Overflowing with cheesy, Tex-Mex-inspired goodness, this Taco Potato Casserole is the ultimate recipe for easy weeknight dinners or impressive gatherings. With simple steps, make-ahead convenience, and a budget-friendly ingredient list, this ground beef based casserole checks all the boxes. And the best part? It's freezer-friendly, so you can have a taste of home-cooked comfort even on your busiest days.
❤️ Why You'll Love It
- Irresistible cheesy goodness: This beef and potato casserole takes comfort food to the next level with its generous ooey-gooey cheese topping.
- Family pleaser: This baked potato casserole is a definite crowd-pleaser - equally adored by kids and adults. It's flavorful but not spicy, gluten-free, and nutritious.
- Tex-Mex fusion: This dish has the perfect balance of spices and textures. With seasoned ground beef and veggies, and your favorite toppings to serve, this casserole brings of Tex-Mex cuisine in every bite.
- Make-ahead magic: Prepare the casserole ahead of time, pop it in the fridge, and you've got a hot and delicious dinner ready to go whenever you are.
- Budget-friendly: This baked ground beef and potato casserole is budget-friendly option that proves you can enjoy incredible flavors without splurging on pricey ingredients.
- Freezable: Need a backup plan for those busy days? Portion out this casserole, freeze it, and you've got a homemade freezer meal that's far better than store-bought alternatives.
- Step-by-step success: Worried about nailing the recipe? Fear not! Our step-by-step instructions guide you through the process with ease, ensuring that even if you're not a seasoned chef, you can create a mouthwatering dish without a hitch.
- Endless flavor possibilities: While the recipe is fantastic as is, it's also open to your creativity. Add extra veggies, switch up the seasonings, or experiment with different cheeses to make it uniquely yours. See Variations below.
If you're looking for baked potato casserole recipes, we promise that this one is definitely worth trying!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this taco potato casserole recipe.
Ground beef - you can choose leaner or fattier beef for this dish; having a little more fat will add a little more flavor and would be more budget-friendly, however the leaner ground beef would be less caloric. Ground chicken or pork can also be used.
Onion and garlic - if you don't have fresh on hand, use a teaspoon of onion powder and garlic powder on top of the taco seasoning.
Taco seasoning - pre-made taco seasoning will save you time and can be cost effective. You can also use individual spices like cumin, smoked paprika, chili, dried oregano, garlic powder, coriander seed powder and salt. Most taco seasonings come withe some salt, hence we're using 1 teaspoon of salt on top. Taste the beef after cooking and add more salt if needed.
Tomatoes - we used a mix of canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. The sauce has a more saturated flavor, while canned tomatoes add more of a fresh tomato taste. You could also used canned tomatoes and some tomato paste instead of the sauce; you would only need about 1 tablespoon of tomato paste as it's very concentrated.
Potatoes - frozen pre-cooked diced potatoes are affordable and will save you on prep and cooking time. However, you can easily use fresh potatoes and cut them into small cubes yourself. See notes in the recipe for using raw potatoes. Using frozen tater tots or hash browns is another fun alternative.
Cheese - grated Cheddar is very flavorsome but you could use any melting cheese such as Mozzarella or a mixed blend of cheeses.
📷 How to Make Taco Potato Casserole
The full recipe card with nutrition info is below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 355 F | 180 C. Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Step 2. Heat a non-stick skillet with oil and saute the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, beef, red peppers and taco seasoning. Cook over medium-high for 5-7 minutes, breaking the meat apart with a spatula and stirring every couple of minutes.
Step 3. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a simmer. Remove from the stove and transfer into the baking dish.
Step 4. Top the ground beef mixture with diced potatoes and shredded cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then finish under broil for 2-3 minutes for the cheese to brown.
Step 5. Remove and garnish with cilantro. Serve with suggested toppings.
💭 Recipe Tips
- This taco casserole can be made with ground beef, pork or chicken, so feel free to swap the meat out to what's available.
- We're using store-bought taco seasoning but you could use individual spices such as cumin powder, smoked paprika, coriander seed powder, dried oregano, chili powder, garlic powder and so on. Use about 2 tablespoons of total mix of spices for best flavor.
- The ground beef mixture can be made ahead of time and the whole casserole can be assembled as part of meal prep.
- For extra flavor, you can add chipotle sauce, BBQ sauce or even salsa into the beef mixture. Potatoes can also be seasoned with more taco seasoning.
