This Easy Turkey Taco Casserole recipe is a classic throwback dish, and sooooo delicious and satisfying. Perfectly seasoned ground turkey is layered with tortillas, beans and cheese then “customized” toppings are added to make your perfect plate! The easy taco casserole can be made up to two days ahead and popped in the oven for a no hassle weeknight dinner!
You know I love ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TACO related!! I have literally never met a taco I didn’t love. See three of my favorite taco recipes here:
- Quick and Easy Creamy Tacos
- Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Slaw
- Spicy Ground Pork Tacos with Cilantro Slaw
Soooo, take amazing, traditional taco ingredients and throw them into casserole form?!! Why not?! My Asian mama (!!!!) was actually the first person to introduce me to this casserole when I was about 7 years old and I’ve been a fan of this easy recipe ever since!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this easy turkey taco casserole:
Taco Sauce: I like using bottled taco sauce for this recipe. My favorite is this Ortega Taco Sauce, but any brand will work!
Toppings: For this casserole, I used Fritos, black olives, tomatoes and green onions. But sky’s the limit when it comes to taco toppings! Use your faves–there is a list of great taco toppings in the recipe card below!
HOW TO MAKE THIS TURKEY TACO CASSEROLE: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Brown taco meat (turkey) in a large skillet. Add taco seasoning and taco sauce.
Step 2: Heat oven to 375°F. In a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish (or similar) layer HALF of the corn tortillas.
Step 3: Spread HALF the beans over the tortillas.
Step 4: Spread HALF of the turkey mixture meat over the beans.
Step 5: Next, sprinkle on HALF of the cheese. Then, repeat all layers: tortillas, beans, meat, cheese. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. Then top with desired toppings!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Adding 1/4 to 1/2 can of water to the refried beans and heating them through before layering them into the casserole makes the beans really easy to spread.
- This casserole can be made up to 2 days in advance and baked when you’re ready! Just allow 10-15 minutes of extra baking time if you are baking it straight from the fridge.
STORAGE & REHEATING
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can either cover the casserole dish tightly with 2 layers of foil and store OR transfer the extra casserole to an airtight container (these are my favorite containers for storing leftovers!)
Reheating: You can reheat the casserole in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes or so until warmed through OR just place a piece in the microwave, loosely covered for about a minute.
Freezing: This casserole freezes beautifully. You can assemble it in foil containers like these. Then cover tightly and freeze for up to 2 months. Just wait until you are ready to bake it to add the top cheese layer and any toppings.
Additions and Substitutions
Toppings: The magic of this recipe is in the toppings! I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend NOT skipping the “crunch” factor and adding tortilla chips, Fritos or Doritos to the top. Just sayin’. See the recipe card for a list of the toppings!
Meat: This recipe absolutely works without the meat if you want to make it veggie! I would just add an extra layer of cheese! You can also substitute the turkey with ground beef or ground chicken.
Beans: If you aren’t a fan of refried beans, you can use black beans, whole pinto beans or omit all together and replace with more cheese.
Tortillas: Flour tortillas are also fine to use. Just keep in mind, they don’t hold up quite as well as leftovers and can get a bit soggy.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When you add all of your favorite taco toppings (my faves: Fritos, tomatoes, black olives and green onions!) you don’t need much else! Chips and fresh pico de gallo are always great to have alongside, but this casserole is really a one stop shop!
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OTHER TEX MEX RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- EASY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH SOUR CREAM SAUCE
- CROCKPOT BUFFALO CHICKEN TACOS WITH CELERY SLAW
- DORITO TACO SALAD WITH CATALINA DRESSING
Easy Turkey Taco Casserole
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs lean ground turkey
- 2 16 oz cans refried beans
- 1 cup taco sauce* See Note 1
- 2 1/2 tbsp low sodium taco seasoning
- 12 corn tortillas, cut into fourths
- 2-3 cups shredded cheese cheddar cheese, Mexican blend, your fave!
Toppings (use as many or as little as you like)
- Fritos, Doritos, corn chips for crunch!
- chopped tomatoes
- black olives
- green onions
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- diced avocado
- red onion
- chopped lettuce
- salsa, extra taco sauce
- red bell pepper
- bell peppers
- fresh cilantro
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and brown turkey, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or potato masher Pro Tip: Using a potato masher when the meat is about halfway cooked works great at getting the meat broken up nice and fine 🙂
- When meat is browned and almost cooked through, add the taco seasoning and taco sauce. Stir and simmer 2-3 minutes more to allow flavors to combine.
- While meat is cooking, add beans to a pan over medium heat with about 1/4 can of water to thin them out and make them spreadable. Stir until smooth and heated through.
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray a 9 x 12 baking pan (or similar) with cooking spray.
- Assemble the casserole: Layer 1/2 the tortillas, beans, taco meat and cheese into even layers. Repeat ONCE so there are two layers of every item. The last layer should be cheese.
- Bake, uncovered for 30-40 minutes until casserole starts to bubble and cheese is nicely melted on top.
- Remove from oven and allow 5-10 minutes for the casserole to cool. Top with toppings and enjoy!