Everyone loves taco night, but have you ever thought about making your own taco shells?
Homemade taco nights are a great way to gather the family together around something everyone loves: food. Instead of ordering takeout, make cooking part of the family bonding experience by making taco shells together.
A do-it-yourself taco night is also a great party idea. The ingredients are simple, so all you have to do is invite your friends over and keep the margaritas flowing while you prep tortillas from scratch.
We’re going to give you the lowdown on how to make taco shells from scratch, and six tips to make sure you get it perfect.
1. Make Your Own Tortillas
The first thing you need to make your own crispy taco shells are tortillas. You use storebought tortillas, but since we’re all about making everything from scratch, we definitely recommend making your own.
Making tortillas is extremely easy, quick, and healthier than storebought. Since fresh tortillas are easily pliable, they make the best crunchy taco shells. You can use this straight-forward recipe below from Taste of Home.
Gather your tortilla ingredients to get started. Luckily, the ingredients for homemade tortillas couldn’t be simpler. All you need is flour, water, salt, and olive oil.
For eight tortillas, use:
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons of salt
To make them, simply combine the flour, salt, and water in a bowl until it resembles dough. Next, move the dough onto a floured surface and knead it about ten times, and then let it rest for ten minutes.
To cook, divide the dough into eight portions and roll each one out into a circle. In a skillet greased with olive oil, cook each tortilla for about a minute on each side, or until it’s browned to your liking.
Now that you have fresh tortillas, you’re ready to make taco shells.
2. Use Chef-Grade Masa Flour
If you want your tacos to be authentic, you need to use Chef-Grade masa flour. MasaHarina means “dough flour.” It’s naturally gluten-free corn flour that’s popular for tortillas.
If you want your taco shells to taste like the ones at your favorite Mexican restaurant, using masa flour is non-negotiable.
Chef-grade masa flour is the best option for an amazing flavor. Along with tortillas and taco shells, you can use masa flour to make the best tamales, enchiladas, empanadas, tortilla chips, and even cornbread.
3. Use a Cast Iron Skillet
For perfect and evenly cooked tortillas, use a cast iron skillet. Cast iron cookware heats more evenly than other skillets, so you won’t have to worry about one half of your tortilla browning before the other.
Since cast iron takes a little longer to heat, you should preheat it on the stove while you’re making your dough. By the time you’re ready to brown your tortillas, your skillet will have a nice even heat.
Cast iron can also add amazing flavor to your tortillas, and it will prevent them from sticking.
4. Make Perfect Muffin Tin Taco Shells
One extremely easy way to make perfect crunchy taco shells is to use a muffin tin. This method makes them more like taco bowls, which means you can fill them with even more ingredients.
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and spraying both sides of your tortillas with non-stick cooking spray. Then, turn your muffin tin over and press the tortillas into the tin so it makes a star shape. If your tin is for six muffins, you’ll be able to make three taco shells at a time.
Cook the taco shells on the ten for about eight minutes and let it cool for a few minutes before you make your taco.
5. Use the Oven Method
If you want taco shells in the more traditional shape instead of a bowl, you can simply drape your tortillas over your oven rack. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and coat both sides of your fresh tortillas with cooking spray.
If you aren’t using fresh home tortillas, steam them first to make them more pliable. Simply wrap them in a barely damp paper towel and microwave them for thirty seconds.
For perfect crispy taco shells, drape the tortillas over two bars of your oven rack and bake for about ten minutes, or until they’re as crispy as you want them. Let them cool for a minute or two and then serve them fresh on taco night!
6. Fry Your Taco Shells
For the ultimate crunch, try this method. All you need is your tortillas, a large pot, and a high-heat cooking oil like avocado oil.
Add your oil to the pot until it’s about 1/4 inch deep. Let it heat until a drop of water sizzles, and then use a pair of tongs to add in a tortilla. Let it fry on each side for a couple of seconds, and then use your tongs to fold it in half.
Hold it in place for a few seconds so it can keep its shape. Once it’s set, flip it to the other side for a couple more seconds. Keep flipping until it’s as brown as you want it, and then remove it from the oil and set it on a paper towel-lined plate to dry.
Continue this process with all of your tortillas and serve them immediately.
Why You Should Try Making Taco Shells From Scratch
No matter which method you use, making taco shells is easy and fun. They’re also healthier and taste better than storebought options since they’re fresh.
Whether you’re hosting a party or looking for a family bonding activity, a do-it-yourself taco night where everyone makes their own taco shells from scratch is the perfect option.
Now that you know how to make tortillas from scratch, what’s next? For more cooking and health resources, check out the rest of the blog.