This Walking Taco Casserole is a quick & easy dinner recipe that is on your table in 30 minutes or less. This layered taco bake features nacho cheese tortilla chips (Doritos), along with everything you love about tacos all in one pan! It's sure to become a weeknight meal your family will love.
What Is A Walking Taco?
If you've ever been to a kid's birthday party, graduation party or school sports concession stand in the Midwest, you've probably tried a walking taco.
All the goodness of Mexican tacos like seasoned ground beef, beans, cheese, are piled into a personal-sized bag of crushed tortilla chips and topped with veggies, sour cream and salsa. They are a delicious and portable meal that both kids and adults love!
While the idea of being portable is convenient, walking tacos in casserole form is a great option for a weeknight meal at home. It contains all the components of tacos that you love, all in one pan!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- 30 minute meal - Have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less with this recipe. Perfect for those busy weeknights!
- Customizable - Switch up the toppings or let people top their own servings to satisfy any picky eater!
- Loaded with flavor - Each component of this casserole builds on another to create a dish that is packed with flavor! Make it as mild or spicy as you'd like.
Here are some quick tips for a few of the ingredients. Find a full list of ingredients in the recipe card below!
- Ground beef - Any kind will do. You will drain any excess grease after cooking.
- Black beans - A second form of protein in this casserole. I love having beans with my Mexican food, so I like the combo of both meat and beans in here.
- Salsa - Homemade or store-bought is fine. You choose the level of spice.
- Taco seasoning - I've made my own, but most time the packet at the grocery store is just too easy to pass up.
- Doritos - Or any brand equivalent of nacho cheese tortilla chips. I prefer using these instead of corn chips, or Fritos, as they have more flavor.
- Toppings - Any veggies or other toppings you'd put on a taco can be used. Find a list of suggested toppings further down in this post.
Make the meat filling - Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet until beef is cooked through. Drain excess grease, if needed. Add black beans, green chiles, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir well to combine and heat for a couple minutes until everything is heated through.
Pour filling into the bottom of a 9x13 inch or 3 quart baking dish, and spread out evenly.
Top with chips & cheese - Spread crushed tortilla chips evenly over and meat mixture followed by the shredded cheese.
The easiest way to crush the Doritos is to open the bag and use your hands to crush all the chips inside.
Bake - Bake the casserole uncovered at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Top - Add your desired taco fixings to the top of the casserole and/or leave on the side to let everyone customize their own plates.
I like to top the casserole with veggie toppings and leave any sauces for people to add themselves. How perfect would this recipe be for Cinco de Mayo party?
You could also leave the veggies on the side of everyone to customize their own. Some topping ideas include:
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced tomato
- Black olives
- Jalapeno slices
- Pico de gallo
- Sour cream
- Taco sauce
- More salsa
- Chipotle ranch
The best thing about this taco bake is how customizable it is. Here are some ideas to cater to many different dietary and taste preferences:
- Double the ground beef for an all-meat recipe or sub in ground turkey or chicken!
- To make a vegetarian dish, use 2 cans of either pinto, black beans or canned corn.
- Make your own taco seasoning to adjust the spice and sodium levels to your needs.
- Use a spicier salsa or a specialty one like salsa verde.
- Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, pepper jack or a "Mexican" blend cheese are other cheese options.
- Although there may be cross-contamination during manufacturing, brand name Doritos do not contain gluten. Use certified gluten-free tortilla chips if gluten is an issue.
- Plain tortilla or corn chips could be used instead of Doritos.
The possibilities are endless!
If you are serving fewer people and assume you'll have leftovers, leave a section of the casserole free of any toppings and store them separate for another time . Leftover taco bake can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
The casserole can easily be reheated in the microwave and then topped with your desired toppings. The chips will be slightly soggier when reheated, but overall, the leftovers are just as good!
You could make the meat filling ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, place the meat in a baking dish and then top with chips and cheese. This way the chips won't get as soggy.
This recipe should scale nicely if you are making multiple pans. This would be perfect for a potluck. You could also make extra meat filling and freeze it for later use!
Other Weeknight Meals You'll Love
Have you made one of my recipes? I’d love your feedback on the comment box and star rating below the recipe!
Walking Taco Casserole (With Doritos)
- 1 # ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped, about 1 cup
- 1 15 oz. can black beans drained & rinsed
- 1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 packet taco seasoning 1 oz.
- 1 9.25 oz. bag nacho cheese tortilla chips, Doritos crushed, about 3 cups
- 2 cups Colby jack cheese shredded
- lettuce, tomato, cilantro, olives, jalapeños, red onion, sour cream, avocado
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet until beef is cooked through. Drain excess grease, if needed. Add black beans, green chiles, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir well to combine.
- Place mixture in bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Top evenly with crushed chips. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Top with desired toppings.