Puffy Taco Shells are the essential basis for Puffy Tacos – a South Texas favorite! When I was a kid, we would drive to the next county to get our favorite puffy taco fix. And even though this is my favorite home recipe, I certainly would not pass up the chance to enjoy puffy tacos in a restaurant. Classic!
Only 3 ingredients
The ingredients list isn’t long – only 3. The trick to making Puffy Taco Shells is in the way you fry them. Restaurants have an easier time making puffy taco shells because they have deep fryers. Home frying can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a deep Dutch oven as your frying vessel. A frying pan doesn’t work so well because they are shallow and don’t have enough depth so the puff taco shell can expand. Electric deep fryers for home use can be small and awkward when it comes to flipping over the taco shell. Dutch ovens are my choice.
Make right before serving
Also, make sure you have all of your filling and ingredients ready when you are making Puffy Taco Shells. The taco shells should be made at the last minute so they are crispy and crunchy. A soggy puffy taco is no fun at all!
Keep the prepared Puffy Taco Shells in a warm oven. Every taco shell has to be prepared individually, so it might take you a little while to put your whole meal together. I never fold the taco shells until they are served. Crispy, crunchy and puffy are the goals here!
You can use picadillo for your taco filling, but you can also use shredded cooked chicken or sautéed vegetables such as squash or eggplant. I especially love making puffy nachos too, which is the same recipe but a different shape of tortilla. All are so very delicious!Print
Puffy Taco Shells are a South Texas favorite
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 7 minutes
- Yield: 12–15 taco shells 1x
2 cups instant corn tortilla mix (250g)
1/2 tsp. baking powder (2g)
Approximatley 1 cup of water (240ml)
Stir together the instant corn tortilla mix and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Add enough water so that the masa is thick and firm.
Pour the vegetable oil into a large frying pan heating to 350°F/176°C. Divide the dough into 12-15 equal sized balls. Using a tortilla press, press each ball of dough into a thick tortilla. Carefully place the raw tortilla in the hot vegetable oil. The tortilla will sink to the bottom of the frying oil, but once it surfaces, flip the tortilla over. Allow to fry for another 45 seconds. Flip one more time and then fry for 20 more seconds. The tortillas should puff as they fry.
Using a slotted spoon or two spatulas, carefully remove the puffy taco shells from the vegetable oil, allowing the exceess vegetable oil to drain before removing from the pan. Place the shells in an oven proof pan lined with paper towels. Continue to press all of the dough balls and fry in this fashion. Serve immediately topped with your favorite taco toppings. Taco shells can be kept warm in an oven heated to 200°F (93°C)