12 Taco Hacks Worth Trying

In the fast-paced rhythm of modern life, finding joy in the kitchen often involves balancing taste and convenience. If you love tacos but want to spend less time in the kitchen or make crafting tacos easier, you might be interested in some of these taco hacks. We dove into the world of clever shortcuts and time-saving techniques meant to make the process as stress-free as possible — not to mention delicious.

From DIY taco holders to quick and tasty ways to warm your tortillas, we have a range of tips and tricks to help make every night taco night. Explore hacks that help you create restaurant-quality tacos in the comfort of your kitchen, all while minimizing the time and effort invested. Whether you're a busy professional, a parent juggling multiple responsibilities, or simply someone who appreciates a delicious meal without the hassle, these hacks are tailor-made for you.

Join us as we divulge the secrets behind stress-free taco-making. Say goodbye to kitchen chaos and embrace the ease of our taco hacks that are genuinely worth trying. You provide the taco shells and we'll provide the know-how.

1. Make hard taco shells with a tortilla and a toaster

Do you feel like eating hard tacos but only have soft tortillas? Well, there's a game-changing hack in town that involves your trusty toaster, a humble tortilla, and a dash of creativity. This ingenious hack not only saves you a trip to the store but also adds a satisfying element of DIY magic to your culinary repertoire.

All you need is a stack of soft tortillas (corn or flour, your choice) and a toaster. To be clear, we mean a toaster with slots, not a toaster oven. Start by folding each tortilla in half. Then, carefully place the folded tortillas in the toaster slots, ensuring they're positioned vertically.

Then toast the tortillas until they reach your preferred level of crispiness. Keep a close eye on the tortillas, as they can transform from soft to crispy to burned quickly. Expect it to take around a minute. Once toasted, carefully remove the shells from the toaster and leave them to cool until you're ready to stuff them with fillings.

2. Use a fork to keep your taco shell upright while you fill it

We all love tacos, but they can be tricky to assemble without creating a delicious mess. While forks have no place when you're eating a taco, they can play an unexpected role when it's time to fill them. The fork trick is a simple yet ingenious hack that promises to revolutionize your taco-making experience. This kitchen secret not only ensures your tacos stay upright during the filling process but also guarantees a mess-free masterpiece every time.

To get started, make sure you have your taco filling ready to go and your hard taco shells ready to stuff. Next, take a regular fork and position it horizontally at the opening of your taco shell. The prongs of the fork will keep the shell stable, so you can fill it without having to hold it in one hand or helplessly watch it tip over.

Once you've filled your taco, gently lift the fork upwards. It will slide off the shell effortlessly, leaving you with a beautifully assembled taco that's ready to be enjoyed without any mess. Or, if you want to fill a few tacos and eat them in one go, you can simply leave the fork in place, holding your taco upright until you're ready to eat it so that its contents don't spill out.

3. Make your own taco bowls

You might have had taco bowls at a restaurant but the reality is that they're super easy to make at home, too. They're great for holding taco salads or simply stuffing with a heap of your usual taco fillings. For a DIY taco bowl, start with your favorite tortillas — both flour and corn work here. You'll also need cooking spray or a brush of oil to help you achieve a golden, crispy finish.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, gently warm a tortilla in a pan and set it aside. Next, take a medium-sized, oven-safe ramekin, preferably 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Turn it upside down and drape your tortilla over the inverted ramekin, pressing it gently to take the shape of the bowl. You may need to crimp the edges. Cover it with foil to hold it in place and help retain the shape.

Carefully transfer the ramekin-tortilla combination to a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the tortilla turns golden brown and crispy. Keep an eye on it to prevent over-browning.

Once your taco bowl is ready, remove it from the oven. Let it cool for a minute or two before gently sliding it off the ramekin. Now comes the fun part: layer your taco bowl with all your favorite fillings and chow down.

4. Use two corn tortillas to keep your tacos from falling apart

Have you ever been to your favorite taco spot and wondered why your tacos were served inside two soft corn tortillas? Well, the answer's quite simple — to keep them from falling apart. So, when you're looking for a way to improve the structural integrity of your tacos, you know what to do: serve your tacos in two stacked corn tortillas instead of one. This not only pays homage to tradition but also ensures your taco remains intact, even under the weight of the most generous fillings.

