This easy Taco Casserole will dazzle your taste buds and definitely be requested often in your house!
Taco Casserole has all of the spicy flavor combinations you love from classic taco recipes, mellowed perfectly with cream cheese and cheddar cheese. And the best part? It has a surprise crust made with Doritos for a totally delicious and unexpected flavor!
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Taco Casserole – A Family Favorite
Creating a taco bar is always a fun and delicious way to bring your family together at mealtime! But sometimes time is tight and you need something that delivers on taste but is short on prep. And for times like these, this taco casserole with cream cheese definitely fits the bill!
Ingredients and Variations:
This dish is special not only because of its great blend of spicy and mellow flavors but also because you can “customize” it in various ways.
MEAT Create a chicken taco casserole by replacing the ground beef with ground, diced, or shredded chicken breast. Chicken thighs will work well too, or try ground turkey for a lean option.
CRUST Doritos form the base for this casserole, but you can use plain tortillas or even try other flavored tortilla chips!
SALSA The variety of salsa you use, mild, hot, chunky, salsa verde, is totally up to you based on your taste and desired level of heat.
CHEESE Colby or Monterey Jack cheese can replace the cheddar cheese, and since there’s already some spiciness in the taco seasoning and salsa, you can even use a milder cheese like mozzarella and still have lots of flavor.
TOPPINGS We love lettuce and tomatoes for this casserole, but don’t stop there! Peppers, beans, olives, avocado, green onion, and jalapenos are all delicious toppings that everyone loves.
How To Make Taco Casserole
This easy Dorito Taco Casserole has 4 simple layers. Finish off with as many toppings as you like for the perfect meal!
- Spread crushed Doritos on the bottom of baking dish.
- Layer cooked ground beef over top (per recipe below).
- Blend together the cream cheese and salsa then spread over top.
- Top with shredded cheese and bake until hot and bubbly!
This yummy casserole dish is sure to satisfy all the hungry tummies around your table!
What Do You Serve With Taco Casserole
Taco night is always a great idea! Serving this taco casserole with other tex mex favorites like chicken enchiladas and grilled corn guacamole is a fun way to feed a hungry crew. You can always serve this delicious casserole with tortillas on the side, with rice, or even with noodles — all of which make for a hearty and delicious meal!
- Have all ingredients prepared and ready! Assembly will be a snap!
- Grease the bottom of your casserole dish before adding crushed nacho chips.
- Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature for easier blending.
- The cream cheese mixture may be a little thick, so spoon it over the ground beef mixture and then spread it out as evenly as possible.
More Taco Meat Recipes!
- Taco Shepherds Pie – so delicious
- Spaghetti Tacos Recipe – another family favorite!
- Taco Salad Bowls with Creamy Avocado Dressing – easy lunch
- Biscuit Taco Pockets – kids love these!
- Taco Ring Recipe – easy to make, fun to eat.
- 1 pound ground beef cooked and crumbled
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 2 cups Doritos crushed
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temp
- ½ cup salsa
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded and divided
- 2 cups lettuce shredded
- 2 tomatoes diced
- Grease a 9x13" baking dish and add the crushed Doritos to the bottom of the pan.
- Cook ground beef and add taco seasoning as directed on the package. Spread over Dorito layer.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth, slowly add in salsa. Spoon over ground beef layer and smooth out evenly.
- Top with 1 ½ cups shredded cheese. Bake at 350˚F for 25-30 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.
- Garnish with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and remaining ½ cup cheese.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
©The Shortcut Kitchen. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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I’ve made this recipe and it’s always a hit. Thank you for sharing this recipe
I’ve tried a lot of different Taco casserole dishes and this one was by far the best!! The cream cheese and salsa really made the dish!!
Thank you for sharing!!
You’re welcome Janice, so happy to hear that you love this taco casserole!
Can I make this ahead. Assemble and freeze it?
