Walking Taco Casserole is a delicious spin on the popular walking taco which is a meal in a bag of Fritos or other corn chips. The walking taco casserole is simply a reverse back to the Frito pie.
What is a Walking Taco?
What comes to mind when think of a taco? For me, it’s a crisp corn tortilla shell filled with seasoned ground beef, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and whatever else one desires.
Substitute a bag of Fritos or other corn chips for the tortilla shell, and you have the beginnings of a walking taco.
Open the bag of Fritos, and pile in seasoned ground beef and whatever taco fixings you desire. You now have a meal in a bag ready to take with you as you walk around!
I first saw the idea of the Walking Taco Casserole at Grits and Pinecones. Since tacos are one of my favorite foods, I knew that I had to give this a try. It was amazing!
The ingredients for this recipe are pretty standard. However, I put my own spin on them.
- The Meat: I always make taco meat the same way – ground beef, taco seasonings (my own DIY seasoning), Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chilies and water. This time, I dressed the taco meat up a bit by adding some Velveeta cheese.
- The Fixings: For the fixings, I added shredded iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, chopped green onion tops, jalapeño peppers and sour cream.
- The Corn Chips: For the corn chips, I used Fritos original corn chips.
Making the Meat Mixture
As I indicated, I always make my taco meat in the same basic way.
- I start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once the ground beef was browned, I transferred it to a colander. I and rinsed the ground beef in hot water to remove as much of the grease as possible.
You might be asking whether the rinsing washes away the beef taste along with the grease. The answer is probably. However, I’ve been doing this for years and have found that the real flavor comes from what is added to the ground beef.
- Before returning the ground beef to the skillet, I rubbed it between my hands to crumble it into small pieces.
Then, I returned the crumbled ground beef to the skillet. I added the taco seasoning, Rotel tomatoes and water. I cooked the mixture over medium heat until most of the liquid had evaporated. This took about 15 minutes.
- For the finishing touch on the meat, I added some cubed Velveeta cheese. I continued cooking the taco meat mixture until all of the cheese had melted.
When I was a kid, I always added Velveeta cheese to the ground beef mixture when I made enchiladas. I figured that if it worked back then, it would work now and I was right. The Velveeta added a creamy, cheesy taste to what was already incredible taco meat!
Putting Everything Together
The main work at making this delicious casserole was preparing the taco meat. Once that was done, putting the casserole together was quite simple.
- First, I transferred the meat mixture to a 2 ½-quart casserole dish that I had sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Next, I added a layer of shredded Cheddar cheese, then a layer of Fritos and a final layer of shredded Cheddar cheese.
- I popped the casserole into a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the cheese was melted and bubbly.
- As a final step, I added shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sliced green onions and jalapeño peppers to the casserole. To finish the casserole, I drizzled sour cream over the top.
Now the moment of truth – was the Walking Taco Casserole as good as it looked? The answer was a resounding yes! The taco meat was amazing. The cheesy, crunchy Frito topping was yummy, and the “salad” topping a perfect compliment. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Feel free to substitute ground turkey for the ground beef. In fact, I often use ground turkey in place of ground beef in dishes. One of the reasons is that ground turkey tends to be more tender than ground beef.
I like to use my own taco seasoning. However, feel free to use packaged taco seasoning.
You can definitely omit the Velveeta cheese. You could also substitute cream cheese for the Velveeta cheese.
I used Cheddar cheese because that’s what I had on hand at the time. You could also use Mexican blend cheese or Colby Jack cheese in this recipe.
I like to use the original Fritos because of their size. However, you can definitely substitute the corn chip of your choice.
You can prepare the meat mixture up to two days in advance. Cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. When ready to serve, spread the taco meat in the casserole dish, top with cheese and Fritos and bake. Since the meat will be cold, you will have to bake the dish about 10 minutes longer.
Probably the main draw-back of the Walking Taco Casserole is that it doesn’t produce good leftovers. As the dish cools, the cheese/Frito layer and the “salad” toppings will get soggy.
Other Mexican Inspired Dishes
If you’re a fan of Mexican or Tex Mex dishes, you should try these awesome recipes:
- Taco Waffle Cones
- Tasty Taco Cups
- Tasty 7 Layer Quesadilla Wrap
- Instant Pot Mexican Smashed Pinto Beans
- Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken
- Instant Pot Mexican Rice with Black Beans
- Chicken Fajita Quesadilla
- Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce
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Walking Taco Casserole
- 1 pound ground beef (See Tip 1)
- 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning (See Tip 2)
- 10 ounce can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup (4-ounces) Velveeta Cheese, cubed
- 2 cups (8-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- 3 cups Fritos Original Corn Chips
- 2 cups torn iceberg lettuce
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons chopped green onion tops
- 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 ½ quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Brown and crumble ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer cooked ground beef to colander; rinse with hot water to remove excess grease. Return to skillet over medium heat. Add taco seasoning, Rotel Tomatoes and water. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
- Add Velveeta cheese; stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer meat mixture to prepared casserole dish. Top with half of the Cheddar cheese, the Fritos and the remaining half of the Cheddar cheese.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove from oven; top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, green onion tops and jalapeño slices. Drizzle with sour cream. Serve immediately.
- Yield: 6 servings.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- I used 93% lean ground beef. You could also use ground turkey.
- I used my own DIY Taco Seasoning.