Homestead Hack: MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP!

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Do you hate to waste money on hard, stale taco shells? If you’ve got plain corn tortillas you can easily make them into the crispy taco shells you love. Check out this Homestead Hack for making your own lightly crispy (aka: not shatter-hard) taco shells.

Do you hate to waste money on hard, stale taco shells? Check out this easy Crispy Baked Taco Shells Homestead Hack & make your own! #TexasHomesteader

The other night I made a pork roast in my slow cooker. Since I often use the Cook-Once Eat Twice method I cooked a LOT of roast that night! That’s ok, I was cooking with planned leftovers in mind.  

The next day I’d planned to to turn some of that leftover roast into carnitas tacos. But ugh, I thought about the taco shells. 

Shortcuts For Next Night’s Meal

I’m always keeping my thoughts on how to simplify things in the kitchen. Cooking is just not my favorite thing to do.

My planned leftovers idea was to enjoy roast & potatoes for supper that night, then make our favorite Carnitas Tacos with the leftovers the next night. 

So I preplanned what would be added with the roast to be used for tomorrow’s supper. (taps on noggin) See? Not just a hat rack, my friends!

Along with my roast I cooked up the taco veggies at the same time.

I heaped in plenty of chunky onions and sliced red, yellow & green bell peppers. I like the many colors this will offer to our tacos tomorrow.

But what about those crispy shells? Will we have to go to the store and buy them? Ugh.

Then I remembered something I’d read years ago about how to easily make taco shells as you need them. Now’s a perfect time to give ‘er a try!

Crispy Taco Shells Needed

DANG I hate to buy crispy taco shells! They’re always so hard & brittle. Plus several are often already broken in the package when I buy them.

Oh, and you have to buy 12 at a time, much more than RancherMan & I need. So many in the package will just be wasted.

Plus more times than not they just taste stale to me. How I hate wasting money buying crispy taco shells. So what to do?

Maybe I can make those crispy taco shells myself! Yes, yes I can.

Corn Tortillas Into Crispy Taco Shells

First I bought a package of corn tortillas. (UPDATE: I now make my own Corn Tortillas in minutes and for pennies!) I brought out the number of corn tortillas that I wanted to make into crispy taco shells. 

(now’s the complicated part, y’all)  I just laid each tortilla across a wire on the rack in my oven and closed the oven door. I didn’t spray them with anything, I didn’t butter or oil them. I didn’t even add any seasoning to them. Nothing!

I suppose you could lay each tortilla across two racks to try to make a wider taco shell. When making a wider bottom to them the taco shells will actually stand on their own while you fill them.

Although I can see the convenience in that, to me they’re also harder to eat when the bottom is squared. We much prefer our taco shells to be narrow enough to bite into easily. 

So only one wire was beneath each taco shell I was baking.

Do you hate to waste money on hard, stale taco shells? Check out this easy Crispy Baked Taco Shells Homestead Hack & make your own! #TexasHomesteader

Quick Taco-Shell Crisping In The Oven

Then I turned the oven on to 350 degrees and set the timer for 5 minutes. The corn tortillas enjoyed that slow warming-up time in the oven.

When my timer went off I turned the oven off and sat the timer again for 5 minutes. My tortillas continued to crisp as the oven was slowly cooling.

When the timer went off this second time I pulled my taco shells from the oven. They were narrow enough for easy eating & lightly crisp.

NOTE: Don’t expect these homemade crunch taco shells to be hard and shatter-crunchy like the commercial shells y’all.
These will be lightly crisp and they’ll hold together when filling instead of snapping in two. We love ’em.

And where a raw corn tortilla would have torn when filling, these crisped ones flexed enough to fill without breaking. They held together beautifully as we stuffed them full of flavorful shredded pork.

Do you hate to waste money on hard, stale taco shells? Check out this easy Crispy Baked Taco Shells Homestead Hack & make your own! #TexasHomesteader

Something I’ll caution about: 

My first batch of taco shells baked up beautifully. But when we wanted leftovers for lunch the next day the tortillas were a day older.

So some of the tortillas cracked at the wire. One tortilla cracked all the way through and fell from the wire to the oven floor below.

I was able to open the oven door & fetch that tortilla with my tongs before it made a burnt mess.

But be sure to stay by your oven with a pair of heat-proof tongs at the ready in case your tortillas do this!

I’ve pre-heated day-old tortillas in the microwave for a few seconds which seemed to help them bend without breaking somewhat, but keep an eye on ’em, y’all!

Now that we’ve enjoyed our carnitas tacos, what will I do with the leftover corn tortillas in the package? 

Oh those won’t be wasted either. I’ll oil & season them to make them into baked tortilla chips!  

bon appétit!

