How to Make Homemade Crunchy Taco Shells

November 23rd, 2008 by katie

Yesterday, I told you to make extra taco meat for a quick enchilada dinner another night, but it also works in reverse. Anytime you are making enchiladas, make extra meat and have tacos the next night. We generally eat our tacos in soft, warm flour tortillas. Those hard, cold corn taco shells that come in a box at the grocery store were always the most disappointing part of taco night as a kid. They were too hard to stuff, they cracked and fell apart, and they tasted like cardboard.   Making homemade taco shells is a fun, tasty way to get your crunchy taco on. The homemade crunchy shells are crunchy but they are also warm and chewy: a world away from their boxed counterpart.

Soft corn tortillas are a huge pain to work with. Handle them gently at first and know that it takes a few tries to get the hang of it. Never fear, once you figure it out it is not hard at all. Just be sure you have plenty of extra the first time you make them!

Crunchy Taco Shells

takes about 2 minutes per shell
  • soft corn tortillas
  • hot oil for frying
  1. In a frying pan heat enough oil to cover a tortilla.
  2. Using tongs, gently lift a corn tortilla and place half the tortilla in the hot oil. The oil should be hot enough to immediately start turning the tortilla golden. If it isn’t hot enough the tortilla will melt and break.
  3. Once the bottom half is getting brown and puffy in spots (it won’t be long!), let go of the top with the tongs allowing it to fold closed. Flip the tortilla so the top is now frying and hold the already fried half above the oil in the typical taco shell form.
  4. Once the bottom is fried, gently place your shell over a stack of paper towels like an A to drain while you make the next shell.

Don’t freak out if your tortillas tear or crack a little, the frying process really helps them keep their shape even with a few cracks.

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Posted in Condiments, Fast

8 Responses

  1. noble pig

    This is the way I do it too…always so good.

  2. oh magada

    I didn’t even know already-made crunchy taco shells existed until I was 20 years old. And they don’t even come close to the real thing. Hopefully with this recipe you’re saving kids from those gross pre-made shells!

  3. alexandra's kitchen

    Very cool! I like your method, and you are so right about those crunch store-bought taco shells. When I was a kid, I remember not really liking them, but sort of just went with it, b/c that’s what you do when you are a kid. I haven’t thought about that in years. These look so yummy.

  4. maris

    These sound so amazing! I actually had nachos tonight for the first time in ages and I forgot how much I like mexican food!

  5. Cheryl

    Wow, it never would have occurred to me to make my own taco shells, but after reading this I wonder why. I mean, I make pretty much everything else, so why not taco shells? Plus, we always have good corn tortillas on hand. Lovely photo, too…

  6. Dede

    Can you do this with flour tortillas? How would those taste??

  7. Carla Spacher

    Thanks for the great tip! I am about to make homemade gluten-free tortillas and was wondering how I can make crunchy taco shells without a form. Your advice is much appreciated! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Babs

    When I was a kid, we never had tacos. We didn’t have them until I got old enough to cook. I made them with that little packet of seasoning and I figured out how to fry my own taco shells, because Mom never bought the pre-made ones. I didn’t even know they existed! I fried them exactly the same way you do. So yummy!!

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cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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