Hi Denise, This casserole should be fine to freeze. The Doritos may not be as crunchy once frozen and then baked but it should still be delicious. I would not recommend freezing the shredded lettuce and tomato topping though.
My husband wasn’t a fan of the cream cheese mixture. What could I substitute for the cream cheese?
I’ve only made this recipe as written, but other readers have replaced the cream cheese with ricotta, sour cream, or tomato sauce. Let us know if you try replacing the cream cheese Cheryl!
To make the cream cheese spread a little easier, add about 1/8 cup of milk as you’re beating it. Diced onions in the cream cheese is another tasty add on.
My mom made a casserole like this when i was growing up! We loved it but my husband does not… the only difference was that my moms recipe called for fiesta nacho cheese soup diluted with milk. So when i came across this recipe using cream cheese and salsa i had to try it! It was even better than the one i grew up with! My 3 boys loved it and most importantly my hubby liked it too!! I’m so glad i came across your version! We will be making again!!
Oh yay! So happy to hear you won your hubby over Jennifer!!
Turned out awesome! I followed the recipe exactly.
So happy you enjoyed the casserole Summer!
This was excellent! We followed the recipe exactly and we will be making it again! My husband loved it as well! Thank you
Yay! So happy to hear that Kasey!
I would be concerned that if you set this out for a party that the chips would get soggy …what do you think?
Hi Sue, the chips are baked into the casserole which does soften them a bit. But we didn’t find that this recipe got soggy before it was eaten.
This was delicious! I changed a few things though. I added in corn and black beans. Also, instead of mixing the salsa with cream cheese, i just mixed it with some sour cream and spread it on. It came out so tasty! Thanks for this easy recipe!
Those sounds like delicious additions Ashley!
Really love this recipe. I didn’t have any salsa but did have pico de Gallo.. turned out really well. I also did not use water when mixing the taco seasoning and cooked at 325.. the Doritos were crisp which was what I was looking for
Sounds delicious Sara! Thank you for sharing.
Not very often do I find a Recipe that the Whole Family Loves! Now that my Children are grown I more than ever treasure Meals that can bring them home for Dinner!!
So glad you love this taco casserole! We do to!
Love this recipe! I doubled the recipe in the 9×13 pan and it came out great.
I like that only a few ingredients are needed. My sister had leftovers a few days later and immediately wanted the recipe. 🙂
I’m so glad that you love the recipe, and that your sister did too Debbie!
Then why did you only give it 4 stars?
I am cracking up reading about people cooking the lettuce! Anyway….I am going to try this recipe and substitute the Doritos for regular tortilla chips. This sounds like a really good taco salad recipe!!!
The flavors are great but it seemed a little dry…my husband & I both agreed. Maybe doubling the cream cheese sauce or adding a small can of Rotel tomatoes??
I haven’t found it dry, so agree that adding extra cream or delicious Rotel could help add extra moisture if you prefer! Thank you for stopping by Candi!
I made mine with two 24 oz porterhouse steaks cooked medium. Two twicebaked potatoes, used a light spring mix salad with bacon, honey goat cheese, and cashews. It was wonderful thanks for the great idea!!!!!!!
I felt the same way about the lettuce and surprisingly it was still very crispy and nice. Not soggy like i expected. Loved it so much. I also added black beans and corn. Was a very big hit last weekend. Def a super bowl dish
So glad to hear you loved it!
You don’t add the lettuce until AFTER it has been baked. Most likely WHEN you’re ready to eat. READ the recipe. Geesh!
That looks awesome will definitely be trying it this week for the kids. After reading the comments i just have to point out that step 6. Never says to put the dish back into the oven to kill the lettuce who would do that??? Thanks Holly
I put lettuce and tomato and cheese on and leave it in and let the cheese melt and the lettuce start to wilt ever so slightly. It’s really good!
Sounds delicious Traci!
Made this tonight, my husband and I loved it.
You add the leuuce and tomatoes after it comes out ot the oven.
