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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.

overhead photo of Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos

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.

prep photo of taco shells before baking

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.

prep photo of taco meat

The Tacos.

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.

close up photo of Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos

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!

overhead photo of Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos

Looking for other fun Mexican dinners to try, here are my favorites:

Queso Fundido Taquitos

Crispy Cauliflower Tinga Tacos with Honey Lime Avocado Crema

Crockpot Carne Asada Tacos with Cilantro Lime Garlic Sauce.

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!

Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Taco

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 1322 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Tacos

For Assembling

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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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overhead horizontal photo of Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just made these and wow so filling and tasty reminds us of taco bell! I used beef carnitas instead of the taco meat you suggested because it’s what I had thawed and did my own seasoning on it. But wow the doritos seasoning in-between the shells has so much flavor and I omitted the parmesan cheese. Will make this again!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out and sharing your feedback! I love to hear that it was a hit!☀️

  2. 5 stars
    Had to comment, this recipe is SO SO good! Such a hit with my kids and my husband (who always orders this at Taco Bell). The sauce totally makes it! Super easy too. Adding to the regular dinner rotation! Thank you!

    1. Hey Megan,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out and sharing your feedback! I love to hear that it was a hit!☀️

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! Family of four (1 teenager one 8 year old) everyone was in ecstasy eating these.

    1. Hey Kathleen,
      Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a go! xxT

  4. Wow! These were a big hit for my 36 year old sons birthday dinner. I asked him to tell me what he wanted me to make for his Birthday dinner and this was his request! He said they were spot on and so good! The whole family said the same. I used organic ground beef. I unfortunately did not try them because I don’t eat meat. But I also made your bang bang shrimp taco2 (for the 2nd time in 2 weeks) lol. Which I love!!
    We had a great HBH double meal that night! Forgot to take pics and post. Next time!
    I have all your books and the new one is just beautiful!!!
    Love your recipes and you! Congratulations and keep up the amazing work that you do.

    1. Hey Lynne,
      Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a lot for trying it out! Thank you so much for your super kind message:) ☀️xx

    2. Hi Lynne…pescatarian here. 😉
      We love using lentils in place of meat, especially for things like tacos. Give it a try!

  5. 5 stars
    Anyone out there remember when Taco Bell tacos tasted different than they do now? Well this recipe, tastes even better than their original & current tacos. Tieghan’s recipes are so awesome & this one is fantastic. And you can make it with healthier ingredients than the fast food restaurants use. Tieghan’s ingredients lists call for healthy ingredients. I use grass fed raw cheese (a mixture of Monterey Jack & sharp cheddar for the Mexican blend), I use organic blue hard shell, etc. Thank you again Tieghan for your recipes!

    1. Hey Heidi,
      Happy Sunday!! So glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it!! Thanks so much for your kind message!! 🌺 xx

  6. 4 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight. Family of 4, 2 kids under 8. I really liked this. But it wasn’t well received by the rest of my crew unfortunately. I left out jalapeño pepper and crushed red pepper because they have a low tolerance for spicy. They complained about the cheese between the shells, the sauce, and the saltiness of it. Idk. I thought it was just great. Sadly won’t make again for just 1 person. But still glad I tried. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hey Kendall,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try! Glad to hear you enjoyed it, sorry to hear about the others:) xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    The BEST HBH recipe I have ever made. So delicious and easy. The Doritos seasoning is everything. Outstanding.

    1. Hi Katina,
      Happy Sunday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks so much for trying it out!! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I have made many tacos in my life and am always trying to perfect the taco shell itself. This method was perfect. My whole family loved these! Will definitely make again and use this taco shell method with different fillings.

    1. Hey Ann,
      Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Have the best weekend:) xT

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!! I cannot understate how much we enjoyed these! There is heat, texture, cheesy goodness, and wonderful balance to these tacos. The perfect meal for Taco Tuesday….or Wednesday….or……

    1. Hey Carole,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am thrilled to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great day:) xxT

  10. 5 stars
    These where so fun to make and it was another hit in my family! Such great blend of flavors. These made taco Tuesday on of the best!

  11. 5 stars
    Sooooo good!! My bf and I loved these! The spicy ranch was spot on. 10/10 you need to make these. Thanks for another fantastic recipe, Tieghan!

  12. Do you use burrito sized tortillas or regular size? In the recipe you say mini taco size burritos (are those street tacos?), but in the notes you mention burrito size. Just wanted to clarify 😊

    1. Hey there,
      I just use regular size taco shells, but you could certainly make these larger with a burrito shell. Let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan