These oven Baked Tacos are a super simple dinner recipe, perfect for your ‘Taco Tuesday’ celebrations. Seasoned taco filling cooks on the stove and is divided between taco shells before being topped with cheese and baked in the oven. With minimal prep time and a total time of just over 30 minutes, it’s a perfect recipe for entertaining and a quick dinner solution for busy weeknights.
Recipe Highlights: Baked Tacos
Here are a few reasons why these tacos are one of our favorite recipes:
- It requires minimal prep time, has a quick cook time, and a total time of just 35 minutes
- This dish is a good source of high-quality protein
- You can serve these tacos on their own as a complete meal, or pair them with your favorite sides
- You can easily mix and match your favorite yummy toppings
- Leftovers store and reheat well for a quick meal the next day
Ingredients To Make This Baked Tacos Recipe
- Ground beef – look for 90-93% lean ground beef; may substitute ground sirloin or ground turkey
- Taco seasoning – use your favorite store-bought taco seasoning. Or, make your own using our Homemade Taco Seasoning blend featuring chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne pepper
- Tomato paste – used to add richness to the dish. We recommend always keeping tomato paste on hand
- Taco shells – we like to use organic corn tortillas or grain-free tortillas
- Cheddar cheese – we recommend buying a block of cheese and shredding it yourself for the best melty results. Monterey Jack cheese is another great option, or substitute the cheese with vegan nacho cheese to keep this recipe dairy-free.
Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.
Ingredient Spotlight: Ground Beef
We love to incorporate lean ground beef into a variety of healthy ground beef recipes like this baked tacos recipe. Not only is it a delicious ingredient, but it’s also extremely versatile and an excellent source of high-quality protein. Here are a few of the additional health benefits of lean ground beef:
- A complete source of protein containing all essential amino acids
- Rich in heme iron
- Provides four essential vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12)
- An excellent source of zinc which helps support hair, skin, and nail health as well as cognitive function, fertility, and reproduction
How Do You Make Baked Tacos?
Here are the steps to make this baked chicken tacos recipe tonight:
- Preheat your oven before you begin.
- Arrange the taco shells in a baking dish, and set the dish aside.
- Warm a medium or large skillet over medium heat, and grease it with non-stick cooking spray.
- Brown the ground beef in the skillet, breaking it into pieces as it cooks.
- Add the taco seasoning, tomato paste, and water to the skillet. Stir to combine the beef mixture, and continue to cook until hot, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, and spoon the meat mixture into the taco shells.
- Sprinkle the tacos with shredded cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted.
- Garnish with your toppings of choice, and serve while warm.
For serving size and the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition information, listing calories (kcals), protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and more per serving.
Keep the Shells Intact
Dietitian Jessica, who developed this recipe, says that if the taco shells aren’t snug in the dish and you’re having a hard time keeping them in place, you can use balled-up aluminum foil to support the shells and prevent them from falling over.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Once cooled, leftover tacos can be covered with foil or transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. For a longer-lasting option, you can prepare the taco meat on its own, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three to four days or in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
When you’re ready to eat, assemble the tacos, and bake them in the oven just until they’re heated through and the cheese is melted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, feel free to use crunchy taco shells, flour tortillas, or any other tortillas you like best. If using soft tortillas, you would just want to lay them on a sheet pan and fold them over to bake. The tacos will be more like a folded quesadilla this way.
Store hard taco shells in the fridge instead of at room temperature, and warm them in the oven instead of the microwave or stove to keep them crisp.
We love to serve our oven baked tacos with a variety of our favorite taco toppings such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, pico de gallo or salsa, sour cream, guacamole or diced avocado, pickled onions, chopped cilantro, green chilies or jalapeños, and lime wedges.
- Cooking spray
- 1 lb lean ground beef (may substitute ground sirloin or ground turkey)
- 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or packaged taco seasoning of choice)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (may substitute ketchup)
- ⅓ cup water
- 12 taco shells*
- 1 cup finely shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
- Optional for serving: Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, pico de gallo or salsa, sour cream, guacamole or diced avocado, pickled onions, chopped cilantro, and/or lime wedges
- Preheat the oven to 375℉.
- Arrange the taco shells in a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside. If your shells do not want to stand up on their own, you can place a ball of foil in the pan to help wedge them together. Set aside.
- Place a medium skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, spray with cooking spray.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet and break into small pieces using a spatula. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until almost cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tacos seasoning, tomato paste, and water to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Spoon the meat mixture into the taco shells.
- Sprinkle tacos with shredded cheese and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Remove the tacos from the oven and serve immediately with desired toppings.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive so we can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
*For grain-free shells, we like the Siete taco shells
- Serving Size: Per taco
- Calories: 153
- Fat: 8 g
- (Sat Fat: 3 g)
- Sodium: 268 mg
- Carbohydrate: 9 g
- (Fiber: 3 g
- Sugar: 0 g)
- Protein: 11 g
- Cholesterol: 32 mg
For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!