beef · dinner

Tacos Dorados (Golden Tacos)

These tacos… Well, you’ll either love me or hate me for sharing this recipe. It’s rare that I fry foods. And these are indeed fried. A while ago, I signed up to be a recipe tester for America’s Test Kitchen. It just means they email recipes every now and then for me to test and fill out a survey on. I don’t always do it, but I’ve loved the recipes I’ve tried. These tacos are one of those.

Two cooked tacos on a charcoal colored plate. On the plate to the left of the tacos is shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and diced tomatoes. The plate is on a wooden table with a green napkin underneath.

I’ve got a soft taco-style family, but I can vividly conjure up the big eyes of delight as I watched everyone take a bite of these tacos the first time I made them. (Minus the taco-hater, of course). They’re just really good. I get all sorts of hugs and “thank you”s when I make these for dinner, especially from the teenager. Ooh, I have two of those now… the oldest one. They’re not light, so don’t eat these on a night you hope to go for a run or play basketball after dinner. We experienced that last week.

Cast iron skillet with four tacos inside, all facing upward on a stove top. The tortillas split at the fold.
Not enough oil… tortillas broke at the fold. Still tasted good, though!

So for tips.. there’s not much you need to know. Except that if you skimp on the oil when brushing the tortillas in an effort to be healthier, they may totally fall apart when you fold them. I’ve experienced that. Perhaps it was just the brand of tortillas I used, but I’m pretty sure it was because they were too dry.

Also, PSA that has nothing to do with tacos… today is FREE CONE DAY at Ben & Jerry’s. I almost don’t want to tell you because you may make the line longer, but I must be a good friend and share. Don’t judge us if you see us in line twice!

Two tacos filled with beef on a charcoal colored plate with a scoop of shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and diced tomatoes on the plate behind the tacos.

Tacos Dorados (Golden Tacos)

Course Dinner


  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped fine (1 cup)
  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (I usually get about 15 out of this recipe)

Optional Garnishes

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Pickled jalapeño slices
  • Hot sauce


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400°. Stir together water and baking soda in a large bowl. Add beef and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-6 minutes. Add chile powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook until paste is rust-colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to break meat into pieces not larger than 1/4-inch, until beef has just lost its raw pink color, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer beef mixture to a bowl and stir in cheese until it has melted and blended into mixture. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

  3. Using 2 tablespoons of oil, thoroughly brush both sides of the tortillas with oil. Arrange tortillas, overlapping, on a rimmed baking sheet into two rows (6 tortillas each). Bake tortillas until warm and pliable, about 5 minutes. Remove tortillas from the oven, and reduce oven temperature to 200°.

  4. Working with one tortilla at a time, place 2 tablespoons of filling on one half of the tortilla. Fold and press to close the tortilla (edges won’t seal, but tortilla should remain folded). Continue with remaining filling and tortillas.

  5. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and line rack with a double layer of paper towels. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Arrange 5-6 tacos in skillet with all tacos facing the same direction (I can only fit 5, but supposedly six can fit with one at the bottom of the pan, then two above, then two more, then one at the top). Cook, adjusting heat so oil actively sizzles and bubbles appear around edges of tacos, until crisp and browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs and/or a thin spatula, carefully flip tacos. Cook until browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  6. Remove skillet from heat and transfer tacos to prepared rack. Blot tops of tacos with double layer of paper towels. Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep fried tacos warm. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook remaining tacos. Serve tacos immediately with garnishes of choice.


Source: very slightly adapted from Dinner Illustrated

3 thoughts on “Tacos Dorados (Golden Tacos)

  1. I particularly like that you show photos of what happened when not enough oil was used (or the brand of tortillas). Thanks for taking off the veneer of perfection!! We’re a soft-taco fam, as well, but when I saw these on ATK the other day, I put it on the menu!

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