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Walking Taco Casserole


posted: 07/17/21

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Walking Taco Casserole takes your favorite picnic food and turns it into a delicious casserole that is perfect for a family dinner.

overhead of a casserole dish of walking taco casserole

In our house, taco night could be every night and we would be very happy. If your family is like that, you will love this delicious spin on walking tacos. In this recipe we take all the fixings for walking tacos and put it into a taco casserole everyone will love.

Make sure you check out my section below on substitutions and variations so you can tweak this exactly to your family’s liking.

How to Make Walking Taco Casserole

  1. Sauté the vegetables. We are adding a green bell pepper and an onion to this dish. Give them a good sauté over medium heat until they are soft.
  2. Brown the ground beef. Add it to the skillet and once it is browned, drain the fat and add in taco seasoning.
  3. Put the casserole together. Add the beef and vegetables to a 9 by 13 inch pan with pinto beans, salsa, diced tomatoes, and diced chilies. Top with corn chips and cheese.
  4. Bake the casserole. After baking, top with any additional taco toppings that your family enjoys.
walking taco casserole recipe on two small white plates

Walking Taco Casserole Toppings

When making this, the sky is really the limit in terms of what you want to add on top. It is best with some toppings. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

We love our recipe for homemade taco seasoning and have used nothing but that for years now. The recipe that I have comes in two sizes.

The small batch will replace a packet of taco seasoning that you buy at the grocery store and is the amount called for in most of my recipes.

The larger batch is perfect to make once and have on hand to use all the time. When making the larger batch, pull out three tablespoons of seasoning to replace the packet.

close up of taco casserole in a baking dish

Substitutions and Variations

One of my favorite things about taco night is that everyone can make their dinner exactly to their liking. Just like with traditional chicken tacos, this Walking Taco Casserole can be mixed up and changed to be made to your liking.

  • Swap the ground beef for ground turkey. My family usually prefers ground turkey, and that is fine to use in this recipe. You will likely just need to add in an extra tablespoon of olive oil in the beginning.
  • Take out the diced tomatoes. If you have someone in your house who doesn’t like tomato chunks, used crushed tomatoes here instead.
  • Leave out the green bell pepper. If you, or someone in your family, is sensitive to bell peppers, just leave them out.
  • Change the pinto beans for black beans.
  • Leave off the corn chips. One of the things that makes a walking taco a walking taco is serving it in a bag of corn chips. That being said, if you don’t like them, they can be completely left off of this recipe and you still have a great casserole.

Making Ahead

If you would like to make this recipe ahead of time, you can make it up until the point that you are adding the corn chips and cheese. Cover the prepared casserole dish and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake it, take it out of the refrigerator, top it with corn chips and then cheese and put it in the oven uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes.


Having frozen casseroles that you can pull out and pop in the oven is such a time saver! To freeze this casserole, make it in a disposable casserole dish. That way you do not risk breaking your beautiful glass or ceramic baking dish by taking it right from the cold freezer and putting it in the hot oven.

  • Make the casserole up through the point of putting the ingredients in the casserole dish. Do not top with chips and cheese.
  • Wrap three times with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for up to three months.
  • When you are ready to bake it, take it out of the freezer and put it into an oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven, top with chips and cheese and put it back into the oven until the cheese is nice and melted, about 10 minutes.
close up of taco casserole recipe on two small white plates

Other Taco Night Favorites

Looking to take taco night further? I have you covered.

  • My Taco Pizza is a huge hit with the kids. I know they are going to love this in your house too.
  • Our one pan Taco Casserole makes clean up an absolute breeze!
  • My Taco Stuffed Shells combine two of our favorites – taco night and pasta!

If you make this Walking Taco Casserole or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead of a casserole dish of walking taco casserole
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Walking Taco Casserole

Serves: 6 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Walking Taco Casserole takes your favorite picnic food and turns it into a delicious casserole that is perfect for a family dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning or a 1 ounce packed from the grocery store
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes drained
  • 4 ounces green chiles drained
  • 15 ounces pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups corn chips
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup lettuce shredded


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat the olive oil.
  • Add the onion and green bell pepper and cook until softened, about four minutes.
  • Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the fat from the pan and then stir in the taco seasoning.
  • To the prepared baking dish add the beef and vegetables, pinto beans, salsa, diced tomatoes, and diced chiles. Mix to combine and then spread to an even layer. Top with Fritos. Cover with cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
overhead of a casserole dish of walking taco casserole

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Walking Taco Casserole

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Ruthann Childress says

    I love all your recipes and plan on doing more also do u have any mixed drinks recipe thank u for your great recipes that others can enjoy

    • Lisa Longley says

      We have a whole website dedicated to fun cocktails. You can find it here: ShakeDrinkRepeat.com

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners