Paso Mom Tacos with Home Fried Taco Shells

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Home fried taco shells make the best tacos. Ever. They’re a bit of work, but the flavor can’t be beat! You won’t stop at just one of these Paso Mom  Fried Tacos.

three fried tacos on a plate

Hubs and I both grew up enjoying home fried taco shells. Sure, they were a lot of work for our moms to make, but they were totally worth it.

Simple home fried taco shells filled with seasoned ground beef and topped with whatever suits your fancy, these tacos are certainly not complicated. But, they are filling. And good. And worth making for your next taco night.

And for these reasons, these magical tacos were the “all-you-can-eat” Thursday noontime special at a diner we used to frequent in our small town of Paso Robles, CA years ago. I have no idea if the diner is still there. It was located at the stock yards.

Yes, really.

We’d take our kids out to breakfast and then after we had devoured our steak and eggs and bacon and ham, we’d go out to the pens and look at the baby pigs.

The kids usually dressed like this:

Yes, really! What can I say? We lived in a rural, Western town, complete with an annual “Bean Feed”. I loved it! And I miss it, too. We created so many wonderful food memories there!

What is a fried taco called?

One of hubs’ co-workers at the time had grown up there and when we told him about the all-you-could-eat tacos, just like we’d had when we were growing up, he said, “Oh yeah, Paso Mom Tacos.”

I have no idea if anyone besides Jim ever called them that, but we do now. Although technically, a fried taco is known as taco dorado or “golden taco”.

What do you need to make fried tacos?

How do you make fried tacos? 

First, you cook up some taco meat. I use this spice blend. Keep the meat warm while you fry the corn tortillas.

It’s nice to have a husband willing to stand over hot oil and fry these for you. The home fried taco shells are pretty much the make-it or break-it component of this dish. You want to fry the corn tortillas until they are crisp enough to break when you bite them, but not so crisp that they shatter into a million pieces. It may take some experimenting, but you’ll get it.

Hubs set up this new-fangled contraption to drain and cool the shells. It’s a cooling rack upside down on a paper-towel lined baking sheet. Go with what you got.

As you fry, remember that you want the shells to be fried in a folded position. However, not so closed that you can’t get the filling inside. It’s an art.

Then lay out an assortment of toppings and fillings: seasoned taco meat, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.

three fried taco shells filled

Can I use a different meat than ground beef?

Absolutely you can. If you find ground pork, turkey, or chicken on sale then by all means use that in these homemade fried tacos.

Paso Mom Tacos are a huge hit at our house. They are fairly affordable since corn tortillas aren’t as expensive as conventional taco shells. They take a little work, but they taste amazingly good.

Did I mention that part?

5 from 1 vote
divided metal taco tray with beef tacos with toppings
Paso Mom Tacos with Home Fried Taco Shells
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Fried tortillas make the perfect vehicle for homemade tacos. You won’t stop at just one.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef tacos, tacos
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 171 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons taco seasoning blend
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • oil for frying
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped tomatoes
  • salsa or taco sauce
  • sour cream
  1. In a large skillet, brown the beef. Once it starts to change color, add the taco seasoning to taste. Drain off the drippings and keep warm.
  2. In a large fry pan filled with oil to 1-inch depth, heat the oil until a bit of tortilla sizzles. Fry the tortillas into taco shapes. Fry on one side for about 20 seconds, flip, and fold, holding with tongs. Fry until crisp. Flip and fry the other side.
  3. Drain the cooked shells on paper toweling.
  4. Once the shells are fried, fill with beef and add other toppings such as lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.
  5. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Paso Mom Tacos with Home Fried Taco Shells
Amount Per Serving
Calories 171 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 128mg6%
Potassium 404mg12%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 59IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Mary Lou says

    My hubs and I have considered moving our family to Paso Robles. Why did you leave and what do you miss or not miss? Not about food, I know. Sorry.

    • Jessica says

      @Mary Lou, I love Paso Robles! God has taken us on a wild journey, though. We left in 03 to move to Kansas City. This job in San Diego brought us back to CA. If there was a job similar in SLO County, we would definitely consider moving back. But, San Diego is pretty sweet, too.

