Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls
Make Amazing Taco Salad Recipes at home with these ultra-crispy Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls. Learn How To Make Tortilla Bowls (Taco Shells) just like your favorite Mexican restaurant… Without deep-frying!
Crunchy Bubbly Taco Shell Bowls
The best thing about eating a taco salad at a restaurant is the crunchy tortilla bowl. Am I right?
The golden color and crisp airy bubbles are so alluring, it’s hard not to break off a big chunk of bowl before ever picking up your fork!
At restaurants, taco salad bowls are made by deep-frying extra-large flour tortillas in a specially-shaped frying basket.
However, most of us don’t have deep fryers at home. And if you try to just bake tortilla bowls, they come out crisp, but not puffy and bubbly.
So today I’m going to teach you a quick trick to making crispy taco salad bowls at home, without a deep fryer!
Perfect Tortilla Bowls At Home
Our secret taco salad bowl recipe hack requires two quick-cooking steps…
First, you pan-fry the tortillas in a small amount of oil, so they puff up with ethereal bubbles.
Second, you bake the tortillas.
I know this sounds like more work, but it’s actually very easy.
Flash frying the tortillas gives them lift, color, and coats them in oil, so they can continue to crisp up in the oven.
Then you simply shape the puffy tortillas in cereal bowls and pop them in the oven.
Taco Salad Bowl Recipe Ingredients
In order to make ridiculously addictive taco bowl shells, you only need two ingredients…
- Extra-Large Flour Tortillas– About 10-12 inches across, burrito sized.
- Flavorless Cooking Oil – For frying, vegetable oil is great.
A little sprinkling of salt is a good idea, but not necessary.
How To Make Taco Salad Bowls
- Set Up: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set 4 oven-safe cereal bowls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Then set a large 12-14 inch skillet on the stovetop over medium heat/medium-high heat.
- Coat: Pour oil into the skillet. Once hot, place a tortilla in the skillet. Use tongs to swirl the tortilla to coat it in oil, then flip it over.
- Flash Fry: Pan-fry the tortilla for 30-45 seconds per side, allowing it to puff up with large bubbles. The bigger the better! Flip and repeat.
- Shape: Use tongs to move the tortilla to one of the cereal bowls. Tuck it down into the bottom of the bowl, to create a bowl shape with the tortilla.
- Repeat: Continue frying the remaining three tortillas.
- Bake: Once all the tortillas are flash-fried and shaped into bowls, bake until very crispy and golden.
- Prep: Fill with chopped greens and sprinkle with your favorite Taco Salad toppings.
Get The Full (Printable) Taco Bowl Shells Recipe Below.
How To Make Baked Tortilla Bowls
The cooked taco shells recipe we are sharing today is technically a baked tortilla bowl recipe, even though you flash fry the tortillas first.
You can skip the step of flash frying and just brush the tortillas with oil, shape, and bake… But they will not form the large airy bubbles that are not near and dear to our hearts.
It is worth the extra 4 minutes of work to gain golden pillowy bubbles in your taco bowl shells. These crispy taco shells will give you all the love of hard taco shells from taco night in this salad recipe.
How To Make Taco Salad
Now you have fabulous tortilla bowls for taco salad recipes. So what are you going to fill them with?
Consider topping the Taco Bowl Shells with these Favorite Taco Fixings:
- Shredded Romaine
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Beef Taco Meat
- Turkey Taco Meat
- Grilled Fish
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Refried Beans
- Sliced Black Olives
- Pico de Gallo
- Chopped Tomatoes
- Sliced Avocado
- Grilled Corn
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Queso Fresco
- Cotija Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Tortilla Chips
- Ranch Dressing
- Catalina Dressing
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Make Tortilla Bowls with Corn Tortillas?
Yes and no. Yes, you can follow this exact process, with corn tortillas, to make crunchy corn tortilla bowls.
However, it’s hard to find extra-large corn tortillas so the bowls will not be as large.
Also, there will be small bubbles from frying, but you will not get the massive bubbles with corn tortillas, that you do with flour tortillas.
Can You Make Them With Gluten-Free Tortillas?
Yes! If you can find gluten-free flour tortillas, you can make taco salad shells the exact same way.
How Far In Advance Can You Make Taco Salad Bowls?
These crunchy taco salad shells are best if made right before serving. However, they will last 2 days and can be reheated in the oven.
Wrap them in plastic and keep them at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Can You Make Mini Taco Bowls For Events?
Of course! If you don’t need to fit a whole dinner-size portion of salad in the bowl, you can make them with any size of flour tortilla you like.
Find smaller oven-safe bowls to shape the tortillas. Fry and bake for the same amount of time as with the large bowls.
