This is the perfect Cheesy Gordita Crunch Recipe, just like the one found at Taco Bell! It's a hard shell taco wrapped in a tortilla stuffed with cheese.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Extra-lean ground beef – extra lean ground beef will keep this recipe leaner than other ground beef options. However, if you're looking to shed even more calories off of this dish, use ground chicken or turkey in place of ground beef.
- Taco seasoning – if you don't have taco seasoning, you can make your own by mixing equal parts of chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of chili flakes.
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- Hard taco shells – the hard taco shell adds the crunch to this recipe, but you can create your own hard taco shell from a regular corn tortilla.
- Cheddar cheese – cheddar cheese will give you the authentic Taco Bell taste but Tex Mex blend, or another grated cheese of your choice will work.
- Mini flour tortillas – corn tortillas will also work in place of tortillas.
- Iceberg lettuce – the iceberg lettuce will add the fresh crunch to the tacos but if you are in a pinch you can use chopped romaine lettuce.
Spicy ranch sauce
- Sour cream – sour cream is a calorie conscious choice for this recipe but an alternative is to just use ranch dressing instead
- Ranch seasoning – use a store bought ranch seasoning blend or make your own by combining dried parsley, onion flakes, garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper.
- Hot sauce – opt for a pepper hot sauce like Tabasco, Frank's or Cholula.
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How to make a cheesy gordita crunch
Step 1: Brown the ground beef.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat a large skillet over high heat, breaking up ground beef with a spoon and seasoning with salt & pepper. Add taco seasoning and cook for 10 minutes until fully cooked.
Step 2: Make the sauce.
Meanwhile, mix sour cream with ranch seasoning and hot sauce.
Step 3: Melt the cheese on the tortillas.
Divide cheese overtop of tortillas, then bake in the oven for 5 minutes until cheese has started to melt.
Step 4: Add taco meat to hard shells.
Divide taco meat among hard taco shells and set aside.
Step 5: Wrap the hard shells in the soft shells.
Remove from oven, then wrap around hard taco shells, pressing gently.
Step 6: Assemble and serve!
Add spicy ranch sauce to tacos, followed by lettuce and a tiny bit more cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Cheesy gordita crunch spicy ranch sauce
Making the spicy ranch sauce for this cheesy gordita crunch recipe is easy! All you need is sour cream, ranch seasoning and hot sauce, then mix it all together.
To take this ranch sauce to the next level, you can add some dried buttermilk powder or nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste. I know that these two ingredients can be pretty difficult to find in the grocery store so they're optional, they just add a little extra something to the sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cheesy gordita crunch is a Taco Bell creation. It consists of a classic hardshell taco with beef, cheese lettuce and ranch sauce, all wrapped in a softshell tortilla and held together by melted cheese. My recipe is a homemade version with fewer calories!
The original cheesy gordita crunch from Taco Bell has 500 calories per taco. My gordita crunch copycat recipe has 426 calories per taco – so you can enjoy this delicious recipe without the extra calories, without having to go through the drive thru.
A chalupa is deep fried, which means it has a harder and crunchier exterior, whereas a gordita is baked or cooked in a skillet.
Storing and reheating
Store any leftovers of this cheesy gordita crunch recipe in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just wrap your tacos without the toppings in foil, then stick them in the oven to warm up right in the foil at 350° Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes. Once they’re warmed through, add your spicy ranch sauce and any toppings and enjoy!
Freezing this recipe
While you can’t freeze the gordita crunch tacos on their own, you can make a big batch of the ground beef and freeze it for up to 3 months in airtight containers or Ziploc bags. Transfer the beef to the fridge the night before you want to use it, then reheat it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or in a pan on the stovetop. Use it to make fresh gordita crunch tacos or any other recipe of your choice.
Meal Prep Tools
- I get all my free-range beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Freeze any leftover beef in glass meal prep bowls for up to 3 months.
- Get these metal taco holders for easy assembly – they can be used to heat tacos into the oven too!
- **Get my full list of tools here**
Cheesy Gordita Crunch Recipe
- 1/2 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 hard taco shells
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided (plus more for serving)
- 4 mini flour tortillas
- 1 cup iceberg lettuce
Spicy ranch sauce
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp ranch seasoning
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce (such as tabasco)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat a large skillet over high heat, breaking up ground beef with a spoon and seasoning with salt & pepper. Add taco seasoning and cook for 10 minutes until fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, mix sour cream with ranch seasoning and hot sauce. Divide taco meat among hard taco shells and set aside.
- Divide cheese overtop of tortillas, then bake in the oven for 5 minutes until cheese has started to melt. Remove from oven, then wrap around hard taco shells, pressing gently.
- Add spicy ranch sauce to tacos, followed by lettuce and a tiny bit more cheese. Serve and enjoy!
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Comments & Reviews
What kind of flat bread does this recipe use? Tortilla is too thin
Taylor Stinson says
It is actually a flour tortilla as the recipe states. It’s not too thin by the time you add the cheese.
How much dried Buttermilk powder or nutritional yeast do you add to the Spicy ranch sauce?
Taylor Stinson says
You don’t need to add it as the dried ranch seasoning covers it. But if you’re looking to replace it, you can add 2 tsp.