Cheesy Crunchy Beef Tacos

For the best tacos north of the border, try Cheesy Crunchy Beef Tacos!  They are cheesy and crunchy, spicy and beefy. I just love them.

The delicious filling is simply ground beef, onions and poblano pepper sautéed until the beef is cooked and the vegetables are softened.  Spices such as chipotle chile powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, and oregano are added along with some water and cooked with the beef mixture until fragrant and tasty.

The taco shells are crunchy and delish!  You can certainly use store bought hard taco shells, but for  me, these ones are the best. These are made by sprinkling a spice mix over top of warmed corn tortillas that have been brushed with olive oil.  Layer cheese and meat over the non-spiced side and fold them in half.  Bake them in a hot oven and flip over and bake a bit longer.  

And then there’s the Creamy Poblano Sauce.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to these crispy tacos. This combination of roasted poblano peppers, garlic, cilantro, avocado and lime juice becomes a smooth, creamy and slightly spicy topping for the tacos.

I like to make the creamy Poblano sauce first and store it in the refrigerator while the tacos are being prepared.

Begin by combining the ground beef and onions in a sauté pan and cook until the beef is browned.  Add the poblano pepper and spices and sauté until the spices are fragrant.  Add water and allow the beef to become coated by the spices and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

The seasoned taco shells are amazing!  Mix together some wonderful spices such as onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cayenne.  Lightly brush olive oil on one side of the tortilla and sprinkle the spice mix over.  Gently press the spices to the tortilla and flip over.  

Sprinkle cheese over the tortillas and then layer the ground beef over one half.  Fold the tacos in half and bake the tacos until they are crispy.  Flip them over and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and the tacos are crunchy.

Serve the tacos with Creamy Poblano Sauce, Quick-Pickled Red Onions, limes, chopped tomatoes and cilantro, if desired.

Share Your Thoughts...

Lastly, if you make Cheesy Crunchy Beef Tacos, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you 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 one of my favorite things to do!

Cheesy Crunchy Beef Tacos

Makes: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


Creamy Poblano Sauce:

  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Fine sea salt

Beef Tacos:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp chipotle chile powder, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 12 Seasoned Taco Shells, warmed (see below) or store-bought hard taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Seasoned Taco Shells:

  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Instructions

Creamy Poblano Sauce:

Turn on the broiler. Arrange the poblano and garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Broil for 3-5 minutes, watching closely, until darkened on top. Using tongs, remove the garlic cloves. Flip the pepper and broil until charred, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Remove the garlic skins and the poblano seeds. Transfer the poblano and garlic to a blender or food processor and add the cilantro, avocado, lime juice, cumin, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed, about 1 minute. If necessary, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin. Taste and add more salt as needed.

Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Beef Tacos:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the beef is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the poblano, chipotle powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add 3/4 cup of water, then bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning as needed. Remove the skillet from the heat.

If you’re making your own hard taco shells, see below. If you’re using store-bought, stand the taco shells up on a rimmed sheet pan or in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Divide the meat evenly among the shells and top each with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Serve the tacos drizzled with the Creamy Poblano Sauce and finished with any other desired toppings.

Seasoned Taco Shells:

Mix together all the spices, in a small bowl. Warm corn tortillas in the microwave until pliable, 30-60 seconds. Rub them on one side with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mix over the olive oil so it sticks, then flip the tortillas over so the coating is facedown.

Layer the cheese and meat on top, fold the tortillas, and gently press so they enclose the filling. Arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, then flip and bake until the cheese is melted and the tortillas have crisped up, 5 minutes more. Sprinkle them with more of the seasoning, if you like.

Recipe by Half Baked Harvest 


    You May Also Like

    Recipe Reviews

    Avarage Rating:
    • 5 / 5
    Total Reviews:( 1 )
    • Harry

      These Tacos look great. I bet they’ll be delicious. Fran.

      • Francine

        Hi, Harry…the tacos are great, especially the shells. I love them!

    Leave a Review

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *