Pan Fried Tacos Recipe with Homemade Guacamole

Learn how to make crispy pan-fried tacos the easy way with this simple, budget-friendly recipe. The secret to getting the corn tortillas to form a taco shape while frying is in the special meat mix. Are these fried tacos Mexican? I learned from my research that in Mexico, fried tacos similar to these are called tacos dorados. These crunchy, skillet-fried tacos are more of an American version of a Mexican pan-fried taco recipe. The recipe has been in my family for years, and we try to make them as often as we can. Ready to find out how to make pan-fried beef tacos? Let’s get going!

How to make crispy pan fried beef tacos Pinterest image

The Pan-Fried Tacos Recipe Backstory

When my parents were young newlyweds living in California, a friend introduced them to this pan-fried tacos recipe. The friend called them California tacos, because of the different way the meat filling was prepared. When I was growing up, we usually had these pan-fried tacos on Saturday nights. I always looked forward to it because it was the only time I could have a soda pop with dinner. Did I ever look forward to Saturday nights! I have never had anything like them anywhere else. Read on for the simple equipment, ingredients, and instructions.

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Equipment Needed for Pan Fried Tacos

A large skillet

An electric frying pan

Pan-Fried Tacos Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 8-ounce can water (use the empty tomato sauce can for this to get all of the

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)

1 tablespoon taco sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons of flour, or more for a thicker meat mix

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, corn oil, or canola oil

12 corn tortillas

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 medium head of lettuce, chopped

Salsa (optional condiment)

pan fried taco fillings

Guacamole Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 teaspoons dried, minced onion

1 teaspoon taco sauce (optional)

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Pan-Fried Tacos Instructions

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. If you have pre-cooked ground meat mix on hand (number four on my list of all-time favorite kitchen hacks), use one pound of that. Add the tomato sauce, water, minced onions, chili powder and taco sauce, if using. Bring to a boil and let simmer gently on the stove with the lid off to let the flavors blend.

Meanwhile, while the meat mixture is simmering, chop the tomatoes, lettuce and grate the cheese. Place each in a separate bowl. Refrigerate until needed. Next, assemble the ingredients for homemade guacamole and put it together.

appetizers guacamole

Instructions for Homemade Guacamole (One of my Favorite Party Foods)

Mash the avocados. Stir in the ketchup, minced onions, chili powder, lemon juice and taco sauce, if using. Refrigerate until needed.

Continuing with the Pan-Fried Tacos

Heat the oil in the electric frying pan at 350 degrees, covered. Return to the meat mix on the stove and stir in the flour. The mixture should gradually thicken. If you want to have a thicker meat mix, add a bit more flour. Adding flour to the mix might seem odd, but the thickness of the meat mix really helps the tacos keep their folded shape when frying.

pan fried tacos taco meat

When mixture has thickened, turn off the heat. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees for keeping cooked tacos warm.

You might be wondering, “How do I pan fry corn tortillas?” Here’s the way I like to fry them for pan-fried tacos. Separate 12 corn tortillas, or however many you need to use. How do you heat corn tortillas so they don’t break? Here’s how I get fried taco shells that don’t break. I always make sure to lay the corn tortilla flat in the oil before working with it. First, lay a corn tortilla flat in the hot oil, then place about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture into the center of the tortilla. Using a spatula, fold the tortilla in half and push it to one corner of the electric skillet. Repeat this process until you have four tortillas folded, one for each corner.

pan fried tacos in the electric skillet

By this time, it will be time to flip the first taco you filled. Carefully, using a spatula, roll the taco over onto its other side. Repeat the process, going in order from first taco to last. By the time you flip the last one, it will be time to take the first taco out of the skillet.

pan fried tacos in the baking pan

Place the cooked tacos on a couple of layers of paper towels in a baking pan. When you have removed the tacos from the skillet and placed them in the baking pan, put the pan in the oven to keep the cooked pan-fried tacos warm. Start cooking the next batch of tacos. Repeat the cooking process until you have the number of tacos you need.

Serving the Pan-Fried Tacos

When you have the number of tacos you need, take your prepared lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and guacamole out of the refrigerator. Remove the warm, pan-fried tacos from the oven and serve. When we are adding the taco toppings, we usually put the cheese in first so it becomes warm and melty. That’s how you get pan-fried cheesy tacos. Then we add the other items.

pan fried taco with fillings

Pan-Fried Tacos

Learn how to make crispy pan-fried tacos the easy way with this simple, budget-friendly recipe. The secret in getting the corn tortillas to form a taco shape while frying is in the special meat mix.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 295 kcal

Equipment

  • a large skillet
  • An elctric frying pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can water
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon taco sauce optional
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, corn oil, or canola oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • ½ head lettuce chopped
  • salsa optional

Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons dried, minced onion
  • 1 teaspooon taco sauce optional
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water, minced onions, chili powder and taco sauce, if using. Bring to a boil and let simmer gently on the stove with the lid off to let the flavors blend.
  • Meanwhile, while the meat mixture is simmering, chop the tomatoes, lettuce and grate the cheese. Place each in a separate bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Next, assemble the ingredients for homemade guacamole and put it together.
  • Heat the oil in the electric frying pan at 350 degrees, covered. Return to the meat mix on the stove and stir in the flour. The mixture should gradually thicken. If you want to have a thicker meat mix, add a bit more flour.
  • When mixture has thickened, turn off the heat. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees for keeping cooked tacos warm.
  • Separate 12 corn tortillas, or however many you need to use. Lay a corn tortilla flat in the hot oil, then place about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture into the center of the tortilla. Using a spatula, fold the tortilla in half and push it to one corner of the electric skillet. Repeat this process until you have four tortillas folded, one for each corner.
  • By this time, it will be time to flip the first taco you filled. Carefully, using a spatula, roll the taco over onto its other side. Repeat the process, going in order from first taco to last. By the time you flip the last one, it will be time to take the first taco out of the skillet.
  • Place the cooked tacos on a couple of layers of paper towels in a baking pan. When you have removed the tacos from the skillet and placed them in the baking pan, put the pan in the oven to keep the cooked pan-fried tacos warm. Start cooking the next batch of tacos. Repeat the cooking process until you have the number of tacos you need.

Making the Guacamole

  • Mash the avocados. Stir in the ketchup, minced onions, chili powder, lemon juice and taco sauce, if using. Refrigerate until needed.

Notes

The number of servings is based on an estimate of three tacos per person. The number of calories will vary depending upon the added fillings.
Keyword dinner, easy recipes

Optional Pan-Fried Taco Toppings

Some people like to add salsa to their pan-fried tacos. Others like to add sour cream. One of the nice things about this dish is that people can customize the tacos as they wish. It’s the perfect dinner if you have a family of picky eaters. If someone doesn’t like lettuce, they can leave it out. Allergic to dairy? Omit the cheese. It’s a very versatile dish.

Does the Type of Oil Make a Difference?

What oil is best for frying corn tortillas? I have used corn oil, vegetable oil and canola oil. All worked well. I would not recommend using olive oil, as it might affect the flavor.

Tips About Tortillas for Pan-Fried Tacos

To save money, I like to buy the large packs of corn tortillas. The most common size I buy is the pack of 50. Since we don’t eat 50 tacos at a time (although we have come close), I keep the pack of tortillas in the freezer. When you are ready to use the tortillas, just take them out of the freezer before you start making the meat mix. The frozen tortillas are usually easy to separate. I separate the ones I need, then return the rest of the pack to the freezer. By the time I am ready to heat the tortillas in oil, they are partially thawed and ready to use. The hot oil will thaw them the rest of the way. The only thing you need to watch out for is frost. Water and oil don’t mix, so if you want to avoid splatters, dust any frost off before cooking, if possible.

Which Kind of Tortilla is Best for Pan-Fried Tacos?

We mainly use corn tortillas, not flour. I like to use flour tortillas for another favorite Mexican dish, flautas, but not for pan-fried tacos. We have used street taco tortillas, which are made from a mix of cornmeal and flour. They are delicious as well. Either the white corn tortillas or the yellow corn tortillas will work, but it seems that sometimes the yellow corn tortillas are less prone to tearing.

Feeding a Crowd with These Pan-Fried Tacos

In my family, I think the record for the number of tacos eaten by one person stands at 11. This happened during the time when my boys were hungry teenagers. Obviously, I had to increase the amount of tacos I made. It was easy to do. I just doubled (or tripled) the amount of ground beef, tomato sauce, water and other meat mix ingredients. I increased the number of tomatoes accordingly, added more lettuce, grated more cheese, and doubled the avocados and other ingredients needed for the guacamole. If you have an extra large electric skillet, you might be able to make more than four tacos at a time. You can always place a tortilla in the middle of the four cooking tacos to get started with your second batch. If these pan-fried tacos are as popular in your home as they are in mine, you may find yourself needing to double the recipe sooner rather than later!

Ready to Give These Pan-Fried Tacos a Try?

Now you know the secret to making delicious pan-fried tacos. If you make this pan-fried taco recipe, feel free to send a photo. I’d enjoy seeing the results. Will anyone eat more than 11?

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Have fun making pan-fried tacos. May all of your taco-making endeavors meet with great success!

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14 thoughts on “Pan Fried Tacos Recipe with Homemade Guacamole”

  1. 5 stars
    It would love a vegan option, but great post!

    Reply
    • I suppose you could use a meat substitute product, or use refried beans. I have tried making these with refried beans before, and they turned out well.

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    These look amazing! Tacos are one of my favorite meals and this is a unique twist on them. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • You are very welcome! I hope you get to try pan-fried tacos sometime.

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    I love proper guacamole! And yes, homemade is always best!:) Great idea for tacos dorados – they were my favourites when I used to sail to Cozumel!

    Reply
    • Oh, very good to know! Great to have your international perspective. Thanks for the homemade guacamole affirmation!

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Give me pan fried tacos any night of the week. My family loves taco night and there is never any left. I believe I could eat my weight in Guacamole. Love it!

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    This is a great pan fried tacos recipe! I have ever made them but Im sure to try this out- thank you

    Reply
    • YOu are most welcome. I’m happy to spread the taco love.

      Reply
  6. Hey – this is a GREAT pan fried taco guacamole recipe!!! I just put it on my meal schedule for the week!! 🙂

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    This is a great pan fried taco variation of the usual recipe. The guacamole recipe is a bonus. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! Have fun making your own version of pan-fried beef tacos.

      Reply

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