Contest-Winning Taco Casserole

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 30 min.


6 servings

Updated: Sep. 21, 2023
My preschooler doesn’t eat ground beef unless it’s taco flavored, so I came up with this casserole we all like. To make assembly easy, I prepare the taco meat and freeze several bags at a time. —Kathy Wilson, Romeoville, Illinois
Contest-Winning Taco Casserole Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 3 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 2 cups nacho tortilla chips, crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, crumbling beef; drain. Add cheese, salsa, tomatoes and taco seasoning. Drain pasta; stir into beef.
  2. Transfer to a greased 11x7-in. baking dish. Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with tortilla chips. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes longer.

Taco Bake Tips

What else can I do with taco meat?

There are so many tasty ways to enjoy taco meat in your meals. Cook up a pound and add it to tacos, enchiladas, burritos, stuffed peppers, chili, nachos, salads, Mexican-inspired casseroles and more. Here are more delicious recipes that use a pound of taco meat.

How do I reheat a taco bake?

The oven is the best way to reheat a taco bake, or any casserole, because it mimics the original cooking environment. It's also ideal to reheat an entire casserole instead of individual servings. To reheat this taco bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover it with aluminum foil, and bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Make sure it's 165°F in the center before serving. You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave, toaster oven or air fryer. Times will vary depending on the size of the serving.
Editor's Note: This recipe calls for crushed nacho tortilla chips on top. If you're making this taco bake ahead and reheating it for later, wait to add the tortilla chips until right before serving. If you're reheating leftovers, you may decide to add additional fresh tortilla chips right before serving, as the existing chips may have lost their crunch.

How do I store a taco bake?

If making ahead or storing leftovers, cover the 11x7-in. baking dish with aluminum foil, or place individual servings in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for one to two days. If freezing to serve in the future, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Remember to let it thaw before baking. Here are more handy tips for freezing casseroles. If you want to get a jump on meal planning and preparation, try these 13x9-in. freezer-friendly recipes.

Research contributed by Amy Glander, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 578 calories, 28g fat (11g saturated fat), 84mg cholesterol, 1377mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 29g protein.