RECIPES:
Feb 2, 2022

Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
When the Taco Bell cravings hit, sometimes nothing else will do!

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While I love a Taco Bell trip as much as the next person, I prefer to make versions of my fast food favorites fresh at home using high-quality ingredients. I’m sharing a copycat recipe of the famous Taco Bell Chalupa supreme (the best thing on the menu) that you can easily make at home. Chalupas have busts of flavor and contrasting flavors in every bite and make great appetizers or snacks. 

Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe

What Are Chalupas?

The chalupas is a specialty of South-Central Mexico. Traditional chalupas are made by shaping masa dough into the shape of a boat and frying it. The flat fried dough is topped only with salsa cheese and shredded lettuce. 

The Americanized Taco Bell chalupa supreme is much more like a fried flatbread and taco hybrid. Making the fried shell only requires a few pantry staples, plus some oil to fry them in. As long as you have the ingredients to make the shell the fillings are flexible! 

More About Chalupa Shells

This recipe is for an at home version/ copycat Taco Bell chalupa supreme. Their shells are similar to a flatbread – shaped into a taco shell and filled with ground beef and toppings. The shell for this chalupa recipe is a version of Native American fry bread (also called Navajo fry bread) which I discovered and fell in love with on a camping trip in Arizona with my brother. I shape the dough into the size of a small tortilla and fry the disc of dough, making the taco shell. The fried bread is similar to a flat funnel cake and the closest thing I have found that resembles the thin, bready crust of Taco Bell’s chalupa bread. 

Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe

Key Ingredients in this Recipe

Ground beef

I use a blend of 80/20 ground beef for this Taco Bell chalupa recipe, which means it’s 80% lean  beef and 20% fat. The fat adds flavor though it can be swapped for a leaner cut. Fresh is best, try asking your butcher to grind it for you. 

Seasoning

I prefer to make my own seasoning mixture for the ground beef so I have more control over the flavor using spices I already have in my spice cabinet. This “taco seasoning” is made with chili powder, paprika, salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Substitute with 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of store-bought spice mix.

Cornstarch

I add a bit of cornstarch to the seasoning mixture to help thicken the beef and bind the spices to the meat.

Lettuce

While lettuce isn’t traditionally included in a taco, shredded iceberg lettuce adds a crunch to this recipe. Swap with shredded romaine lettuce if needed (though it can be harder to pile into the shell).

Cheese

Colby Jack cheese is similar to a mild Cheddar cheese with a creamy texture and tangy flavor. Try swapping the Colby Jack with another semi-hard cheese like Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack for a bit more of a kick.

Tomatoes

Instead of topping the chalupas with pico de gallo I use chopped tomatoes for a simple, fresh element. I like using Roma tomatoes though any variety will work.

All-purpose flour

I use all-purpose flour in this recipe. It’s a versatile flour and can be used in most baked/ fried recipes. While self-rising flour already has baking powder added to it, I prefer to use all purpose and add my own. 

Sour cream

The cool sour cream offsets the seasoned beef and adds a creamy element to the chalupa while helping to bind the layers of toppings together in the shell. For a lighter take, swap the sour cream with Greek yogurt.

Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells - mix the dough
Step 1: Mix the dough

Add the flour, baking soda and salt to a medium mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Stir in the vinegar and milk until a shaggy ball forms.

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells - Knead and divide dough
Step 2: Knead and divide dough

Turn out onto a lightly floured, clean work surface. Knead until the dough comes together then divide into 8 equal pieces (about 75g each).

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells - Roll out pieces of dough
Step 3: Roll out pieces of dough

Fill a cast iron pan with enough oil to reach 1½” up the side. Heat oil over medium heat to 325ºF. Roll each ball of dough out into a 6” circle.

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells - fry the dough
Step 4: Fry the dough

Working one at a time, slowly and carefully add one of the pieces of rolled out dough to the hot oil. Fry until the underside is golden brown but not too crispy or else the wrapper will not fold, about 30 seconds.

