How to Bake Tacos in the Oven – This easy baked tacos recipe is perfect for a party! Load pans of crispy tacos with melty cheese, zesty ground beef, and classic toppings, and serve with your favorite Mexican side dishes for a delicious meal that’s sure to please.

Two rows of a dozen loaded yellow corn hard shell tacos, standing upright in a large baking dish.

An Easy Taco Recipe to Feed a Crowd

Easy baked tacos are a fabulous midweek meal. This taco bake recipe has a slightly saucer meat filling, yet keeps all the tacos warm, crunchy, and cheesy so they’re ready at the same time!

I realize it’s a small problem… But it’s still a problem. You’re making crunchy tacos for your family, but as you fill them, the bottoms get soggy and cold while you try to get each plate ready. 

An easy way to fix this issue is to prep all the tacos in a baking dish and then bake them so the bottoms stay hot and crunchy! Plus, adding a little extra cheese to the bottoms and over the ground beef mixture makes them extra cheesy and delicious. Serve the taco bake with your favorite toppings and sides for a fun and filling dinner in only 30 minutes!

Hand picking up a taco from the tray.

Taco Bake Ingredients

  • Taco shells – crunchy taco shells (corn tortilla or flour tortilla)
  • Ground beef – or ground turkey
  • Onion – peeled and diced
  • Taco seasoning packet – choose your favorite brand of store-bought taco seasoning or use homemade taco seasoning
  • Rotel tomatoes and chilies – mild or spicy, with the juices
  • Mexican hot sauce – like Cholula, or another preferred brand
  • Mexican cheese – shredded, either packaged store-bought or grated by hand ( sub Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese)
  • Pico de gallo – plus other toppings… Keep reading for some of our favorite taco party topping ideas!
Two rows of a dozen loaded yellow corn hard shell tacos, standing upright in a large baking dish.

How to Make Baked Tacos

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set out a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Spray the dish with nonstick cooking spray. Stand as many hard taco shells up in the baking dish as possible. (Some of my baking dishes will hold 14 and some will hold 16, based on the angle of the sides.) 

Set a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. Then add in the diced onion and taco seasoning packet. Stir and cook the meat and onions until the taco meat mixture is fully cooked and broken into small pieces. 

Wooden spatula stirring ground beef taco mixture in a large black deep skillet.

Then stir in the Rotel and hot sauce. Simmer and stir for another 2-3 minutes to tighten the sauce.

Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of shredded cheese in the bottom of each taco shell, about 1 cup total.

Two rows of a dozen yellow corn hard shell tacos, standing upright in a large baking dish. Shredded cheese is in the tacos.

Then spoon the meat evenly into the taco shells.

Get the Complete (Printable) Oven Baked Tacos Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Ground beef mixture added to yellow corn tortilla shells.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the meat in each taco shell.

Bake the tacos for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the taco shells are extra crunchy.

Cheese melted in the rows of tacos.

Best Taco Toppings

Now comes the fun part… Time to load these beauties up with your favorite extra goodies! Here are a few of your favorite taco toppings to get the party started:

Spoon adding pico de gallo to a row of hard shell tacos.

Serving Suggestions

Any night is a party when you serve these crunchy, cheesy baked tacos. Make it a full meal and pair them with a buffet of toppings and any number of tasty sides!

We love hearty classic Southwestern dishes like whole black beans, refried beans, authentic Frijoles de la Olla (Mexican pinto beans), or Papas Bravas (Mexican potatoes). Any of these also pairs well with delicious and fluffy Spanish rice, yellow rice, or green rice.

You want extra goodies like chips and salsa at your taco bar! And, speaking of bar, I also highly suggest including some Tex-Mex-style cocktails on taco night… Try our fabulous traditional margarita, grapefruit margarita, or strawberry margarita recipes. For something a bit less sweet, pair this taco bake recipe with a frozen beerita or spicy michelada (essentially a Mexican Bloody Mary).

Two rows of a dozen loaded yellow corn hard shell tacos, standing upright in a large baking dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this taco bake recipe with chicken?

Absolutely! Swap ground beef with ground chicken (or turkey). Or use precooked shredded chicken to make the filling.

How do you keep taco shells crispy in the oven?

Spray the baking pan with nonstick spray and bake the tacos in a high heat oven. These steps create super crisp and crunchy shells, every time!

Can this recipe be made ahead?

Make the ground beef taco filling 1-2 days ahead of time. After cooking, let the mixture cool completely before transferring to an airtight container and storing it in the fridge.

You can also prep the toppings a day or so in advance! Chop, dice, and store different toppings in individual containers. Cold items will keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Can you save leftover tacos?

Taco bake tastes best fresh from the oven. The shells will get soggy in the pan the longer they sit, so plan to eat them within an hour or so of baking. It’s a good idea to serve these tacos at the start of a party, or assemble and bake fresh when guests are ready to enjoy.

However, you can reheat leftovers in the oven or in the air fryer. Set the AF at 400°F and reheat for 5 minutes.

How to Make Taco Seasoning?

In a small bowl combine these spices: 1 tb chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, and 1/4 tsp dried oregano.

Hand picking up a taco from the tray.

Looking for More Crowd-Pleasing Party Ideas? Be Sure to Try:

Baked Tacos (Easy Taco Bake)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
This baked tacos recipe is perfect for a party! Load pans of crispy tacos with cheese, ground beef and toppings, and serve with your favorite Mexican side dishes for a meal that's sure to please.
Servings: 14 – 16 tacos

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set out a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Spray the dish with nonstick cooking spray. Stand as many hard taco shells up in the baking dish as will fit. (Some of my baking dishes will hold 14 and some will hold 16, based on the angle of the sides.)
  • Set a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. Then add in the diced onion and taco seasoning packet. Stir and cook the meat and onions until the taco meat is fully cooked and broken into small pieces.
  • Then stir in the Rotel and hot sauce. Simmer and stir for another 2-3 minutes to tighten the sauce.
  • Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of shredded cheese in the bottom of each taco shell, about 1 cup total. Then spoon the meat evenly into the taco shells. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the meat in each taco shell.
  • Bake the tacos for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the taco shells are extra crunchy.
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of each taco with 1- 2 tablespoons of pico de Gallo, or any other additional topping you desire. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pc, Calories: 225kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 704mg, Potassium: 203mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 536IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 135mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Author: Sommer Collier
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