Crunchy, crispy taco shells are the ultimate in Tex-Mex comfort food, but you don't need to visit your local taco stand or fast food restaurant to find the best hard taco shells! No, you can easily cook up large batches of crispy, homemade taco shells using fresh tortillas and a few of our top tips!
Cut out the preservatives, lower the calories, and maximize the taste by making homemade taco shells the way you like them best. With a cast iron tortilla press, you can even prepare a stack of your own homemade tortillas first before turning them into healthy hard shell tacos. From baking to frying, here are the best ways to prepare homemade taco shells!
There's a vast range of different methods and recipes for preparing homemade taco shells. You first need a pack of tortillas from the store or a stash of tortillas that you've prepared from scratch earlier using your tortilla press. Then you can bake them, fry them, turn them into tortilla chips, or crunchy taco bowl shells!
For each of the following methods, you'll need 10 x 8-inch taco shells. We suggest using corn tortillas (as these are the most traditional and taste delicious when they are crispy and crunchy), but you can try making a hard shell taco from whole wheat or white flour tortillas too!
You can bake tortilla wraps in the oven for healthy yet crunchy homemade taco shells. This method uses no oil and takes just ten minutes to produce healthy taco shells!
Frying tortillas into tacos shells is the method most commonly used by famous fast-food chains, taco stands, and food trucks across the USA. For this method, you need plenty of hot vegetable oil to create crunchy taco shells. For that reason, it's really not the healthiest option, but the results are super delicious!
*You need the oil to be sizzling hot, or you won't get crispy hard taco shells! The oil should be at least a hot 350 degrees Fahrenheit if you were to temperature check it.
Mini taco shells shaped like tiny salad bowls are all the rage right now! You can turn tortilla wraps into salad bowls by baking them in the oven and shaping them over an upside-down muffin tin. It's a nifty trick that gives you homemade baked taco shells that you can then fill with your favorite Mexican-style salad toppings for a healthy lunch!
Instead of making homemade crunchy taco shells, you can turn your wraps into homemade crunchy tortilla chips. You can bake your tortilla chips in the oven for a crispy yet healthy alternative to standard chips you find in the store.
Taco shells are made from tortillas, a type of rounded flatbread which is a staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. Tortillas can be produced from various flours but are most commonly prepared using corn, whole wheat, or plain white flour.
Mexican tortillas are traditionally made from corn masa, a type of dough prepared using finely ground maize. Tex-Mex cuisine often makes use of white flour tortillas, though whole wheat tortillas are becoming popular as a healthier alternative.
Regardless of the flour used for the tortillas, the process for turning the tortillas into hard shell tacos is essentially the same!
If you've ever ordered hard shell tacos at a fast-food joint, then you'll notice that they are usually super crispy and super crunchy. To get your taco shells really crispy, however, you need to use a lot of oil. Restaurants will often use a deep fryer for cooking their hard shell tacos, but of course, this isn't the healthiest option!
You can recreate this at home using the frying method we outlined earlier, but you'll need to add more vegetable oil to make them even crispier. If you want a healthy yet crunchy taco shell, then you can bake the taco shells in the oven with a light drizzle of oil. You can also leave them to bake for longer in the oven. We recommend 10 minutes, but you can leave them baking for a few more minutes to add that extra crunch.
Remember, though, that it's always going to be a trade-off between a healthy hard shell taco and the crispiest hard shell taco. You need to find a balance to avoid burning off all those nutrients and adding excess fat and calories through the additional oil!
Rather than simply purchasing your tortillas from the store, you can, in fact, prepare homemade tortilla wraps to then turn into crispy homemade taco shells. It's surprisingly simple, and all you need is a cast iron tortilla press, flour, salt, water, and a little oil.
You can prepare your tortillas from corn masa (which is the authentic Mexican version) or from ordinary all-purpose white flour or try out whole wheat. You prepare the dough; then, you press into shape using the tortilla maker. You can then use your fresh tortilla wraps to prepare crispy, hard shell tacos using the methods we already outlined earlier in the article.
Remember to cook your fresh tortillas in the microwave first, or by lightly cooking them in a skillet (without using any oil).
Here's a quick flour tortilla recipe you can try at home!
Homemade taco shells are wonderfully crunchy and crispy but surprisingly healthy. You can bake or fry your soft tortillas into hard shells that are then perfect for filling with your favorite taco ingredients. Mix some spicy salsas, prepare some guacamole, or cook up the barbacoa steaks!
Why not save our guide to preparing tasty homemade taco shells for your next Taco Tuesday extravaganza?
Make your own tortillas at home - check out this FREE guide to help you out:
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