Baked Tacos (With Homemade Crunchy Taco Shells)

Baked tacos are an easy and delicious meal.

Pretty much everyone likes tacos in one form or another, so who would say no to these quick and easy baked tacos? They’re perfect for even the busiest weeknights, because you can get this hearty meal on the table in just half an hour!

The very first time I made this recipe, I knew I’d found a keeper, because there wasn’t a speck of food remaining in the pan after all was said and done. This dish has so many things going for it that it’s really no wonder it went over so well!

You can buy hard taco shells to use in this recipe, but making them yourself is infinitely more tasty. We’ll start with the easy baked tacos recipe, after which I’ll show you how to make your own crunchy taco shells (highly recommended for use in baked tacos!)

Easy Baked Tacos Recipe

For baked tacos, all you need are taco shells, ground beef, refried beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and taco shells -- plus toppings, of course!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 15 oz refried beans
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 2–3 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packet store-bought taco seasoning)
  • 1–2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16-20 crunchy taco shells (see below)
Brown the hamburger and add the taco seasoning, beans, and tomato sauce.

Directions:

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, then drain off the excess fat. Add the refried beans, tomato sauce, and seasoning to the browned beef and stir to combine.

Spoon the taco filling into taco shells in a baking pan.

Divide the ground beef and beans mixture among your taco shells and arrange them in a greased 9×13″ baking dish.

Top the filled taco shells with shredded cheese.

When the pan is full, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the tacos and place them in the oven. Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, or until they’re heated through and the cheese is melted. Serve with your favorite taco toppings (more on that shortly!)

Make your own crunchy taco shells with corn tortillas.

How To Make Homemade Crunchy Taco Shells

Why go to the trouble of making homemade oven baked taco shells? Their superior flavor and durability! Not only do they retain the delicious flavor of fresh corn tortillas, but they don’t shatter nearly as easily as the store-bought kind. (No need to toss out a bunch of  broken shells!)

Soften the corn tortillas by wrapping in a damp napkin and microwave briefly.

To make them, you’ll need stack of corn tortillas and a damp cloth or paper towel. Wrap about 6 tortillas at a time in the damp cloth, then microwave them for about 30 seconds, or until they’re nice and pliable.

Spray the softened corn tortillas with a baking spray.

Lay the softened tortillas on a baking sheet, then coat them on both sides with cooking spray.

Drape the sprayed corn tortillas over two bars of your oven rack.

Next, carefully drape each tortilla over two bars of your oven rack, then bake them at 375°F for 7-10 minutes, or until crispy and golden-brown. How easy is that?

After filling your baked taco shells, top them with cheese and bake til hot and the cheese has melted. Serve with taco toppings.

Baked Taco Toppings

Lettuce and diced tomatoes are classic taco toppings, but you don’t have to stop there — the possibilities are practically endless! Here are some tasty ideas to get you started:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced onion
  • Avocado/guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Grilled corn
  • Sliced black olives
  • Diced jalapeño peppers
  • Lime wedges
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Sliced radishes
  • Pico de gallo
  • Tomatillo avocado salsa
Taco Tuesday is even better with homemade baked tacos with all the fixings.

Tasty Variations To Try

If you don’t want to use ground beef, use ground turkey instead! Or you could combine Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday by substituting your favorite vegetarian crumbles in the meat mixture.

Another alternative to baked beef tacos is chicken tacos. I like to buy rotisserie chickens at Costco and shred the meat and freeze it in vacuum bags. If I take one of the bags of shredded chicken out of the freezer in the morning, we can have baked chicken tacos for dinner that night — talk about an easy dinner! (Or try fish tacos — fill the shells with cooked fish sticks and serve them with shredded cabbage and tartar sauce!)

You can also make oven baked tacos using small flour tortillas (like the “street taco” variety) by filling flour tortillas with the ground beef mixture and arranging them snugly in the pan. The flour tortillas will get crispy around the top edges while staying nice and soft at the bottom. (You could also use a muffin tin to turn small tortillas into mini taco bowls!)

Once the cheese is melted and the tacos are heated through, they are ready to serve.

Storing And Reheating Leftover Baked Tacos

When I reheat baked tacos, I usually just toss them in the microwave as is. It makes the tortillas softer and more moist than they were fresh out of the oven, but it gives the tacos an enchilada-like quality that I don’t mind in the slightest.

If you want to preserve the texture of the taco shells, I recommend storing the filling and shells separately. Store the taco meat mixture in a covered dish, then wrap the shells in wax paper or put them in a dish and cover it loosely.

To reheat, put the shells in an uncovered pan and bake them at 350°F for about 10 minutes to crisp them up. Meanwhile, reheat the filling in your microwave or on your stovetop, then reassemble the tacos.

If you have leftover filling, use it to make a healthy taco casserole. If you have extra taco shells, make another round of tacos with whatever you have on hand — leftover prime rib makes an amazing taco filling! That’s the beauty of this easy oven baked taco recipe — it’s super easy to make and extremely versatile. I’m sure you’ll love this recipe as much as we do!

Have you ever tried making baked tacos?

how to make baked tacos

Baked Tacos (The Best Baked Taco Recipe!)

Jill Nystul
Make these crispy baked tacos for a quick and delicious dinner full of flavor and topped with melty cheese.
4.14 from 83 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 16
Calories 244 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 2–3 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning or 1 packet store-bought taco seasoning
  • 1–2 cups shredded cheese
  • 16-20 hard taco shells
  • Salsa, sour cream, and other taco toppings optional

Instructions
 

  • Brown the ground beef, then drain off any fat. Stir the refried beans, tomato sauce, and seasoning into the browned beef.
  • Spoon the beef mixture into your taco shells, and line them up in a 9×13” pan.
  • When the pan is full, sprinkle the top with a nice layer of shredded cheese.
  • Put the pan in your oven, and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes (or until they’re heated through the cheese is melted.) Top with your taco fixings of choice, and serve!

Video

YouTube video

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 13gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 454mgPotassium: 279mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 1.9mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • This is awesome! Thank you Jillee and staff :)

    I make almost the exact same thing except I add in cooked rice (taco and Spanish flavor) to bulk it up a bit. This can be used in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and of course, taquitos.

  • I saw this idea when you first posted it. It would work with our g free family members. Except my sister inlaws kids are kind of fussy and at the age where they won’t eat certain things. I have an allergy to corn, so I would just put some of the mixture aside and use a flour tortilla for mine. I agree dealing with the g free issues can meals a challenge.

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