Walking Taco Casserole Recipe

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Walking taco casserole is the perfect dish to make for Cinco de Mayo, or really for anytime that you want a quick and easy dinner on the table in under 30 minutes! It’s a layered casserole dish with seasoned ground beef, melted cheese, Frito corn chips, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.

Easy Walking Taco Casserole

I love all the tacos (have you tried our chicken tings tacos or our BBQ chicken tacos yet? They’re both SO good!). I especially love hard tacos, with that delicious crunchy shell.

The thing is that I always find myself needing a fork after I’m done eating my hard tacos. They break and then all my filling falls out, and then I’m left scooping it up to eat. This recipe just cuts right to the chase and it’s great!

The corn chips soften just slightly with the heat and gooeyness of the cheese, which gives you just the right amount of crunch. All of the flavors you think of when you think about tacos are in every bite.

Not only that, but you can have dinner on the table in under half an hour, and everyone loved it so much that there were no leftovers. YES, please!

A serving of walking taco casserole on a plate with dollops of salsa and sour cream.

What Is A Walking Taco?

A walking taco is simply adding all of your favorite taco ingredients to an individual bag of either Fritos or Doritos. Then you eat it with a fork, and you can eat it while you walk around – thus the name walking tacos! It’s a great party food that that people can easily customize. This recipe takes that concept and makes it even easier by making it into a taco casserole.

Walking taco casserole in a cast iron skillet.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I highly recommend making your own taco seasoning because it’s so much more flavorful. For our seasoning blend, we’re using chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, and oregano. If you’d rather use premade taco seasoning, this amount in this recipe can be swapped 1:1 for a store bought packet of taco seasoning.

Homemade taco seasoning ingredients labeled on a white plate.

Ingredients

In addition to the homemade taco seasoning, you’ll also need ground beef (I prefer 90% lean ground beef for this recipe), onion, RO-TEL, cheddar cheese, corn chips (I used Fritos), jalapeno, shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, and salsa.

Walking taco toppings on a cutting board.

How To Make Taco Casserole With Fritos

Start by browning the ground beef with the onion in an oven-safe skillet. Once it’s browned, mix in the taco seasoning, RO-TEL, and water.

A process collage showing sauteing ground beef taco meat with chopped onion.

Top the ground beef with shredded cheese and bake it until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

A process collage showing melting cheese on ground beef taco meat.
A close up picture showing cheddar cheese melted on ground beef taco meat.

Remove the casserole from the oven and top it with all of the prepped toppings. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

A process collage showing adding corn chips and toppings to walking taco casserole.

Optional Adaptations

This recipe is seriously SO delicious, but there are a few different things you can try if you’d like. Some popular adaptations are:

  • Use Doritos or tortilla chips instead of Fritos.
  • Add refried beans or black beans to the meat.
  • Swap the cheddar cheese for Monterey jack cheese or a Mexican cheese blend.
  • Use shredded chicken instead of ground beef.
  • Swap the RO-TEL for some of our easy healthy enchilada sauce.
  • Make ground turkey taco meat instead of using ground beef.
  • Add sliced black olives.
  • If you have the time, make some homemade restaurant style salsa, or some fresh pico de gallo, instead of using store bought salsa.
A close up picture of walking taco casserole.

Storing Leftovers

If you think you’re going to have leftovers, I’d recommend waiting to garnish the portion that you’ll be saving until you’re ready to serve it. Store the cooked meat and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and store the toppings in separate containers until you’re ready to serve.

To heat it up, warm it up in a skillet on the stove, or warm it up in the microwave, then top it with the corn chips and toppings, and serve. If it’s stored properly, it’s a GREAT recipe for meal prep!

A serving of walking taco casserole on a white plate.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image of walking taco casserole with title text.

Mexican-Inspired Recipes

If you like this Tex-Mex and Mexican-inspired recipes, be sure to check out our entire Mexican and Latin recipes section! Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 5 servings

BEST Walking Taco Casserole Recipe

The best walking taco casserole recipe.

Walking taco casserole is the perfect dish to make for Cinco de Mayo, or anytime you want a quick and easy dinner in under 30 minutes!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

Ingredients

Taco Seasoning: *

  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Taco Casserole:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 can original RO-TEL original (undrained) ***
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups corn chips

Toppings:

  • 1 jalapeno (optional - depending on spice preference, 1/2 sliced and 1/2 diced)
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 green onions (sliced)
  • 2 Tablespoons diced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the taco seasoning ingredients together.
  3. Heat a large oven safe skillet over medium heat ****. Once hot, add in the ground beef and onions, and cook until the beef is browned (about 10 minutes). Drain off the excess fat from the beef.
  4. Mix in the homemade taco seasoning, water, and RO-TEL. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and bake for about 10 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and bubbly).
  5. While the casserole is in the oven, prep the toppings for serving.
  6. After you remove the casserole from the oven, add the corn chips on top of the melted cheese. Garnish with the lettuce, tomato, green onions, jalapeno slices, sour cream *****, and salsa.

Notes

*I highly recommend making your own taco seasoning because it’s so much more flavorful. If you’d rather use premade taco seasoning, this amount will swap 1:1 for a store bought package of taco seasoning.

**This chili powder is a spice blend sold in the USA and Canada. It’s not the same thing as chili powder sold in the UK or other parts of the world, which is just pure ground chilis.

***If you don't want the spice from the RO-TEL you can omit it, but you’ll need to replace it with either an extra 1/4 cup of water or 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce. Add it to the beef at the same time as you add the seasoning.

****If you don't have an oven safe skillet, cook the beef in a large nonstick pan, then transfer the beef mixture into an 11 x 7 casserole dish, and then continue on with the instructions.

*****To drizzle the sour cream on top the way it looks in the photos, place it in a sandwich bag, then cut off a small piece of one of the corner tips. You can then squeeze the sour cream through that hole on top of the casserole.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1/5

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 636Total Fat: 40.9gCarbohydrates: 29.7gFiber: 5.3gSugar: 7.8gProtein: 38.8g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Tag @KeyToMyLime on Instagram so we can see your delicious meal!

If you’re looking for a truly quick and easy ground beef casserole that everyone will look forward to, this walking taco casserole recipe is one you have to try!

The best walking taco casserole recipe.

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