The Best Cheesy Keto Taco Casserole (Without Taco Shells) – Ditch The Carbs


Celebrate Taco Tuesday with the best cheesy keto taco casserole that only takes 10-minutes to prepare and 15-minutes to bake.

With only 3.9g net carbs, you can cover it with your favorite taco toppings such as guacamole and sour cream for quick and easy healthy Mexican food on busy weeknights.

This keto taco casserole recipe is super easy to make and will have a permanent place in your dinner rotation.

The best low-carb taco casserole recipe.

The whole family will love this taco Tuesday dinner, which was inspired by my keto cheeseburger casserole and all my other low-carb keto Mexican recipes on this site.

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What is a taco casserole?

A taco casserole is loaded with a spicy ground beef mixture with all the traditional Mexican flavors and topped off with Doritos, tortilla chips, crushed taco shells, shredded cheese, and refried beans.

My keto taco casserole recipe is made without taco shells, without tortilla chips, and is the perfect keto Mexican casserole for a busy midweek family Mexican dinner and taco night.

Homemade taco seasoning

Quick and easy homemade taco seasoning (gluten-free)

It’s so quick and easy to make your own taco seasoning at home. This homemade keto taco seasoning can be made once and last for weeks in your pantry.

The packages of taco seasoning you find in your local grocery store often contain added wheat and unnecessary starch (and even sugar).

If you make homemade taco seasoning you know exactly what the ingredients are and you can adjust how spicy it is according to your taste buds.

To make taco seasoning extra spicy, just add extra dried chili, dried chili flakes, or dried jalapenos.

🌶️ Keto taco casserole ingredients

To make this keto taco casserole you will need some ground beef, bell pepper, onion, cheese, eggs, tomato paste, cream, and taco seasoning.

Don’t worry you can’t taste the eggs. The eggs are used to bind the casserole together so that you can slice and serve it.

Healthy ingredients to make keto taco casserole recipe

See the recipe card for quantities, full instructions, and nutritional information.

  • ground beef – or ground chicken for your taco meat if you prefer
  • easy homemade keto taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese – I used a blend of shredded cheese such as cheddar cheese, Colby jack, Monterey jack, or a Mexican cheese blend
  • chopped bell peppers – also known as a capsicum
  • onion – white, brown, or red onion finely sliced and diced
  • minced garlic – or crushed fresh garlic
  • eggs
  • cream – heavy whipping cream, double cream, or extra thick pouring cream
  • tomato paste – choose tomato paste with no added sugar
  • jalapeno – or green chilies

🍴 Equipment

You will need a skillet, casserole pan, and oven to bake this casserole. The meat and veggies are cooked in the skillet and then transferred to the casserole pan to finish baking.

You only need 2 kitchen pieces of equipment to make this keto Mexican casserole. A cast iron skillet and a casserole dish.

It can be baked in the oven or the air fryer.

1: Something to fry your ground beef mixture.

  • Large frying pan
  • Large cast iron skillet

If you have a skillet like a cast iron pan that is also oven safe you can make this casserole all in one pan! Since not everyone has a cast iron skillet I made it in a casserole pan, but it is also fantastic when made in a cast iron skillet.

2: Something to bake your taco casserole.

  • Medium baking dish
  • Medium casserole dish

👩🏼‍🍳 Instructions

Prep your ingredients by dicing your bell pepper and onion. Then slice up your jalapeno. Set those aside until you are ready to use them.

Spray your casserole dish or baking dish with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.

Add the diced onions, bell pepper, minced garlic, and lean ground beef to a large skillet on the stove. Cook on high heat until the beef has browned. Use your spatula to break the beef into bite-sized pieces.

Next, add taco seasoning and tomato paste. If your ground beef didn’t release enough juice you may need to add a spoonful of water to mix the tomato paste in. Cook any excess liquid until it evaporates.

