Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos.
Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos…taking everyone’s favorite fast food taco and making it healthier at home. Ground meat (chicken or beef) seasoned with homemade taco seasoning. Then stuffed into hard shell tacos wrapped in soft tortillas with a blend of three types of Mexican cheese. Each taco is topped with spicy ranch, lettuce, and cheddar cheese. Just the right amount of melty cheese and a CRUNCH with every bite. These tacos come together quickly and are so DELICIOUS. Serve with a mix of more of your favorite toppings for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch that no one can pass up. A whole lot better than the fast-food version.
Well, would you look at me? I started with the Crunchwrap and now we’re moving onto these homemade Cheesy Gordita CRUNCH tacos. And to be honest, I think these might actually be a touch better than the Crunchwraps…
Don’t hate me for saying that, but hear me out.
First things first, these were not planned for today – at all. But if you follow along on my Instagram stories you know why these are happening today. Let’s rewind to Friday night. It’s about 6:45 pm, I’m working on writing recipes by the fire at the studio. I know, I’m lame, yes, writing recipes were my Friday night plans, but for me, it’s fine. Anyway…
My oldest brother, Creighton walks in looking for food only to find out I haven’t cooked. It was yet another computer day. He’s very, very disappointed. I made nothing he really enjoyed last week. After three days working on the computer, not a lot of food had come up to the house from me. So he was bumming. I can’t remember what exactly started the conversation, but Creigh was telling me about a dinner he made. Somehow our conversation came around to the Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
And Oh. My. Gosh. Did he have a lot to say about his very favorite Taco Bell menu item. I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm over anything in my life.
In his words, “whooooooo, if you can make a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and you can make it healthy? You’ll solve the problems of the world”.
To say that I was dying with laughter would be an understatement. This conversation was surely the highlight of my weekend.
I could tell from the moment Creighton walked over to me and started going on about some couch he had to move, that he really had some things he needed to get off his chest. And when he started talking about T-Bell with so much excitement (all while holding a giant pepperoni stick in his hand), I quickly flipped the camera on him. Some moments are too good to not be documented.
I threw our little conversation up on Instagram Friday night, and…wow.
You guys have a lot of love for this T-Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch. I took the thousands of direct messages to heart and quickly created my version of the Cheesy Gordita Crunch on Saturday. And now, here we are.
It’s Monday and we’re celebrating with the most exciting recipe of the week, the homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
If you loved the Crunchwrap you’re guaranteed to love this taco too. Personally, I’m all about this taco, even over the Crunchwrap.
For anyone who is unfamiliar, the Cheesy Gordita Crunch is simply a hard shell taco, wrapped up in a soft piece of flatbread, topped with a three-cheese melted blend. It’s stuffed with meat, T-Bell’s spicy ranch sauce, lettuce, and then cheddar. It’s basically just a loaded cheesy taco doubled up on the shells.
These are GOOD. My photos do not do them justice. I just couldn’t seem to capture their cheesy goodness, but trust me, it’s there.
The best part about the Cheesy Gordita Crunch? They’re even easier to make than the Crunchwrap. If you can make a basic taco, you can easily make these too!
For the taco meat, I used my chipotle chicken taco seasoning mix because it’s always everyone’s favorite. You can make these using ground beef or chicken, I’ve done it both ways now, and both are equally delicious.
Once the meat is done, simply assemble, it’s that EASY.
First, lay the flour tortillas flat onto a baking sheet, then top them with a good amount of the three-cheese blend (cheddar, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella). Now, this next step is optional, BUT, if you ask me it’s a must-do. Sprinkle over a little bit of my homemade cheesy “Doritos” seasoning blend. Yes, cheesy Doritos seasoning. It’s a simple mix of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt, and grated parmesan cheese.
It. Is. DELICIOUS when baked into the cheese…and only just a little bit addicting.
Throw the pan in the oven to let the cheese melt. Once the cheese is melty, add the hard shell tacos. Now press the melty cheese into the hard shells. The cheese sticks to the shell and holds everything together. I then throw the shells back into the oven to warm through again.
Now, layer up your tacos. It goes taco meat, homemade spicy ranch, lettuce, and then cheddar.
The Spicy Ranch.
For the ranch, I did my go-to homemade Greek yogurt ranch but added in a spicy jalapeño and a squeeze of lime juice.
Most tacos are topped with sour cream, but trust me, this spicy ranch is so much better. It’s not your average ranch and really completes the taco.
I generously dollop the ranch on each taco, then pile on the lettuce and cheddar. It sure isn’t anything fancy, but I have to admit, these are some of the best tacos. You get the best of both worlds between the soft and hard shells, lots of melty, warm cheese, perfectly seasoned meat, spicy sauce, and even some greens too.
Beyond delicious. Easy to make. And hey, healthier than the T-Bell version, so I’d said they’re better too! Creighton’s opinion? Well, first of all, the excitement he had when I actually made these was through the roof. But then the taste.
Even BETTER. More seasoning, more sauce, more ranch, and the perfect cheesy shells. Pretty hard to beat that combo. Delicious, and so much fun too!
Looking for other fun Mexican dinners to try, here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make these Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Taco
Taking everyone’s favorite fast food taco and making it healthier at home...plus quick and easy!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken, beef, or turkey
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2-3 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 2 tablespoons Doritos seasoning (recipe in notes - optional)
- 8 mini taco size whole wheat or gluten free tortillas
- 8 hard taco shells
- spicy ranch dressing (homemade in notes)
- 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- fresh cilantro, limes, avocado, and hot sauce for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ground meat and onion. Cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks until it is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt. Add 3/4 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly around the meat, about 10 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
3. Meanwhile, lay the flour tortillas flat onto 2 baking sheets. Evenly divide the Mexican cheese blend between each tortilla. Sprinkle the Doritos seasoning over the cheese (if desired). Bake 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Add the hard shells to the center of each tortilla, pressing one side of the shell into the cheese. Bake another 2-3 minutes. Fold the remaining cheesy side onto the hard shell, pressing the shell into the cheese.
4. Spoon the meat evenly into each shell. Top with the spicy ranch, lettuce, and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Serve immediately with any amount of desired toppings...avocado, hot sauce, yogurt, cilantro, salsa, whatever you love!
Cheesy Doritos Seasoning: In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese. Add cayenne pepper for even more kick.
Spicy Ranch: Mix 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, 2 tablespoons buttermilk, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, 1 finely chopped jalapeño (seeded, if desired), 1 finely chopped chipotle in adobo (optional), 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and a pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper in a glass jar or measuring cup. Squeeze in some lime juice.
Tortillas: I love to use Siete Foods Grain Free Burrito Size Tortillas and their smaller Grain Free Tortillas. You can get these at Whole Foods or order online. I also love the Whole Foods Brand whole wheat tortillas.
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