If you love crispy tacos, these Tacos Dorados are for you! Crispy tacos filled with shredded chicken, cheese, sour cream, and spices. Bake them in the oven, fry them in a skillet, or use your air fryer.
It's hard to beat the beat the crunch of a crispy fried taco! These Mexican Tacos Dorados are so much better than using store-bought crispy taco shells. Make these tasty tacos with shredded chicken, potatoes, beans, ground meat, or veggies.
When it comes to crispy tacos, Tacos Dorados are king. Crispy fried tacos that can be stuffed with a variety of fillings and topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and more.
What are Tacos Dorados?
Tacos dorados are crispy, fried Mexican tacos that can contain fillings such as potatoes, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and more. Street vendors typically sell them, often topped with salsa, shredded lettuce, Mexican crema, cotija cheese, guacamole, consommé, and more.
In Spanish, “dorado” translates to “golden,” referring to the crispy golden exterior of a taco dorado. When it comes to food and cooking, "dorado" usually means crispy.
Are tacos dorados the same as taquitos and/or flautas? The main difference between tacos dorados and taquitos or flautas is the shape. Tacos dorados are simply folded in half before frying, while flautas and taquitos are rolled and then fried.
Why You’ll Love Tacos Dorados
- Authentic Mexican crispy tacos: Unlike the Tex-Mex ground beef tacos most people are familiar with, tacos dorados are genuine Mexican crispy tacos with super crispy corn tortillas filled with delicious proteins or veggies.
- Versatile: Once you learn how to make tacos dorados, you can experiment with various fillings and toppings.
- Quick, easy, and popular: This meal can be prepared in less than 30 minutes and is always a hit. Everyone loves taco night, and this recipe is a great addition to the rotation.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Taco dorados can be made in various ways, allowing for different fillings. The version in the recipe card features an easy, Tex-Mex inspired chicken filling. Below, you will find ideas for more authentic fillings.
- Corn tortillas: Tacos dorados are almost exclusively made with corn tortillas in Mexico. However, you can swap in flour tortillas or alternative tortillas if you prefer. Just be attentive to prevent burning.
- Shredded chicken: This recipe uses shredded chicken, but you can also fill these tacos with potatoes, ground beef, ground turkey, beans, vegetables, and more. Find a more complete list below.
- Cheese: To ensure the tacos remain intact during baking or frying, I recommend adding shredded cheese. You can use any type of cheese, such as pepper jack, Monterey jack, cheddar, Oaxaca, or Mexican cheese. Additionally, you can add a few spoonfuls of cream cheese for added moisture and creaminess, although this is optional.
- Taco seasoning: Sprinkle some taco seasoning over the chicken to enhance its flavor. You can swap in other spices and seasoning mixes if you prefer. If you're using a more flavorful filling (like chorizo, chicken tinga, or seasoned ground meat), skip this ingredient.
- Sour cream: The first time I made these tacos without sour cream, they came out dry. Sour cream is the perfect solution, adding both flavor and some much needed moisture. If you are using a moist filling, skip this ingredient.
- Oil for frying: When frying these crispy tacos, use oil with a high smoke point such as avocado oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. If you are baking or air frying the tacos, you can use olive oil or cooking spray.
The options are endless when it comes to filling tacos dorados. Just make sure not to choose a filling that is too wet or the tacos won’t get crispy.
- Mashed potatoes: In the Northern Mexican states, potatoes or “papas” are a traditional filling for tacos dorados. Boil and mash 2-3 peeled potatoes, seasoning them with salt, pepper, chicken bouillon, and Mexican crema or sour cream. Add flavorful sautéed onions to the potatoes if desired.
- Chorizo with potatoes: Combine Mexican chorizo with mashed potatoes for another popular filling. Saute the chorizo and fold it into the mashed potatoes for a delicious option packed with flavor.
- Potatoes with shredded beef: Another popular potato option combines mashed potatoes with shredded mexican beef, machaca, or Mexican shredded chicken.
- Chicken tinga: For a smoky filling, consider using chicken tinga. Just make sure to drain any liquid so the tacos aren’t soggy.
- Mashed beans: Use refried beans or a combination of refried beans and potatoes for a vegetarian filling. Add sautéed onions, peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms for added flavor.
- Ground beef or turkey: Although ground beef or ground turkey is not commonly found in Mexican tacos, they make a great Tex-Mex style taco dorado, reminiscent of a crispy beef taco.
How to Make Tacos Dorados (Baked, Fried, or Air Fryer)
These tacos are surprisingly easy to make. While all three cooking options are effective, we prefer baking them since it allows for the preparation of a large number of tacos at once.
1. Prepare the Filling
Ensure that the filling is prepped and ready to go, and at room temperature or slightly warm.
For the tacos dorados de pollo, or crispy chicken tacos, simply combine the shredded chicken, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning.
2. Warm the Tortillas Until Soft and Pliable
This step is often overlooked, but it's crucial. Wrap the tortillas in a moist towel and microwave them for 30-60 seconds until they are very soft and pliable.
If you skip this step, the corn tortillas might break or rip when folded, causing the filling to leak out.
3. Prepare the Tacos Dorados
Now it’s time to fill the tacos. Take a corn tortilla, add a couple of tablespoons of filling to one half of the tortilla, and then gently fold it over to close the taco. Repeat with all the tacos.
You can also roll the tacos if you prefer, giving them more of a flauta or taquito shape.
Pro tip: If you notice the tortillas breaking, microwave them again to soften. Also, ensure you don't overfill the tacos, as this can cause the filling to leak out during cooking.
4. Oven Baked
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by brushing it with olive oil or spraying it with cooking spray. You can cover the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup.
Place the folded tacos on the baking sheet and spray the tops with cooking spray or brush them with olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes until the tops turn golden brown. Flip them over and bake for another 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.
We prefer this method to avoid cooking the tacos in batches.
5. Traditional Fried Taco Dorados
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is hot before adding the tacos, as a cooler temperature can cause the tortillas to soak up the oil and become soggy.
Once the oil is hot, add 3-4 tacos (depending on size) to the pan. Cook them for 45-60 seconds on each side until they are crispy and golden brown. Keep a close eye on the tacos, as they can burn quickly.
Place them on a paper towel and continue until all the tacos are cooked.
6. Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees and ensure that you spray or brush the tacos on both sides with oil or cooking spray. Place the tacos in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook for 6-8 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.
Depending on the type of air fryer you have, you may need to cook them in batches.
Tacos Dorados Toppings
One of the best aspects of tacos dorados is the variety of toppings you can add. Here are some of our favorites:
- Shredded lettuce
- Pico de gallo
- Green salsa
- Sour cream or Mexican crema
- Avocado or guacamole
- Pickled red onions
- Queso cotija or queso fresco
Side Dish Options
These tacos pair great with rice, beans, salad, and more. Here are some of our favorite side dishes.
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Black beans or Frijoles Charros
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Mexican Chopped Salad
Variations and Recipe Ideas
There are several ways to customize these tacos and make them your own.
- Change up the filling: Experiment with different fillings, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, ground meat, shredded beef, beans, vegetables, chorizo, and more.
- Try different toppings: Vary the flavor by using different toppings. Anything you can put on a traditional taco will work well. Try different salsas, hot sauce, raw vegetables, beans, and more.
- Add more veggies: To make these more nutritious, consider adding sauteed veggies like zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, bell peppers, corn, onions, or tomatoes.
- Add beans: Add canned black beans or pinto beans to the chicken mixture for more fiber.
Storage, Leftovers, and Reheating
Although these tacos are best served fresh, they can be saved and reheated.
- Storage: Let the tacos cool completely, then store them in the fridge for 4-5 days, depending on the filling. If you're preparing these ahead of time, only prep the filling and then assemble and cook the tacos on the day you plan to eat them.
- Reheating: For the crispiest results, reheat the tacos in the oven or air fryer. Bake them in a 400-degree oven for 6-8 minutes or reheat them in a 375-degree air fryer for 5-8 minutes.
- Freezing: While you can freeze these tacos, they won’t remain very crispy when reheated, so it's not recommended.
How to Prevent Fried Tacos From Getting Soggy?
There are two main reasons fried tacos become soggy. Firstly, the oil might not be hot enough when you start frying the tacos. If the oil isn't sufficiently hot, the corn tortillas will soak up the oil instead of cooking. Always ensure the oil is hot, around 375 degrees, for best results.
Secondly, tacos can become soggy if the filling is too moist. Make sure to select a filling that isn't excessively liquid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making homemade tacos dorados.
Tacos dorados are folded and then fried, whereas flautas are rolled and fried. The key difference lies in their preparation method.
Tacos dorados are called this because the term 'dorado' translates to 'golden' in Spanish, referencing the crispy, golden exterior of these fried tacos.
Crispy Tacos Dorados
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- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded chicken breast
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1/4 cup light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
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Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Begin to assemble the tacos. Grab a warm tortilla, add about 2 tablespoons of filling, and then gently fold over the tortilla to seal each taco. Repeat with the remaining tacos, placing them on the baking sheet. Spray the tops with cooking spray or brush with oil.
* 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.
To fry tacos in a skillet: Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is hot. Add 3-4 tacos (depending on size) to the pan. Cook them for 45-60 seconds on each side until they are crispy and golden brown. Place them on a paper towel and continue until all the tacos are cooked.
To air-fry: Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Spray or brush the tacos on both sides with oil or cooking spray. Place the tacos in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook for 6-8 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. Repeat to cook all tacos.
Lighten things up with extra thin corn tortillas and reduced fat shredded cheese.
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