How to cook the taco casserole in the oven

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Bake your keto taco casserole recipe uncovered on the top rack for 15-17 minutes in the oven.

How to cook the taco casserole in the air-fryer

Find a casserole dish or baking dish that can fit inside your air fryer with a space on all sides so the hot air can circulate evenly. Preheat to 180°C/350°F and cook for 15-17 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Once done remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving at dinner time.

Hint: If you drain the liquid from the lean ground beef use a spoonful or two of water to help mix the taco seasoning and tomato paste in.

Easy low-carb taco casserole (without taco shells)

🔄 Substitutions

If you don’t have all the ingredients for the cheesy keto taco casserole recipe, these are my recommendations for some common substitutions.

  • Ground beef – substitute with ground turkey, ground chicken, or even leftover shredded chicken.
  • Eggs – the eggs are used to help the casserole stick together. However, they can be simply omitted. Your casserole won’t stick together as well though.
  • Vegetarian – use plant-based ground meat in place of ground beef. You could also use a variety of diced vegetables like mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini.
  • Jalapenos – to make the keto ground beef casserole less spicy, you can omit the slice jalapenos and use mild green chilies, green peppers, red peppers,

Looking for different substations to suit the entire family? Or maybe you made a substation and it turned out great? Comment below to ask questions or share your adjustments.

Mexican taco keto casserole

Variations

Give your cheesy keto taco casserole an extra pop of flavor with these tasty variations below.

  • Loaded – top with sour cream, smashed avocado, and bacon bits.
  • Extra Spicy – mix in some diced habaneros for an extra kick.
  • Roll it up – cut smaller slices and place them in Libby’s keto tortillas, then roll it up to make taquitos.
  • Added vegetables – stir in some cauliflower rice to bulk up your Mexican casserole. It will add fiber, and reduce calories and fat.

See this Easy Keto Chili Casserole recipe on my website for another fantastic casserole option!

The perfect Mexican casserole with ground beef

Storage

This keto taco casserole can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days after it’s been cooked. It can also be stored in slices in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Storing the casserole frozen in slices is nice because then it can be reheated in portions for instant portion control.

How to make the taco casserole recipe in advance

To make this casserole in advance you will want to prep the meat mixture, allow it to cool completely and then cover it and store it in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking.

When you are ready to bake just quickly make the cheese sauce, pour it over the taco meat mixture and bake it in the oven.

Favorite taco toppings

When it’s taco Tuesday, the best toppings for a taco casserole have to be sour cream, guacamole, spicy salsa, keto taco sauce, hot sauce, extra shredded cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice over the top.

You might also like sliced black olives, red pepper flakes, green onions, shredded lettuce, and of course, extra cheese always sounds delicious.

The best ground beef taco casserole (that’s keto-friendly)

Expert tip

When making this casserole in advance if you are using a glass casserole pan you may need to let your cold casserole dish from your cupboard sit on the counter to come to room temperature before baking to protect the pan. Sometimes a cold glass pan can shatter if placed in a hot oven.

FAQ

Is Mexican food keto?

Mexican food is fresh and vibrant that is full or high-protein meat and packed with fresh vegetables. It’s so easy to order Mexican food to make it keto.

Avoid the side dishes that are made of corn and wheat such as corn chips, taco shells, and burrito wraps. Add plenty of meat, sour cream, avocado, and cheddar cheese.

How to make cheesy keto taco casserole ahead of time?

To make cheesy keto taco casserole ahead of time for weekly meal prep, follow the directions as normal up until the step where you add the cheese sauce that contains a raw egg.

Instead of baking, cover the cooked taco meat and place it in the fridge. When you are ready to cook the casserole simply remove it, uncover, pour over the cheese sauce and place it in the oven to bake. It may take a bit longer to bake since it is cold.

Can I add a can of diced tomatoes?

I only use tomato paste in this cheesy keto taco casserole recipe to reduce the carbs that would be in a can of crushed tomatoes. Tomato paste is very strong so you only need a small amount for a real tomato flavor.

