Gluten Free Crunchy Baked Tacos

Tacos, tacos, tacos – everyone loves taco night.  It’s our favorite night of the week around here.  Taco night brings a bit of fun to the table.  We just seem to be more relaxed and smile more when we have a big old taco in our hands.  And best of all, no one complains about the menu on taco night.

A while back I saw a photo of baked tacos like these in the Whole Foods newsletter.  Suddenly I had one of those ah-ha moments Oprah always talks about, you know?  I was struck by the brilliance of the simplicity of the solution.  You see, as much as we love taco night, it is hands down the messiest meal we make.  I look forward to the time around the table passing around all the fixin’s for our tacos but I absolutely dread cleaning it all up.  There is always salsa smeared all over the table, lettuce on the floor, and like a million plates, bowls, and spoons to hold all the toppings.

Assembling the tacos before they ever hit the table is a huge game changer for me.  Huge!  Instead of making multiple trips back and forth to grab the meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and all the other things we need to make our tacos there is only one dish and everything is ready to go.  Clean up is easier than ever, mostly because my family licks the dish clean.

The seasoning mix I use for these tacos is the same I use for almost any Mexican inspired dish I make.  There is no need to buy those seasoning packets at the store full of MSG and silica (sand!).  Just mix together a few teaspoons of seasonings you probably already have in your kitchen for a quick and easy seasoning blend.  Plus you can customize your own flavors.  Add more cayenne if you like it spicy, more cumin if you like it smoky.  It’s so easy to make you’ll never want to go back to those chemicals again.

With beans for fiber and plenty of lettuce and tomatoes piled on top these tacos make healthy eating fun.  This recipe makes 18 tacos, which will feed a crowd or give you plenty of leftovers for later.  Just reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes and the tacos will be crunchy and ready to enjoy all over again.

Gluten Free Crunchy Baked Tacos

These easy and delicious tacos will change your Taco Tuesday forever.


  • 12 crunchy taco shells
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 14.5 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • Toppings: salsa, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, etc


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place taco shells in a baking dish so they stand upright. (see photo above)
  3. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Drain and return to pan, reduce heat to medium.
  5. Add 1/2 cup water to the beef in the pan.
  6. Add black beans, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt to pan along with the water.
  7. Stir well and continue cooking until water has evaporated, about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Spoon beef mixture evenly into the taco shells.
  9. Top evenly with cheese.
  10. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  11. Remove from oven and top as desired.
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    • says

      I use the 365 Brand from Whole Foods. But believe it or not the Taco Bell brand shells are preservative free – just ground corn, oil, and salt in the ones I spotted at the store.

  1. Danielle says

    Try making your own hard shells from the soft corn tortillas, you’ll never go back to regular hard shells again – I promise! Just spritz each tortilla with a little cooking spray (or use oil) and sprinkle chili powder and garlic salt on one side only. Then drape them over 2 oven rungs and bake at about 400 degrees until browned. I usually take mine off the rungs and flip them right-side-up after they’ve hardened up a bit to finish cooking. It takes a couple tries to get them perfect and quite a bit of babysitting them, but man is it worth it!

    Thanks for the recipe, Susan :)