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Food & Recipes

Baked Tacos Cook Up to Crispy Perfection in Just 12 Minutes — Easy Sheet Pan Recipe

Our food director's tip for cooking the ground meat creates a flavor-packed filling

Baked tacos are a viral food trend we love as they’re simple to make yet give our favorite savory treat a twist. This dish involves filling tortillas with a meat mixture and cheese before folding them in half, like a quesadilla, and baking them. The result is a batch of crunchy and cheesy tacos that bake as fast as 12 minutes — and will earn raves during taco night. Keep reading to learn how to make baked tacos worth dressing up with an array of toppings!

The ingredients in baked tacos

This dish can be made with corn or flour tortillas for the shell and any type of ground meat, seasonings and a shredded Mexican cheese blend for the filling. The combination of ingredients you use for the tacos boils down to your flavor preferences. (And there’s plenty of baked taco videos on TikTok for inspiration.) But the key element that ties this dish together is the baking process.

Why baking is a good cooking method for tacos

Tortillas are prone to getting soggy, especially if you swear by loading them up with the taco filling. That’s why it’s a good idea to assemble the tacos and bake them. This crisps up the tortilla, creating a sturdy outer shell that holds in the filling. You’ll have a treat that’s similar to a quesadilla but is less messy to cook since you don’t need to pan-fry it. Also, a large baking sheet accommodates plenty of baked tacos for a crowd. Once golden brown, the tacos can cool slightly so they’re easy to grab and dip it into sour cream, guacamole or salsa.

Our test kitchen’s secret to flavorful ground meat

When making the taco filling, caramelizing the meat is key. This prevents the mixture from becoming greasy and allows the seasonings to fully infuse the meat. For best results, First for Women Food Director Julie Miltenberger suggests breaking the meat apart into skillet so the pieces are all the same size. Then, sauté it, using the listed cook time in your recipe. “Let the meat sit and sizzle for a few minutes, allowing the surfaces touching the pan to form a crust before stirring and chopping up with a spatula or wooden spoon,” Julie explains. Once fully browned, drain off any excess grease and proceed with the remaining steps. (Julie’s tip comes from our guide on how to cook ground beef and can be used for other ground meats.)

How to make baked tacos

Now’s the fun part: whipping up the tacos. Below, you can find a Crispy Baked Chicken Tacos recipe from Damn Delicious food blog. It features a flavorful filling of ground chicken, garlic, smoked paprika and other ingredients. That said, ground beef or turkey can be substituted for the chicken. While the tacos are still warm, complete the spread with fixings like guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lime wedges and shredded lettuce. A guaranteed hit for taco night and your upcoming Cinco de Mayo festivities! (These Mexican Street Corn Dip and Strawberry Horchata recipes are yummy to enjoy with the tacos.)

Related: How To Keep Homemade Guacamole From Turning Brown in the Fridge

Crispy Baked Chicken Tacos


  • 2½ Tbs. canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • ½ medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles
  • 1½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 8 flour or corn tortillas, warmed

Topping options:

  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Lime wedges, for squeezing
  • Shredded lettuce


  • Yield: 4 servings (2 tacos per serving)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. canola oil in large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Crumble ground chicken into skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook few minutes on one side to develop crust before stirring and satuéeing until fully browed, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
  3. Add in green chiles, chili powder, paprika, oregano and cumin to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Incorporate 1 cup cheese.
  4. Working one at a time, spread chicken mixture on half of tortilla; top with 1 Tbs. cheese, folding over to seal. Repeat with remaining tortillas to make 8 tacos.
  5. Place tacos in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining 1½ Tbs. canola oil. Place into oven and bake until toasted and crispy, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool slightly before transferring baked tacos to large platter. Serve hot with desired toppings.

For more sheet pan dishes, try these recipes below!

These Steak Fajitas Are a Toss-Together Dinner Delight — Easy Sheet Pan Recipe

Pioneer Woman’s Secret to Fluffy Pancakes: Just Use a Sheet Pan — No Flipping Needed!

You’ll Love This Genius Hack for the Crispiest Hash Browns Ever — It’s So Easy!

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