Chipolte Tacos with “Homemade” Shells

It is a well-established fact on this blog, and otherwise, that I love and adore tacos! My love for tacos began as a child. My parents made them quite regularly. Like most households, taco night was a favorite in our home. 

Chipolte TacosIt wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that taco night in our house was different from everywhere else. Namely, we NEVER used a taco kit bought from the grocery store. My parents would simply brown the beef and serve with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and lettuce. The other main difference were the shells. My parents fried flour tortillas to make our shells. As an adult, I cheated sometimes by buying a kit, but most of the time, I made my shells like mom and dad did. 

Recently, I asked my mom where they learned to fry the shells. She said that a neighbor, when they lived in Dad’s hometown of Saratoga, CA, showed them that trick. I’m ever so grateful!

To get started, I browned my beef, adding some kosher salt and cracked black pepper as it cooked. Once it was nicely browned, I added the seasonings: 1 Tablespoon ground chipolte, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons cumin, and 1 teaspoon ground onion. (You can adjust the spiciness by adding or subtracting the chipolte.)  I mixed everything together and let it heat through. 

I put the meat to the side, keeping it warm, then started on the taco shells. To begin, I heated up about 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil in my skillet. Once it was hot, I put in my first tortilla. I let it warm. When it started to bubble (the tortilla will blow up like a bubble), I used tongs to flip it over and let the other side brown a bit.

Chipolte Tacos
Once it starts “bubbling” like this, the shell should be browning.

Using the tongs, I removed the tortilla from the heat to a paper towel-line plate and folded it in half as it cooled. I repeated this process with the rest of the tortillas. 

Chipolte Tacos
Look at all those shells! Wonderful treat! Crisp and soft at the same time.

Now it was time to serve and eat! Yummy! It will always be one of my favorite tacos. 

Chipolte Tacos

Chipolte Tacos with "Homemade" Shells
Serves 4
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Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. Kosher salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
  3. 1 Tbsp ground chipolte
  4. 2 tsp paprika
  5. 2 tsp cumin
  6. 1 tsp ground onion
  7. 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 8 small tortillas
  1. Brown ground beef. Sprinkle with salt & pepper as it cooks.
  2. Add all the spices. Stir and heat through. Put meat mixture to the side.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet. (There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet.)
  4. Using tongs, place a tortilla in the oil. Once the tortilla starts to bubble, flip it over and brown on the other side.
  5. Remove the tortilla and fold in half to cool on a paper towel-lined plate.
  6. Serve with your favorite taco fixings.
Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy

About Denise

Hi! I'm Denise, a 40+ year old SAHM trying to navigate the world of motherhood. I blog about parenting, food, and have been featured a few times on BlogHer. I enjoys solving mysteries (Okay..reading mysteries or watching them on TV), cooking, and drinking way too much caffeine than I should. Basically, anything I needs to do to survive the toddler years.



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