Walking Taco Casserole

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I’m a big fan of walking tacos, but they’re kind of tedious to make. This walking taco casserole brings all the great flavor of classic walking tacos to an easy-to-assemble casserole that feeds a crowd. Naturally gluten-free, this Mexican-inspired casserole is full of flavor and texture. It’s fun for the whole family!

walking taco casserole missing a scoop.

Walking Taco Casserole Recipe

I may always be eating tacos, but I’m not always walking. This walking taco casserole is an easy way for me to get the flavor of my favorite on-the-go snack from the comfort of my own kitchen. This casserole is naturally gluten-free (provided you check the taco seasoning and tortilla chip ingredients carefully!) and egg-free, and it can easily be made dairy-free too!

Ingredients

  • Canola Oil: Helps the onion and garlic cook without burning.
  • Onion and Garlic: Create a savory base of flavor for the beef.
  • Ground Beef: Use lean ground beef for the best results. I used 90% lean. If using a higher-fat ground beef, make sure to drain off any excess fat before continuing.
  • Taco Seasoning: Adds classic Mexican flavor to this casserole.
  • Black Beans: Canned black beans are an easy way to add bulk to this casserole.
  • Salsa: Use your favorite store-bought salsa to add moisture to this casserole.
  • Corn Chips: Create crunchy layers. Doritos (only the toasted corn flavor!), plain tortilla chips, or Fritos all work well.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Melts to create a gooey topping for the casserole. For a dairy-free option, use dairy-free shredded cheese.
ingredients for walking taco casserole

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Sauté the diced onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for an additional minute, until fragrant. (pic 1)
  3. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the browned beef and stir well. (pic 2)
  4. Stir in the black beans and salsa until well combined. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. (pic 3)
  5. Layer half of the corn chips on the bottom of a greased baking dish. Top with half of the beef and bean mixture, then sprinkle half of the shredded cheddar cheese over it. Repeat with another layer of corn chips, beef and bean mixture, and shredded cheddar cheese. (pics 4 & 5)
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Once out of the oven, sprinkle your favorite taco toppings over the casserole. Serve and enjoy! (pic 6)
step by step photos for how to make walking taco casserole

Tips and Suggestions

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when browning the ground beef. This can steam the meat instead of searing it, resulting in less flavor. You may need to cook the beef in batches for optimal browning.
  • This is a great recipe to use up stale chips since slightly stale chips hold their shape better.
  • Bake the casserole just until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the chips are slightly softened. Overbaking can make the chips soggy.

Why Is It Called A Walking Taco?

Walking tacos get their name from their portability. The original dish consists of a single serving bag of corn chips topped with taco meat, cheese, and other toppings that’s eaten with a fork on the go. This casserole takes that concept and turns it into a cozy meal to enjoy at home.

overhead view of walking taco casserole in a baking dish.

Can I Use A Different Kind Of Cheese?

Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese according to your preference. Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican blend would work well in this recipe.

How Do I Reheat This Casserole?

To reheat walking taco casserole, preheat your oven to 350°F. Transfer the casserole to an oven-safe dish if it’s not already in one, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat individual portions in the microwave until hot.

Storage Instructions

Allow walking taco casserole to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or covering it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

To freeze, allow the casserole to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

a serving of walking taco casserole on a plate with lettuce and salsa.

More Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes to Try!

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Walking Taco Casserole Recipe

Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
walking taco casserole missing a scoop.
This walking taco casserole brings all the great flavor of classic walking tacos to an easy-to-assemble casserole that feeds a crowd.

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 1-ounce packet taco seasoning
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 9.25-ounce bag corn chips, such as Doritos, plain tortilla chips, or Fritos
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional Toppings

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Sauté the diced onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for an additional minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the browned beef and stir well.
  • Stir in the black beans and salsa until well combined. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Layer half of the corn chips on the bottom of a greased baking dish. Top with half of the beef and bean mixture, then sprinkle half of the shredded cheddar cheese over it. Repeat with another layer of corn chips, beef and bean mixture, and shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Once out of the oven, sprinkle your favorite taco toppings over the casserole. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when browning the ground beef. This can steam the meat instead of searing it, resulting in less flavor. You may need to cook the beef in batches for optimal browning.
  • This is a great recipe to use up stale chips since slightly stale chips hold their shape better.
  • Bake the casserole just until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the chips are slightly softened. Overbaking can make the chips soggy.
  • Nutritional information does not include optional toppings.
  • To store: Wrap the casserole or place servings in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze: Transfer to an airtight container to store for up to 3 months.
  • Mama says, “Always check your labels!”

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 691kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 34gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 1188mgPotassium: 741mgFiber: 10gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1034IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 375mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @mamaknowsglutenfree or tag #mamaknowsglutenfree!

About Sabine Venier

Originally from Austria and currently residing in the UK, Sabine Venier infuses her passion for homemade gluten-free cooking into Mama Knows Gluten Free. As the former proprietor of a successful food blog, her culinary expertise spans a broad spectrum. Sabine’s culinary journey was rooted in the cherished family recipes taught by her mother, nurturing a profound appreciation for fresh, homemade ingredients. Sabine has gained recognition as a recipe developer and food photographer, with her work featured in various magazines and online platforms. Her innovative recipes have appeared in prestigious publications such as Forbes, Parade, and Rachael Ray Everyday. As a published cookbook author (The Chocolate Addict’s Baking Book), she is excited to share her practical and easy-to-follow recipes with the Mama Knows Gluten Free community.

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