  2. KimH says

    Those tacos are how we grew up eating them.. and that was 50+ years ago about 3 miles from Mexico and that is how the Mexicans there made them. We just call em hard tacos or soft tacos. I like mine a little softer than hard. I still make them that way to this day. I dispise the commercial hard tacos and these are comforting home cooking.

    • Jessica says

      @KimH, they are comfort food! Our Mexican-American friends would probably argue about the meat. That “authentic” would be shredded beef, not ground. But, I imagine there are all kind of debates. And these are so good, I really can’t complain.

  3. Danielle says

    I’ve never tried to make homemade taco shells, but I think the family would love this. The store bought shells are so over-priced and not very good. I almost always have corn tortillas in the house, I think you’ve inspired me to give it a try. A good alternative to tostados, thanks!

  4. Debbie says

    I know this may sound weird but we always cook our ground beef inside the shell. Pat the meat down on half the torilla like a patty, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and fry away! Fry the meat side first holding the tortilla open with tongs for a few seconds then let the meat and tortilla cook, flip over and hold open for a few seconds again (to keep the tortilla from cooking shut) and fry till crisp. I guess its kinda like a hamburger taco but this is how I grew up eating them and make them like this to this day. They are delicious and I am hispanic if that holds any weight. Ha ha!

    • Jessica says

      Interesting! Thanks for the tip!

    • Katie says

      @Debbie, This is how we’ve always made them as well. My grandmother used to make them in a skillet with just 2 inches of hot oil over the outdoor fire. I still make them this way – down to her old magnalite skillet. Truly delicious with leftover turkey that you season with chiles and New Mexico chile powder…making me hungry!

      • Alli Taggart says

        That’s how we make them too, my grandma was born in Mexico! Season with salt, pepper, and onion salt, and fry it up! Just put a little El Pato on top…Mmmmm!

  5. Harriet says

    Growing up in SC, I had never had “real taco’s”. My best friend’s mom grew up in El Paso and this was how she made them. After she made them for me one night, I was hooked πŸ™‚ I was always quick to invite myself to their house when they were having taco’s.

  6. Joy says

    Wow! I haven’t seen this in years! When my husband was in the navy in 1971, we had friends from Colorado that taught us how to eat tacos. We hadn’t made them before that. The tortillas, though, came in a can about 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall. The shells were very soft (moist) and very easy to fry. We kinda laugh about it now days because when we tell friends about it, they seem to think we must be crazy! But, boy, were they great! I have to say that we do not make them as often now as we did then but I never thought to use the tortillas you find in stores today. I will have to give them a try and surprise my husband.

  7. Amy says

    We do the same thing except with flour tortillas. When they are done frying, I sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Seriously SO good….and comforting. Reminds me of my childhood πŸ™‚

  8. Teri says

    I loved your post. The restaurant near the stockyard in Paso Robles,CA is still there today. I live in SLO county. We go to the bean feed every year, and love the Pioneer Day parade. I love this area, and it is a great place to live.

  9. This is the way that my Mom always made Taco’s, and I think she learned from my Grandma (who was from Tennessee) who use to have to make 30 tacos on taco night to feed 7 hungry teenage boys! (foster care). It’s the only way I’ve ever known or thought about making tacos. In fact I always wondered about those store bought ones, but was never inclined to buy πŸ™‚ the first time we actually ever bought the store brand one’s was 4 months ago when we had a Taco Bar set up for a 30th birthday party. My mother was all set to be frying up tacos (though she was concerned about the logistics of it) and I told her, “No Mom, we’ll just buy the premade store bought ones to make the party easy on you.” She seriously said “You can buy them at the store???” LOL!

  10. Pamela says

    My son came up with a great idea for the taco shells. We put them in the toaster. It is much healthier & they taste like the tacorias. Just thought I’d pass it on.

  11. Deb says

    I bake my tortilla shells in the oven. Drape them over your racks so they hang down. It creates the perfect shape. you can brush them with olive oil or just plain. Great healthy alternative to frying and they can all be done at once.


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