The double layer not only keeps the tortillas from becoming soggy due to the moisture of the fillings but also ensures that your tacos maintain their structure, so you can enjoy each bite without the fear of your taco falling apart. Flour tortillas don't tend to have the same problem with structure as corn ones do, so if you're opting for flour tortillas for your tacos, there's likely no need for you to double up.

5. Try a double-shell taco when you can't decide between hard and soft

Can't decide between a hard shell taco and a soft taco? Or maybe you just fancy something super-indulgent for dinner. Then why not have both?

Yes, that's right. This creation combines the crunch of a hard taco shell with the softness of a flour tortilla, all held together by tasty melted cheese. The hard taco shell provides a satisfying crunch, while the soft flour tortilla adds a comforting chewiness. The melted cheese not only holds everything together but also tastes amazing. This combination of textures and flavors elevates the taco to a new level of indulgence.

There are several ways you can achieve this feat, but perhaps the easiest way to go about it is to place flour tortillas on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with cheese, and briefly melt the cheese in the oven. Then, place your corn tortillas on top of the melted cheese, wrap the soft tortillas around them, and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes so the cheese can help the hard and soft tacos bond together. Once they're done, fill them just like you do with regular tacos.

6. Craft a taco holder from a water bottle to make it easier to fill

When you're getting creative in the kitchen, even everyday items can be transformed into ingenious kitchen tools. Case in point: the plastic water bottle, which is your ticket to mess-free taco assembling. With a little DIY magic, you can repurpose a plastic water bottle into a handy taco holder, ensuring your taco shells stay upright and stable while you fill them with your favorite ingredients.

So, how do you do it? All you need is a sharp pair of scissors and a clean, dry plastic water bottle that holds about 18 ounces. Start by cutting the top third off the bottle. Next, cut half an inch or so off one side so that when you lay the bottle on its side, it stays still, rather than wobbling around. Cut a 1- to 2-inch notch in the other side of the bottle and you're done. The notch is the top of your taco holder while the fully cut side is the bottom.

You can use your DIY taco holder for both soft tortillas and hard shell tacos. Be sure that your tortillas and fillings aren't so hot that they begin to melt the bottle (you may also want to use a layer of foil as a cover to be sure).

7. Make tortilla chips from leftover corn tortillas

There's no need to waste those precious corn tortillas left over from your taco-making extravaganza. Instead, use them to make homemade tortilla chips. Whatever method you choose, you'll make something extremely tasty while minimizing waste, so you can feel super smug.

Baking requires minimal effort and minimal oil. Simply cut the corn tortillas into wedges, toss them with a light coating of oil, season them with your favorite spices, and bake until they turn golden brown and irresistibly crispy. Frying is the classic method, but, while this method imparts rich, indulgent flavor, it requires a bit more attention and caution. The result is undeniably worth the effort, producing perfectly crispy chips that pair exceptionally well with salsa, guacamole, or queso.

For those seeking a compromise between these two methods, air frying is the modern solution. Air fryers use hot air circulation to achieve that crispy texture with minimal oil. This method offers the best of both worlds — the satisfying crunch of deep-frying without the fuss.

Whatever your chosen cooking method, the beauty of homemade tortilla chips lies in their versatility. You can dust them with simple seasonings like salt and paprika, or experiment with combinations such as chili lime, garlic parmesan, or cinnamon sugar. The seasoning options are limited only by your creativity.

8. Use lettuce to avoid leaky tacos

You bite into a taco and life is good. But then, disaster strikes — the shell collapses and your delicious creation becomes a messy affair. This is frustrating but there's a simple hack to fix it: line the shell with lettuce, which can help to prevent leaks, keep your shell intact, and transform your taco experience from frustrating to flawless.

Tacos can be tricky to handle, especially when laden with juicy or saucy fillings. Toppings like salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, while delicious, can also contribute to the taco's downfall by making the shell soggy. But, by placing a layer of fresh, crisp lettuce leaves inside your taco shell before adding the fillings, you create a barrier that prevents wet ingredients from soaking into the shell. 

