Want to make crispy tacos for a crowd? Try baking them on a sheet pan! When making Sheet Pan Tacos, the taco shells get crisp and golden while the cheese melts. Pile on the fresh toppings and they’re ready to serve.
After a rainy week here in Kansas City, we soaked up the sun on Saturday and Sunday. The baby pool in the backyard is getting tons of use - and not just by the kids. 😉 Molly and Clara are proving repeatedly that they plan to fill the summer at home with as much fun and mischief as possible. They not only gave themselves a haircut over the weekend, but also clipped off a few locks of 22-month-old June’s hair. She's a good sport.
June continues to remind us that the limitations on summer activities this year aren’t all that bad. Despite the unsanctioned haircuts, that little lady has never been happier. Her favorite people (big sisters Molly and Clara) are home all the time and they are just bored enough to include her in most (though not all) of their play. She's also thriving in our early summer garden and eating peas right out of the pod by the hundreds.
We hit a lot of our family favorite dinners this week - including a pizza night and viewing of the new(ish) Scooby Doo movie and a taco night, complete with everyone's favorite Black Bean and Corn Salsa. When in doubt in our house, serve tacos! We’ve all been on a crispy taco kick, and baking the tacos on a sheet pan has majorly simplified the process for this taco-loving fam. I loved it so much that I wanted to share this very simple method.
When you make sheet pan tacos, the tacos shells come out crisp and golden, the meat stays hot, and the cheese gets all melted and creamy. It’s a new favorite, and super easy to boot!
- Taco Meat - Saute ground beef with some spices and then add some liquid to help the flavors come together. You can use the recipe below which includes a homemade spice mix (inspired by Tex Mex Seasoning) or buy store-bought taco seasoning. A batch of Slow Cooker Taco Meat would also be great here.
- Crispy Taco Shells - Sheet Pan Tacos are made with crispy, not soft, taco shells. Any type or brand will work.
- Shredded Cheese - Perhaps the best part about baking tacos on a sheet pan is that the cheese melts as the taco shells crisp up. Any type of cheese you like on tacos works well here - Mexican blend, Monterey Jack, or Cheddar).
- Taco Toppings - We go classic all the way with these (shredded lettuce, sour cream, tomato, and salsa), but the sky is the limit. Add any taco toppings you like!
How to Prepare Sheet Pan Tacos
The only part of preparing Sheet Pan Tacos that takes a bit of effort is arranging the taco shells on the pan. I have small sheet pans that work great for this and hold 8 or 9 taco shells upright. A baking dish (glass or metal) with taller sides would work really well too. If you are using a larger sheet pan and the taco shells don’t reach the edges of the pan for support, roll a ball of aluminum foil and then flatten it into a wedge to support the taco shells on the end. The taco shells just need to be lightly supporting each other so they will stay upright once filled.
I do this with any sort of crispy taco shells that I have, and just play around with them a bit until they’re all sitting upright. If you want to make things really simple, you could always use those flat-bottomed taco shells I’ve seen at the grocery store.
- Vegetarian - Change the filling for a vegetarian version. Use canned pinto beans or cooked lentils instead of the beef. It would be great with cauliflower too - as with these Roasted Cauliflower Tacos.
- Gluten-Free - This recipe is easily gluten-free. Just be sure to grab gluten-free crispy taco shells.
- Mix up the Toppings - The fun of tacos is in the toppings. While I love a classic, I’ve never met a taco topping I didn’t like. Avocado Crema and Sweet and Spicy Corn Salsa are other favorites.
More Ideas for Taco Night
- Slow Cooker Taco Meat
- Honey Lime Salmon Tacos
- Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos
- Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas
- Quarter Sheet Pan - This is a good size pan to hold the tacos. The sides are tall enough to keep everything contained.
Sheet Pan Tacos
- sheet pan
- 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil
- 1 ½ lbs Ground Beef
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder (be sure to use garlic powder, not garlic salt)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Water
- 8 Crispy Taco Shells
- 6 oz Shredded Cheese (Mexican blend, Monterey Jack, or Cheddar)
- 1 cup Shredded Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce
- ½ cup Sour Cream
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- ¼ cup Salsa
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Line taco shells open-side up on a sheet pan or in a baking dish, propping them up against one another so they sit upright. (Note: Be sure to use a sheet pan with sides so that the shells don't slide off or use a baking dish. Depending on the brand / shape of taco shell, you may need to play around with how you arrange them - some will easily sit upright as in the photos, but some will work better if you arrange may need to be leaning against one another at an angle. If the tacos aren’t supported by the end of the pan, use a piece of aluminum foil rolled into a ball and then pressed flat to support the end of the row. It doesn’t need to look perfect - just be sure that you can spoon filling into each taco.)
- Make taco meat: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Saute, breaking the meat apart, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add water and stir well to combine. Continue cooking until water is cooked off and meat is tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Assemble tacos: Spoon ground beef into tacos. Top with cheese.
- Bake: Bake tacos until cheese is melted and taco shells are golden brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove tacos and fill with lettuce, sour cream, chopped tomato, and salsa.
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