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Get ready to indulge in a compact burst of flavors with this single serve Taco Casserole For One! Imagine a lasagna, but with the spirit of a taco night. This perfectly portioned dish features layers of seasoned beef, gooey cheese, and crispy tostadas or taco shells. All of this goodness is baked to perfection and garnished with tangy salsa, creamy sour cream, and rich black olives. You won’t believe how easy this flavorful dish is to make!

Looking to elevate your taco casserole? Complement your single serving casserole with rich and creamy guacamole, flavorful Spanish rice, and fresh and zesty Pico de Gallo.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simplicity: This recipe doesn’t call for any advanced culinary skills, making it perfect for anyone cooking for one.
  • Portion-Control: Designed as a single serving, this casserole helps you indulge without overeating.
  • Quick Prep and Cook Time: Cooks in just 30 minutes, making it perfect for those busy weeknights.
  • Versatility: Easily adaptable to various dietary needs and preferences.
  • Scales Beautifully: Want more? This taco casserole recipe doubles or even triples effortlessly.
A fork filled with ground beef and cheese from the taco casserole in a circular dish.

The Birth Of The Single Serving Taco Casserole: A Nostalgic Tale

Back when my kids were little, I was part of a fantastic playgroup. Once a month, our little crew would rotate homes for playdates. While the children engaged in playtime, us parents had the opportunity to catch up and unwind. Every get-together included a communal lunch provided by that month’s host. During one such gathering, a mom served an unforgettable taco casserole that had us all asking for the recipe.

This single serving Taco Casserole recipe takes a cue from that memorable dish. It captures all the essence and flavors of the original, but in a downsized version ideal for one or two people. Crafted to fit a small baking dish, it’s the perfect solution for satisfying those taco casserole cravings without the leftovers.

What Is A Taco Casserole?

Think of taco casserole like a Mexican lasagna! It has layers of seasoned ground beef, melted cheese, and a crunchy base. Instead of pasta, we use tostadas (or broken taco shells) which add a satisfying crunch. This single serving version uses three tostadas layered with the beef and cheese – it’s the perfect mix of taco flavors in an easy-to-make format.

RELATED: The Best Apple Recipes For One

Ground beef and cheese layered between tostadas topped with salsa and a dollop of sour cream in a small baking dish next to a stack of tostadas and a pint of beer.

Recipe Variations

Feeling creative? The beauty of this taco casserole is its adaptability. Here are some variations that you can try to suit your taste or dietary preferences:

  • Veggie-Laden: Add diced bell peppers, sweet corn, or black beans to the beef mixture for a more nutritious, colorful dish.
  • Go Lean: Swap out ground beef for ground turkey or even ground chicken for a leaner protein option. You’ll maintain a lot of the flavor while cutting some calories.
  • Cheese Switch-Up: Don’t limit yourself to cheddar. Try using a Mexican cheese blend or even crumbled queso fresco for a different cheesy dimension.
  • Heat Level: If you love heat, consider adding sliced jalapeños between the layers or mixing some hot sauce into your beef mixture.
  • Vegetarian Taco Casserole: Make it vegetarian by using plant-based meat alternatives. You won’t sacrifice flavor while sticking to your dietary needs.
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How To Make A Taco Casserole For One

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a mini taco casserole. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Brown the ground beef in a pan along with chopped onions, garlic and taco seasoning.
  2. Place a tostada on the bottom of a small baking dish, then spoon the spicy ground beef over the top and add shredded cheddar cheese.
  3. Top the meat and cheese mixture with another crispy tostada.
  4. Repeat the layers.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Top with a spoonful of salsa, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of black olives if you’d like.

Top the meat and cheese mixture with another crispy tostada.

layering ingredients for a taco casserole in a small white square dish.

Expert Tips

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your Taco Casserole turns out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Consider using Homemade Taco Seasoning: If you have the pantry staples like cumin, chili powder, and paprika, consider whipping up your own taco seasoning. It’s a simple step that lets you control the flavor and salt content. The recipe for it is included below.
  • Swap Beef for Turkey: Looking for a lighter option? Ground turkey is an excellent substitute for ground beef and it keeps the casserole just as delicious.
  • Kick Up the Spice with Pepper Jack: For those who enjoy a little heat, switch out the cheddar cheese for pepper jack. It adds an extra layer of zing to your casserole.