So glad you loved it
Great sounding -and easy too! I am looking for easy, simple and good recipes for one of the teachers that I work with.. She is having her second child (another boy) in September and I would like to make her some dishes for when she comes home. Additionally, I want to give her some easy recipes to make herself after she and the new baby gets settled with her 5 year old and husband. And/or for some of the other teachers, as well as myself to prepare, but not bake/cook -so she can store in the freezer and take out and bake or microwave when ready to have.
Do you think this is one that can be frozen (either baked before or after baking) and bake and heat when they want to eat -or since it has the lettuce; maybe just let it be one baked and take to her to eat before freezing? Thanks, Pat
I make this all of the time! I don’t measure anything out exactly. I like a little extra Doritos, and don’t use as much cream cheese. I cook it with the lettuce and tomatoes, and it’s still very good!
If a recipe reads two cups of chips, crushed. Then you measure first and then crush them.
If it would say…….two cups of crushed chips then you would crush and then measure. This
rule applies to all recipes.
I’m making this tonight for dinner, but also will be adding the lettuce, tomatoes and olives after baking. I don’t like warm wilted lettuce.
I made it without the cream cheese and just used a can of tomato sauce for moisture. No sour cream either. Layered the cheese, then I added the Doritos to the top, baked and then added the lettuce and tomatoes after.
Tasted like a Dorito Taco 🙂 Great
Sounds Delish, im going to try it, will let you know later…Thanks for the Recipe …
I put more doritos than it says 2 cups I put half bag then crunch it easily.. As doritos does get soggy after sit it little too long I like it more crunchy. Or I did cook it with out the doritos as a crush and use doritos as a dip.
As a vegetarian I would swap the ground beef for black beans and season to my own liking. I don’t care for the soy meat substitute stuff. Sounds yummy otherwise!
i added onions,bell pepper,bake it without the lettuce and tomatoes added them after,was good
Well, when you buy a taco pizza the lettuce and tomatoes are usually warm. I never really minded it. If I could find a decent place here in the West Valley of Phoenix to get a taco pizza, I might ask them to NOT cook them. (Any Arizonians on here with location suggestions?)
I don’t use lettuce anymore; I swap lettuce with fresh spinach. Get the health benefits of spinach since lettuce pretty much is just a filler, and spinach is tasty as well. I’m going to be making this for sure. Thanks for the recipe!
I like cold lettuce too. can you add it after?
Read the recipe. You add lettuce, tomatoes & remaining cheese once you take it out of the oven. You don’t cook the lettuce. lol
I substituted Ricotta cheese for the cream cheese, because I had it on hand. It makes for a lighter dish. I took advice of other posters and sprinkled cold lettuce and tomatoes onto the casserole pieces as I served them. What I would do differently make the meat more juicy, by adding more water than my seasoning mix called for, and putting the meat and doritos in the oven for 10 minutes, then add the cheese/salsa mix, shredded cheese, and yes, sliced black olives as shown in the picture, and cook an additional 15 minutes ’til the cheese melts. Very tasty dish and I will make it again.
so do you crush the doritos and then measure 2 cups, or do you first measure 2 cups and then crush them – or does it matter? It’s my dinner tonite and I’ll have to make a guess if no one answers – I’ll opt for a generous 2 cups then crush, but not crush too much! TIA
OMG! I just made this for dinner and wow it is sooo good!!! Yumm thanks
I have to agree with Andrea…but I prefer cold lettuce over warm on any dish. In fact, I think I will add the lettuce and tomato after it is cooked. It sounds delicious:-) Thank you for the recipe!
You don’t cook it with the lettuce on it. Re-read the recipe. You top with cheese and bake. Once it’s done, you add the lettuce, tomatoes & remaining cheese.
Omg…. can people not freaking read? Everybody thinks they’re supposed to cook the damn lettuce! It says CLEARLY to add after cooking. I want to pull my hair out!
You cook the lettuce? That doesn’t seem right.
It doesn’t say that. After you have melted the cheese, you add the lettuce, tomatoes and more cheese and eat.