Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

Taco salad is one of my favorite dishes. I’m fairly sure it’s not authentic and, up until a few months ago, thought it impossible to make at home. Isn’t that just about the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? It’s a stupid salad! Salads are the easiest thing in the world to make! And I agree with you. But have you ever had a store bought taco salad shell??? Pardon my language, but it’s bullshit bologna! It’s hard, crunchy, and usually breaks before you can even get it out of the box. And if you’re lucky enough to get one out of the box intact, how are you suppose to keep the other 3 from going stale?? After a few rounds with that nonsense I decided that taco salad was reserved for quick lunches at Taco Del Mar and the occasional lunch buffet at the local Mexican restaurant. 

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

All this fuss over a taco shell? I know I’m crazy. But once you have a nice fried flour tortilla shell that you can break up and use as chips, nothing you can buy at the store will compare. 


Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

I discovered this handy dandy taco salad shell mold! Oh my goodness everyone needs a pair of these in their home. They are the best!! You don’t even have to use oil! Just bake to perfection!

Just lay a burrito sized tortilla in the mold, pop it in the oven for about 12 minutes at 350, and viola!

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

They come out easy and perfect every time!! 

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

I truly believe this might be the best invention since sliced bread…. and sliced bread is pretty darn cool. 

You know what’s even better than finding a cool tool like this one? Discovering it’s cheap as well! Less than $10 on Amazon. Just click on the link below to get your set of 2!

So now that the biggest dilemma of a homemade taco salad is out of the way, we move on to the ingredients. There is a certain ratio of beans, meat, lettuce, and toppings that needs to happen if you want it to taste right. When filling up your shell, the food may not seem like much, but it’s a lot. I rarely finish a whole one and if I do I’m in food coma for a while. 

 Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells


Lettuce!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten everything together and completely forgotten the lettuce. I get so absorbed in everything else, I forget I’m making a salad! Usually the restaurants use iceberg lettuce which is crunchy but has no nutritional value. I prefer to use green leaf lettuce or a spring mix. The darker the foliage, the healthier it is. 

So lets do this right! First, figure out what you want for toppings. I like pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheese. I usually make my own pico de gall and guacamole but if I’m in a rush, Fred Meyers and Haggens have really good pico de gallo in the deli sections. 

Click on the links below for my pico de gallo and guacamole recipes. 

Pico De Gallo Sencillo

Pico De Gallo Sencillo

Mountain Man Guacamole

Mountain Man Guacamole. The best and easiest guacamole recipe on Earth! Small Town Girl Blog.

Now that you’ve got those things sorted out, it’s time to turn on the oven to 350 and get your taco shells toasted. It should only take about 10-12 minutes. 

Next, let’s get the meat and beans going. I like to use black beans and ground beef on a weeknight since it’s easy and fast. I season both with chopped cilantro, lime, and taco seasoning. Warm up the beans while cooking the beef on a couple of burners, easy peasy. 

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

If you have more time and want to make a really awesome shredded chicken, check out this recipe:

Restaurant Style Mexican Shredded Chicken



Now that everything is ready to go, lets talk layers and portions.

First, use a slotted spoon and gather up 1 spoonful of beans. Let them drain for a second and then toss them in your shell. Only 1 spoonful!! I mean it! That is a lot of protein!

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

Then one spoonful of meat… maybe 1 and 1/2 if you’re really hungry. 

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

Next fill it up with lettuce.

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

Finally toppings: Pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese.

Taco Salad with Easy Homemade Shells

So there you have it. How I make awesome taco salads at home! I’m telling ya, the tortilla shell pan is one of the best inventions ever! If you love taco salad, you should definitely get a set for home!


Taco Salad With Homemade Shells
Serves 2
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 2 burrito sized tortillas
  2. 1 head green leaf lettuce
  3. 1/2 lb ground beef
  4. 1 15 oz can black beans
  5. 1 bunch cilantro chopped finely
  6. 1 packet taco seasoning
  7. 1 lime
  8. Pico de gallo or salsa
  9. Sour Cream
  10. Guacamole
  11. Shredded Mexican Cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. In one pan add ground beef, 1/2 cilantro, 1/2 taco seasoning packet, 1/2 juice of lime.
  3. In another pan add black beans (do not drain), the other 1/2 cilantro, 1/2 taco seasoning packet, and 1/2 juice of lime.
  4. Place burrito tortillas in shell pans and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Warm up bean and cook ground beef.
  6. Meanwhile, chop lettuce.
  7. Remove tortillas from pans.
  8. Add 1 slotted spoonful of beans, drained, to the shell.
  9. Add 1 slotted spoonful of beef over beans.
  10. Cover with lettuce.
  11. Top with pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and shredded cheese.
The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl http://www.aspiringsmalltowngirl.com/



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About Malia

Hi There! My name is Malia. I love to cook, garden, fish, and live in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Come join in my silly adventures as I tromp through the garden, cook up a storm, and try to live every day to its fullest!


  1. Oooooo I crave mexican food, all the time and I just had to come see how you made your shells, I love a crisp flour shell, eat the whole thing. The filling looks tasty too!!
    This was perfect for sharing on Friday Features thisweek!
    Hope you have a wonderful “Safe” weekend!
    Karren Haller recently posted…5 Tips On How To Change Your Lawns To OrganicMy Profile

  2. This makes me wish I hadn’t passed up on one of those taco holders at a recent yard sale! That looks fabulous!

  3. I looooove taco salad, and yes could devour a whole one easily. How funny, during my teenage years I worked at a Mexican restaurant and I would go in early in the mornings to make the taco salad shells. This brought back memories.

  4. Just want to let you know that this post is the most viewed at Funatstic Friday. You’ll be featured at this week’s party. It’s opens at 9 pm est tonight.

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  9. This looks fantastic. Pinning and thanks for the recipe.

  10. Love those homemade shells! I’m totally going to make some! You’re my host pick this week on Funtastic Friday!
    Heidi recently posted…How to make a Word Board with vinyl stencilMy Profile

  11. While out thrifting I bought these pans new for $1. I skipped home and made brioche. So when you are not using for Mexican you can go French.
    If you want to see here is a link. They are remarkably easy.


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