Easy Oven Baked Tacos with ground beef and cheese in hard taco shells are a family favorite and perfect for a quick dinner on busy weeknights or when you need to feed a crowd.
I grew up with ground beef tacos in hard taco shells -- like Taco Bell. Good, but messy! These baked beef tacos have crispy shells with a cheesy filling that stays inside the shell.
It's one of our favorite taco recipes to make on taco night, and an easy way to feed a crowd. Plus, they come together in just a few simple steps.
Whether you have a large family to feed on Taco Tuesday or a house full of guests for Cinco de Mayo, this easy recipe is for you!
You only need a few simple ingredients for this oven baked taco recipe. You can find them in your grocery store or online.
- Lean ground beef -- hamburger meat
- Vegetable oil
- Onion -- optional
- Jalapeño pepper -- optional but adds spice
- Taco seasoning -- from the store or homemade taco seasoning
- Water or beef broth
- Taco shells -- hard shells with a flat bottom work best
- Shredded cheese -- cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese
The best thing about tacos made with ground beef is they are super quick and easy. You can make taco meat in the Instant Pot or on the stove.
How to Make Baked Ground Beef Tacos
First, cook the onion and jalapeño pepper in a little bit of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Skip this if you are not adding them.
Then, brown your ground beef. Add taco seasoning and some water or beef broth, and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. If you aren't using lean ground beef, you may have to drain excess grease first.
Place the shells next to each other in a baking dish or casserole dish. Then, add some cheese, and your taco meat.
Adding cheese to the bottom of the tacos prevents them from getting soggy. We tried it and without the cheese on the bottom, and the tacos were so much better with cheese on the bottoms!
Next, add more shredded cheese over the meat. It's going to melt down quite a bit in the oven, so don't be shy here!
Pop the shells into a preheated oven, and bake for 10 minutes. You only need to bake the tacos until the cheese melts and the shells are golden brown around the edges.
Total cooking time for these crunchy tacos is about 15 minutes, including time to brown the hamburger meat.
In only a few minutes, you've got cheesy ground beef tacos.
Shredded iceberg lettuce or green lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and olives are traditional favorites. You can also add guacamole, diced red onions, pico de gallo, fresh salsa or hot sauce to your taco bar.
The layer of cheese at the bottom of the shell forms a barrier between the meat and the shell. This prevents the shell from getting soggy while baking.
How to Store and Reheat
Store any leftover tacos in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for three days before getting too soggy.
The best way to reheat these tacos is in the oven or air fryer. I do not recommend microwaving them.
There are a few different ways to customize these oven baked tacos.
Add some black beans or pinto beans to the meat mixture for some extra protein. Or, you can try putting a layer of refried beans on the bottom of each taco shell.
Substitute the ground beef with your favorite meat. You can use ground turkey, ground chicken or shredded chicken. Though shrimp tacos are great, I would not use shrimp in this recipe.
For some heat, add a couple green chilies to the beef mixture.
Use your favorite type of cheese. Whether it's monterey jack, colby jack, or cheddar cheese, it'll work!
Easy Oven Baked Tacos
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small onion chopped, optional
- 1 jalapeño peppers finely chopped, optional
- 1½ pounds lean ground beef
- taco seasoning 1 packet or 3 tablespoons homemade
- 1 cup water
- 12 taco shells
- shredded cheese Mexican blend or cheddar
- Sauté onions and jalapeños in oil over medium heat until slightly soft
- add ground beef, and cook until no longer pink, drain grease if needed
- Add taco seasoning and water, and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat
- Preheat oven to 375°. Place taco shells next to each other in 13 x 9 baking dish
- fill shells with a little shredded cheese, then cooked ground beef
- Top with more shredded cheese
- Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and shells are lightly browned
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
I hope you enjoy these crispy oven baked tacos as much as we do! If you do make this easy dish, please leave a comment and star rating!
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