Tacos might just be the world’s greatest food, but what if you want to enjoy just taco fillings without the tortilla? This taco casserole might just be what you are looking for.
Casserole recipes typically encompass any type of dish that is jam packed with fillings, ingredients, and usually cheese and then baked to a golden, gooey perfection.
This taco casserole is no exception; all of the best parts of a taco are served under a pile of spicy cheese, beans, and sour cream.
Perfectly spiced beef, plenty of onions and peppers, and even some homemade taco seasoning, this recipe produces a meal big and juicy enough to feed the whole family, without any of the extra assemblies that tacos normally need.
Taco Casserole Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.
• Ground beef
• Yellow onion
• Red bell pepper
• Taco seasoning
• Chipotle peppers (if you want them)
• Refried beans
• Sour cream
• Cheddar cheese
• Black olives
• Green onions
• Tortilla chips (or Fritos)
• Tomatoes, or salsa
• Green pepper
• Jalapeno pepper
How To Make Taco Casserole
• Add the ground beef, diced red pepper, and diced onions to a large pan and cook and crumble over medium heat until the meat is cooked through
• Drain the excess grease if you want to, and then add 1 cup of water and the taco seasoning
• Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken up, stirring occasionally
• Spread the refried beans in a 9×13 casserole dish
• Spread the room temperature sour cream over the refried beans
• Top with the cooked ground beef mixture, and then sprinkle the cheese over the top in a single layer
• Bake the casserole at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until all of the cheese is melted
• After baking, garnish with your tortilla chips or Fritos, lettuce, olives, tomatoes, and green onions, and then serve warm
Is It Weird To Cook Sour Cream In This Recipe?
Some people might be confused by the inclusion of room temperature sour cream near the very bottom of this casserole.
Sour cream is not typically used as an ingredient in things that get cooked, mostly because it is usually reserved for things like topping a taco or serving with some chips.
However, don’t be afraid of using sour cream here, as it really works well.
As it cooks, the sour cream melts down and blends with the layer of refried beans just underneath it, forming a creamy, rich, and delicious layer of flavor just underneath all the meat.
As that continues to cook, the fat from the taco meat leaches down and blends with that sauce, forming the most unctuous, mouthwatering thick layer of flavor at the bottom of the casserole that you have ever seen.
So don’t be afraid of using ingredients that don’t seem like they would fit in the recipe – sometimes, it just works!
How To Make This Taco Casserole Really Spicy
This recipe calls for some homemade taco seasoning, as well as an optional addition of chipotle peppers, and for most people, that should be plenty of spiciness.
However, some of us are hot heads that like a bit more spice, especially when eating Mexican food.
The best way to increase the heat factor of this dish is to add more spicy peppers, perhaps even varying the types of peppers.
A few rehydrated chiles de Arbol, diced up and with their seeds removed, will turn this mild and pleasant taco casserole into a fiery inferno in your mouth.
You can also do the easy thing and just add a little bit of hot sauce. A lot of hot sauce manufacturers make some really tasty Mexican-themed hot sauces, usually focused on chipotle peppers.
If you add a few dashes of chipotle hot sauce to every layer as you add it, as well as a few extra dashes on the top before adding the cheese, the whole thing should taste just that little bit more spicy vinegary, and delicious.
Looking for more delicious Casserole recipes? Try these out:
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- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 30 minutes
- American, Mexican
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (or one package)
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle peppers (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 16 ounce refried beans
- 1 cup sour cream (full fat at room temperature)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1/4 cup black olives sliced
- 1/4 cup Green onions diced
- 1 cup tortilla chips or Fritos (optional)
- 1/3 cup lettuce shredded
- 1/3 cup tomatoes or salsa diced
- 1/2 cup green pepper chopped
- 1 Jalapeno pepper sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the ground beef, diced red pepper and diced onions to a large pan and cook and crumble over medium heat until the meat is cooked through.
- Drain the excess grease.
- Add 1 cup water and taco seasoning and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens up, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Spread the refried beans in a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Spread the room temperature sour cream over the refried beans.
- Top with cooked ground beef mixture.
- Sprinkle the cheese on top in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- After 15 minutes, garnish with fritos, lettuce, olives, tomatoes, and green onions. Serve warm.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.