If you’ve always wanted to know how to make Taco Bell’s chalupas at home, today is your lucky day! Made with tasty ground beef and classic toppings like tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese inside a deep fried shell, this is the best homemade copycat Taco Bell chalupa recipe you’ll find! Don’t worry about making any dough for the shells–I’ve got the PERFECT ready-made option for you!
The best thing on the Taco Bell menu is, hands down, the chalupa. You just cannot beat that simmered hamburger meat in spices piled into a fried bread shell, and topped with sour cream and all the classic taco toppings.
With my recipe, you can whip these up super quick, because you don’t have to make the chalupa dough. Instead, we are going to take a fabulous shortcut that gives you shells with the same thickness and texture you get from Taco Bell!
Presenting: Papa Pita Greek Pita Flat Bread.
This pita bread is the perfect thickness and softness for chalupa shells! Look for it at your grocery store! And once you see how easy it is to make homemade chalupas, your life will never be the same! (O.K. That might be a bit of an overstatement. But really, chalupas are one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century in my opinion!)
Now, let’s get making chalupas!
Ingredients for Copycat Taco Bell Chalupas
- Soft pita bread (I recommend the Papa Pita brand)
- Ground hamburger
- Corn starch
- Beef bouillon
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Toppings such as lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream. (Feel free to also use different toppings, such as Monterey Jack cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, guacamole, salsa, hot sauce, lime juice, etc.)
How to Make Homemade Taco Bell Chalupas
First, you’re going to prep your condiments. Shred your lettuce and cheese first, and cut up your tomato. Just put that all in the fridge to wait until your beef and shells are ready.
Now it’s time to make the delicious beef. Add one pound of hamburger meat to a large skillet and cook on medium heat with the lid on. Occasionally stir with a wooden spoon, and try to break up the meat as much as you can.
Once the meat has all turned brown, remove the lid and drain the oil off the meat.
Now you’re going to sprinkle two tablespoons of corn starch over the cooked beef and stir it in.
Combine ground beef with one cup of water, your bouillon, and all your spices. Stir and cook beef mixture over low heat until you get that delicious, saucy meat.
Set that aside, or let it stay on the burner on very low heat while you prep the shells.
In a separate medium-sized frying pan, add 1/2-inch of vegetable oil. Heat oil on medium-high heat. When it looks shimmery and ripply, it is ready. If the oil is smoking, it’s too hot.
Place one piece of pita bread in the hot oil and fry on each side for 10-15 seconds until golden brown. Use tongs with long handles to carefully lift and flip the bread.
Remove with tongs to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil, and immediately fold the pita bread in half with the tongs.
Hold the folded pita bread briefly until it stays folded in half when you release the tongs.
Repeat with the other pita bread until you have your desired number of chalupa shells.
When ready to serve, build chalupas by opening each shell and filling first with meat:
Then top with sour cream:
And finally, with your lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes:
Fold the chalupa back in half, and serve! These are every bit as good as Taco Bell’s chalupas! You’re going to be amazed at how much this copycat recipe tastes like Taco Bell’s version!
- 6 thick pita breads (I recommend the Papa Pita brand)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch
- 1 cube (1 teaspoon) beef bouillon
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Condiments such as shredded lettuce, cut tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, guacamole, etc.
- Prepare any condiments, such as shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, etc. Set aside.
- Add ground beef to a medium or large skillet over medium heat. Cook with the lid on until the meat turns brown. Drain.
- Sprinkle the corn starch over the cooked beef and stir together.
- Add the beef bouillon, water, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, paprika, salt, and cayenned pepper. Simmer over low heat until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened.
- In a separate medium frying pan, add a half inch of vegetable oil and turn the heat to medium-high.
- When the oil is shimmery or rippling, carefully add one pita bread using tongs. Fry for 10-15 seconds. Then carefully flip and fry the other side for 10-15 seconds.
- Using tongs, remove the fried pita bread to a paper towel-lined plate, and immediate fold in half with the tongs. Hold for a few seconds. Then release, and continue frying and folding the other pita bread.
- Serve immediately with the cooked beef and condiments.