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!
Tacos in all their variations are always a favorite! Don’t miss Ground Beef Taco Bowls, Taco Soup, Taco Pasta Salad, Crispy Shredded Beef Tacos, Carne Asada Tacos and Birria Tacos.
HOW TO MAKE Taco Lasagna Recipe VIDEo
Why you’ll love this taco lasagna recipe
The name of this recipe says it all! Everything you love about classic ground beef tacos is transformed into a quick and easy layered Taco Lasagna with tortillas, ground beef, cheese and salsa. Here’s why it’s so mouthwatering:
It’s all about about the layers! This recipe rewards you with a mountain of juicy beef, creamy, cheesy flavor and texture in each satisfying bite.
Easy to eat and transport. This Taco Lasagna delivers all the satisfying, cheesy, meaty goodness of tacos but in easy to eat and serve form! This also means it’s perfectly portable for potlucks, bringing to a friend, etc.
ONE step sensational taco meat. The ground beef is browned with the onions and homemade taco seasoning, then combined with diced green chilies, salsa and refried beans for maximum flavor and ease. It also means the filling is dizzying delicious and so creamy on its own.
Pantry friendly. This Taco Lasagna recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients, so keep them stocked and you can be basking in pure south of the border comfort food any night of the week.
Versatile. You can follow this recipe as written, or mix it up with different beans, veggies, cheeses, etc. and even make it with ground turkey or rotisserie chicken (see variations section).
Make ahead. You will love that this ground beef casserole can be assembled ahead of time then just popped in the oven at dinnertime. Dinner never tasted so good or so easy.
Freezer friendly. You can prep the entire casserole specifically to freeze or double the recipe and enjoy one casserole now and freeze one for later AKA winning at life.
What is Taco Lasagna?
You may be thinking this Taco Lasagna looks a whole lot like enchilada casserole, but the flavor profile is strikingly different. Unlike enchilada casserole, Taco Lasagna is primarily salsa sauce based instead of enchilada sauce based and includes the creamy layers. Instead, Taco Lasagna is a cross between ground beef tacos (the taco meat, cheese, salsa and toppings), enchilada casserole (the layered charred tortillas and Mexican lasagna (the creamy sour cream/cream cheese layer).
The casserole is made with juicy ground beef blended with homemade taco seasoning, creamy refried beans, punchy salsa and tangy green chilies layered with charred corn tortillas, Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese, a blend of salsa verde sour cream, and cream cheese, all smothered in more salsa and baked to bubbly perfection. And of course, don’t forget the toppings! Load on any of your favorite taco toppings such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, avocado, fresh cilantro, jalapeños, and extra sour cream.
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!
What to Serve with Taco Lasagna Recipe?
This easy Taco Lasagna recipe is the main event and doesn’t need much of a supporting cast, but I always love serving it with a rice, green salad and some sort of fruit. Here are a few side ideas:
Rice. I suggest serving this ground beef Taco Lasagna with some sort of rice or rice alternative just like you would tacos! Plain rice is excellent because the casserole is so flavorful, or cilantro lime rice or Mexican rice are super tasty as well. You may also swap the rice for quinoa or cauliflower rice.
Salad. The comforting casserole loves the contrast of a bright, fresh salad. You can go as simple as a green salad and toss in some crushed tortilla chips, sunflower seeds, bell peppers and black beans, or go big with southwest salad, Mexican salad, Mexican street corn salad or grilled corn salad.
Fruit. Keep it simple and serve this recipe with your favorite fruit such as pineapple, cantaloupe, or grapes, or amp it up with pina colada fruit salad, fruit salad with honey lime vinaigrette, grape salad, or winter fruit salad.
Dessert! Finish off your homemade Mexican fiesta with Tres Leches Cake!
This 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.
HOW TO STORE
Leftover Taco Lasagna should be tightly covered in plastic wrap or foil or transferred to an airtight container; store for up to 5 days.
HOW TO REHEAT
Oven: Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. If baking smaller servings, bake for 10-20 minutes, until warmed through.
Microwave: Reheat individual servings in the microwave by transferring to a microwave-safe plate and microwaving for 60 seconds. Continue to microwave at 20-second intervals until heated through.
Can you Freeze Taco Lasagna?
Yes, you may freeze this Taco Lasagna recipe with excellent results! To freeze:
1. Let the ground beef casserole cool completely (or freeze before baking for meal prep).
2. Wrap the ground beef casserole securely with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil.
3. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
4. When ready to eat, cover tightly with foil and bake from frozen at 425 degrees F for 60 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
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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 1/2 cups sour cream
- 4 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.
- COOK BEEF: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook and crumble until the beef is cooked through; drain off excess grease.
- Return to medium heat. Stir in the garlic and all seasonings, followed by the tomato paste and continue to cook for one minute.
- Stir in the refried beans, salsa, water and chopped green chilies. Continue to cook and stir until the refried beans are fully incorporated. Season to taste with cayenne pepper if desired; set aside.
- CREAMY FILLING: Whisk all of the Creamy Filling ingredients together in a medium bowl, set aside. Combine cheeses in a separate bowl; set aside.
- 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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