Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe (Copycat)

Published Date: March 18, 2022

Love Taco Bell Chalupas? Now you can make them easily at home with this simple Taco Bell Chalupa recipe. The crispy, fluffy texture of the chalupa bread will elevate your next Taco Tuesday into the ultimate family favorite meal.

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This recipe is one my family is always asking me to make! These homemade chalupas are our favorite for an easy weeknight dinner that’s both fun and great tasting! Chalupas are a thicker kind of shell than traditional corn or flour taco shells.  They’re the perfect combination of crunchy and fluffy.

If you’re ready to discover how to make chalupas for a tasty homemade dinner, let’s get started!`

Try Some of My Other Favorite Copycat Recipes

If you like this copycat recipe you might also like to try out more of our Taco Bell copycat recipes. We love this Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita Crunchwrap for dinner. Don’t forget to make their Creamy Jalapeno Sauce for serving along with your chalupas! It’s so yummy!

For more Mexican inspired-flavors you might also want to try these Air Fryer Nachos or Crock Pot Steak Fajitas. You can even use the steak fajitas as a filling for the chalupas!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

Easy to make copycat Taco Bell family favorite recipe.

Delivers great flavors and prepared with simple ingredients.

Enjoy the same Taco Bell flavors at home any time with a Taco Bell chalupa shell.

Ingredients

This Taco Bell chalupa recipe is prepared using simple ingredients you can pickup at the grocery store.

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  • Ground beef: Amy ground beef will work but you can choose lean ground beef to lower the fat. If using ground beef with more fat content, just be sure to drain off all the excess grease before adding the seasonings so you don’t end up with greasy taco meat.
  • Onion: Yellow or white onion works just great.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour makes the base of the chalupa.
  • Dried spices: This recipe uses chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper to season the meat.
  • Vegetable oil: Any neutral-flavored cooking oil works great.
  • Baking powder: Necessary to leaven the chalupa.
  • Milk: The liquid base for the dough of the chalupa.

*See the recipe card for detailed measurements of each ingredient.

Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need

To make this Taco Bell chalupa recipe at home, you will need the following simple pieces of kitchen tools and equipment.

  • Large bowl
  • Large skillet or dutch oven
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Tongs

How to Make Taco Bell Chalupas at Home

Step 1: Prepare the ground beef. Mix together the ground beef with onion, flour, chili powder, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and garlic.  

Step 2: Cook the beef. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven to medium-high heat and add in the beef mixture. Cook until no pink is visible, stirring and breaking up all the large chunks.. Cover the pan, turn off the heat but keep this warm for later.  

Step 3: Prepare the dough for the chalupa shells. Whisk together the dry ingredients: 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.

Step 4: Mix the oil into the flour mixture. Then, gradually stir in 1 cup of milk followed by the other ½ cup flour.

Step 5: Knead this soft dough with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add more milk a little at a time. If the dough is too wet, add more flour a little at a time. Do not over knead the dough as this will make it tough.

Step 6: Make the chalupa shells. Start by flouring your hands and shapping the dough into a long cylinder. Cut it into 8 equal parts.  

Step 7: Shape the chalupa shells. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to shape each of the 8 pieces into a round circle, about 6 inches across. Once rolled, use a fork to poke a few holes in each of the disks.  

Step 8: Cook the chalupa shells. Add 1-2 inches of oil to a large skillet. Heat to medium heat.  

Gently place one disk at a time into the hot oil. As you deep fry, the disk will start to puff up and rise to the top, use tongs to flip it over. Once you’ve flipped it, use the tongs to pull one side of the disk up over the other side, folding it into a shell shape.  

Allow this to cook until the bottom is lightly golden, then flip and allow the other side to become golden brown as well.  

As each shell is cooked, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil.  

Step 9: Serve them up. Once all your chalupa shells are cooked it’s time to build chalupas! Fill the shells with the meat mixture and desired taco fixings.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t forget to drain the excess oil from the ground beef after cooking it.
  • Make sure the oil is hot prior to cooking the chalupas. The heat makes them sizzle and puff up when added to the oil and ultimately creates their fluffy texture.
  • Don’t overmix the dough for the chalupas.
  • Chalupas are best served fresh and hot with your favorite taco toppings!