More Single Serving Taco Recipes

Craving more taco goodness? If you loved our single serving taco casserole, then you won’t want to miss these other individually portioned taco recipes:

Frequently Asked Questions

What size baking dish should I use?

For optimal results, I recommend using a 5x5-inch baking dish for this recipe. This size will accommodate the tostadas and other ingredients perfectly. For more information on suitable cooking and baking dishes, feel free to check out our FAQ section.

How do you reheat taco casserole?

Microwave leftover taco casserole in 30 second increments until heated through.

How long will a taco casserole stay good?

Taco casserole will stay fresh in the refrigerated when stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this easy taco casserole recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve tried this taco casserole recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see!


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Taco Casserole For One

5 from 18 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Layers of seasoned ground beef and cheese between crispy tostadas and baked in the oven. Easy single servings recipe is absolutely delicious!

Ingredients 
 

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • ¼ pound ground beef (or use ground turkey)
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
  • 3 tostadas (or 3 crumbled taco shells)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional for topping: Sour cream, black olives, extra salsa
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Instructions 

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Heat oil in a small sauté pan on medium high heat.
  • Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
  • Add the ground beef and cook until meat is browned, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until thoroughly cooked.
  • Stir in the salsa, water and taco seasoning. Reduce heat to low and simmer 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce with thicken a bit.
  • Lightly spray a small baking dish with oil spray. In the baking dish, place 1 tostada or crumbled taco shells.
  • Top evenly with beef mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
  • Repeat with remaining tostadas, meat and cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Top with sour cream, olives and extra salsa, if desired.

Notes

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your Taco Casserole turns out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Opt for Homemade Taco Seasoning: If you have the pantry staples like cumin, chili powder, and paprika, consider whipping up your own taco seasoning. It’s a simple step that lets you control the flavor and salt content. The recipe for it is included below.
  • Swap Beef for Turkey: Looking for a lighter option? Ground turkey is an excellent substitute for ground beef and it keeps the casserole just as delicious.
  • Kick Up the Spice with Pepper Jack: For those who enjoy a little heat, switch out the cheddar cheese for pepper jack. It adds an extra layer of zing to your casserole.
Homemade Taco Seasoning
Ingredients:
Mix the following together in a small bowl:
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
This recipe will yield a little more than 1 1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 836kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 47g, Fat: 56g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Cholesterol: 172mg, Sodium: 1697mg, Potassium: 743mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1595IU, Vitamin C: 9.8mg, Calcium: 710mg, Iron: 3.2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

5 from 18 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




41 Comments

  1. Neon says:

    This is my favorite recipe from the site so far! I’ve tried four, I think, so not too many yet. I used slightly crunched up tortilla chips because I didn’t have tostadas or shells. Worked great!!

  2. Kathy says:

    I’ve made this for many years for my family. Just add 2 more layers of meat and tortillas. We’ve always called this “Tortilla Tower”.

  3. Deb says:

    Love the ODK recipes! I make a similar dish but with corn tortillas. I love it, but it turns out very soft. Does using tostadas keep it crunchy? TYIA.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      The tostadas give some crunch but because of the fillings, the tostadas have some softness to them but not as much as softer corn tortillas will.

  4. Shelly says:

    This recipe is very tasty. I made it exactly as written and topped with tomato,avocado and sour cream and ate the whole darn thing lol

  5. Sue Towery says:

    I brown a pound of ground beef or turkey and add the taco seasoning. Portion out enough meat for casserole (1/4 of mixture) and several small packages for taco salad and freeze. So nice to just grab from freezer and use. Takes no time to thaw in such small portions!

  6. CANDY says:

    Great recipe! I could only finish half. Used the rest of meat as sandwich filling. Makes a great “Sloppy Taco Joe”!