How To Make Hard Taco Shells In Your Oven, Plus . . . A Recipe For Baked Tacos!

This recipe has got to be one of the bigger successes I have had in the kitchen in a long time! Everyone in the family LOVED these!  Not a speck was leftover, which is always a sign that it really and truly was a HIT.

This dish has so many things going for it, that there wasn’t much chance it would be a FAIL, but one never knows with me. :-)

First of all….it’s TACOS!  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t like tacos in one form or another.

It’s quick and easy to make.

It’s got a “Make Your Own” aspect to it…which always makes me happy.

AND…it’s gluten-free!

Oh yeah…and it’s delicious.

Let’s start with the DIY portion of this dish…making the taco shells.

I can count on ONE HAND the number of times I have actually ever purchased hard taco shells from the store. I like the way one guy referred to them in a comment I read. He called them overpriced preformed tortilla shapes. lol.  That pretty much sums it up right there. They are always a disappointment. Especially since crisp taco shells are my favorite.

So this tip for making crunchy taco shells in your oven was mind-blowing to me. Why oh why haven’t I known about this before now!  All the wasted years that have gone by! ;-)

Let’s not waste another minute!

How to Make Your Own Baked Taco Shells

adapted from Eating Well

Working with 6 tortillas at a time, wrap in a barely damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on High until steamed, about 30 seconds. Lay the tortillas on a clean work surface and coat both sides with cooking spray. Then carefully drape each tortilla over two bars of the oven rack. Bake at 375°F until crispy, 7 to 10 minutes.

baked tacos

What??? That’s IT?? Ridiculously easy. The only thing that makes it even slightly difficult is having to do more than one batch. Of course, in hindsight, I could have definitely done another row of shells on the back of the oven rack. Oh well, next time…because there is definitely going to be a next time…and a next time…and a next time…

Now that we have our shells, we are ready to make Baked Tacos! Why I never thought of this before completely mystifies me. It makes perfect sense. I especially like how the cheese is nice and melty instead of cold like on a traditional taco.

baked tacos

I have posted my version of the recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures below…but you really just need to make taco meat/filling like you usually do, fill the shells and bake them casserole style! I decided to try a variation on Lynn’s recipe and we all liked it a lot! We might just have a new go-to way to eat tacos around here. (Just between you and me, I didn’t tell No. 3 son – aka The World’s Pickiest Eater – that there was refried beans in the taco meat…and he didn’t even notice. I think he ended up having six! lol. shhhhh)

Baked Tacos

adapted from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 15 ounce tomato sauce
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning or 2 – 3 Tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 – 2 cups shredded cheese (I didn’t measure)
  • 18-20 hard taco shells (I think I used 15, but I crammed them pretty full)
  • Your favorite taco toppings.

baked tacos
Brown ground beef. Drain off any fat and add refried beans, tomato sauce, and seasoning.
Spoon mixture into taco shells.
Place filled shells into a 9×13 pan, standing up. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.

baked tacos

baked tacos

As you can see from the picture…I topped my taco with a Tomatillo Salsa that I purchased at a local restaurant called Loco Lizard Cantina. It is THE BEST green salsa! I really need to figure out how to make a homemade version of it. It was soooooooo good on the baked tacos! (If anyone has a good recipe…please share!)

baked tacos

Wow…writing about these tacos is making me hungry for them all over again. Maybe no leftovers is not such a good thing afterall. :-)

Baked Tacos


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 15 ounce tomato sauce
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning or 2 - 3 Tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 - 2 cups shredded cheese (I didn't measure)
  • 18-20 hard taco shells (I think I used 15, but I crammed them pretty full)
  • Your favorite taco toppings.


  1. Brown ground beef. Drain off any fat and add refried beans, tomato sauce, and seasoning.
  2. Spoon mixture into taco shells.
  3. Place filled shells into a 9×13 pan, standing up. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.

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      • Landon says

        Mmmmmm, nothing tastes like burnt oven racks. ;)

        Actually you reminded me of a fond memory. My grandmother burned everything my Papa ate because he liked his food burnt. Odd, I know. She was a great cook. I know this, because after he passed away there was never another burnt thing on her table. If I happen to overcook something that looks a little burnt around the edges my husband says, “Ah! Nanny’s recipe?” or “Nanny would be proud.” LOL

    • kajo says

      Haha, I was thinking the same thing. Can’t remember the last time they were cleaned.

  1. Trixie says

    I don’t know how to make tomatillo salsa, it looks difficult but I have a recipe for a WONDERFUL Cilantro dipping sauce. If you like cilantro, you will LOVE this sauce.

    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
    1 garlic clove, peeled
    1 Tbsp white vinegar
    1 tsp sugar
    1 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix
    Dash Cayenne Pepper
    Juice of one medium lime

    In a blender, mix all ingredients and blend until smooth.
    Chill until serving.

