This Walking Taco Casserole is a delicious and easy dinner recipe that takes only 10 minutes to prepare! The taco meat is packed with flavor and protein, the Fritos give it a nice salty crunch, and the fresh toppings are the perfect complement!

This recipe has similar ingredients and a similar flavor to my Easy Taco Soup recipe. So I like to top it with similar things I’d add to my taco soup like delicious homemade Pico de Gallo and some homemade Guacamole

A white oval baking dish filled with Walking Taco Casserole that's topped with chopped tomatoes, olives, and sour cream.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Beefed up taco mixture. The taco mixture has the delicious browned ground beef, but I also included a can of chili beans to give a bit more protein, texture, and substance to the mixture. 
  • Topped with fresh ingredients. I love this easy dinner recipe because you can really pile on the fresh ingredients. Add a bunch of lettuce, diced tomatoes, etc! 
  • Easy way to make walking tacos in bulk! Walking tacos are such a fun dinner recipe, but making it into a casserole is a good way to make dinner for the entire family! 

Ingredient Notes

Walking Taco Casserole Recipe ingredients laid out on a beige textured background.
  • Ground Beef: Can substitute with ground turkey if you are looking for a healthier option.  
  • Taco Seasoning: I like to use homemade taco seasoning (which is an easy way to customize how spicy you want the taco seasoning to be) but you can use a taco seasoning packet as well.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: This adds a bit more depth and saucy-ness to the walking taco casserole meat. You can also use Rotel if you want (it’s crushed tomatoes and diced green chilis).
  • Chili Beans: Adding a can of chili beans gives the mixture a bit more substance and protein than if you just left it as the taco meat. 
  • Fritos: The Fritos add a nice crunch and saltiness to the walking taco casserole. 
  • Shredded Cheese: Colby Jack cheddar, Mexican cheese blend, Monterey Jack are all good options. 
  • Toppings: Ideas include shredded lettuce, diced Roma tomatoes, sliced black olives, sour cream, etc. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cook the onion and ground beef. Add the ground beef and diced onion to a large skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking the meat as you go. Cook until the meat is browned. Drain the grease, if any and discard. 
  2. Add the mix-ins. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, chili beans, and taco seasoning. Bring the mix to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
A four photo collage of a gray skillet in various stages of making Walking Taco Casserole Recipe with ground beef, seasoning and chili beans.
  1. Prepare the pan and bake. Spray an 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and place the meat mixture in it. Top the mixture with Frito chips and shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is slightly golden. 
A four photo collage of Walking Taco Casserole being made in a white oval baking dish, topped with Fritos and melted cheese.
  1. Add the toppings. Remove the walking taco bake from the oven and top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, olives, sour cream, cilantro, etc.
A white oval baking dish filled with a Walking Taco Casserole mixture that's topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and sour cream.

Recipe Tips

Variations: Add a can of diced green chilis, corn or black beans to the taco meat. Not a fan of Fritos? Use sweet potato chips, tortilla chips, Doritos, etc. 

When covering the bake with aluminum foil, puff up the foil a little. You don’t want to tightly cover it or else the cheese will stick to the foil. 

I like to really pack on the lettuce, making this more like a walking taco salad. 

If you know there are going to be leftovers, I would recommend putting the toppings in bowls and letting people add their own instead of putting them all on top of the bake. This way if there are any leftovers you don’t have to worry about reheating the diced tomatoes or chopped lettuce when you have the dish again. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

If making ahead of time, make the taco meat mixture and place in the baking dish then cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days until ready to bake. Then top with Fritos and cheese.

Store the walking taco casserole covered in the fridge for 3-5 days. If making in advance, however many days it was storing in the fridge prior to eating, you’ll want to take those days into account for storing any leftovers. 

You can freeze the taco meat mixture in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for 3-4 months. Remove from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge overnight. 

A close up photo of a spoon scooping out some Walking Taco Casserole from a white round baking dish.

FAQs

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef? 

You definitely can! Due to the crushed tomatoes and the chili beans, you won’t be able to taste a big difference in the dish if you used ground turkey. 

What is a walking taco?

A walking taco is typically all the makings of a taco (taco meat, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, etc.) served in a bag of chips!  

Do I have to bake it?

No you don’t. The baking just allows the flavors to develop better. It also helps the cheese melt. If you want, you can make this into a walking taco skillet dinner and just top the taco meat mixture in the skilled with the shredded cheese and let it melt, remove from the heat and then add the Fritos and toppings and serve immediately.

An overhead photo of a Walking Taco Casserole Recipe baked in an oval white dish, that's on a beige textured background.

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A close up photo of Frito topped walking taco casserole baked in a casserole dish on a brown background.
Print Review
5 from 2 votes

Walking Taco Casserole

This easy Walking Taco Casserole Recipe takes just 10 minutes to prep, then pop it in the oven and you're done! Delicious taco meat is mixed with crushed tomatoes, chili beans, and homemade taco seasoning to create a delicious base. Add Fritos, cheese, and additional toppings to really amp up the flavor and full effect of the "walking tacos!"
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 small yellow onion - diced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix - I like to use homemade taco seasoning but you can use a taco seasoning packet as well
  • 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can chili beans
  • 2 cups Fritos corn chips
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese - Colby Jack cheddar, Mexican cheese blend etc, Monterey Jack… choose 1!
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce - shredded
  • 2 roma tomatoes - diced, for topping (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olives - sliced, for topping (optional)
  • sour cream - for topping
  • avocado - for topping, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 9”x9 “or 11”x7” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat add the ground beef and diced onion. Cook until meat is browned, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Drain the grease, if any and discard. 
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, chili beans, and taco seasoning. Bring the mixer to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top the mixture with Frito chips and shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and the top is slightly golden. 
  • Remove from the oven and top the casserole with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, olives, sour cream, avocado etc.  

Notes

Variations: Add a can of diced green chilis, corn or black beans to the taco meat. Not a fan of Fritos? Use sweet potato chips, tortilla chips, Doritos, etc. 
When covering the bake with aluminum foil, puff up the foil a little. You don’t want to tightly cover it or else the cheese will stick to the foil. 
Store covered in the fridge for 4-5 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 39g (13%)Protein: 29g (58%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 7g (35%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mg (23%)Sodium: 1182mg (49%)Potassium: 936mg (27%)Fiber: 7g (28%)Sugar: 9g (10%)Vitamin A: 777IU (16%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 252mg (25%)Iron: 5mg (28%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
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