A Tasty Homemade Twist on Taco Bell’s Menu Item
I have an exciting recipe for you today – a homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch that will rival Taco Bell’s version. If you’ve never tried it before, the gordita crunch is a unique taco with two layers of shells. It consists of a regular hard shell taco wrapped in a tortilla flatbread.
In Mexican cuisine, the word “gordita” means “chubby” in Spanish, referring to a thick tortilla or flatbread made of masa corn flour and filled with delicious ingredients like beans, meat, cheese, sour cream, and more. In our recipe, we use the gordita as the outer layer of our taco.
Are you ready to indulge? This recipe is packed with all the good stuff: gooey melted cheese, juicy ground beef, and fresh crispy lettuce nestled between a crunchy taco shell and a soft, pillowy Gordita flatbread. We top it off with a creamy, spicy ranch sauce and a homemade cheese sauce.
If you’re loving the sound of this Cheesy Gordita Crunch, then you’ll also enjoy my copycat recipe for Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme, which features the same delicious cheese sauce.
But let me tell you, calling this dish simply “delicious” would be an understatement!
Let’s start by gathering all the ingredients you’ll need to make this lip-smacking Cheesy Gordita Crunch. This recipe takes Taco Bell’s menu item to a whole new level of flavor and satisfaction.
For the homemade cheese sauce:
- Super sharp yellow cheddar cheese: Cheddar adds an incredibly savory flavor. We’ll use super sharp cheddar for extra taste.
- Evaporated milk: This creamy addition gives our cheese sauce the perfect balance between milk and cream.
- Diced green chilis: You can easily find these in a can.
For the ranch dressing:
- Ranch dressing: I prefer using Hidden Valley’s Buttermilk packet, but any other brand will work as well.
- Taco seasoning: This adds a burst of yummy flavor.
- Cholula hot sauce: Hot sauce brings tanginess and heat to the ranch. If you can’t find Cholula, Sriracha or Tabasco will work too.
Ingredients for the cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos:
- Hard shell tacos: Store-bought ones are just fine.
- Gordita shell: Alternatively, you can use flour tortillas. They should be slightly larger than a regular taco shell.
- Small onion
- Romaine lettuce
- Ground beef: I recommend using ground chuck for its tenderness and flavor. It’s perfect for Cheesy Gordita Crunch and my Dorito Taco Salad recipe, two of my favorite ground beef dishes.
- Super sharp cheddar cheese: You can use pre-shredded bags or shred your own high-quality cheddar cheese block.
- Kosher salt and taco seasoning
- Optional toppings: Jalapenos, lime wedges, and cilantro.
How to Make a Cheesy Gordita Crunch
Step One: Prepare the cheese sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine all the cheese sauce ingredients. Warm the mixture over low-medium heat, whisking frequently until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Set it aside.
Step Two: Make the spicy taco ranch by whisking all the ranch dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined.
Step Three: Cook the ground beef. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil, onions, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions have softened. Add the ground beef, breaking it up while cooking. Once the beef is fully cooked, sprinkle the taco seasoning and stir until combined. Turn off the heat and drain any excess grease.
Step Four: Prepare the Gordita shells. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Arrange the soft Gordita shells on the parchment-lined pan. Spread cheese sauce over each shell and sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese on top. Reserve the remaining half for later.
Step Five: Bake the soft shells for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Place the hard shells in the center of each soft shell and fold the sides up around the hard shell. Work quickly, as the melted cheese acts as the glue. Bake again for 2 minutes.
Step Six: Assemble the tacos. Fill each shell with the remaining cheese sauce, spicy ranch, ground beef, cheddar cheese, and romaine lettuce. Customize further with optional toppings if desired.
These Cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos are a regular feature at my house’s taco Tuesdays, along with my flavorful Tacos de Camaron (Shrimp Tacos) made with seared shrimp and warm corn tortillas. They’re simply irresistible!
Variations & Optional Toppings
This Cheesy Gordita Crunch recipe can be a fun activity for Taco Tuesday or any gathering. Lay out all the taco toppings on the table, and once the taco shells are baked, everyone can fill their own shells with their desired ingredients and enjoy!
In addition to cooked ground beef, lettuce, cheese sauce, and ranch, these toppings are fantastic options that will elevate your taco experience:
- Chorizo: If you’re a fan of chorizo, you can substitute it for the beef in this recipe. Alternatively, try my favorite chorizo taco with homemade roasted salsa verde.
- Ground chicken: You can also try adding baked chicken tacos to your dinner menu.
- Pulled pork
- Ground turkey
- Refried beans
- Pickled onions
- Salsa or pico de gallo
Expert Tips & Tricks
If you want to take your homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch to the next level, follow these expert tips:
- Cook the ground beef for a longer time, if possible. Allowing it to simmer in bone broth on low heat will enhance the flavors even further.
- Before assembling the gordita shells with the taco shells, broil the cheese on the gordita shells. Alternatively, if you prefer not to use your oven, sprinkle the cheese on top and torch it with a cooking torch.
If you enjoy copycat recipes, you might also like my Big Mac Tacos. They feature all the flavors of a juicy ground beef burger with American cheese, onions, and special sauce, but in the form of a taco!
- To store unassembled tacos: Seal each ingredient separately in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days. When ready to serve, microwave or fry the ground beef, then follow the instructions from Step Five to prepare the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
- To store assembled tacos: Place each leftover taco in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. Microwave to serve warm.
I hope you enjoy making and savoring this delicious Cheesy Gordita Crunch recipe! If you have any questions, take a look at the frequently asked questions section below.