Taco Lasagna recipe is everything you love about tacos in easy, cheesy, saucy, layered casserole form – the ultimate comfort food!
Taco Lasagna elevates the humble taco to new heights in this easy, cheesy, creamy, hearty, make ahead, freezer friendly ground beef casserole. In just a little more time than it takes to make taco filling, you’ll be sinking your teeth into stacks of juicy taco meat, charred corn tortillas, cheese, salsa verde sour cream all smothered in salsa roja and more melty cheese. Pile on your favorite toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes and the masterpiece is complete! This Taco Lasagna recipe is a weeknight and family-friendly meal, always a crowd-pleaser, can be prepped in the morning and baked at night, made in mass quantities, and/or frozen for later. It also makes terrific leftovers – should you be so lucky. Serve it alongside Mexican rice and Mexican Salad for a dinner everyone will inhale!
HOW TO MAKE Taco Lasagna Recipe VIDEo
Taco Lasagna Recipe Ingredients
One of the best things about this Taco Lasagna recipe is you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already! The recipe can be divided into three parts 1) the ground beef, 2) the layers (tortillas, salsa, cheese) and 3) the creamy salsa verde layer. Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll need (full recipe measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
THE GROUND BEEF
Just like traditional lasagna requires the contrasting creamy ricotta filling to cut through the rich Bolognese, Taco Lasagna rejoices with a creamy respite made with sour cream, cream cheese and salsa verde:
- Ground beef: May be swapped with ground turkey or chicken. I like to add 1 tablespoon beef bouillon when using these substitutions. If using, reduce the salt in the recipe.
- Spice blend: You may use your favorite taco seasoning if desired, enough for 1 ½ pounds ground beef.
- Refried beans: You may also stir in pinto beans or black beans, noting black beans won’t be nearly as creamy.
- Salsa: You may use homemade if you like! My restaurant 5-minute blender salsa is incredible.
- Sour cream: Can be subbed with full-fat plain Greek yogurt.
- Mild green chiles: Use hot green chiles … if you dare!
How to Make Taco Lasagna
This recipe for Taco Lasagna is as simple as making classic ground beef taco filling and layering it with tortillas, cheese, and beans! Here’s an overview of the process with step-by-step photos (full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post:
Step 1: Make the Ground Beef Taco Filling
- Brown the beef and onions in a large skillet, breaking up clumps of beef as you cook. Once the ground beef is browned, drain off excess grease.
- Stir in the garlic and all seasonings, followed by the tomato paste and continue to cook for one minute over medium heat.
- Stir in the green chilies, refried beans, salsa and water. Season to taste with cayenne pepper if desired.
Step 2: Prepare the Other Fillings
- Whisk together the sour cream, cream cheese and salsa verde in a medium bowl, set aside.
- Combine the shredded cheeses in a separate bowl; set aside.
Step 3: Assemble the Lasagna
- Add ½ cup salsa to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer (it will be thin).
- Add a layer of tortillas by placing 2 whole tortillas in the middle and surrounding them with 6 tortilla halves (see photos) to cover.
- Spread ⅓ of the Creamy Filling over top.
- Top with 1 cup combined cheeses.
- Top with ⅓ of the meat mixture.
- Repeat the tortillas, creamy filling, cheese and meat mixture two more times.
- Finish with a final layer of tortillas to cover, remaining salsa, and cheese.
Step 4: Bake the Lasagna
- Cover and bake until the cheeses are melted and the casserole is heated through.
- Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Garnish with toppings!
WHAT TOPPINGS FOR taco lasagna?
This Taco Casserole is intoxicating all on its own, but just like all Mexican food, whether it’s tacos, burritos, fajitas, tortilla soup, or enchiladas, it’s exponentially better with toppings! Here are a few ideas:
possible recipe variations
We love this Taco Lasagna recipe as written, but feel free to make it your own with any add-ins!
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped (may sub 1 ½ tsp onion powder)
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tsp EACH ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, possibly omit if using medium salsas)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 16 oz. can refried beans
- 1 ½ cups salsa (I use Mateo's Medium-Hot)
- ½ cup water
- 1 4 oz. can mild chopped green chilies
- 20 6-inch corn tortillas (cut 12 in half)
- 2 cups freshly grated Monterrey Jack cheese
- 2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 ½ cups salsa (I use Mateo's Medium-Hot), divided
- 1 cup sour cream
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup salsa verde (I use medium Herdez)
- pinch of salt
- sour cream
- Nacho Cheese Doritos
- PREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a deep 9X13-inch pan; set aside.
- Return to medium heat. Stir in the garlic and all seasonings, followed by the tomato paste and continue to cook for one minute.
- OPTIONAL: Char tortillas over the flame of a gas burner or in a cast iron skillet until lightly charred in spots.
- ASSEMBLE: Add ½ cup salsa to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer (it will be thin). Add a layer of tortillas by placing 2 whole tortillas in the middle and surrounding them with 6 tortilla halves (see photos) to cover. Spread ⅓ of the Creamy Filling over top, followed by 1 cup combined cheeses and ⅓ of the meat mixture. Repeat the tortillas, creamy filling, cheese and meat mixture two more times to use up all of the Creamy Filling and meat. Top with a layer of tortillas to cover, remaining salsa, and cheese.
- BAKE: Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. Let casserole stand 10 minutes before cutting. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, avocados, cilantro, jalapenos and sour cream if desired.
- Tortillas: If you’ve been following me for long, you know I usually recommend La Tortilla Factory corn tortillas HOWEVER, do not use them in this recipe. I find them a little too thick. Instead, use any less expensive corn tortillas from your grocery store. I love La Paz corn tortillas for this recipe.
- Control the heat. For medium heat, I used medium-hot Mateo’s Salsa and medium salsa verde and omitted the cayenne pepper in the ground beef. For less heat, use mild salsas and a pinch of cayenne.
- Ground turkey: I suggest adding 1 ½ teaspoons beef bouillon if using ground poultry and reducing the salt. You may also use shredded rotisserie chicken. See post for more recipe variations.
- Storage: Leftover Taco Lasagna should be tightly covered in plastic wrap or foil or transferred to an airtight container; store for up to 5 days.
Meal PrepThis Taco Lasagna recipe is the perfect make-ahead meal to either assemble and bake within 24 hours or to bake and freeze.
- Assemble and refrigerate: Make and assemble the entire recipe in advance, tightly cover and refrigerate (without baking) for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, bake according to recipe directions, increasing the baking time by approximately 10 minutes or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly and completely heated through. Note, that the longer the tortillas are refrigerated, the softer they will become.
- Make the ground beef taco filling: Make the taco filling complete with all the add-ins up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. You will need to warm up the taco filling before using so it’s nice and spreadable.
- Prep toppings: Chop and store toppings in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- To freeze: Let the ground beef casserole cool completely (or freeze before baking for meal prep). Wrap securely with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil; freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, tightly covered with foil, at 425 degrees F for 60 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
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