If you’ve been looking for an easy but flavorful sandwich, this is the blog post for you. The return on investment on this walking taco sandwich is high.
What is a walking taco?
A walking taco is basically the ingredients that you would have in an Americanized ground meat taco, dumped into a bag of Fritos or corn chips. In this case, we’re obviously talking about Tex-Mex, not traditional Mexican tacos–possibly the kind of tacos your mom might have made in the 80s or 90s.
These tacos are most often ground beef, spiced with Mexican spices, a blend of shredded cheese, salsa, onions, and maybe guacamole if you’re fancy. The Frito corn chips add the needed crunch to bring the whole thing together.
I guess in theory the name came from the idea that you could eat a taco from a bag while walking a bit easier than you can eat a real taco? Looking back on it while writing, I guess I could have tested this theory, but this is a sandwich blog, not a hiking blog (this is my brother-in-law’s hiking blog).
Is this a chopped cheese?
Yes. It is an altered version of the chopped cheese.
I wrote about New York’s favorite chopped cheese a few months ago and most of the principles in that sandwich apply here. The seasoning is different and some of the toppings are different, but it’s ground meat, that has been seasoned and browned, then cheese is chopped into the hot meat, creating a good melty situation. If you can make a chopped cheese at home, this sandwich will be an easy one to tackle.
Walking taco history
Heavy Table has a long article you can read about some of the history behind the walking taco. Their research shows that this action of putting taco ingredients into a bag of chips originated at least as far back as the 1950s as “Frito pie.” According to a damn dictionary.com, Frito-Lay copyrighted the term “walking taco” earlier this year (2022).
Regardless of who invented these walking tacos, we’re going to make our own walking taco focused sandwiches. Let’s get started with the bread.
This is my tried-and-true sub-roll recipe. But you could use any sort of long roll that is somewhat soft.
The takeaway that my wife and I had when eating this sandwich was that it does benefit from being a softer roll. If it was super hard and crusty bread, it might not work as well.
For consistency’s sake, I used the silicone pan liner that I wrote about in my roast beef submarine sandwich post. If you want a soft sub roll where all the rolls are similarly shaped and baked, this is a great item to own. We’re talking about Subway-style rolls here.
Here’s my sub sandwich roll recipe. As I’ve said a few times before it’s the most beginner-friendly bread recipe I have on the site. If you’re a first-time baker, give it a shot and send me a photo on Twitter or Instagram!
You can easily buy your own/favorite taco seasoning if you want. But many of you will already have most of the seasonings and spices that are in the recipe. You can use this recipe for your next taco night, but it’s also included in the walking taco recipe down below.
The ground meat
In all the walking taco sandwiches I made while testing this recipe and photographing them, I used ground turkey. But ground beef will work just as well (or depending on your tastes, it might even be better). If you are using turkey, you might want to double-check that you’re adding a little oil in your pan to ensure there’s some fat available in the ground meat browning process.
Use whatever ground meat you can get your hands on. Just know that the less fat the meat has, the more oil or butter you might want to add before cooking to get proper browning.
Yeah, I don’t have anything to say about these. If you don’t live in the United States and can’t get Fritos, you can use some chopped-up tortilla chips or some other crunch corn-based chip. The whole goal is to provide as much taco-like crunch to your sandwich.
The super simple cooking process
- First, soften the onions
- Second, brown the ground meat
- Third, fold/chop in the cheese
- Fourth, add your favorite taco fillings and the Fritos or corn chips
- $ Profit $
Try to get the meat, onions, and cheese into the sandwich before the cheese is fully melted if you want to ensure you have some creamy melted cheese in there. If you cook it too long, the cheese will harden and lose some of its creamy attributes.
Here’s my walking taco sandwich recipe. Give it a try, it’s a good one to keep in your lunch or dinner repertoire.
Here's an easy-to-make sandwich with a fantastic return on your investment. In less than 20 minutes you can have a flavorful taco sandwich experience with boundless textural sandwich experiences.
Ingredients:Suburban taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced (1/4 of an onion per sandwich)
- 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (1/4 pound per sandwich)
- taco seasoning (from above)
- 4 to 8 cheddar cheese slices
- cooked ground meat and cheese (from above)
- lettuce, shredded
- 1 tomato, diced
- 4 to 8 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 to 8 tablespoons guacamole (optional)
- salsa, hot sauce or taco sauce
- Fritos or another brand corn chips
- 4 five- to six-inch sub rolls
Suburban taco seasoning: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix everything up nicely.
Transfer to a jar or container with a lid.
Cook the ground meat and onions: place a large pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil.
Once the oil is shimmering, add diced onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring the onions occasionally.
After two minutes, add the ground meat on top of the onions. Season with a few dashes of your taco seasoning (at least a half teaspoon per sandwich) and cook until the meat has browned, and the onions are soft about 6 or 7 minutes.
When the ground meat is fully cooked and browned, separate the meat into four equal-sized portions and add your slices of cheese on top of the meat/onions and allow the cheese to soften for 2 minutes.
Chop the cheese: after the cheese is softened a little, using a spatula, stir the cheese into the meat and onions.
Sandwich assembly: split your roll and open it up. You can add condiments to the bread now or wait until the end.
Using your spatula, scoop the meat and cheese mixture into your split rolls.
Add shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa or hot sauce to the meat. All these ingredients are optional, so you can set them out in bowls and allow everyone to dress their own sandwich.
Sprinkle on some crunchy corn chips to top each sandwich and serve.
Make your own walking taco sandwich!
Check back next week when we’ll be making bird dogs.