This walking taco bake recipe with Fritos is a delightful twist on traditional tacos that offers both convenience and delicious flavors in one easy-to-make dish!!
An easy taco casserole loaded with Fritos, seasoned meat, cheese, and so much more makes a hearty, satisfying dinner the whole family will love!
What are Walking Tacos?
Walking tacos are made by adding all the incredible ingredients and flavors of a traditional taco to a bag of single-serving chips so you can enjoy this delightful dish on the go.
This taco casserole version of the walking tacos recipe takes those essential ingredients and transforms them into a baked dish that's perfect for your next get-together or an easy weeknight dinner.
It's a delicious dish that's packed with all the flavors of a walking taco but all stuffed into a casserole dish.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- The flavors of a classic taco without any extra mess.
- Customizable toppings to suit personal preferences.
- Easy taco casserole to make!
- Ideal for weeknight dinners or game-day gatherings.
- Hearty and delicious all-in-one meal that is sure to please everyone.
- Great way to get creative with what you have on hand in your pantry.
This walking taco casserole recipe uses a few simple ingredients to deliver big flavors. The major ingredients are described here but you'll find the complete list of ingredients along with amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Lean ground beef: I prefer using lean ground beef because it cooks up with less grease. However, for a more budget-friendly option, you can use regular ground beef and drain it well.
- Taco seasoning mix: A simple way to add taco flavor to this dish!
- Chili powder: Adding in some more chili powder makes for a more intense flavor.
- Tomato paste: Adds rich tomato flavor to the ground beef.
- Black beans: Using canned black beans keeps things simple.
- Frito corn chips: Gives the casserole its crunchiness. You can even take it up a notch and make walking taco bale with chili cheese Fritos!
- Cheddar cheese: The perfect cheese that packs great flavor in this casserole.
- Toppings: The sky is the limit but we love lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, sour cream, and cilantro.
Substitutions and Variations
- Beef: Substitute ground turkey, chicken, sausage, pork, or a combination of these ground meats to make taco casserole.
- Black Beans: Use rinsed and drained red or white kidney beans (cannellini beans) or pinto beans instead.
- Corn Chips (Fritos): Use crushed tortilla chips or Doritos.
- Cheddar Cheese: Swap it for Monterey Jack, Mexican blend cheese, pepper jack, crumbled queso fresco, or a combination of your favorites.
- Add Vegetables: You can add corn, diced bell peppers, onions, and drained Rotel tomatoes to the meat mixture if you like.
- Spicy: If you love spicy, add a bit of chili pepper flakes, diced jalapeno pepper, our jalapeno powder, smoked jalapeno powder, or chipotle powder to the meat mixture for a bit of heat.
- Toppings: Feel free to customize your taco bake with any of your favorite toppings. Add chopped onion, diced avocados, tomato salsa, guacamole, black olives, or anything else you love on tacos!
How to Make Walking Taco Casserole
This is a quick and easy recipe that only takes a few minutes and a few simple steps to make. The highlights are here, but you'll find the exact instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Cook the ground beef until all the pink is gone and the meat is browned. Drain off any grease.
- Add the seasonings and tomato paste to the beef.
- Add the water and black beans to the taco meat.
- Spread the beef and bean mixture in the bottom of a baking dish.
- Top with a layer of shredded cheese and a layer of Fritos.
- Finish off with a final layer of shredded cheese.
- Cover and bake until the cheese is melted and the taco casserole with Fritos is heated through.
- Uncover and bake until the top is crisp.
- Serve it up with all your favorite taco toppings and enjoy!
⭐️ Hint: Always drain your beef to avoid a greasy casserole.
If you love recipes like this beef casserole, you may also enjoy this old-fashioned hamburger casserole.
Refrigerator: Store for up to two days in an airtight container.
Freezer: Store for up to three months in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
Reheat: For best results reheat in the oven at 350 covered until heated through. You can make Fritos and cheese to the top if desired.
Make Ahead: Make the meat mixture ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Assemble the casserole and bake on the day you're ready to serve. DO NOT add the Fritos until ready to bake or they'll get soggy.
What to Serve with Walking Taco Casserole
- Chips: Serve with more tortilla chips, Fritos, or Doritos as a fun way to enjoy the casserole.
- Rice: A side of Spanish or coconut rice complements the flavors found in a walking taco bake.
- Salad: A light and refreshing salad as a side adds some balance to the rich, hearty casserole. This jalapeno coleslaw or simple green salad drizzled with avocado ranch dressing.
- Veggie: We love it with this Mexican corn casserole!
- Toppings: Offer a variety of taco ingredients such as sour cream, avocado, shredded lettuce, jalapeños, refried beans, or black olives for guests to customize their walking tacos.
- Side dishes finish off a meal. To find many wonderful ideas, go to What to Serve with Paella.
Tips for Making Walking Taco Bake with Fritos
- Prepare all the toppings before the casserole is ready so everyone can enjoy it nice and hot.
- Rinse the black beans before adding them to the dish for a better flavor.
- Cover the casserole with foil during baking to keep it from drying out.
- Drain the meat after cooking!
Yes, covering the casserole with foil helps to keep the Fritos from getting too crispy and prevents them from burning during baking.
Yes, you can easily make this recipe vegan or vegetarian by substituting ground beef with an alternative protein such as tofu, tempeh, or quinoa. Just cook the alternative protein in the same manner as the ground beef before adding it to the baking dish.
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes
Do you like Mexican casseroles? Here are some recipes you may also like to try.
Ready to get cooking? Remember that you can print this recipe if you would like.
Walking Taco Casserole Recipe
- 9 x 13 inch baking pan
- shredded lettuce
- cilantro for garnish
- chopped tomatoes
- jalapeno slices
- sour cream
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and drain any excess oil.
- Add the taco seasoning, chili powder, tomato paste, and water. Mix to combine.
- Next stir in the black beans.
- Add the beef and bean mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Layer on 4 cups of Fritos.
- Add the remaining cheddar cheese to the top of the Fritos.
- Cover the casserole in foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately with your favorite taco toppings!
you are going to eat it but don’t add the Fritos in advance or they will become
soggy. This casserole is best the day it’s prepared but it can be stored in an airtight
container for up to 2 days and reheated in the oven to bring back the
crispness of the Fritos. What to Serve with Paella will give you so many delightful side dish ideas.