Walking Taco Casserole with Fritos is a winning dish for a busy weeknight meal, combining ease and deliciousness in the ultimate comfort food.
This Mexican-inspired dish takes all the beloved flavors of a classic walking taco recipe and transforms them into an amazing dinner casserole in under 30 minutes.
Why Taco Casserole with Fritos is a Must-Try!
- Simple & Easy: This recipe is straightforward and quick, perfect for busy nights. It’s all about convenience without compromising taste.
- Variations: This taco casserole recipe is just one way to make this dish. Add drained black beans, corn, or any number of Mexican ingredients to boost the flavor and heartiness.
- Ground beef and Diced onion
- a packet of taco seasoning mix
- Cream cheese, cubed
- Diced green chilies
- Frito corn chips
- Shredded cheddar cheese (we also like a Mexican cheese blend)
- Favorite toppings: Chopped Roma tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa
- Oven-proof skillet (like a cast iron pan). If you do not have one, make the meat mixture on the stove and then transfer it to a baking dish before adding the final chips and cheese layer.
While not listed as an ingredient, the taco meat goes great with various drained and rinsed beans. Try adding!
How to make Walking Taco Casserole
This easy-to-make casserole recipe has the same great flavors as a family favorite weeknight dinner taco bake that can be scooped on a plate.
- Preheat the oven: Set your oven to preheat at 350°F.
- Brown Beef and Onion: In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, cook the ground beef and diced onion over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the beef is browned and the onion is translucent.
- Drain and Season: After the beef is cooked, drain the excess fat well and return the meat mixture to the pan. Add the package taco seasoning and thoroughly mix it with the ground meat and onion.
- Add Cream Cheese and Chilies: Stir in the cubed cream cheese and diced green chilies. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted and well integrated into the mixture.
- Prepare for Baking: Remove the skillet from heat. Spread the Frito corn chips evenly over the ground beef mixture, then add a layer of shredded cheese. (if you prefer the cheese on the meat and then add the chips, that is fine too.)
- Bake the Pie: Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Add Toppings and Serve: Remove the skillet from the oven once baked. Top the cheesy casserole with optional ingredients like shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped fresh tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa as desired. Serve while warm and melty.
Enhance Casserole with Favorite Taco Toppings
- Boost of heat: Add a tangy kick with a salsa mixture or a spicy touch with your favorite hot sauce.
- Vegetables: Enhance flavors with black olives, juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, spicy jalapeños, and green chiles. For a citrusy zest, top with lime wedges. Green onions and fresh cilantro add a little color and extra taste to the recipe.
- Experiment with flavor. Mix up taco night with other spices and seasonings like chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, ground cumin, pepper flakes, or even your own blend of homemade Taco seasoning ingredients.
- Plenty of Cheese: If you love cheese (like my entire family does), add an additional cheese layer to the dish or change the types with pepper jack, Mexican blend, Colby Jack, or more cheddar cheese.
These toppings, sauces, and vegetables, along with adding more cheese, allow you to customize your taco casserole, creating a flavor-packed, enjoyable Mexican recipe.
What Is A Walking Taco?
A walking taco recipe is a fun, easy, and mess-free way to enjoy taco flavors anytime, anywhere, using a simple bag of chips as the base.
- Concept: A walking taco is a clever, portable snack that combines taco flavors with on-the-go convenience. Enjoy it with a fork; perfect for walking or moving around at a party or campout.
- Ingredients: It’s made by adding taco fillings like meat, beans, cheese, and veggies into an individual bag of Fritos or Doritos. The chip bag serves as a convenient, no-mess container that can be tossed when done.
Walking Taco Casserole vs Frito Pie
Two beloved Tex-Mex dishes, taco casserole and Frito pie, feature crunchy chips but differ in ingredients and preparation, offering two different but equal dinners. When it comes to Taco Tuesday, there is no going wrong.
Frito Pie is a Tex-Mex classic, layering canned chili, cream cheese, and optional toppings like jalapenos or sour cream. It’s a perfect choice for game days and is often served as a dip with corn tortilla chips or fritos.
On the other hand, Walking Taco Casserole combines taco-seasoned ground beef, green chilies, and crunchy corn Fritos with melted cheese to make a complete meal.
How to store leftover taco casserole
This dish is best eaten FRESH because of the chips on top. However, if soft chips do not bother you, here is how to preserve those leftovers.
- Cool Down: Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature. This prevents condensation inside the storage container, which can make the hearty casserole soggy.
- Choose a container: Use an airtight container to store the leftover casserole. If your casserole was baked in an oven-safe dish with a lid, you can use that. Otherwise, transfer the leftovers to a container that can be sealed tightly.
- Refrigeration: Place the container in the refrigerator. Leftover taco casserole can be safely stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- I suggest removing the chip topping and adding fresh chips if possible. The coldness of the fridge will soften the chips, and they will be less appetizing.
Can this dish be made with chicken?
Try our Frito Chicken Casserole recipe if you want to switch to chicken.