Make your Own Tacos

taco shells

taco shells

Save your money and stop buying those little packets of taco seasoning mix and those packages of pre-cooked taco shells.  All you need is some cumin, onion and tomato sauce to flavor the ground beef and some oil and a frying pan to make your own crispy taco shells.  You can fancy your tacos up with some chili powder as well. If you’re in a super hurry, use onion powder instead of a chopped onion and garlic powder instead of chopped garlic.

  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 cup or so of minced onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional but good!)
  • salt to taste

Heat the oil and add the onion and garlic, cooking and stirring about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break up the chunks. Cook until no longer pink. Drain excess fat if there’s a  lot. (It depends on what kind of ground beef you are using. Turkey will likely not have much if any to drain.)

Stir in the cumin and cook another minute, then stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, 10-15 minutes. Take the cover off and simmer until it is as “dry” as you like it.

frying tortillas

frying tortillas

If you want to cook your own crispy taco shells, heat some oil in a frying pan, then lay a corn tortilla in it. Cook for half a minute or so, then gently flip it over. Cook another half a minute or so, then fold it in half. I like to use two forks to fold and turn the tortillas.  You could also use tongs. After they are crisp, lay them on paper towels to drain.  If you don’t want to fold them you can fry them flat and have tostados.

I like to fill the taco shells in the kitchen and then let everyone add what they like to their tacos.  I usually put out

  • sour cream
  • guacamole or sliced avocado
  • sliced olives
  • lettuce cut in thin slices
  • salsa





  1. If your family eats a lot of hard-shell tacos, it might be worth getting a taco rack to bake your shells rather than frying them. I wonder if you could also bake tortillas over a mini-loaf pan to make stand-up taco shells?


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