Crock Pot Taco Casserole combines the hearty flavors of ground beef, beans, corn, and salsa, enhanced with savory taco seasoning and melted cheddar, all effortlessly cooked to perfection in your slow cooker! Make a full, well-rounded dinner packed with flavor in just one pot.
Casseroles are a stellar option for quick and easy dinners because they’re so simple! They often combine proteins, vegetables, and starches in one dish, cutting down on prep time and cleanup. When made in a crock pot, they're even more convenient; the slow cooking process allows flavors to come together beautifully while you focus on your day without the need for constant monitoring. This taco casserole combines both worlds in a flavorful meal that’ll become a quick family favorite.
This easy crock pot casserole recipe begins with 10 easy-to-find ingredients: ground beef, yellow onion, whole kernel corn, black beans, salsa, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, garlic, shredded hashbrowns, and cheddar cheese. Start by browning your ground beef in a skillet, then toss it into your 6-quart crock pot along with your veggies, salsa, taco seasoning, garlic, hashbrowns, and most of the cheese. Let the crock pot work its magic, blending those flavors together, cooking on low or high. Finish it off by sprinkling on the rest of the cheese, giving it a quick 15 minutes to melt, and dinner's ready to be dished up!
Serve with a variety of sides, from a crisp green salad to fresh guacamole, sour cream, or a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. It’s a great way to feed a crowd on a busy weeknight or have plenty of leftovers for meal prep!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- There’s minimal hands-on time - just simple prep and the crock pot takes care of the rest, making meal planning a breeze.
- You can switch out ground beef for turkey or a plant-based alternative, or even add extra veggies for a nutritional boost.
- The familiar, comforting flavors of tacos and melted cheese are appealing to both kids and adults, making it a great family meal.
- It reheats well, providing delicious stress-free lunches or dinners for the next couple of days.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground Beef - Provides a hearty, protein-rich base that brings a savory depth to the casserole.
- Yellow Onion and Minced Garlic - Adds a layer of aromatic sweetness and a kick of pungency.
- Whole Kernel Corn - Introduces a mild sweetness and texture contrast.
- Black Beans - Contribute heartiness and fiber content, complementing the beef while giving the casserole a balanced nutritional profile.
- Salsa (Picante) - Acts as a flavor powerhouse, infusing the dish with a zesty, tangy taste that ties all the ingredients together.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes - Offers a juicy, acidic quality that brightens the casserole.
- Taco Seasoning - Brings the classic, spicy-savory flavors one expects in a taco-inspired dish.
- Frozen Shredded Hashbrowns - Provides a carbohydrate base that absorbs all the flavors and adds a fulfilling heartiness to the meal.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese - Melts into gooey perfection, binding the ingredients with its creamy texture and adding a sharp, tangy flavor note.
How To Make Crock Pot Taco Casserole
Cook the ground beef: Add a large skillet to the stovetop over high heat. Add ground beef and break it up with a spatula, cooking until browned. This will take 6-7 minutes. Drain off any excess fat, then add it to the bottom of a 6-quart crock pot.
Add remaining ingredients: To the ground beef, add the onion, corn, black beans, salsa, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, garlic, hashbrowns, and 1½ cups of cheese. Mix until well combined.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 5-6 hours.
Garnish with cheese: Once the casserole is cooked through, sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite taco toppings. Enjoy!
- Opt for lean ground beef to reduce excess fat; however, a bit of fat can add flavor and moisture to the casserole, so something around 85% lean would work well.
- Make sure to thoroughly drain the canned corn and diced tomatoes before adding them to your crock pot to prevent the casserole from getting too soggy.
- Choose a salsa with a heat level that suits your preference; the flavor of the salsa will influence the overall taste of the casserole.
- For a vegetarian option, substitute ground beef with a plant-based meat alternative or extra beans, ensuring you adjust the cooking time as these alternatives may cook faster than meat.
- Customize the spice level by adding chopped jalapeños, red pepper flakes, or a bit more of your favorite hot sauce if you prefer your casserole on the spicier side.
- For an evenly cooked casserole, thoroughly mix the ingredients in the crock pot, so the flavors cook together well.
- Add more nutrition and color by including extra vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach.
- Try different types of cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, or a spicy Pepper Jack, to add a new dimension of flavor and creaminess.
- Swap out black beans for pinto beans, kidney beans, or even a mix for a change in flavor and texture.
- Replace the hashbrowns with riced cauliflower for a lighter, low-carb version of the casserole. Adjust the cooking time, as cauliflower might cook more quickly.
- If you're out of taco seasoning, create your mix with common spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne for that signature taco flavor.
- Use a variety of toppings such as sour cream, green onions, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, or avocado slices for an extra fresh and personalized dish.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store any leftovers, let the casserole cool down to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave or place the casserole in an oven-safe dish and warm it in a preheated oven until heated through.
Freezing: Allow the cooked casserole base to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, add cheese, and reheat in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is warmed through.
Yes, fresh potatoes can be a great substitute. Just ensure they're peeled, shredded, or finely diced and partially cooked to match the cooking time of other ingredients in the crock pot.
To prevent a watery casserole, thoroughly drain your canned ingredients and pat dry any frozen items to remove excess water. Avoid overcooking the casserole, as prolonged cooking can break down ingredients and release more moisture.
The casserole is done when it's heated through, the cheese on top is melted and slightly golden, and the edges are bubbly.
Yes, prepare the ingredients, combine them in the crock pot insert, and store it in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to cook, place the insert back in the crock pot base, and you might need to add a bit of extra cooking time to account for the cold ingredients.
More Crock Pot Casserole Recipes
- Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
- Slow Cooker Sausage and Potato Casserole
- Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Crock Pot Green Bean Casserole
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Crock Pot Taco Casserole
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup yellow onion (diced)
- 1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn (drained)
- 1 (15.25 oz) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (16 oz) jar salsa (I used Pace Picante)
- 1 (15.25 oz) can diced tomatoes (drained)
- 1 (1 oz) packet of taco seasoning
- 3 tsp garlic (minced)
- 20 oz frozen shredded hashbrowns
- 2 cup cheddar cheese Shredded and divided)
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook ground beef until completely brown. It takes about 6-7 minutes. Drain and add to a 6-quart crock pot.
- Add onion, corn, black beans, salsa, diced, tomatoes, taco seasoning, garlic, hashbrowns, and 1½ cups of cheese. Mix until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
- You can substitute fresh potatoes for frozen hashbrowns. Simply make sure to peel, shred, or finely dice them, and partially cook them to align with the cooking time of the other ingredients in the crock pot.
- Enhance your dish with an array of toppings like sour cream, green onions, freshly chopped cilantro, lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, or slices of avocado to add a fresh and personalized touch.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.