Substitutions and Variations

  • Don’t want to use ground beef? These would be delicious with shredded chicken, shredded pork, thin slices of flank steak or crispy fish.
  • Prefer vegetarian? Swap out the ground beef with your favorite meat alternative such as refried beans, black beans, spicy vegetables or even tofu as a filling in the chalupas.  
  • Out of fresh onions? That’s ok just mix together 1 tablespoon onion flakes and ½ cup hot water. Let this sit for 5 minutes to rehydrate the onions.
  • Want it spicy? Add some red chili flakes, chipotle chili peppers or jalapeno slices to the meat mixture
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Storage Notes

The best way to store the leftover shells is loosely wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 1-2 days. Store the meat mixture in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

When you’re ready to reheat, simply lay the chalupas out on a tray and heat them in the oven at 350 degrees F until warm, about 5-10 minutes.

FAQs

The fried bread looks like a lot of work-what else could I use?

If you prefer not to make homemade chalupa shells, the meat mixture would taste great with flour tortillas or corn tortillas.  For a fluffier alternative, you can try it with pita bread.

Is a chalupa hard or soft?

 A chalupa is a little bit of both. It’s slightly crunchy on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside. 

How do you eat a chalupa?

You can eat a chalupa folded over just like a taco using your hands. It also works to prepare them flat and then top them like a pizza. When made this way you can eat with your hands or with a fork and knife.

What to serve in or with a chalupa?

Any spicy or Mexican flavored meat, beans, or veggies taste great stuffed inside a chalupa. Don’t forget all the yummy taco toppings too such as lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.  

Can I make the chalupa dough shell ahead of time?

You can make the shells ahead of time and cook them off. Then when you’re ready to eat them, simply heat them uncovered in a single layer on a baking sheet pan until hot. I don’t recommend making the dough ahead and storing it uncooked. The baking powder may degrade a bit and they won’t fry up as fluffy.

Can I eat chalupas flat?

Yes, this is a great alternative to trying to fry them into taco shell shapes. Just keep it simple and cook it flat and not fold it over.

I found that the fried bread did not rise – what happened?

First, check the date on your baking powder. Also, make sure you didn’t use baking soda. And also, check the temperature of your oil. If you stand the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil, the oil should bubble up around it.  

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If you’ve made this recipe or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how they turned out. We love hearing from you! You can also follow along with me on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM to see more colorful recipes!

Taco Bell copycat chalupas on a plate filled with beef, sour cream, cheese and tomatoes.
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Taco Bell Chalupa Recipe

4.8 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: taco bell chalupa recipe, taco bell chalupa shell, taco bell copycat
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 334kcal

Ingredients

Meat filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Chalupas:

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil plus more for frying
  • 1 cup milk

Optional toppings or fillings:

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
  • salsa
  • refried beans
  • olive
  • guacamole
  • pico de gallo
  • cilantro
  • hot sauce

Instructions

Make the filling

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef with onion, flour, chili powder, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and garlic.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add in the beef mixture. Cook beef mixture, stirring and breaking up chunks often. Cook until no pink is visible. Cover the pan, turn off the heat but keep this warm for later.

Make the dough

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients: 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Mix the oil into the flour mixture.
  • Gradually stir in 1 cup of milk. Mix in the other ½ cup flour. Knead this soft dough with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add milk a little at a time. If the dough is too wet, add flour a little at a time. Do not over knead the dough as this will make it tough.

Shape the dough

  • Flour hands and shape dough into a long cylinder. Cut it into 8 equal parts. On a floured surface, shape each of the 8 pieces into a round circle, about 6 inches across. (I found it easiest to use a rolling pin to achieve this. Use a fork to poke a few holes in each of the disks.

Cook the chalupas

  • Place oil (enough to be 1-2 inches deep) in a large skillet. Heat to medium heat.
  • Gently place one disk at a time into the hot oil. As you deep fry, the disk will start to puff up and rise to the top, use tongs to flip it over. Once you’ve flipped it, use the tongs to pull one side of the disk up over the other side. We are folding it into a shell shape.
  • Allow this to cook until the bottom is lightly golden, then flip and allow the other side to become golden brown as well.
  • As each shell is cooked, remove to a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Now it’s time to build chalupas! Fill the shells with the meat mixture and desired taco fixings.

Notes

Nutrition notes: Based on 1 chalupa per serving.  Does not include any additional toppings you may add.

Nutrition

Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 642mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @sweettea_and_sprinkles or tag #sweetteaandsprinkles
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  1. 5 stars
    The home made shells really kick this up a notch – but they’re so easy. Thanks for this delicious chalupa recipe!

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