I just don't get to San Antonio, home of the puffy taco, as much as I'd like to. So I tried to recreate it at home and it worked out great! Be sure you have the meat and fixings ready ahead of time so all you have to do is fry and fill! These work best when served as warm as possible.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
3 mins
total:
18 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
8 small shells
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Mix masa harina, salt, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water together in a bowl using your fingertips until dough forms and pulls away from the sides, 2 or 3 minutes. Form into a firm, flattened ball and divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Keep dough balls covered with a damp paper towel as you fry them, one at a time.

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  • Place dough ball between 2 sheets of plastic or a split open zip top bag. Flatten to form a small circle about 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick.

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, slide in the first circle. Very carefully baste hot oil over the top of the shell with a spoon to keep oil circulating over the top surface. When shell has puffed (after about 15 seconds), cook another few seconds and flip it over and cook another 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat for each shell.

  • When shells are still warm and pliable, gently push down puffed tops to create room for the fillings and slightly crease the shells for folding.

  • Fill with your favorite taco fixings and serve while shells are still warm.

Cook's Note:

You can also deep-fry the shells at 350 F (175 degrees C) for about 90 seconds.

For the best results, make the dough and use it right away. I've tried to make it ahead of time, but the tortillas didn't seem to puff up nearly as much.

Nutrition Facts

128 calories; protein 2.7g 5% DV; carbohydrates 21.7g 7% DV; fat 3.8g 6% DV; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 242.5mg 10% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
08/07/2016
I am from San Antonio and this is a healthier version of how we make them. However, you do need a tortilla press. And you must make them larger to have them come out like the originals. To avoid the "volcano" effect, start making the fold after flipping them and Viola! San Antonio style puffy tacos! Read More
(10)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/06/2018
Way to much work and too time consuming for me to just get a few little shells Read More
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
08/07/2016
I am from San Antonio and this is a healthier version of how we make them. However, you do need a tortilla press. And you must make them larger to have them come out like the originals. To avoid the "volcano" effect, start making the fold after flipping them and Viola! San Antonio style puffy tacos! Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
08/07/2016
In order to have these puff up in my opinion you really do need a tortilla press. It wasn't until I made the 5th one that I finally pressed it thin enough and it puffed up nicely. I'm going out and buying a tortilla press and making these again that's how good they are. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
03/11/2019
If you don t have a tortilla press use the cut plastic bag and a clear glass pie plate. Just place on top of the dough and tilt the dish in a circular motion. Voila! Perfect round tortillas and they can be made thin enough to puff perfectly with this method. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
08/05/2016
Chef John will you share the chicken recipe you used? Read More
Rating: 3 stars
01/06/2018
Way to much work and too time consuming for me to just get a few little shells Read More
Rating: 5 stars
09/13/2020
Great recipe!!! Only a few ingredients needed and the taste is amazing. Thank you for sharing. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
08/02/2017
I just want to let everyone know that I tried this recipe with wheat germ because I had it at hand and was lazy enough not to go to the store. I might have added more dry wheat germ because it was sticking when I was pressing it out and they didn't puff up as much as it the video. Still Loved the flavor naturally but just letting everyone know that you are not going to get the same outcome. Will try again with the right ingredients and tools! Read More
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