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Horizontal overhead shot of three beef tacos with lettuce and tomato on a plate, beside a pile of greens topped with a dollop of scallion and cilantro crema, on a brown wood table with a multicolored cloth and a small square dish of pico de gallo.

Crunchy Baked Beef Tacos with Zesty Homemade Seasoning

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos 1x


Turn Taco Tuesday into tacos every day with this classic crunchy beef version, enhanced with smoky homemade seasoning and sharp cheddar.


  • 3 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 corn tortillas (street taco size)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • Homemade Pico de Gallo
  • 1 cup Green Onion and Cilantro Crema


  1. In a small bowl, mix together 3 teaspoons of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano. This will make around 1/2 cup of homemade taco seasoning.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet or saute pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and season it with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Using a slotted spoon to break up the meat, cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Add the red onions and minced garlic, and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of the taco seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally to incorporate the spices, for about 3-5 minutes. Season to taste, stir, and keep the beef mixture on low heat.
  4. In a separate heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the remaining vegetable oil (fill the pan to about 1 inch) over medium-high heat. Using tongs, carefully drop one tortilla at a time into the oil. Let it sizzle for about 15 seconds, and then flip it over; fold the tortilla in half to create a shell, and hold in place with the tongs until very lightly golden, for another 15 seconds. Place the fried taco shell on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and immediately sprinkle with salt (or additional taco seasoning). Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  6. In a deep baking dish, arrange the freshly fried taco shells so they stand upright. Evenly divide the beef mixture among the shells and then top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and melted, about 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with shredded lettuce, salsa, and crema.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Tacos
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Keywords: tacos, beef tacos, Taco Tuesday, taco spice mix