5 All-American Taco Shells - Plus Party Tips From A Taco Fanatic

 5 All-American Taco Shells - Plus Party Tips From A Taco Fanatic
By Louise Hart

We all know what a traditional taco is--a soft corn tortilla topped with meat and maybe some onion and cilantro. But like many traditions, once this Mexican dish moved north, we Americanized it. In other words, we made it infinitely more unhealthy by frying it into crispy (and infernally delicious) hard-shell tacos.

But while hard taco shells may not be super authentic, we're not here to judge. After all, they're a product of American ingenuity: They owe their existence to a 1950 invention that holds the tortilla in a U-shape as it's deep-fried. Here, we bring you the five most all-American taco shapes (plus a new one to try)--along with plenty of ideas on how to fill them.


Taco shell shapes continue to evolve today, as evidenced by Chef Aaron Sanchez's recent visit to our offices. He brought two new hard shell shapes from Ortega--Fiesta Flats (looking like an edible hot dog sleeve) and Mini Fiesta Flats (resembling a cross between a mini tortilla salad bowl and a tortilla chip). While he put together the ingredients for the taco, we discussed his taco party tips. 


  1. Keep it simple. There are seven main ingredients in a taco: a meat or bean base, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and cilantro. Pick at least four, but don't feel like you need all of them.
  2. Have ingredients within arms reach of guests. Arrange them in the order of how you'd put them on the taco. For example, meat and beans, then vegetables, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and cilantro.
  3. Keep the meat in an oven-ready dish. Heat the meat filling in a heavy oven-safe dish in the oven, and it'll stay warm as it sits on the table (just warn guests about the warm container!)