Make tonight taco night with this easy and Cheesy Taco Bake recipe.
Ground beef, a creamy salsa mixture, and refried beans are layered to create this cheesy taco bake casserole – a spicy treat any night of the week. This recipe will work great as party food, or for those times when everyone in the family is craving a cheesy Mexican dish for dinner.
Cheesy Taco Bake
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Best Taco Casserole
- Layered with all kinds of goodness, a taco bake like this can take the place of lasagna or a taco salad.
- What’s not to love about beans, seasoned ground beef, cheese, and salsa layered between soft warm tortillas.
- This dish is so flavorful, crispy, tasty, and easy to make.
- Make it Mexican night and serve it with some Mexican corn salad, and some cheese soup.
- For a similar recipe made with crescent dough try this baked taco ring recipe.
Ingredients & Variations
TORTILLAS This soft round bread is the perfect replacement for lasagna noodles. Flour tortillas are the best option for this casserole. However, corn tortillas are a great alternative for those on a gluten-free diet.
FILLING The main protein in this dish is ground beef, seasoned with a little taco seasoning, but this can easily be replaced with some shredded chicken.
For the salsa, use hot, mild, or spicy depending on the desired level of spiciness. Refried beans are generally sold in a can. They are black beans that have been cooked down, salted, and formed into a paste.
CHEESE Pepper jack, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese are delicious additions. Make sure the cream cheese is brought to room temperature, then mix it in until smooth.
Pepper jack is a variation of Monteray Jack, so it can be used as a replacement. It is a semi-soft cheese that melts easily.
TOMATOES Rotel tomatoes are diced tomatoes that have been seasoned and mixed with chili peppers. These have more flavor than a simple can of diced tomatoes.
VARIATIONS Turn this into a baked taco salad, by serving with some shredded lettuce and taco sauce after baking. Or serve it inside a baked tortilla shell!
Top with some guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, or drizzle it with creamy guacamole dressing or zesty cheese sauce! Garnishes like chilies, jalapenos, or green onions will bring out the best in this crowd-pleaser of a dish.
How to Make Taco Bake Casserole
This recipe comes together in stages with three separate layers of goodness. Start by preparing each mixture then layering together before baking.
- Prep the ground beef, cream cheese, and refried bean and salsa mixture in separate dishes.
- Layer all the ingredients with tortillas and top with cheese (per the recipe below).
- Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let the casserole sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Shortcut Tips & Tricks
Individual portions of this Taco Bake can be reheated in the microwave or in the oven.
- In the Microwave: Make sure to use a plate cover or a paper towel on top to keep cleanup to a minimum. Reheat for a minute at a time until heated all the way through.
- In the Oven: Grease a baking dish and sprinkle casserole with extra shredded cheese to freshen it up. Cover with foil and reheat for about 10-15 minutes at 350°F.
More Mexican Inspired Recipes
- Beef Enchiladas – 30 min meal!
- Baked Taco Ring Recipe – only 5 ingredients
- Mexican Dip – delicious hot crockpot dip
- Texas Caviar – loaded with fresh & flavorful ingredients!
Cheesy Taco Bake
- 4 flour tortillas 8 if using smaller fajita style tortillas
- 1 pound ground beef cooked and crumbled
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- ¼ cup water
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temp (2 x 8 ounce packages)
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 can refried beans
- 2 cups pepper jack cheese shredded
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- Cook and crumble ground beef. Add taco seasoning, ¼ cup water, and can of Rotel (including the liquid from the can).
- Heat until liquid has mostly boiled down, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth. Add salsa and mix until combined. Set aside.
- Heat refried beans in a saucepan and add ½ cup salsa/cream cheese mixture until thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Coat a 9 x 13 pan with non stick cooking spray.
- Spread ⅓ cup of ground beef mixture along bottom of baking dish. Top with 2-4 flour tortillas.
- Layer half the bean mixture, half the salsa mixture, half the ground beef mixture, and half the cheese (in that order).
- Layer 2-4 flour tortillas. Top with remaining bean mixture, salsa mixture, and ground beef.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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This recipe was AMAZING! I made this meal for my monthly meal swap, which is always a little scary to try a new recipe on 4 families, plus mine! I’m hoping that it tastes just as good after being frozen (prior to baking.) Trying to make a healthier version, I used extra lean ground turkey, Mission “Low Carb Balance” tortillas, low fat cream cheese and reduced fat shredded cheeses. It was outstanding! I will definitely make this again, 100%!
Sounds delicious Heather, glad you enjoyed it!
This is a standard in my rotation. I always double the recipe and make 2. It freezes so well. I portion it out for lunches or dinners when in a pinch. We love it. Thank you
So happy to hear that Jennifer!
We make these but use tortilla chips instead of tortillas. it makes it easier to eat and much tastier. we also put a garnish of cut up tomatoes on top. Taco casserole it’s called at my house !
That sounds delicious Lisa, thanks for sharing!
Loved this!! Made just as you said. Just wondering how it would be to freeze it after it is cooked??
Hi Carol, I would package individual servings in an airtight containers and reheat until heated through. Enjoy!
Can I skip the refried beans
Hi Gail, we have only made this recipe as listed but it should be fine to omit the refried beans.
Made this for a pot luck at work it was all gone very good and cheesy
I dont really ever comment on recipes that i find online but this is an exception. This Taco Bake was fantasic! Kid approved as well. I fed it my nieces and nephew. Age 12, 8, and almost 2 and they all loved it and wanted more. They even asked if they could take some home. It was a hit! I will definitely be adding this to the rotation.
I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS RECIPE.
Have you ever used corn tortillas to make it gluten free?
What do you think the calorie count is for this dish?
just made it tonight and it was a hit….very good….i used the mexican rotel which added xtra flavor and a onion with the hamburger meat as well….didnt do the pepperjack cheese thought the meat and salsa made it plenty spicey….thanks for the recipe!
So on the taco bake u out taco meat down then the shells or is that out of order in the instructions?