Mr. GFE and I both enjoy a good casserole, tortilla chips, cheese, and Mexican themed dishes. So when I saw a Mexican casserole made with beans and tortilla chips in a listing on All Free Casseroles Recipes, I had to take a look.
The original recipe was actually called My Mom’s Mexican Casserole. Aren’t Mom’s recipes usually the best?
I decided to give the recipe a go, creating my own simpler version—a gfe version made with simple pantry ingredients.
So I skipped the canned Ranch style beans and opted for plain pinto beans. I omitted the cream of chicken soup. (Although Pacific Foods makes gluten-free cream of chicken soup and there are lots of homemade gluten-free versions of “cream of” soups, again, I wanted to keep things simple and use what I already had in my pantry.)
I omitted the packaged taco seasoning mix (although there are plenty of gluten-free options, like this one) and I decided that I would use salsa as my liquid, binder, and main flavoring in the recipe instead of as an optional ingredient. Therefore, I knew that taco seasoning would not be needed. I knew the salsa would do the job I wanted, because my Enchilada Casserole includes salsa for the very same reason and it’s delicious. (By the way, when I do need taco seasoning, I rely on this Four-Ingredient On-the-Spot Taco Seasoning.)
This Easy Mexican Casserole made with beans and tortilla chips (which are pantry staples here) is a perfect one-pot meal—my personal fave! My aunt and I enjoyed it for lunch when she was visiting. Mr. GFE and I enjoyed it for dinner two nights in a row.
I even ate some for breakfast and/or lunch a few days. It was good every single time! Enjoy!
Other Gluten-Free Mexican Casserole Recipes For You
~ Cheesy Low-Carb Taco Casserole from Kayln’s Kitchen
~ Chicken Enchilada Casserole here on gfe
~ Freezer Burrito Casserole (use gluten-free options) from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
~ Green Chile Chicken Casserole here on gfe
~ Low-Carb Southwestern Egg Casserole from Kalyn’s Kitchen
~ Mexican Casserole with Cornbread from Gluten-Free Homemaker
Easy Mexican Casserole Recipe
Easy Mexican Casserole
We love this simple Mexican casserole. Great comfort food, and naturally gluten free.
- 1 pound lean ground beef] (or [ground turkey; I used ground venison), cooked and drained
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 can pinto beans,drained
- Most of a 10-12 ounce bag tortilla chips, mostly crushed (about 3 1/2 cups or so, if you wish to measure; see notes)
- 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes, 10 ounces, drained (I used the one that included green chilies)
- 2 cups of salsa (I used ready-made medium-flavored salsa, but homemade salsa would be great, too)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- sour cream for serving (optional; we didn’t use sour cream)
- guacamole for serving (optional; I would have used it if I had had some!)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large skillet, brown meat with onions and drain off fat.
- Stir in beans, tomatoes, and salsa.
- Simmer over medium-low (or heat on medium heat stirring constantly) until everything is well combined and heated through. There will be some extra liquid; do not drain/discard. (The extra liquid will be absorbed by the tortilla chips and will soften them nicely.)
- Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Put down a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer of the meat/bean mixture (use half of the amount), then a layer of cheddar cheese (use half of the amount). Add one more layer of remaining ingredients.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Top with sour cream and/or guacamole, if desired. Enjoy!
For the crushed tortilla chips, I just grabbed a mostly full, already opened bag of tortilla chips that was clipped shut and used my hands to crush the chips (most of them anyway) while they were still in the bag. That was an easy way to do it. You want a mixture of larger pieces and smaller pieces, so don't go too crazy with your crushing. You really don’t want them pulverized. When you add the meat/bean mixture over the tortilla chip layer, be sure to cover the chips all the way to the edges if you want them soft rather than crispy. Either
When you add the meat/bean mixture over the tortilla chip layer, be sure to cover the chips all the way to the edges if you want them soft rather than crispy. Either way will work fine, but I preferred the softer version, although the crispier version is shown here.
Originally published December 7, 2013; updated January 31, 2020.
Ina gawne says
Shirley – sounds scrumptious – perfect comfort food. We love a great casserole in this household too – so this is a nice addition to the ones we usually have – thanks for sharing! 🙂
Thanks, Ina. I confess that I love comfort food. 🙂 Enjoy!
Diane Eblin says
Perfect for a party! I think the Duke would have loved this.
Diane–This dish could even “compete” a bit with one of your dishes that you say is not spicy, but that really is spicy. 😉 Thanks!
Looks delicious, Shirley! We love this kind of casserole.
Thanks so much, Linda! These types of dishes always work well for us, too, and I love that they give me a breakfast/lunch option if needed.
Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free says
This looks so good — most of the people I cook for would like it!
