Taco nights were meant to be an easy, flavorful solution to family dinners on busy nights. It doesn’t get any easier than with these oven baked tacos. This version is stuffed with the most flavorful ground beef and plenty of whole food, hearty ingredients. Eaten as is, or topped with your favorite garnishments- you can’t go wrong!
As I’m preparing for dinner the other night, I asked Son # 3 to hand me a can of black beans.
He proceeds to root around through the canned bean cubby in the pantry.
Son # 3: Mom, why did you buy garbage can peas?!?!
Son # 3: (holding up a can with a look of utter disgust) Garbage. Can. Peas.
Me: Read that again. It says garbanzo beans.
Son # 3: Oh. Well they still sound gross.
You can’t make this stuff up people!
While this oven baked taco recipe doesn’t actually use garbanzo beans, it does include beans.
I realize beans aren’t typically a traditional ingredient in the filling for American-ized tacos, but I highly recommend giving it a go.
Especially with this version.
Rather than just cooking down some ground beef seasoned with a taco blend and some water, this filling is seriously hearty.
With real ingredients, even if some of them are of the short-cut variety and come pre-made in a can or a jar.
Ingredients Needed For Baked Tacos
- ground beef – you can use any ground beef you want, but I tend to prefer a leaner version for any recipe that’s baked so less grease leaks out during baking. Even with cooking it ahead of time, and draining excess grease off, grease will still eek out during baking. The leaner the cut, the less this will happen. Nobody likes soggy tacos!
- onion – you can use white onion, red onions, or even chopped green onions in this recipe
- refried beans – use your favorite canned version, or homemade will suffice
- salsa – thin or chunky salsa will both work, but I’ve found I prefer a chunkier variety. Make sure to use one with a spice level your family can tolerate & enjoy.
- tomato sauce – NOT spaghetti/pasta sauce. Canned tomato sauce won’t be near the pasta, but can be found next to other canned tomato options in the canned vegetable section of your grocery store.
- taco seasoning – any brand will work, whether it’s from a packet or even a homemade blend
- taco shells
- cheddar cheese – if you don’t have cheddar on hand, Monterrey or pepper jack both work as great substitutes
- cilantro – fresh is best, stems removed and washed, with the leaves roughly chopped
How To Make Tacos In The Oven
These oven baked tacos are a fun new twist on our regular tacos.
Usually, when I make tacos I bake the taco shells separately in the oven for 10 minutes so that the shells are crispy.
When you add the ground beef and beans to the picture it’s a whole new story.
They’re this perfect mix of crunchy and soft in all the right places.
Start by adding the ground beef to a large skillet. Let it cook, breaking it up to crumble as it does, until no pink remains.
Drain off the excess grease, and return the cooked ground beef to the skillet.
Add the taco seasoning, rinsed black beans, undrained diced tomatoes & green chilies, and 1 1/2 cans of water to the skillet.
Stir until they’re all evenly mixed into the beef mixture.
Let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended and the liquid’s mostly cooked off.
This should take roughly 10-15 minutes.
If you want to ensure an even crunch over your entire shell surface area, let more of the liquid evaporate out of your meat mixture.
Just watch it carefully, and be sure to stir, so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the skillet or burns.
Once the excess liquid has cooked off, remove the skillet from heat and set aside. It will continue to thicken up some as it sits.
Lightly spray a 9×13″ baking dish with non stick cooking spray.
Arrange the taco shells in the dish.
I was able to fit 8 shells side by side, lengthwise, and then the other four side by side going the opposite direction.
Using a slotted spoon, fill all the shells evenly with the taco mixture.
Once filled, top the tacos with the chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and cilantro leaves.
Bake the tacos at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the baked tacos from the oven, and top them with additional toppings (as desired) before serving.
I topped my tacos with chopped Roma tomatoes, taco sauce, and some lettuce.
Sour cream, salsa, & guacamole were served on the side, because those are Mexican must-have for us.
And, of course, no Mexican night is complete for us without some yellow rice. Everybody was happy.
Want another rice option? Give this Mexican rice a try, it’s equally delicious!
All tacos were served toasty and everyone’s cheese was melted to perfection before adding the toppings of their choice.
Don’t like pre-made hard shell tacos? That’s ok, too.
You can easily sub flour, or even corn, tortillas in instead.
Who knew oven-baked tacos were the way to go?!
Other Taco Style Dinner Ideas
These oven baked tacos are a great way to get kids in the kitchen, helping with dinner.
Also a great way to introduce them to new ingredients, and correct their pronunciations and even some perceptions!
Looking for other taco style dinners?
Check these ideas out:
- Walking Tacos
- Taco Stuffed Tomatoes
- Twice Baked Taco Potatoes
- Meaty Double Decker Mexican Pizza
- Slow Cooker Ground Beef Tacos
If you’ve tried these OVEN BAKED TACOS, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more
Oven Baked Tacos
- 2 lbs Ground beef lean
- 3-4 tablespoons taco seasoning about 1/3 cup
- 1 19.5 oz can black beans drained & rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes & green chilies (undrained( + 1 1/2 cans water
- 12 taco shells
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves washed and roughly chopped
- 1 head of lettuce shredded, for garnish
- tomato chopped, for garnish
- sour cream for garnish
- Brown ground beef and drain. Return to pan.
- Add taco seasoning, beans, tomatoes, and water.
- Stir to combine and then heat until the flavors have blended.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with oil.
- Spoon taco filling into taco shells and stack them side by side in a pan.
- When shells are filled, top each with shredded cheese, red onion, and cilantro, if desired.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, watching so they do not brown much.
- Serve and top with remaining ingredients, if desired.
originally published May 15, 2014
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