I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing when I make a recipe that is so good that I want to keep eating past the point of full. On one hand, if it’s that good I can eat the leftovers for days in a row without ever getting tired of it. On the other hand it’s SO hard not to go back for seconds or thirds when I know I don’t need them. What a problem to have, right? ;) Well, this Beef Burrito Casserole is definitely one of those recipes. So simple, yet startlingly good.
Beef and Rice Burrito Casserole
Rice, Beans, and Salsa Always Wins
This casserole is another version of my favorite combo: beans, rice, salsa, and cheese. What makes it a little extraordinary is the secret layer of cream cheese in the middle. I didn’t use a lot, but just a few dollops give every couple of bites an extra tangy and creamy flavor. Best idea EVER.
Customize Your Beef Burrito Casserole
As per my style, I made my Beef Burrito Casserole very basic, but there are tons of options for customization or upgrades.
Just think about the toppings bar at Chipotle or your favorite burrito place. Anything you like in your burrito or on your nachos can be incorporated into this casserole.
You can use any type of cooked meat you have on hand (rotisserie chicken, pulled pork) or even go meatless. You can add in corn kernels, jalapeños, a drizzle of taco sauce, black olives, or maybe some hatch chiles.
I happened to have some guacamole in my fridge today, so I added a dollop to my leftovers and almost died and went to heaven. Sour cream, crushed tortilla strips, or even some shredded ice berg wouldn’t even be a bad idea (okay fine, they’d be a GREAT idea).
It’s excellent as written below, but have a little fun with it! The leftovers reheat well, so you can eat well all week. And, if for some reason you don’t devour it all within a few days, you can freeze a couple portions for later. ;)
Beef Burrito Casserole
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
- 1/2 lb. ground beef ($1.99)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 1 pinch salt ($0.02)
- 4 cups cooked rice* ($0.75)
- 1 15oz. can black beans ( $0.89)
- 1 16oz. jar salsa ($1.00)
- 4 green onions, divided ($0.44)
- 1/2 Tbsp chili powder ( $0.15)
- 4 oz. cream cheese ($1.00)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar** ($0.75)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the cooking oil, beef, garlic, and a pinch of salt to a skillet. Cook the beef over medium heat until fully browned. Drain the excess fat, if necessary.
- Rinse and drain the canned beans in a colander. Slice the green onions. Add the beans, half of the green onions, cooked rice, browned beef, salsa, and chili powder to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Coat a 3 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread half of the rice and beef mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish. Add small dollops of the cream cheese evenly across the surface, then cover with the remaining rice and beef mixture.
- Cover the dish with foil to prevent the rice from drying out while baking, and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. After 25 minutes, remove the foil and top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Top with the remaining sliced green onions just before serving.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Interested in more ways to combine salsa, rice, and beans? Check out Southwest Chicken Skillet, Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep, Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet, or Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls.
How to Make Beef Burrito Casserole – Step by Step Photos
Begin by preheating the oven to 350ºF. Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil, 1/2 lb. ground beef, 1 clove of garlic (minced), and a pinch of salt to a skillet. Cook over medium heat until the beef is fully browned. Drain the excess fat, if needed (this depends on the percent fat in your beef. Usually 90% lean or higher doesn’t need draining.)
Rinse and drain a 15oz. can of black beans. Slice four green onions. Add 4 cups cooked rice (it’s in the bottom of the bowl), the cooked beef, drained beens, a 16oz. jar of salsa, half of the green onions, and 1/2 Tbsp chili powder (mild) to a large bowl. This recipe works best with day-old, or cooked rice that has been chilled. Just like with fried rice, chilling it after cooking it helps the rice grains stay separate and non-sticky when you mix them in with the other ingredients.
Stir the ingredients until they’re evenly combined.
Coat the inside of a 3 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add half of the rice and beef mixture to the bottom of the dish. Add the cream cheese, in small dollops, evenly over the surface of the rice mixture.
Then add the rest of the rice and beef mixture to the top. Cover the dish with foil to keep the rice moist while it bakes. Bake the covered casserole for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.
After 25 minutes of baking, add 1 cups shredded cheddar to the top and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle the remaining sliced green onions over top just before serving.
Gah! I can’t wait until I’m hungry again! 😂
Love casseroles? Check out these other canned-soup-free casseroles: King Ranch Chicken Casserole, Creamiest Green Bean Casserole, Cheesy Chicken Vegetable and Rice Casserole, Wild Rice and Vegetable Casserole, and Cheesy Cottage Pie.
I followed the recipe mostly but I also added a whole can of corn and doubled the beef. It was still excellent and I’m sure it would have been even without the additions. Thanks for another great one, Beth.
Might make this again sometime, with some of the modifications in the blog, but as is, only average. Family agrees. We ate it that day and the next because it was there, but won’t add it into a regular rotation.
I made this with cauliflower rice last night to make it a bit more low carb friendly (still kept the black beans). Added a full pound of ground beef to make it more heartier in absense of the rice. So good!
I used a full lb of ground beef, too, and thought that might be why we didn’t love it with the ratios being off (I compensated some, but not entirely.)
I am getting ready to make this next week and I saw someone subbed cauliflower rice for regular rice. I want to try that, but I’m wondering if I can just throw it frozen?
Probably. The small pieces will thaw very quickly once it’s put into the oven. If anything, you may need to just add a few more minutes to the baking time.
Love the recipe. May I use sour cream substitute for cream cheese?
I haven’t tried that, so I’m not sure how that will turn out, but it’s worth a shot!
This is so easy and so delicious! It’s my new go-to comfort dish. I’ve made this several times. Once as written, once using leftover thanksgiving turkey and most recently a vegetarian version using quinoa instead of brown rice and an extra can of black beans instead of meat. I’ve also added frozen (and drained) spinach and shredded carrots. Each variation was equally delicious! So healthy and hearty!!
Loved this! Like a previous commenter, I saved myself time/effort/dishes by making it in an ovenproof skillet.
Increased the chili powder to 1 tbs, added 1 tbs cumin & 1/2 tbs dried oregano. Ran it under the broiler to melt cheese. Used cauliflower rice because: carbs. Sooooo delicious! Thank you for a great recipe!
If I cut out the cream cheese, how well do you all think this would freeze? Trying to prep some meals for a move.
It should freeze very well. :)
Can you freeze it with the cream cheese?
As Beth mentions in the last paragraph of the blog post (above the recipe card) and in other comments, this recipe should freeze very well. However, if you are concerned that the texture of the cream cheese will be unpleasant when thawed/reheated, I would suggest only freezing one portion to gauge how much you like the leftovers before freezing a whole lot of it. You could also replace the layer of cream cheese with a layer of Mexican/quesadilla blend shredded cheese instead! ~ Marion :)
I was concerned because I made this not too long after making your Baked Tacos (HEAVENLY! I used Ortega seasoning) and was worried it’d taste same-y. But this has an unexpectedly fresh flavor profile me and my hubby really enjoyed! I added some Mrs. Dash Chipotle to the meat while cooking and threw in a handful of fresh cilantro and some canned sliced olives. Thank you again for making these recipes available!