Hi Pat–Thank you! Hope you all enjoy it! 🙂
Kate @ Eat, Recycle, Repeat says
Love this style and love the Duke too! Reminds me of my Mom and Grandpa
Not sure how I missed this comment from long ago, Kate! I love that this recipe reminds you of your loved ones. 🙂
Shirley, this looks great and easy. I’ll make it next Tues., when I have the 2 grand-kids for the day. Their parents join us for dinner when they come to pick up the kids. Sure need something easy on those fun but busy days. I am dairy free, too, and have a block of the Daiya cheddar to try for my portion. I’ll let you know how it turns out dairy-free.
Hi Kathleen–I hope you all love it! 🙂
SOOOO tasty! Used lentils instead of beans and a mixture of hard, shredded cheeses. My girls gobbled it up! Thanks so much!
Hi Elizabeth–Yay!! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. I’m so happy a lentil version was a hit with your family. 🙂
How can this be gluten free with tortilla chips?
I am just starting the gluten free eating and find all chips contain gluten – they are made with wheat, corn, rye, barley, etc.
Hi Yvonne–Welcome to gfe. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, as well as oats that are not certified gluten free (otherwise, oats contain gluten from cross contact with gluten-full grains in fields, on harvesting equipment, and in processing facilities). There is no gluten in corn, but as with any other ingredients, if corn products are processed with gluten ingredients there can be cross contact. But there are gluten-free tortilla chips. Read labels and do your research. Here’s an article on this topic from About.com that you might find helpful.
MaryAnn Williams says
I found GF tortilla chips….the brand is SIETE Grain Free Tortilla Chips and they come in several varieties at Basic Foods.
Shirley Braden says
Thanks for sharing, MaryAnn! There are actually quite a few gluten-free tortilla chips, but very few grain-free tortilla chips. Enjoy this casserole and thanks again!
This is a great pot luck recipe. I always have a hard time finding something to bring to pot lucks that are GF and I know I can eat. This fits the bill easily. It was a BIG hit with everyone also.
Thank you for putting the EASY in GFE.
Kathie–Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful comment and let me and all of us know how much you and everyone else enjoyed this recipe! That news makes my day, dear! And I love that you emphasized the “Easily” part of gfe! 🙂
Have a great weekend, dear!
April J Harris says
I must admit, I did find the name of this casserole intriguing, Shirley! It definitely sounds like something my family will love- nice and hearty with lots of lovely spicy flavours. Thank you so much for bringing this recipe to the Hearth and Soul Hop – sharing!
Shirley Braden says
Everybody knows John Wayne, right? 😉 This casserole has become a family favorite for many readers; I hope that yours will love it as well. 🙂
As always, I greatly appreciate Hearth and Soul Blog Hop and your sharing!
Re: gluten free corn chips.. There are tons of brands in every supermarket that are labeled gluten free…
This dish kicked butt. Made it last night.. The chips stayed super crunchy, added some green chilies on one half and diced black olives on the other. A true winner and is now in my permanent recipe file. Really sensational stuff.
Shirley Braden says
Hi Greg–Welcome to gfe! I’m thrilled by your very positive review and love your changes to the recipe. I’m sure others will enjoy making those modifications as well. 😉
You’re right on the current availability of gluten-free corn chips/tortilla chips. When I wrote this post, the “gluten-free” labeling regulations were not in effect. Since then many more manufacturers now know the rules are following them, and are saying their chips are less than 20 ppm gluten. It’s nice to have so many safe options now!
Thanks again for taking the time to leave this great comment!
Chanda Dixon says
I forgot my foil can I leave it uncovered
Shirley Braden says
Hi Chanda–Welcome to gfe! 🙂 Leaving it uncovered will probably mean that it will take longer to bake and will be a bit drier, but it still should be okay. If you find it a bit dry with your first bite, you can sprinkle some grated cheese on top to compensate.
Can you make ahead and freeze?
Shirley Braden says
Hi Emily–Welcome to gfe! I haven’t tried freezing this casserole yet, but if you do, please let us know your results.
Debbie Beck says
I made this tonight & totally enjoyed it!! I didn’t have pinto beans but did have Ranch Style beans, I used those along with homemade tortilla chips & both worked well. Great flavor combo!!
I use a lot of your recipes & have enjoyed them, greatly!
Thanks for all you do in making gluten-free easy!!.
Shirley Braden says
Hi Debbie–That’s terrific news! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me and others reading know that you enjoyed this recipe and that Ranch style beans worked just fine. 🙂 I believe that Ranch-style beans are always pinto beans so it makes sense that they’d be a good sub in this recipe. And homemade tortilla chips are always so good. I bet using them really took this casserole up a notch! Last, I appreciate your generous words and feedback on all of the gfe recipes that you’ve tried! You’ve definitely made my day, dear!!