Walking Taco Casserole is a tasty variation of the well-known Walking Taco, which is a meal served in a bag of Fritos or other corn chips. In essence, the Walking Taco Casserole is a reinvention of the Frito pie. For a perfect meal, pair it with my Instant Pot Mexican Rice with Black Beans.
What is a Walking Taco?
When someone mentions the word “taco”, what do you imagine? Personally, I imagine a crunchy corn tortilla that’s packed with savory ground beef and then topped with fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, melted cheese, and other delicious toppings.
However, you can substitute the tortilla shell with a bag of Fritos or other corn chips to create a Walking Taco.
Simply open the bag, add your desired taco ingredients, and you have a meal in a bag that you can take with you as you walk around!
I discovered 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!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make. A walking taco casserole is a great option for busy weeknights. All you need to do is brown some ground beef, mix it with your favorite taco seasoning, and layer it in a casserole dish with corn chips, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Pop it in the oven, and dinner is ready in no time!
- Customizable. There are endless possibilities when it comes to customizing a walking taco casserole. You can use your favorite ground beef, taco seasoning, and toppings. You can also substitute ground turkey for ground beef or add beans, rice, or vegetables.
- Economical: A walking taco casserole is a great way to feed a crowd without breaking the bank. Many of the ingredients might already be on hand. and the ingredients are relatively inexpensive
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
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 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 in 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 was a perfect compliment. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Feel free to substitute ground turkey for 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 for about 10 minutes longer.
Probably the main drawback 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:
I hope you liked this recipe for Walking Taco Casserole as much as I do. If so, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. Also, if you’d like to receive notifications of new posts by email, enter your email address in the Subscribe box.
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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 for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer cooked ground beef to a 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 the meat mixture to the 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.
- I used 93% lean ground beef. You could also use ground turkey.
- I used my own DIY Taco Seasoning.