has become a favorite at home. Thanks so much for sharing! <3

— Anne

Looking for an easy man-child-family-everyone-friendly dinner? Well, look no further. This taco bake recipe is one of those easy weeknight meals that the entire family gets excited about when they see it come out of the oven, all steamy and cheesy and gooey.

I made this version of my favorite Mexican casserole a little lighter by using ground turkey and reduced fat cheese. I also packed it full of other nutritious, tasty ingredients, like black beans, tomatoes, corn and salsa.

We actually enjoy this healthier version of taco bake so much more than the original! It’s perfectly spicy, cheesy and satisfying without being too greasy and heavy. Add some Mexican rice and guacamole on the side and you’ll have a meal that will earn you rave reviews.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Simple ingredients. This recipe only requires everyday ingredients that are mostly pantry staples, inexpensive, and easy to find. They all cook together to make this incredibly tasty taco bake.
  • Delicious flavors. You have all the flavors of tacos but in layered casserole form! When combined, seasoned meat, Mexican spices, tortillas, and melty cheese create an amazing dish that you won’t be able to stop eating.
  • Family favorite. Everyone loves a cheesy casserole! Kids too! This recipe is sure to become one of your family’s most requested weeknight meals.

Ingredients needed

Taco casserole includes all of the typical ingredients that are found in most Mexican dishes. It’s really versatile too! You can easily change the ingredients based on your taste preferences. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lean ground turkey. We like to use lean ground turkey for this recipe, but any ground meat will work great. However, be aware that if you’re using ground beef with higher fat content, you’ll want to drain off any excess grease after it’s cooked.
  • Spices. For delicious Mexican flavor, we’re using a taco seasoning blend of chili powder, ground cumin and salt. If you’d like a bit of heat, add in a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
  • Black beans. Black beans give this recipe a tasty boost of protein and fiber. Sub with kidney, chili, or pinto beans, if you’d like.
  • Green chiles. Use medium or mild green chiles for a little kick of heat and boost of flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes. I highly recommend fire roasted diced tomatoes rather than regular diced tomatoes because they’re much more flavorful.
  • Corn. We typically use frozen corn, and there’s no need to thaw. Canned or fresh will work too.
  • Salsa. Use any favorite salsa, but be aware if you use a “hot” salsa, it could make this dish pretty spicy.
  • Tortillas. We use corn tortillas in this casserole because they are lighter and my family prefers them. However, feel free to use flour tortillas instead. Use gluten free tortillas as needed.
  • Cheese. Any favorite shredded cheese works great. We like cheddar, pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese in this recipe. Reduced fat cheese is great, if you’d like to decrease the fat and calories.
  • Optional for serving. We like to serve this with sour cream or Greek yogurt, sliced avocado or guacamole, salsa and tortilla chips

How do you make this recipe

This Mexican casserole seriously could not be easier to throw together! Here’s the simple process:

For the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Brown the meat. This recipes starts with browning the ground turkey. I like to use the 93-96% lean ground turkey. It is plenty flavorful without being too dry.
  • Add the spices & veggies. Once your meat is close to being browned, stir in the spices. Then, add the beans, green chilies, diced tomatoes, and corn; stir to combine.
  • Layer time! Spread turkey mixture on the bottom of your baking dish. Top with a heavy sprinkle of cheese and four tortilla strips. Repeat this process three times until all of the ground turkey has been used. After laying on your last tortilla strips, spread the salsa over top along with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake. Place the casserole in the oven and bake until it’s bubbling and the cheese is melted, then serve with your favorite taco toppings.

Tips for recipe success

  • Serving a crowd? This casserole can easily be doubled and made in a 9×13″ casserole dish.
  • If you have the time, we recommend grating your own cheese. The bagged pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-caking agents and just don’t melt as smoothly.
  • You can serve your casserole as-is, or add some yummy toppings such as diced tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, guacamole or sliced black olives or jalapeños.
  • This meat blend is wonderful served over lettuce as a taco salad or as tacos!

