This Walking Taco Casserole Recipe is a big hit at parties, barbecues, and regular family dinners! If you love Tex-Mex food, this is one to have in your recipe books.
Walking tacos have been a big hit at weddings in recent years. For those who don’t know, this dish is a combination of chips and chili, all stuffed into a chip bag!
A close relative of the walking taco is the Frito pie. This southern dish is made by adding Frito corn chips to chili and letting it bake to crispy perfection.
Frito pie actually has quite a long history, with the first recipe recorded in Texas in 1949. Its creation is often credited to Daisy Doolin, the mother of the Fritos inventor!
This is a great meal for sharing with the family, and a perfect alternative to nachos or regular tacos. Best of all, you can make this taco casserole in advance, and it only takes 30 minutes to bake!
All About The Walking Taco Casserole Ingredients
Ground beef is a quick, cheap, and tasty way to eat beef. Ground beef is usually made with a meat grinder, while beef mince has been finely chopped with a mincing machine.
You can purchase ground beef in a variety of fat contents. Lean ground beef has a fat content of around 17%, whereas regular ground beef has a fat content of around 30%.
You can use lean or regular ground beef for this recipe. Keep in mind you will need to drain the excess fat from regular ground beef.
You can also use ground chicken or turkey for this recipe if you want an even leaner option!
The black bean is one of 500 varieties of common beans. It’s native to North and South America and was a staple of early diets in these regions.
Black beans are relatively small–only about the size of a pea! Their high protein content makes them perfect for vegetarian dishes.
If you’re using canned black beans, it’s best to rinse them under cold water to get rid of excess starch. Then you can fry them, puree them, or enjoy them as is!
In this Walking Taco Casserole, I’ll be sautéing the black beans with the ground beef.
Taco Seasoning Mix
Taco seasoning mix such as Old El Paso can be bought at any grocery store. You can also make homemade taco seasoning with spices you already have!
Most taco seasoning mixes contain cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
You can use taco seasoning for chili, taco meat, soups, and practically any Tex-Mex dish you like.
Corn chips are an iconic snack food originating from the south. They’re made by frying cornmeal in oil.
This crunchy snack is usually coated with salt or barbecue-flavored seasoning. One of the most popular corn chip brands in the United States is Fritos.
I use Monterey jack cheese for this recipe because of its distinctive tang. Cheddar cheese is another great choice if you prefer a more mild but creamy flavor.
Both of these cheeses melt well, so you’ll get that deliciously gooey shredded cheese topping on your Walking Taco Casserole!
You could also use pepper jack cheese, which is a variety of Monterey jack with dried vegetables and spices. It will help add more flavor and that classic Tex-Mex spice to the dish.
If you don’t have any of these cheeses available, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Colby cheese or American cheese would also be fantastic additions.
I add fresh vegetables on top of this Walking Taco Casserole once it’s done baking. This is a great way to introduce freshness and texture to the dish.
I’ll be using diced onions, diced tomatoes, and shredded iceberg lettuce. Other recipes sometimes include corn, jalapeños, and even sliced cucumbers!
Walking Taco Casserole Recipe
- Prep Time20 min
- Cook Time30 min
- Total Time50 min
- Yield1 11x7 inch casserole
- Preheat the Oven
Heat the oven to 375°F.
- Brown the Ground Beef
Cook the ground beef in the skillet over medium heat. Once the beef is cooked, drain the excess fat.
- Add Seasoning, Black Beans, and Water
Stir in the black beans, taco seasoning mix, and water. Cook until the water has reduced and a sauce forms.
- Assemble the Walking Taco Casserole
Spray the casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the seasoned ground beef mixture into the bottom of the dish.
Add the corn chips on top, followed by the shredded cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil in the last 10 minutes to let the cheese on top get bubbly.
- Top with Fresh Vegetables
As the casserole is cooling, add the shredded lettuce, onions, and tomatoes on top. Slice the Walking Taco Casserole and serve.
This recipe lends itself well to tweaks and alterations. There are no hard rules about which ingredients you need to use, so feel free to get creative.
- As I mentioned earlier, ground turkey and chicken, or even shredded chicken would be great meat options. They’re leaner proteins and can help reduce the amount of fat in the dish.
- Instead of using diced tomatoes, you can make homemade salsa for more flavor. A salsa verde with tomatillos will give this casserole the perfect hit of acidity and spice.
- Other toppings I like to use are black olives, sliced green onions, green chilis, and even diced avocado.
- Some variations of the walking taco use Doritos tortilla chips instead of Fritos. Doritos will help add even more cheesiness to your Walking Taco Casserole!
- Another way to add extra cheesiness to this dish is to stir in some cream cheese with the ground beef.
- Make this Walking Taco Casserole even more fun by adding traditional taco toppings like guacamole or sour cream! These condiments will help add moisture to the dish and a pop of vibrant color.
- Since this casserole is quite heavy and salty, it can be nice to pair it with some green veggies. A crisp iceberg salad or steamed green beans make delicious healthy sides.
- Something sweet can also help balance the rich and spicy ingredients. Try serving a fruit salad at the dinner table, with a drizzle of lime juice as a dressing!
Can You Make Walking Taco Casserole Ahead?
This is the perfect dish to make ahead and bake later! All you need to do is assemble the Walking Taco Casserole, and cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Store the premade Walking Taco Casserole in the refrigerator for up to four days. Then, simply pop it in the oven 30 minutes before dinner time.
Keep in mind that the corn chips will absorb the moisture from the ground beef and lose their crunch. If you don’t want this happening, you can simply add the corn chips and cheese just before baking.
- 25.7g Fat
- 43g Carbs