Homemade Taco Salad Shells are crisp, crunchy and so satisfying. You’ll love how quick and easy it is to make a taco salad bowl from a tortilla. The shells are also make-ahead friendly which is perfect for hosting your next taco night and everyone will be so impressed.

We love Mexican-inspired taco recipes, from our famous Fish Tacos to Taco Soup. We even make our own Taco Seasoning! If you enjoy tacos as much as we do, this homemade taco salad shell recipe is a must-try!

Taco Salad Bowl with hand

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Taco Salad Shells

The Best Tortilla Bowls are first pan-fried and then baked. This ensures a crisp and bubbly shell that tastes wonderful. If you’ve made your own Hard Taco Shells before, you already know how good these will be.

Eating a Taco Salad in these Crispy Taco Salad Shells is an adventure. It feels like a Mexican restaurant dish and definitely elevates Taco Tuesday!

Ingredients

This is literally 2 ingredients and the salt is optional but nice for more flavor.

  • Flour Tortillas – We use large 10-inch flour tortillas so they form a roomy bowl. Try Homemade Flour Tortillas or use store-bought if you are in a time crunch.
  • Oil – use high-heat cooking oil. Our go-to is extra light olive oil (not extra virgin), or try Canola oil.
  • Salt – a little sprinkle of salt makes the taco shells taste even better, but the salt is optional. If you are filling the shells with a salad and dressing, you may not need the extra salt.
Tortilla Bowls stacked on top of each other

Pro Tip: You can use a smaller tortilla if you are looking to make smaller bowls. For single-serve mini tortilla bowls, buy the smallest tortilla size and mold them to muffin tins for mini tortilla bowls that are perfect for appetizers!

How to Make Tortilla Bowls

  1. Prep – preheat your oven to 350˚F with a rack in the center and arrange your oven-safe bowls on a baking sheet. You want them ready for when the tortillas are done frying.
  2. Fry Tortillas – Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet and fry the tortillas for 30-45 seconds per side or until they are golden brown in spots. This process goes quickly so don’t walk away or they can burn easily. Fry the tortillas one at a time and add more oil as needed.
  3. Mold Tortillas – Immediately after the tortillas are done frying, use tongs to transfer them to your prepared bowl and push them down in the center to mold to the bowl. I find a soup ladle works well for this.
  4. Bake Tortilla Bowls – Once all of your taco salad bowls are molded, bake them in a preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until they are crispy and golden brown. Transfer The bowls to a wire rack to cool then serve (see serving suggestions below).
Step by step how to make taco salad bowl shells with tortillas

Common Questions

How to eat a tortilla bowl?

The tortilla shell serves as a bowl, but I always set it over a dinner plate to catch any leaks and make it easier to transport. The shell is also meant to be eaten along with the salad. I like to break off the edges and enjoy it with bites of salad.

Can I use Gluten free tortillas?

Yes, you can make gluten-free tortillas bowls following the same instructions.

Can I Substitute Corn Tortillas?

You can use corn tortillas, however, the shells will be smaller since corn tortillas are typically sold in smaller sizes. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds to soften them up. Spray both sides with oil and form the tortillas over the back of a muffin tin. Bake at 350˚F for 12-15 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes! You can make as many or as few as you like, but keep in mind you will need enough bowls and oven space to bake them. If you are doubling, it would be best to fry and bake them in batches.

What kind of oven-safe dishes can I use?

I used a variety of different-sized bowls and even a measuring cup for molding the tortilla shells. I like using a 3-4 cup bowl such as an oven-safe Pyrex bowl, preferably with a flatter base so the salad doesn’t easily tip over on your plate. If you don’t have 4 oven-proof bowls, you can bake these in batches.

Oven safe bowls arranged on a baking sheet

How to Serve Tortilla Bowls

You can really serve these Tortilla Bowls with any of your favorite taco ingredients and turn your tacos into bowls:

  • Taco Salad – this is our go-to because the shell serves as the salad bowl. Drizzled with a lime crema, it’s a winning combination. My kids especially love these!
  • Fish Taco Salad Bowls – Serve our famous Fish Tacos inside of your bowls. I would suggest increasing the cabbage to make it more of a ‘salad’.
  • Shrimp Taco Salad Bowls – Similar to the fish tacos and we use the same amazing taco crema as a dressing. You can also load these up with Bang Bang Shrimp!
  • Chicken Fajita Bowls – add your fajita ingredients to your tortilla bowl, drizzle with Homemade Salsa or Jalapeno Ranch, and add your favorite toppings.

Pro Tip: Once you get near the end of your salad, I like to fold the tortilla bowl over the remaining toppings and finish it off like a taco – it’s easier to eat!

How to serve Taco Bowls with Taco Salad

Make-Ahead

Taco Salad bowls are best when enjoyed fresh, the same day they are baked, but they do keep and reheat well:

  • Storing at Room Temperature – Once the shells are cooled to room temperature, cover them loosely and store them at room temperature (in a low humidity environment) for up to 2 days.
  • To Reheat – You can re-crisp tortilla bowls in the oven if desired.
Crispy homemade taco salad bowl cooling on a rack

Fill these Taco Bowls with your favorite Taco Salad for the ultimate taco bar. It’s perfect for birthdays, Cinco de Mayo, and any occasion really. The fried taco bowls make the meal feel festive and special with minimal effort. 

More Mexican Recipes to Try

We love recreating our favorite Mexican restaurant-inspired dishes at home. If you’re planning a taco night with these Tortilla Bowls, then you’ll need some sides and desserts for your menu!

Crispy Taco Salad Shells

5 from 14 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Taco Salad Bowl made with a tortilla held by hand
Fill these Taco Bowls with Taco Salad for the ultimate taco bar. The restaurant-style taco bowls make the meal feel festive and fun.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 4 people
  • 4 large flour tortillas, 10-inch diameter
  • 2 Tbsp extra light olive oil, canola oil or any high heat cooking oil, plus more as needed
  • kosher salt, optional for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Set your oven-safe bowls over a baking sheet and have a ladle ready or something that can be used to push the tortilla into the mold.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (350˚F on a thermometer), add the tortilla and fry on the first side for 30-45 seconds. Flip and fry for 30-45 seconds on the second side. The tortilla should be a deep golden brown in spots and start to puff.
  • Immediately remove with tongs and place over an oven-safe bowl. Use a ladle or a smaller bowl to shape the tortilla to fit into the bowl. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
  • Once the tortillas are shaped into the bowls, set the bowls on a baking sheet and bake at 350˚F for about 12-14 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from molds and cool on a wire rack then serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

154kcal Calories15g Carbs2g Protein9g Fat2g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat6g Monounsaturated Fat221mg Sodium38mg Potassium1g Fiber1g Sugar44mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Taco Salad Shells
Amount per Serving
Calories
154
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Sodium
 
221
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
38
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
15
g
5
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Calcium
 
44
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: How to
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Taco Salad Bowl, Taco Salad Shells, Tortilla Bowl
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 154
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Comments

  • Sherry Woodward
    June 11, 2024

    My shells were really good.A little dark in spots but delicious.

    Reply

  • Elle
    May 6, 2024

    Do you use the bowl as a mold, or place over the top of the bowl? ? You indicated both in the Taco bowl formation.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 6, 2024

      Hi Elle! It works best to press the tortilla into the bowl/mold.

      Reply

  • Al
    April 12, 2024

    Took me few tries to get these right, just needed a lot more time in the oven. Mine took about 20 min. Buttery, crispy, flaky. 👍

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 12, 2024

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Al!

      Reply

  • Amanda
    November 11, 2023

    Has anybody tried sprinkling these with lime juice as well as the salt before baking? I think it would be good.

    Reply

  • Ferryal
    June 6, 2023

    Do you oil inside the bowls before pushing the fried tortilla inside them?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 6, 2023

      I didn’t since there’s already oil in the skillet.

      Reply

  • Donna M
    May 27, 2023

    Natasha…absolutely love your recipes and your videos. You make cooking and baking look so easy and the way you add so much fun to your videos make them a joy to watch. I recently had major brain surgery and could not do much of anything so part of my recovery period was watching your fun videos. I will be purchasing your wonderful recipe book. Thank you for the wonderful recipes. I honestly can’t pick a favorite recipe because they all are so good!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 27, 2023

      Hi Donna! That is so sweet. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m glad you’re loving the recipes and I appreciate the love and support. Thank you for pre-ordering my cookbook. Can’t wait for you to get your copy!

      Reply

    • Mo
      May 27, 2023

      Hi Natasha!

      Didn’t know you had a cookbook coming out until I read Donna‘s post.

      I would love to have your cookbook. So excited that you’re finally doing a cookbook. Any chance you can share with your followers what to expect without giving away the entire cookbook? And how do I pre-order?

      Thanks!

      Mo.

      PS I’m trying your tortilla taco salad shells tomorrow evening. I kind of cheated and got the actual tortilla taco salad nonstick bowls. Do I have to spray the bowls before putting in the slightly browned tortillas from the skillet?

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        May 28, 2023

        Hi Mo! Yes, you can order Natasha’s Kitchen Cookbook by using the pre-order links provided in the blog post.
        I hope you love the Taco Salad recipe! You do not need to spray the bowls. The tortillas shouldn’t stick, especially because they will have oil on them from frying in the skillet.

        Reply

        • Mo
          May 29, 2023

          Thanks Natasha!

          Will your cookbook have your most popular recipes? I can’t imagine all recipes will be in that book that’s on your website?

          I am so excited to be getting the book. You have amazing recipes and simplified instructions to make someone like me look like a seasoned 10 star out of a five star chef. 😊🤣🥰

          Reply

          • NatashasKitchen.com
            May 29, 2023

            Thank you, Mo! It will have some of our older recipes which have been improved and plenty of new ones as well.

  • Maxine Hopkins
    May 26, 2023

    Thank you so much, Looks so delicious. Cant wait to make these.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 26, 2023

      I hope you love the recipe, Maxine!

      Reply

  • Olivia
    May 24, 2023

    My family and I loved these bowls! What a fun idea — and so easy to make too!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 24, 2023

      Great to hear that your family loved this recipe, Olivie. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply

  • jess
    May 23, 2023

    I love a good taco salad and this recipe makes it that much more delicious! thank you so much for sharing this recipe

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 23, 2023

      You’re welcome, Jess! Enjoy.

      Reply

  • Lydia
    May 23, 2023

    Hey Nat , yes these are great and we make them with different flavoured wraps and also different sizes. We fill them with several kind of salads to. Have a nice week..

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 23, 2023

      I can only imagine that these are very versatile and you can make some amazing flavor combinations. Thank you for the feedback, Lydia!

      Reply

  • April
    May 23, 2023

    OK….It never occured to me that you could make taco bowl shells at home, but this is BRILLIANT. My kids love these, and this will definitely be making a regular appearance at dinnertime from now on.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 23, 2023

      Hi April! Yes, they are so simple and delish! So glad you’re family will be enjoying this recipe!

      Reply

  • Mo
    May 23, 2023

    Hi Natasha!

    I cannot wait to try this.

    A restaurant I used to go to made taco salads in the tortilla bowls and stopped making them.

    Now I can do this myself with your easy recipe.

    Thanks for the share!

    I will post again after I’ve made them and give feedback.

    Mo

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 23, 2023

      Hi Mo! That would be wonderful. Thank you.

      Reply

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