Variations

This casserole is very versatile and works well with many different ingredients, depending on what you have on hand and what you’re craving. You can easily customize this recipe to your family’s preferences. Here’s some options:

  • Crushed tortilla chips. Try using crushed tortilla chips rather than tortillas.
  • Meat options. Instead of using lean ground turkey, you can certainly use lean ground beef, ground chicken or bison, if you prefer.
  • Add-ins. You can leave any of the ingredients out or swap them for another favorite Mexican ingredient. For example, leave the black beans out or swap them for diced onion and/or red bell pepper. There are endless options!
  • Spicy. You control the heat in this dish depending on what salsa you choose. Be sure to leave out the cayenne pepper and use a mild salsa if your family is sensitive to spice.

Frequently asked questions

What do you eat with taco bake?

We love to enjoy this taco casserole with our favorite taco toppings and other Mexican sides! Sometimes I make a light, fresh green salad with chopped tomato, diced avocado and this chipotle ranch. Just don’t forget the homemade salsa and skinny margarita!

Can you make taco meat ahead of time?

The taco meat can be made a couple of days ahead of time. You can also prep all of the toppings and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can make the entire casserole in advance. Assemble all the layers, then cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for up to one day. When it’s dinner time, follow the baking instructions as written in the recipe, but add 10 to 15 additional minutes to the baking time, since you’ll be starting with a cold casserole.

How many calories are in a taco casserole?

Calories will vary a bit, depending on the exact ingredients used. However, this recipe has less than 350 calories per serving with a whopping 34 grams of protein, and there are 6 servings.

Storing leftovers

  • Store leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and are best within 4 to 5 days.
  • Reheat in a microwave or an oven heated to 350°F until warmed through.

Tip: Leftover taco casserole is delicious as a dip with tortilla chips or as a filling for burritos and crunch wraps!

Freezing

  • Baked taco casserole freezes well and can be stored for up to 3 months.
  • To enjoy after freezing, let it defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat in a microwave or an oven heated to 350°F until warmed through.
taco casserole topped with fresh cilantro and sliced jalapeño

This is a great recipe to have for those busy nights when you don’t have a ton of time to get dinner on the table. It’s a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults! I hope y’all enjoy this dinner as much as my family did!

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

serving of taco casserole on a white plate served with salsa and diced avocado
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Taco Casserole

This taco casserole recipe is such a tasty way to do taco night! It's made with layers of tortillas, turkey, beans, and veggies, and topped with cheese.
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black, pinto or chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 1 cup frozen corn (don't worry about thawing)
  • 2-3 corn or flour tortillas, cut into 1″ strips (I used corn)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat Mexican blend cheese or cheddar cheese
  • Optional for serving: sour cream or Greek yogurt, sliced avocado or guacamole, salsa and tortilla chips

Instructions 

  • Spray a 9×9″ square casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground turkey. Brown turkey, breaking up the bits and pieces with a spatula. When turkey has browned (but hasn’t quite cooked all the way through yet), add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
  • Add beans, green chilies, fire roasted diced tomatoes, and corn to the turkey. Stir well and continue to cook until turkey is completely done and everything is warmed through. Then, remove from heat.
  • Spread a layer of the ground turkey mixture on the bottom of the casserole pan. Top with a heavy sprinkle of cheese and four of the tortilla strips. Repeat this process three times until all of the ground turkey has been used. After laying on your last four tortilla strips, spread the salsa over the top along with the remaining cheese.
  • Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Cheese will be melted and bubbling. When casserole comes out of the oven, let sit for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite taco toppings!

Notes

Storing Leftovers:
  • Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and are best if used within 4 to 5 days.
  • Reheat in a microwave or an oven heated to 350°F until warmed through.
Tip: Leftover taco casserole is delicious as a dip with tortilla chips or as a filling for burritos and crunch wraps!
Photos by Sasha at Eat Love Eats.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 812mg, Potassium: 701mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 803IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 387mg, Iron: 4mg

Did you make this recipe?

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