    • Tasha says

      I made these (shells, tacos & cilantro dipping sauce) for dinner last night & it was absolutely DELICIOUS! The shells where great, the filling was awesome (I was surprised as I usually don’t like refried beans.) I did make one change for a little more spice/flavor- I used 2 packs of Taco Seasoning (instead of 1) since it was 2 lbs of meat. I made Trixie’s Cilantro sauce (above) and it was wonderful! I drizzled it over the top of the tacos after I put lettuce, tomatoes & a little salsa on them. Sooooooo Delicious- thanks Jillee, Trixie & Lynn!

    • Ana Cristina says

      Here is a good anf fairly easy tomatillo sauce

      1 lb. fresh tomatillos
      1/2 small onion
      1 large garlic clove
      1 T packed cilantro leaves
      1 serrano chile or other small hot chile, seeded
      2 T vegetable oil
      1/2 t salt

      Remove papery husks from tomatillos Wash tomatillos and place in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 inch water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover simmer 10 mins or until tender. Place tomatillos in a blender along with onion, garlic cilantro and chile. Process until pureed. Heat two T oil in a medium saucepan. Add processes tomatillo mixture. Cook two or three minutes. Add one cup chicken broth add 1/2 t salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer sauce 15 mins.

  2. Landon says

    Can’t wait to try this. My kids LOVE tacos! I make my own taco seasoning & buy the components to make what we want instead of the boxed kits. I’ve never thought of baking tortillas into taco shells, but that is genius! Will be making this next week. =)

  3. KimH says

    I grew up along the Texas/Mexico border and we always fried our tacos hard. We use 2 forks to handle them and get a little oil in a skillet hot, drop it in, let it bubble, turn it over, fold in half, hold the sides apart by sticking a fork in them, turn them over again to let the other side get cooked a bit & then drain on a paper towel lined paper plate.
    I know.. if you have ‘grease” issues, your way is better.. but if you dont.. the above is traditional and wonderful. You can fry them to your preferred amount of crispness.

    I love this whole post though.. Doing the tortillas in the oven like that is genus and so is cooking the tacos.
    Yum!!! Tacos, one of my 4 food groups. ;)

  4. Mary Malone says

    Thanks again, Jillee for One MORE Good Thing! Actually 2 more if you count baking your shells over the oven grate. I check your blog EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    • says

      haha…guess I could call today’s post TWO Good Things By Jillee huh? ;-) You are welcome Mary! Thanks for being such a loyal reader!

  5. Dustin says

    If you want an easy tomatillo sauce do this: Get a cookie sheet out and put on bout 8-10 pieces of garlic cracked but with the paper skin still on, a seeded jalapeno, half an onion and a bunch of tomatillos to take up the rest of the space. Cover everyone in about 4tbsp of olive oil and some sea salt. Bake in a 400d oven for about 20 min or until you see the jalapeno is a lil charred on the edges and some of the tomatillos popped. Then just throw them all in a food processor and blend!

      • Shelly Duggan says

        I’ve made this and you need to add at least 1/2 cup of cilantro and I use a whole onion. Remember to remove the skins from the garlic and onion AFTER you bake them. I only use a tiny bit of olive oil (don’t like it too greasy) and maybe 2 or 3 jalapenos (espcially if they are small) This keeps in the fridge really well….

      • Andrea says

        I add one or two poblano peppers as well as an onion. That, to me, just put it over the top for deliciousness! I’m not a fan of cilantro, so I don’t add that.

      • Andrea says

        oh yeah, and I use serrano peppers instead of jalapenos. A little hotter but very flavorful.

    • Petra says

      I’ve also made a recipe including lime juice as well cilantro and onion.
      It was really good. And since I’m living in Europe I used green tomatoes instead of the tomatillos.
      I just googled for Salsa verde to find my recipe.

    • Katie Reyna says

      or a lazy version of it is 6 tomatillos 1 clove of garlic peeled, 1 jalepeno( without the stem and if more mild take out seeds), and a chunk of garlic half the size of the jalepeno or 2 times the size of the clove of garlic. you boil them all together till soft and blend with a bit of the water you were boiling it in.

  6. Angela says

    Did you use flour or corn tortillas? Did you have any problem with the cooking spray dripping into the bottom of your oven? And finally :) , were the baked tacos soggy on the bottom?
    Thanks! Love your site!

    • Bev says

      If you want gluten free, don’t use flour…. unless it’s gluten free flour. I suggest corn tortillas.

    • says

      You could use either Angela. But I only tried the corn because they are gluten-free. I only lightly sprayed the tortillas so I didn’t have any dripping at all. The bottoms of the tortillas weren’t ‘crisp’ after filling with the meat and baking…but the edges still there. I actually really liked the combination of the chewy and crunchy. :-)


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