Not only does this trick help keep your taco intact, but it can also add a refreshing crunch if you reach for a variety like iceberg lettuce. And if you were going to put lettuce on your taco anyway, you might as well put a whole leaf in first to keep leaks at bay, rather than using it as a topping.

9. Warm tortillas directly over a gas burner

You've probably tried warming your tortillas in a number of ways, such as in the oven, microwave or dry pan. But if you haven't done it directly over the flame of a gas burner, you're missing out. Imagine the tantalizing aroma of toasty corn or flour wafting through the air, filling your kitchen with the promise of a delicious meal. Warming tortillas directly over the flame of a gas burner is not only quick and easy but can add a touch of char that elevates your tacos to a whole new level.

To warm tortillas in this way, turn on your gas burner to a medium heat. Using tongs, place a tortilla directly on the grate of the burner, over the open flame. Keep a close eye on the tortilla as it warms. Within seconds, you'll notice the edges crisping up and charring, imparting a pleasant smokiness. Carefully flip the tortilla using the tongs — it should need around 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Get all four burners on the go at once and you'll have warmed a stack of tortillas in minutes.

Warming tortillas directly over the flame gives them char and smokiness that beats out any other method. The quick exposure to heat creates a contrast between the soft, warm interior and the slightly crispy, charred exterior, adding layers of texture and flavor to each bite.

10. Stack and wrap tortillas to keep them warm

When you're making soft tacos, you might have come across the question of how to keep your tortillas warm while you're waiting to use them. When you're making tacos one at a time, tortillas can easily cool off and get stiff by the time you've reached the last ones. But, there's a simple solution: stack them up and wrap them in a dish towel.

As your tortillas emerge warm from the stove, oven, or microwave, resist the temptation to serve them immediately. Instead, stack them one atop the other, creating a cozy tortilla tower. Take a clean, slightly damp dish towel — preferably one made of natural fibers like cotton — and gently wrap it around the stack of tortillas. The moisture and warmth trapped within the towel create a mini steam chamber, keeping the tortillas soft and pliable. If your heating method means that not all of your tortillas are ready in one go, wrap them as soon as the first ones are warm and add more to the stack as you go.

Wrapping tortillas in a clean dish towel mimics the traditional Mexican practice of using a tortillero, a special insulated container designed to keep tortillas warm. The moisture from the towel also prevents the tortillas from drying out, maintaining their softness and flexibility. Just remove them one by one as you're ready to use, wrapping the remainder back up while you work.

11. Make a taco holder out of an egg carton

Have an old egg box that's waiting to be recycled? Well, you don't anymore — you now have your very own taco holder. Yes, the very container that cradles your breakfast staples has found a new purpose, turning into a brilliant, unconventional taco holder when flipped upside down.

Take your standard cardboard egg box and simply flip it over, placing it on your dining table or serving surface. The egg compartments, now facing upwards, act as holders for your tacos. Each row snugly embraces a taco shell, keeping it upright and stable. Add a layer of foil or plastic wrap to keep paper cartons from becoming soggy.

Whether you're serving hard or soft tacos, the egg box holder accommodates both. It can also hold the shells in place so you can fill them more easily. And, when you're stuffed with fillings, the holder keeps the tacos upright until you're ready to eat them or even between bites. It might not be fancy but it's extremely easy with no DIY skill required. If you can pick up an egg carton and turn it upside down, you can make yourself a taco holder.

12. Use lentils instead of hamburger to save time and money

In the quest for convenient, budget-friendly, and wholesome meal options, you might want to reach for the lentils. By substituting traditional hamburger canned green or brown lentils, you can make taco nights quicker, easier, and cheaper.

Canned brown or green lentils come pre-cooked, drastically reducing your prep time — though even sorting, rinsing, and cooking dry lentils doesn't take much time. With no need for extensive cooking, you can have a satisfying taco filling ready in minutes. On top of these factors, lentils are also incredibly budget-friendly, making them an ideal alternative to pricier meat options. By switching to lentils, you not only save money but also create a hearty and highly nutritious filling that's kind to your wallet.

If you're using canned lentils, all you need to do is drain them and saute with your choice of seasonings. Then you can use them in just about any taco recipe where you'd otherwise use ground beef. It's a simple way to save some money and speed up dinner, not to mention that plant-based options are oftentimes kinder to the environment.