If you do decide to add canned tomatoes to the ground beef layer you will need to cook in the frying pan for longer to allow all the liquid to evaporate and the meat to thicken, otherwise, it may be too sloppy.

Can I freeze the low-carb taco casserole?

Yes, allow the taco casserole to cool completely to room temperature first then store it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. It can be frozen whole or sliced into individual pieces.

Do you need taco shells for a taco casserole?

A regular taco casserole often uses crushed taco shells, but this keto taco casserole recipe only uses baked spicy ground beef, with jalapenos and a cheats cheese sauce topped with your favorite taco toppings.

What to serve with keto taco bake?

You can serve it with shredded lettuce, fresh diced tomatoes, low-carb tortillas, herb slaw, keto nacho chips, or cauliflower rice. Add sour cream, salsa, and spicy guacamole. Sprinkle everything with the Mexican cheese blend.

Which meat can I use instead of ground beef?

Another high-protein meat you can use is ground turkey or chicken, or any other favorite ground meat will work too, and still be keto-friendly.

Can I use taco shells or tortillas in the casserole?

The best part of this easy keto taco bake recipe is that you don’t need any taco shells or tortilla chips. By avoiding unnecessary carbs in keto recipes makes them quick and easy to make and taste like the real thing.

If you wish, you can serve the Mexican ground beef casserole (keto taco pie) in low-carb tortillas with shredded lettuce and sour cream.

How can I reduce the fat from the baked taco casserole?

You can use extra lean ground beef, you can drain any excess fat when frying the beef in the skillet, add riced cauliflower to reduce the fat and calories, and even swap out half the cheese for cottage cheese in the cheese sauce.

Are black beans keto?

There is no such thing as keto food or non-keto food, it depends on how much you eat as to whether you are in nutritional ketosis or not. Black beans are generally avoided on the keto diet because they have a large carb count, however, you can still enjoy a small amount if it fits within your daily carb limit for weight loss.

More keto Mexican recipes

If you love Mexican dishes, you’ll love these keto Mexican recipes that are all low-carb, gluten-free, and with no added sugars or corn. Perfect for your keto diet.

Serve your keto taco casserole in my 3-ingredients keto low-carb tortillas with sour cream, enjoy a Mexican chicken burger, easy keto nachos, or instead of a keto casserole, a quick 1-minute keto chicken burrito bowl.

📖 Recipe

Cheesy keto taco casserole cooling on the counter.

Please rate this recipe.

Easy Cheesy Keto Taco Casserole (10-Minute Recipe)

The best cheesy keto taco casserole that is quick and easy to prepare in just 10 minutes and only takes 15 minutes to cook. Low-carb and gluten-free.

Servings: 8

NET carbs: 3.9g

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Diet: Diabetic. Gluten Free

Gluten Free. Grain free. Keto. LCHF. Low Carb. No Sugars. Wheat Free

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Adjust servings: 8

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Instructions

  • Preheat over to 180°C/350°FAdd the onions, bell pepper, minced garlic, and ground beef to a large skillet on the stove. Cook on high heat until the beef has browned. Use your spatula to break the beef into bite-sized pieces.
  • Next, mix in the taco seasoning and tomato paste. Once it is all combined pour the meat into your casserole pan. Spread it out so that it covers the bottom of the pan.

  • In a bowl mix together the eggs, cream, and half your cheese. Pour the mixture over the beef and spread it out with a spatula or spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and jalapeno slices over the top.

  • Bake your taco casserole uncovered on the top rack for 15-17 minutes in the oven. Once done remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Nutrition Facts

Easy Cheesy Keto Taco Casserole (10-Minute Recipe)

Serving Size

 

1 serve ( serves 8)

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Approximate nutrition information is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. For the most accurate nutritional data, use the actual ingredients and brands you used in your preferred nutrition calculator.



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