Do you hate to waste money on hard, stale taco shells? Check out this easy Crispy Baked Taco Shells Homestead Hack & make your own! #TexasHomesteader


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15 thoughts on “Homestead Hack: MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP!

  1. Carlo

    Four minutes in an air fryer (without preheating) at 350 ° F. plus equal time cooling minutes cooling worked well for me

  2. Anna Alexander

    This was an epic fail with the brand of corn tortilla I used. They are much more limp than the brand you seem to be using. The only one that remained whole was laid over 2 wires. I have to clean the wires because the tortilla stuck to it. If I had referenced your picture, I totally would have aborted mission. But even though they aren’t 100% crisp, I do like to put them on Aircrisp in my Ninja Foodi air fryer for a minute and then kind of shape them as they cool. I might try this again when the weather turns cooler and experiment with another brand that’s a bit thicker but for the summer months -air fryer FTW!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh no, Anna! I can say that unless the corn tortillas are fresh, they snap in half while they’re heating. So if I’ve had them for more than a day or two I’m wary. (which is why I stand at the oven watching, tongs in hand ‘just in case’. LOL.) If I’m just not sure how fresh they might be at the store I’ll whip up a batch of homemade corn tortillas. I’ve never had an air fryer but everyone whom I know has one says it rocks their world! Sounds like it sure came in handy this time! Good save! ~TxH~

  3. Mary A Gutierrez-May

    I think my husband and kids will really, really like both the pork tenderloin turned carnitas and the crispy tortilla taco shells! I have been cooking these types of food my whole life and never thought of baking them crispy besides as chips and enchiladas. Brilliant idea!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We much prefer these baked-crispy taco shells Mary. Don’t expect them to mirror their commercial counterparts, though. They’re not the hard, crumbly type of crunchy like traditional shells, but lightly crispy and able to hold together while filling and eating. Enjoy! ~TxH~

  4. Debra L Tomes

    I just tried your idea of crisping up the corn shells in the oven, didn’t work? I put the shell on 1 rack and turned oven 350 set timer for 5 min, when it went off, I turned off oven n set timer again for 5 min when it went off I took it out, it was in the shape but not even crisp. what happened?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Hummmm Debra, I’ve never had it fail when I’ve done crisped up the corn tortillas. We love them this way. I’ve always hated how hard and brittle commercial shells were. The first bite or so would send the filling tumbling down to the plate. To us, this amount of crunchiness when we make the shells ourselves is perfect while allowing a less brittle shell too. Now after the stint in the oven they’re not brittle like the commercial shells but they’re still lightly crisp. If you prefer a crispier texture, maybe leave them heating for another couple of minutes before turning off the heat? Let me know how it works for you. ~TxH~

  5. Lisa Miller

    I made veggie enchiladas using lentils, onions,brown rice, taco seasoning and cheese as the filling. I had leftover enchilada “guts” and was looking to make something out of nothing and we had a couple of leftover cheese pizza slices from the night before. I put them on a baking sheet, covered the top with the “guts” and added some more cheese. Then i toasted it off in the oven till the cheese was bubbly. AMAZING! But now I can take the left over corn tortillas, bake them and make veggie tacos! The pizza was so good I may just make a double batch so that I have plenty on hand to make both! Thanks for the tip!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Well aren’t you clever, Lisa? You’ve been so creative to deliciously save waste, both from your grocery budget as well as food waste! Kudos! ~TxH~

  6. Sherry Legan

    Yummy I make my own fried version for the same reasons you shared. It’s just me and My Cowboy too!
    I have tried baking before. Don’t know why I didn’t continue probably just never thought of it. But I’ll remember to try again using your method.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We’re trying so hard to shy away from fried foods as much as possible, Sherry. Both from the health standpoint as well as the messiness quotient. LOL Thanks for the invite to the party, think I’ll *hop* on over & check it out! ~TxH~

  7. Katy SkipTheBag

    What a great tip! I wouldn’t have thought about weaving them through the wire. I’ll have to remember this. Thanks for sharing on the #wastelesswednesday blog hop!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It takes less time to whip these up than to run to the store, Katy. Gotta love it! ~TxH~

  8. Margy

    Nifty trick. Corn tortillas are cheap unless you buy them in Canada. That’s one of the items I keep on my US shopping list then freeze them in batches of 12 so they are easy to separate when needed. Seems like anything Mexican costs a lot here. Consequently, things like salsa and enchilada sauce comes north along with my tortillas and cheese. – Margy

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Isn’t it funny how different regions are so variable Margy?? I guess living in Texas I’m pretty spoiled with the ready availability of all things Tex-Mex. So spoiled in fact that it never crosses my mind that other regions don’t necessarily eat the same fare as I or have the same availability. LOL Smart thinking on your part to pick those things up on specific shopping trips! ~TxH~


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