If you've never heard of a walking taco, then you are missing out. Don't worry! This walking taco casserole recipe is a new favorite that everyone in our family loves. A walking taco is usually taco ingredients in a small bag of chips. It's basically a taco salad, but a bit less messy when eating on the go. For this recipe, you use all the same ingredients, but it's baked into a flavor-packed cheesy casserole that is ideal for a busy weeknight meal.
Walking Taco Casserole Recipe
I'll admit, the name really doesn't quite fit this recipe. A walking taco is one you can eat on the go with less mess. This recipe may include the same flavors but isn't exactly the same. I do love a good casserole, and especially one that can be ready in under 30-minutes, so what you call this doesn't really matter. It's all about the yummy combination of flavors that combine for the perfect bite every time.
For this recipe, I used basic enchilada sauce as the basic seasoning, but if you want a little bit more flavor, you can whip up this homemade taco seasoning and add to the beef as it cooks. This is a great way to amp up the flavor and to control the amount of sodium you are using by eliminating the extra salt in store-bought recipes.
What Meat Should I Use?
I used ground beef for this version, but the one thing I love about tacos is you can use any ground meat you want. For this recipe, you could easily use ground turkey or ground chicken and follow exactly as written. I have even used shredded chicken and simply heated up the other ingredients with it before layering.
If you like something spicier, you could use sausage or chorizo in this recipe. If you choose to do that, you will want to adjust the amount of enchilada sauce used or the type of sauce for heat and flavor. Sausage can be salty just like the sauce can sometimes be salty. So, watch the flavors closely on this and adjust as needed.
Can I Make This Vegetarian or Vegan?
You can definitely make this both vegetarian and vegan. If you just need it vegetarian, you can simply substitute the meat with black beans, pinto beans, or refried beans. Another option would be to use meat substitute crumbles in place of the ground meat.
If you want to make this vegan-friendly, you will need to change out the meat, cheeses, and sour cream in the dish. Luckily, that is easier than ever with the many options available in dairy-free forms. I love the GardeIn meat crumbles for a meat substitute in this recipe. You can also use dairy-free vegan sour cream, cream cheese, and shredded cheeses in place of those listed with the same results.
Corn chips are generally naturally vegan, but if you choose a cheese-flavored chip like Nacho Cheese Doritos, you'll want to substitute for a vegan option instead.
What Toppings Go on Taco Casserole?
I list the basic lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream as toppings for this recipe. You may use different items when you typically make tacos, so feel free to add those on top of this instead. Below are a few of our favorite taco toppings that fit this recipe wonderfully and pack tons of great flavor or additional texture.
- Avocado slices or guacamole
- Salsa, hot sauce, verde sauce, or pico de gallo
- Different cheese blends
- Black olives or jalapeno slices
- Ranch dressing or Western dressing (I know, odd, but popular in the Midwest)
- Sour cream can be replaced with plain Greek yogurt if wanted
Can I Make This Walking Taco Casserole Ahead of Time?
You can definitely make this in advance and just store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before serving. I've also made this in a disposable baking dish and assembled all but baking then covered and frozen for up to 4 months. It's ideal for an easy freezer meal, especially for sharing with friends and family that may need a few meals for after childbirth or surgery.
- Ground beef
- Yellow onion
- Green chiles
- Enchilada sauce
- Cream cheese
- Corn tortilla chips
- Cheddar cheese
- Iceberg lettuce
- Sour cream
How to Make a Walking Taco Casserole Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is cooked through.
To the mixture, add the green chilies, enchilada sauce, and cream cheese. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to heat through.
Place a layer of corn chips on the bottom of the baking dish.
Top with the meat mixture spreading evenly.
Next, add a layer of shredded cheese and a few more corn chips.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbling.
Top with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.
Serve with additional tortilla chips.
Video Instructions Versus Written Instructions
When recording this recipe video, I mixed all ingredients together to cook. After doing this, I realized that it is easier for most to cook the meat first then add the other ingredients in so you are sure the meat is cooked through. Plus, this allows you to get a better flavor on the meat and onions by cooking them down on their own. You can do this either way with the same delicious results.
One of my favorite kitchen tools is a basic vegetable chopper. This makes cutting up vegetables in small pieces easier than ever. For recipes like this where you are dicing onion, tomato, and more, it saves tons of time on your food prep.
More Tasty Recipes
Taco night is always a hit in our house, and that includes traditional tacos, taco salads, and nachos. Tex-Mex and Mexican flavors are some of our favorites with the rich seasonings and just a hint of heat in every bite. Below are a few more of our favorites that fit this theme that you may want to add to your menu!
- 30-Minute Mexican Beef and Rice Skillet
- Citrusy Carne Asada Mexican Street Tacos
- Fry Bread Tacos with Spicy Beef & Green Chile Queso
- Authentic Cheese Antojitos Recipe
- Taco Dip Recipe
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos
- Cheesy Beef Fajita Dirty Rice Casserole
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
- 4 oz green chiles
- 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 10 oz bag corn tortilla chips
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is cooked through.
- To the mixture, add the green chilies, enchilada sauce, and cream cheese. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to heat through.
- Place a layer of corn ships on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Top with the meat mixture spreading evenly.
- Next add a layer of shredded cheese and a few more corn chips.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbling.
- Top with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.
- Serve with additional tortilla chips.
Top with your favorite traditional taco toppings like lettuce, tomato, olives, avocado, salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, and more.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 671Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 1220mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 32g