Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life it would be Mexican, hands down. I love the bold flavors, textures, and that you can basically turn the same 5(6,7,8) ingredients into countless different meals. Taco Bell really has this concept down. I don’t think they’ve had to change their ingredient lists, like, ever. Well, except for that one time that they decided to sell Frito Burriots. That was weird.


This taco casserole is proof that you can create a completely different eating experience with the same basic ingredients just by by switching up the cooking style. In this case we’re stuffing the taco shells and baking them all together in one pan.¬†You’re not going to end up with a completely crunchy taco that you’re able to eat one-handed while driving to work (remember $0.29 Tuesdays? Those were the days!). But you ARE going to end up with a plate full of Mexican goodness that is half crispy, half saucy, and flavorful all-around.

Start by browning a pound of ground beef or turkey. Add in some cheese, canned diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, and salsa verde. If you want a little info on what kind of salsa verde to use read this post because not all are created equal. Meaning, that some are burn-your-face-off hot!

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

Give it a stir until it’s nice and combined…

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

Stand 12-15 shells up in a 9×13″ casserole dish. If they aren’t all standing up straight they will be easier to move around once they are filled and have some weight to them. I might try the shells with the flat bottoms next time and see it that makes things a bit easier.

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

Top with some glorious cheesey cheese.

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

And bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese it melted and the meat is hot. Remove from the oven and top with all of your favorite taco fixin’s. I like to top the whole thing with shredded lettuce, tomato, and cilantro and then serve with sour cream, guacamole, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 C cheese, divided
  • ¼ C salsa verde
  • 15 crunchy taco shells
  • Shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, lime juice to top
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brown and drain meat.
  3. Stir tomatoes, seasoning, ½ C cheese, and salsa into meat.
  4. Arrange taco shells standing up in a 9x13" pan. Fill each shell with the meat mixture, dividing equally until all the meat is used.
  5. Sprinkle remaining ½ C of cheese over the tops of the filled tacos and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cheese will be melted and the meat hot.
  6. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole and lime juice.


  1. Salmon says

    This is the absolute best way to make/eat tacos! I hate the wait caused by building a taco between acts of biting into taco. A pan of all made tacos is the answer.

    • Heather says

      Hi Jaime, sorry for the delay in responding. I find that the longer I wait between filling the shells and putting them in the oven, the soggier they become. In general, the shells to absorb a at least a little bit of moister and we usually eat ours with a fork- hence the casserole name. But I think if you fill and put them in the oven right away it should take care of the problem for you. Also, make sure that you do drain the tomatoes really well as that will reduce some sogginess as well. Let me know if you have any other problems!

  2. Aterra says

    Great recipe!! Made this and can’t stop eating them. I used just little more salsa verde to give it a little more heat.

    • Heather says

      Hi Eva, I think it must have been labeled wrong on Pinterest. I haven’t yet created a vegan option but you could sub the meat for black beans and omit the cheese for sure. :)

  3. Jill says

    Made these for dinner tonight. They were fantastic! To help fix the soggy taco shell problem, I sprayed the pan with some pam and also put the cheese on before the meat and then added some extra on top as well. I will for sure be making these again. So yummy!

    • Tori says

      This is a great idea! I made them the other night, and had the soggy problem! The boyfriend and father love cheese so they wont be opposed to more cheese at all! ūüėČ

  4. Kristin D says

    Saw this on Pintrest, made them for dinner tonight, and oh man they are crazy good! I made two two substitutions- I always make my own taco seasoning instead of the packet & canned diced green chilies in lieu of the tomatoes (husband does not like canned tomatoes). May be my new favorite way to make tacos! Thank you for the great dinner idea!

  5. Mary Ann Kilbane says

    Very good. Made as is. Will make again. They do get a bit soggy but flavor is still
    there. Quick and easy week night dinner.

  6. Jill says

    I made this tonight and the flavors were wonderful. I did make one adjustment (hope you don’t mind). I crumbled the taco shells instead of leaving them whole. It was much easier to eat.

  7. Becky Nelson says

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I made these for the Super Bowl and they were a hit! Made mine with ground turkey :)

  8. Kate says

    I made as directed. I did use the flat bottomed shells. They’re at bit thicker than standard shells. This made them slightly softened but not at all soggy. We ate them with our hands without them falling apart. I love it! I recommend using the flat bottomed shells.

  9. Michael Deen says

    I like everybody else can eat taco’s everyday for life. I’ve made these with a couple changes. I used 2 diced Roma tomatoes
    instead of canned tomatoes. I used cayenne pepper to taste instead of taco seasoning. I saved the salsa verde as one of the toppings. I did these changes to control the amount of salt in the taco’s. Also swiss cheese has less salt in it compared to other cheeses. I did put some cheese in the taco shell first. That helped the taco shell from cracking at the bottom. Enjoy!! :-)

  10. Donna De Coster says

    Made this for dinner tonight, made one change my husband likes to have refried beans at the bottom of taco shells and used the Stand and Stuff Taco Shells. One other note; Salsa Verde if you can get it where you live Herdez is good, not hot.

  11. Mary Ann says

    Making this tonight. DELISH!!! I have made several times before.
    This is a must try.
    Thanks for a great recipe.

  12. Meri says

    These were really good! I had All the ingredients for tacos and remembered this from Pinterest. Such a nice change from boring tacos! My husband loves black beans so I added them to the shells first. Might try shredded chicken/Monterey Jack next time!!


  1. […] 04.¬† Crunchy Taco Casserole – Not the healthiest meal out there…but definitely family friendly.¬† However, I did swap the beef for ground turkey.¬† I was shocked to hear my Hudson say “Mom…thank you for this dinner.¬† We should have it again”.¬† Score!¬† He is the pickiest eater ever so that was music to momma’s ears.¬† Here is the recipe. […]

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