Oven Baked Tacos are always a favorite at dinnertime with the family, or when feeding a crowd at a party. Crisp taco shells are filled with cheese and our favorite seasoned ground beef taco meat and then baked in the shells the cheese is melted.
This is one of our favorite taco recipes! Baking these shells with meat & cheese helps to keep everything together – which means more yummy food in the mouth and less on the lap! Add your favorite toppings and serve!
How to Make Oven Baked Tacos
The difference between these baked tacos and typical tacos is that the meat and a bit of cheese is added to the shells and baked for a few minutes.
Not only do they look so yummy packed together and standing upright in a casserole pan; they are easy to prepare, and even easier to grab and enjoy. You can also make these with pork or chicken. Just three simple steps to make this delicious crowd pleaser:
- Brown the ground beef and onion. Stir in taco seasoning, or (use Homemade Taco Seasoning), and diced tomatoes.
- Stack the taco shells side-by-side in a casserole pan and fill with cheese and meat mixture.
- Top with shredded cheese and bake until the shells are crispy and the cheese is thoroughly melted.
To Keep Baked Tacos Crispy
These tacos are naturally a little bit soft on the bottom due to the moisture from the meat. Here are a few tips to keep them as crispy as possible.
- Start with a thin layer of cheese in the bottom to create a barrier between the shell and the meat.
- Ensure your meat is cooked until all liquid is evaporated.
- Fill and bake just before serving. Once baked, serve immediately.
Can I use soft tortillas? While you can use soft tortillas for regular ground beef tacos, these baked tacos need a crunchy taco. I find the crisp taco shells that stand by themselves are the easiest to use.
Of course the best reason to make oven baked tacos is that they’re just plain delicious!
Baked Taco Toppings
Tacos just wouldn’t be the same without a generous array of toppings to choose from. Top all of the tacos at once right in the pan, this makes for easy serving! If you’d prefer, create a taco bar and let everyone add their favorite toppings. Here are our favorites:
- Sauces: pico de gallo, sour cream, salsa, tomatillo sauce, guacamole, enchilada sauce
- Fresh Toppings: chopped cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, mango salsa, lime, red cabbage slaw
- Flavor Boosters: cheese, jalapeños, homemade salsa, black olives, Coleslaw, onions (red or green)
- Spicy: jalapenos, chipotle, hot sauce, taco sauce
What to Serve With Tacos
The best side dishes for serving with tacos are the classics: refried beans, Spanish rice and an ice cold margarita, am I right? Serve these next to your oven baked tacos, and your family just might think they’re sitting in the best restaurant in town!
More Mexican Inspired Dishes
- Easy Ground Beef Tacos – A favorite dish perfected!
- Ground Beef Enchiladas – family favorite.
- Shrimp Tacos – perfect last minute option.
- Easy Fish Tacos – 20 mins from fridge to table!
- Cilantro Lime Rice – zesty, refreshing flavor.
- Easy Taco Salad – ready in 30 mins!
- Ground Turkey Tacos – a healthier version of a favorite dish
Cheesy Oven Baked Tacos
- 1 pound ground lean beef
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 1 onion
- 10 ounces canned tomatoes with chilis such as rotel
- 12-14 crisp taco shells
- 2 ½ cups cheddar or jack cheese divided
- sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cook ground beef and onion until no pink remains. Drain fat. Add in taco seasoning, undrained tomatoes and ¼ cup water. Cook until no liquid remains (about 5 minutes).
- Place your taco shells in a 9×13 pan. Use small balls of foil between every second shell to help them stand up if needed.
- Divide 1 ½ cups of cheese between the shells. Top with meat mixture divided between shells and finally top with remaining cheese.
- Bake 15-18 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with desired toppings and serve immediately.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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I just made these for my family and they were delicious.
I added a layer of refried beans on bottom, then cheese, then meat mixture and more cheese. Served with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, jalapenos and salsa. This was a bit hit with my family. Will add to monthly meal rotation. Thanks for the recipe!!
Hi, I can add refried beans to shells first before the taco beef mixture?
Sure you can!
These tacos were a big hit with my family! I never thought of adding Ro-tel to the mix, and it really pumped up the flavor. My husband asked to have this recipe added to our regular rotation. Thank you for an amazing recipe!
I make this almost weekly. Love this recipe!
I love hearing that Amy! So glad you love the tacos!
These were sooooo yummy! This will be how I make tacos going forward. Thanks so much for this recipe. Do you think it would work with plain diced tomatoes from the can? I want To make a less spicy version for the kiddies. Thanks so much!!!
I havne’t tried it, but think it would work. You may need to leave a bit of the juice out. Let us know how it works for you Stacey!
I tried these tonight and only had canned whole tomatoes, I stuck in food processor and pureed, point being, nice and plain and came out great.
I added these to our New Years Eve appetizer buffet, I cut them in thirds and let everyone add their own desired toppings. They were a hit, I will absolutely make them again. I made some with the Nacho cheese shells and those were probably the favorites. Thanks for the recipe
Cutting them in thirds for a crowd is a great idea! Thank you for sharing!
OMG is all I gotta say!! We are a taco crazy family and we are now a BAKED taco family!! These are the BEST tacos hands down!!!! I have passed this recipe on to many friends in the last week and you are getting RAVE REVIEWS!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!
That’s awesome Amanda! I’m so glad you loved them!
Can you just buy corn tortillas from the store and use them in this recipe? Or do you have to buy the shells already hard and cooked?
I have only made the recipe as written with hard tacos.
Love the idea of baking them! they look delish!
Was wondering….since I don’t like the hard shell tacos that are used here would soft shells work as well? These look great though and plan on trying! :)
I haven’t tried it with soft shells but I think it would work! They may crisp up a little while baking. Please let us know how it works out for you if you do try it!
Lisa, Did you try it with soft shells? How did it work?
I think I will try this out for my grandson.If it makes him happy, then grandma is happy.
This was awesome! Doubled with ground turkey and filled our 4 bottomleas pits! Husband just LOVED ‘am and that’s saying a lot. Thanks!
Awesome Donna! So glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe!!
What kinda of shells did you use? Brand name?
I’ve used a couple of different brands but I most often use Barilla.