🥗 Serving Suggestions
This taco potato casserole is a hearty Tex Mex dish that will go well with a variety of toppings and side dishes:
Guacamole and Salsa: Tex-Mex cuisine wouldn't be complete without a side of guacamole and salsa. These condiments not only add a burst of flavors but also provide a cool contrast to the warmth of the casserole. Another lovely condiment is our sun-dried tomato aioli.
Other Tex Mex toppings: sour cream, cilantro or cilantro crema, crushed corn chips (Doritos are extra tasty), diced raw onion and tomatoes, Cotja or feta cheese.
Fresh Garden Salad: Balance out the richness of the casserole with a crisp and vibrant garden side salad. Toss together a mix of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and red onions. Drizzle with a zesty lime vinaigrette or a creamy ranch dressing to add a refreshing element to your plate.
Corn Salad: You can whip up a simple corn salad with tomatoes, onions and cilantro or make something a little more elaborate like this Mexican fiesta corn salad with beans.
Slaw Salad: Similarly to the garden salad, a refreshing, crunchy and tangy slaw salad made with cabbage, carrots and bell peppers, would be a great compliment to this dish. Dress it up with cilantro and lime based dressing for that Mexican feel.
Veggie-Loaded: For a lighter spin, use less meat and add in extra sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and corn.
Chicken Ranch: Give your casserole a ranch-inspired twist by using shredded rotisserie chicken instead of beef. Mix in some ranch seasoning and layer with diced tomatoes and green onions for a zesty and creamy take on the original.
Switch up the spuds: Use sweet potatoes instead of regular ones for a slightly sweeter and nutrient-rich version. Top with black beans, and a touch of chipotle for a smoky kick.
Sausage Sensation: For a flavorful twist, use spicy chorizo or Italian sausage in place of ground beef or as an addition. The smoky, savory notes of the sausage will infuse the casserole with a unique and satisfying taste.
Mediterranean Magic: Don't feel like Tex Mex flavors? Let's go for a Mediterranean version with garlic, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and a sprinkle of oregano or basil.
Buffalo Kick: Embrace the heat by incorporating buffalo chicken flavors. Toss shredded chicken in buffalo sauce, layer with diced celery, and drizzle with ranch dressing for a tangy and spicy twist that's perfect for game day.
Catering to vegetarians? Create a satisfying version with layers of black beans, roasted corn, and sautéed mushrooms. Top with your favorite meatless cheese and enjoy a plant-powered feast.
Storage & Freezing Tips
To store: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To freeze: This casserole is great for freezing before or after baking. You can prepare the beef mixture, assemble the casserole with potatoes and grated cheese, then cover/wrap the whole baking dish and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can bake it directly from frozen for about 40 minutes or thaw out in the fridge first and then follow the instructions of the recipe. If the casserole is cooked, you can freeze the leftovers. Divide into portions, cool down and store in a freezer-friendly, airtight containers for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Reheat in the microwave or in a hot oven in a baking dish.
Taco Potato Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion small, minced or finely chopped
- 1 lb ground beef or pork 450 g
- 2 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced (5 oz | 140 g)
- 14 oz diced tomatoes 1 can
- ½ cup tomato sauce 4 oz | 112 g
- 1 lb frozen pre-roasted diced potatoes 1 bag, around 450 g or or 4 medium yukon potatoes diced and roasted, see notes
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded 8 oz | 220 g
- Preheat the oven to 355 F | 180 C. Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Heat a non-stick skillet with oil and saute the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, beef, red peppers and taco seasoning. Cook over medium-high for 5-7 minutes, breaking the meat apart with a spatula and stirring every couple of minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a simmer. Remove from the stove and transfer into the baking dish.
- Top the ground beef mixture with pre-cooked diced potatoes and shredded cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then finish under broil for 2-3 minutes for the cheese to brown.
- Remove and garnish with cilantro. Serve with suggested toppings.
Using Raw Potatoes
- Option 1 - Cut 4 medium potatoes in cubes, season with oil, pepper and salt. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 374 F | 190 C. Add roasted potatoes on top of the beef mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes.
- Option 2 - Cut 4 medium potatoes in cubes, season with pepper and salt. In a large non-stick skillet, add 2 tablespoons oil, add potatoes and cook on medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Remove potatoes and set aside. In the same skillet, cook beef with onion, garlic and pepper and continue as per instructions in the recipe.
Using Tater Tots or Hash Browns
- Add frozen tater tots or hash browns on top of the mixture and bake as per recipe. No need to precook or defrost.