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells - shape into a shell
Step 5: Shape into a shell

Flip and fold into a taco shell, frying for an additional 30 seconds on each side.

Instructions for Making Chalupa Shells - Remove to a paper towel
Step 6: Remove to a paper towel

Remove the fried bread to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Tips and Tricks for How to Make Chalupas At Home

Variations/ Substitutions  for this Recipe
  • For a vegetarian version of this recipe, swap the seasoned ground beef for black beans.
  • You can swap the ground beef in your chalupa supremes for lean meat like ground chicken or turkey. For a shortcut, try using shredded chicken.  
  • The best part about homemade chalupas is that you can add whatever toppings you want. For some gourmet additions, add a scoop of guacamole or pico de gallo. 
Tips for Making the Chalupa Shells

The chalupa shells are best served fresh! They can be reheated under the broiler or in an air fryer set at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 3 minutes.

  • Fry ahead – You can store the fried chalupa shells in airtight containers for up to two days. 
  • Refrigerate – The dough can be made up to a day in advance then stored refrigerated until ready to use. 
  • Freeze – The discs of dough can be shaped then layered in between sheets of parchment paper. Add to a resealable plastic bag and freeze until ready to fry. They can be made up to a week in advance.
Can I eat chalupas flat? 

Yes! If you are ok with eating them flat then it will be much easier to fry the dough. Build chalupas with toppings as you would a tostada and enjoy!

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out these:

Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe

Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe
Print Pin
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4 people (8 chalupas)

Ingredients:

For the chalupa shell:

  • cups all-purpose flour, additional as needed
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying

For the spiced ground beef:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 85/15 ground beef

For assembly:

  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 medium Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
  • ½ cup grated Colby Jack cheese
  • Hot sauce, as needed

Instructions:

For the chalupa shells:

  • Add the flour, baking soda and salt to a medium mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Stir in the vinegar and milk until a shaggy ball forms.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured, clean work surface. Knead until the dough comes together then divide into 8 equal pieces (about 75g each).
  • Fill a cast iron pan with enough oil to reach 1½” up the side. Heat oil over medium heat to 325ºF (170ºC).
  • Roll each ball of dough out into a 6” circle.
  • Working one at a time, slowly and carefully add one of the pieces of rolled out dough to the hot oil. Fry until the underside is golden brown but not too crispy or else the wrapper will not fold, about 30 seconds.
  • Flip and fold into a taco shell, frying for an additional 30 seconds on each side.
  • Remove the fried bread to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining dough.

For the spiced ground beef:

  • Mix the chili powder, cornstarch, paprika, salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until the beef is browned, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the seasoning mixture as well as ⅓ cup water. Stir to combine and remove from heat.

For assembly:

  • Fill each chalupa shell with a few scoops of the seasoned ground beef. Top with the shredded lettuce, sour cream, cheese, and tomatoes. Top with hot sauce and serve immediately.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    These turned out great and folding them turned out to be easier than expected!! Will be making again!

  2. Just wanted to confirm that this recipe calls for baking soda, and not baking powder? Many others I saw all call for powder over soda.

    • Yes, it calls for baking soda because the vinegar in the recipe activates it and gives it the desired texture.

  3. 5 stars
    One of my new favorite eat-out knock offs! The instructions are spot on and the final result was great. I might try rolling out the dough a little bit more thinly next time to get a little more crunch and less chewiness on the shell. Overall, super impressive and not nearly as challenging as you might think. One of the best ground meat seasoning mixes I’ve ever put together. Thanks for the road map to a great treat!

  4. Another winner! This recipe tastes just like my first Chalupa at Tacobell many many years ago. I could have eaten the chalupa shell by itself , it was that good. The finished product was even better. This is definitely going into my weeknight meal rotation as it doesn’t take much time to put together. Thank you!!