Oven Baked Taco Shells

Baked Taco Shells are beyond easy to make and require just two ingredients to get perfectly crispy taco shells. Ready in just 20 minutes, these simple shells serve as the ultimate base for all your favorite taco fillings!

106 CALORIES22g CARBS1g FAT3g PROTEIN
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There’s always a toss-up at my home between crunchy and soft tacos for taco nights. My daughters are usually on Team Crunchy Taco, but I hate having to buy both tortillas and hard taco shells. I mean, aren’t they really the same thing? This thought sent me on a mission to figure out how to use my tortillas to make my own crunchy taco shells.

After some trial and error, I did it. I have finally figured out how to make the best baked taco shells at home! The trick is to microwave your tortillas first to get them nice and pliable, then spray them with your cooking spray and drape them over the oven rack.

From there, let the oven take over and do its thing. Soon enough, you’ve got perfectly crispy baked taco shells. It’s beyond easy and way more budget-friendly than investing in two types of taco vessels every week! Fill them up with chicken, steak, fishground turkey, or beans. It's all delish!

I see plenty of taco-filled days ahead of me, so excuse me while I start preparing bulk batches of my homemade taco seasoning. Use these baked taco shells for any of your favorite tacos. The results are going to be so good that you’ll never be going back to the store-bought versions again.

Baked taco shells with crispy browned edges and filled with taco meat, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.

Key Ingredients

These baked taco shells come together so easily that I almost feel guilty (almost) about calling this a recipe. You’ll need just two key ingredients for this one:

  • Corn tortillas: Ask any true taco connoisseur and they’ll tell you that corn tortillas are the way to go. In addition to being incredibly flavorful, they have lots of fiber and provide an excellent sturdy base for your taco fillings.
  • Cooking spray: A quick spritz of cooking spray helps to crisp up the taco shells and prevents them from sticking to the oven racks. 
  • Seasoning: Spice this up with some fresh lime juice, seasoning, salt, and pepper to make a crispy taco shell that's packed with flavor.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Here are some of my favorite tips and substitution ideas to help you get the best baked taco shells every time:

  • Use larger tortillas. Using larger tortillas is key to getting the perfect taco shell. When they’re bigger, they’re easier to handle and can fit more taco fillings without breaking.
  • Create taco bowls. Taco bowls are a fun spin on the usual taco shells and don’t even require much effort. Just shape the heated tortillas into bowls using a flipped cupcake pan and pop them into the oven until they’re golden brown and crispy.
  • Drape them evenly. I prefer draping my tortillas over two bars each. Not only does this create more room for fillings, but it also makes them all uniform in size and shape, which comes in handy when stacking them together.
  • Aluminum foil. I wish someone had told me about this tip when I was starting out. Place a sheet of aluminum foil across the bottom rack of the oven and save yourself the time and effort of cleaning out a potential mess!
  • Add a hint of flavor. Just a dash of your favorite seasoning is more than enough to give these taco shells a kick of their own. Great options include kosher salt, smoked paprika, and cumin.
  • Cooking spray. Don’t have cooking spray? Just lightly brush some oil onto the tortillas before baking them. I’ve used both vegetable neutral oil and corn oil without seeing much of a difference, so use whatever you have at hand.
  • Tortilla chips. I've saved my favorite tip for last! If you've got any leftover tortillas, you can slice them into triangles and bake them to create some crispy chips that pair well with everything from salsa to guacamole.

Corn tortillas baking in the oven to make taco shells that are draped over the oven rack.

How to Store Baked Taco Shells

I love prepping up a batch of these baked taco shells right before taco nights, or any other occasion that calls for tacos. If you wind up with extras, allow them to cool before packing them carefully into an airtight container and store in a cool, dry environment.

Taco shells tend to absorb moisture pretty quickly and can turn soggy, so try not to store them in the fridge or freezer if you can help it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about baked taco shells:

Flour tortillas tend to be softer, unlike corn tortillas which are more on the sturdy side. They probably won't be able to stand up on their own, so I don't recommend using them to make crunchy taco shells.

Of course! Toasting tortillas is a great way to bring out the flavor, while making sure that they’re pliable enough to be shaped into tacos. I prefer toasting my tortillas on the stove for a minute or so on each side until pliable. For an easier way of making your tortillas more pliable, you can microwave them for 1-3 minutes.

Corn taco shells tend to be crunchy but eventually end up getting soggy due to the moist fillings. The best way to prevent soggy tacos is to prepare the fillings separately and only assemble the taco once you’re ready to enjoy it. To make sure your crunchy taco shells stay crunchy, store them at room temperature instead of in the fridge.

Baked corn taco shells filled with ground turkey, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and radish.
The Recipe
Baked crispy taco shells made with corn tortillas and cooking spray on a white plate.

Oven Baked Taco Shells

PREP TIME: 5 Min
COOK TIME: 10 Min
TOTAL TIME: 15 Min
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 8 U corn tortilla
  • 2 tsp. lime juice (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking spray

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread out the tortillas and microwave until extremely soft and pliable. Depending on your microwave this can take between 1-3 minutes. They should be hot and really pliable when you take them out.

Corn tortillas on a plate.
2

You can wrap them in a moist paper towel to make them even softer. Immediately wrap in a towel or place in a ziploc bag to keep them warm. Keeping them soft is the key to not having them break in the oven.

3

Then carefully spray each tortilla with cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle with lime juice and seasoning if using. Gently drape over the oven grates, pressing down ever so lightly. I press mine over two grates so that the taco shells stand up nicely and have lots of room to press things in.

Corn tortilla being spray with cooking spray.
4

Repeat with remaining shells and then bake for 8-10 minutes until brown and crispy. These can go from perfect to burnt quickly so be sure to keep an eye on them.

Corn tortillas draped over the oven racks.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 shells
Amount Per Serving
Calories 106
Calories from Fat 12
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 22mg
1%
Total Carbohydrate 22g
7%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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