Check the recipe card below for the nutrient information including calories and other daily values.
Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls Recipe
- 4 10-12 inch flour tortillas (XL burrito size)
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or any flavorless oil)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set 4 oven-safe cereal bowls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Then set a large 12-14 inch skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Pour 1 tablespoon oil into the skillet. Once hot, place the tortilla in the skillet. Use tongs to swirl the tortilla to coat it in oil, flip it over, and swirl it again. It needs to be coated in oil, on both sides, right away.
- Pan-fry the tortilla for 30-45 seconds per side, allowing it to puff up with large bubbles. (The bigger the bubbles the better!) Flip and repeat. Make sure the tortilla isn't turning dark. It should be golden-brown.
- Use tongs to move the tortilla to one of the cereal bowls. Tuck it down into the bottom of the bowl, to create a bowl shape with the tortilla. Take care not to deflate the bubbles.
- Repeat with the remaining three tortillas. Once all the tortillas are flash-fried and shaped into bowls, bake for 9-10 minutes until very crispy. Cool and fill.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
I made just one, using a Sana brand coconut flour tortilla. While the bubbles were not very big, and most of them disappeared while I was shaping it, and the whole thing ended up a little too crunchy, it’s the first time in over three years I’ve been able to have a proper taco salad bowl and it. was. glorious. Thank You <3
I think a big part of the problem, along with the tortillas, was the shape of my cereal bowls. They're flat bottomed & straight sided, and they just did not lend themselves to shaping well. Next time I'm going to try using two sizes of Pyrex bowls, sandwich the fried tortilla between them until it sets, then toss it in the air fryer to crisp it up.
I made these using the Mission Carb Balance tortillas. They were very good, however I didn’t get the bubbles. Perhaps the difference in the tortillas? I will be making these again!
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Could you invert the bowls and drape the tortillas over the outside of the bowl?
Sure, based on the size of your bowls, you can do that. However, draping them might create very shallow taco bowls. It’s worth a try!
yes, I tried this. Yum yum yum yum yum, you can also use these bowls for fruit salads as well.
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You’re right, it was an easy process and it was crunchy and so good! We’ll definitely make this again and again.
this was the perfect pair to finish off taco tuesdays! thank you for sharing!
Bubbly, crispy perfection! I feel like the taco bowl totally makes the salad. Thank you for this great recipe!
This is so great! I never knew you could make ” bubbly” taco shells at home without a deep fryer. We loved the recipe (nice and crispy) and will definitely make it again.
These are easy to make , and so so delicious!! My whole family really enjoyed them .Thank you!!
I like to use street taco size tortillas and serve as appetizers. They fit just right in a cupcake pan
Smarty! I love making these tortilla bowls and now turning them into an appetizer size is so clever! Thanks for sharing Ü
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You are a genius! Before I Google’d this recipe I was wondering if you could flash-fry a tortilla first (like when you make enchiladas) and then bake it. And then I found this recipe. It’s awesome!!!!
Great idea. I especially love the fact that you were using Fiesta ware bowls to do this!
First I used a way too big tortilla (jumbo) for the bowls I had but luckily I had smaller ones in the fridge. My mother in law has been craving taco salad and this was the first recipe I saw. Glad I used this one because they came out perfect! I will be using this for all types of salads now. Definitely worth frying to get those great bubbles!
I had just bought some tortilla bowl molds at a thrift store, so this will give me a chance to make these, as they look delicious.
Can you tell me if this would work with low carb torillas?
It depends on what type of low-carb tortillas, and what they are made of. But yes, in theory, as long as the tortillas are pliable, it should work.
I just made these with low carb tortillas, and they worked perfect! Only flaw is they don’t come in the jumbo size so they were on the small side – otherwise, great!
These were so tasty and easy. Will definitely make them again. Had combo flour/corn tortillas and they puffed up but lost those bubbles when I had to shape them into the bowls.
Absolutely yummy! Better than a restaurant!
Absolutely loved it!! Best recipe yet of tortilla bowls!! It was a hit in our household :) will be making it more often now.
WOW, just WOW!!! I have used several other recipes and this is by far the best!!!! I’m solidly grateful that I stumbled upon this recipe. Thank you sooooooo much for sharing.
Like the idea of frying tortilla first. I have always just draped the tortilla over upside down oven safe dishes to bake them. Mush easier and faster then pushing them into the bowl form. Bake on cookie sheet and wha-la!
I’m coming over for dinner! This is fantastic! And so easy!
Everyone at my house really loved it! Such a huge hit!
These are some of the best tortilla bowls that I have tried!