Everyone’s had a late night craving for fast food and nothing hits the spot like Taco Bell. One of my favorite menu items there is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. What seems like it should be a gimmick turns out to be one of the most delicious menu items you can order and one of the best ways to get the crunch of a hard-shell taco without having the taco filling run wild on the first bite. And, hey, nobody is complaining about adding more cheese into each taco either.
We’re here to share the best way for you to replicate Taco Bell's much-loved Cheesy Gordita Crunch in the comfort of your own kitchen with items you can get at most grocery stores. The recipe below mentions various brands that we used but feel free to substitute with whatever you have on hand.
Step 1: Prepare the Spicy Ranch Sauce
what you'll need
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 tbsp Ranch Dressing
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Habanero Sauce
Mix the Spicy Ranch sauce ingredients together in a small container until fully mixed and refrigerate until ready to use.
* Use whatever you prefer for sour cream, ranch, mayo, and hot sauce. We personally used Daisy Sour Cream, Hidden Valley Ranch, Hellmann’s Light Mayo, and Cholula Sweet Habanero sauce.
Step 2: Cook the Meat
what you'll need
80/20 Ground Beef
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
2/3 Cup Water
Start by adding the ground beef to a skillet on medium to high heat (7 or 8 out of 10) and cook the meat until fully browned and no more pink is showing.
Add the 2/3 cup of water and the packet/ounce of taco seasoning and mix.
Once incorporated, lower the heat to a simmer and let the water dissolve while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Step 3: Prepare the Cheesy Gordita Shells
what you'll need
8 Hard Taco Shells
8 6” Soft Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Start by trimming your soft tortillas to a size slightly larger than the hard taco shell. The best way to do this is to wrap the tortilla around a hard taco shell and trim, leaving about a quarter inch of soft tortilla extra. The tortillas will shrink in the oven slightly and this will give you the best results.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place soft tortillas on a baking sheet. Cover the sheet with foil or parchment paper to prevent tortillas from sticking to the tray.
Fully cover each tortilla with shredded cheddar (finely shredded works best for this) and put them in the oven for 4-5 minutes.
Place the hard taco shell down on one half of the soft tortilla and press down on the bottom so it sticks to the melting cheese.
Using a spatula, flip the tortilla over to the other half of the taco shell sticks to the other side of the tortilla. Try to do this quickly while the cheese is still hot. I found it is best to do small batches of 3-4 shells at a time.
Step 4: Filling the shells
and finally getting a bite
Start with a layer of your seasoned beef. Fill the whole bottom of a taco shell with about 3/4 of an inch of beef.
Spread a layer of Spicy Ranch sauce on the beef
Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheddar cheese next. For this stage, I used coarsely shredded cheese instead of the finely shredded cheddar that was used between the shells. This is just preference.
Lastly, top off the cheesy gordita crunch with shredded lettuce and a taco sauce of your preference. If you can get your hands on it, nothing is better for these than Taco Bell’s own Fire Sauce which you can buy at many grocery stores.
Look out for more re-creations on our blog in the future!