Ok, this easy crunchy taco bake recipe was a total surprise winning lunch in our test kitchen. We had some leftover crunchy taco shells and a bunch of ground beef from a bbq project we were working on. So what to cook with a all these extra ingredients? Crunchy taco bake, of course!

Crunch Beef Taco Bake or Taco Casserole Recipe in a casserole

Easy Taco Bake Recipe

Seriously, we’re all adults here but when we tasted these we instantly became kids again. Basically, we were all big hungry kids. The flavors of our taco beef was fabulous. Combined with the warm, crunchy taco shells with cool lettuce and salsa, it was a mind-blowing taco lunch. Every once in a while we crave crunchy tacos because our go-to taco lunch are always with soft corn or flour tortillas. But today was a little different and we’re so glad we mixed up our taco-game.

Crunch Beef Taco Bake or Taco Casserole Recipe in a casserole

Video: Crunchy Beef Taco Bake 

Tips for Making Easy Taco Bake

  • Use different types of meat: Beef is usually the most popular, but you can also use ground chicken or ground turkey for a healthier version.
  • Plant Based Taco Bake: If you have family who are vegan, then it’s easy to make this vegan! Use plant based meat proteins instead of regular meat. Use vegan cheese and taco shells.
  • Toppings make these extra delicious. Add some sour cream, avocado or hot sauce for extra flavor and creamy texture.
  • Make sure to drain all the fat/juices from the cooked meat. If not, all the extra juices can make the taco shells soggy.
  • All recipe details are in the recipe box below.

Best Taco Bake Appetizer or Kids Snack

We just raised our taco-game ten notches by sharing them with kids. They love this just as much as we do! Who doesn’t love a warm crunchy and cheesy taco? This recipe for our crunchy taco bake is perfect for game-day. They’re also awesome for outdoor parties or when ever you want to serve a hungry crowd. Seriously, you can easily put together 2,3,4 or 18 of these trays super quick. Just pop them in the oven and you’re ready to feed your whole town if you wanted to. Why not? Cause the more people you can feed with these awesome tacos, the more heroic you’ll be in everyones eyes.

You’ll be the taco hero that made a bunch of people happy. And oh, don’t forget to bring the keg of beer because these crunchy beef tacos pair perfectly with some fizz. For the kids, some lemonade or iced tea will suit them just fine as long as they can have 2-3 to eat all by themselves, which they will definitely devour in seconds.

Taco casserole
Crunch Beef Taco Bake or Taco Casserole Recipe | @bestrecipebox

Crunchy Taco Bake

The amount of tacos you can make in a batch will depend on your baking dish. You’ll want the shells to fit fairly snug so they hold each other up. Our 3-quart baking dishes usually hold 12-15 tacos.
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  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. (455-680 g) ground beef or turkey
  • 14.5 oz. (411 g) can petite diced tomatoes , drained
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt , or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper , to taste
  • 2 cups (225 g) shredded cheese (16 oz.)
  • 12-15 crunchy taco shells


  • Salsa, Shredded Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Lime wedges, etc…


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Heat skillet on medium high heat. Add oil then add the onions and garlic. Cook until softened.  Add beef and cook until brown. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Remove from heat and drain any excess juices.
  • Arrange taco shells snugly standing up in an about 9×13" baking dish. Divide the meat mixture between all the taco shells. Sprinkle cheese over the tops of the filled tacos.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and taco shells are crispy. Remove from oven.
  • Top with shredded lettuce, salsa, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream or your favorite taco toppings! Serve with lime wedges.


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 381kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 363mg, Potassium: 427mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 400IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 141mg, Iron: 2.8mg