This Mexican chalupa recipe uses fresh ingredients to make fried tortillas loaded with all of your favorite toppings. Make authentic chalupas for an easy Mexican dinner, ready in just half an hour!
These are NOT your average Taco Bell chalupas. Authentic chalupas are so much better than anything from a fast food restaurant!
So, what is a Mexican chalupa?
It’s a Mexican antojito or “snack” combining fried masa (corn dough) and a savory filing.
For my chalupas recipe, savory, seasoned beef and fresh salsa are piled onto crispy fried tortillas, then topped with all of the best taco toppings.
Each bite of a beef chalupa is like an explosion of flavor in your mouth!
If you love Mexican food, try a Taco Lasagna for all your favorite south-of-the-border flavors in one cheesy dish.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole is another way to cut down on prep work.
The enchiladas are stacked rather than rolled, and you can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.
Chalupas Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Make Ahead – You can prep most of the fresh ingredients the night before or the morning of, so all you need to do is cook and assemble each Mexican chalupa when it’s mealtime.
Keep everything in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
- Bold Flavors – Use homemade taco seasoning for the best flavor. Plus, there are no added preservatives!
- Choose the right cooking oil – First, you want an oil with a high smoke point.
Vegetable oil is the most common, but canola is a close second because they both have neutral flavors and are very affordable.
Avocado, sunflower, and grapeseed are also great choices, but they are more expensive than the others.
Chalupa Mexican Serving Suggestions
While each beef chalupa is pretty filling on its own, you can’t go wrong with a side of rice!
Or, whip up a fresh batch of salsa to use in the chalupas recipe, then enjoy extra with a side of chips as well!
Kitchen Tools and Equipment Needed
- Cast Iron Skillet – I like to use this for frying because it gets nice and hot, but any large skillet will work too. You’ll need two: one to fry the tortillas and one to make the filling.
- A Sharp Knife – One of the most important tools in any kitchen, this makes prep work a breeze and prevents any bruising on tender vegetables and herbs.
- Thermometer for checking the temperature of the frying oil
How To Tell Is Oil Is Hot Enough For Frying
If you don’t have a thermometer, the simplest method is to use a wooden spoon. Stick the handle in the oil and watch what happens.
If lots of bubbles form around the handle and rise to the surface, the oil is ready for frying.
On the other hand, if the bubbles are more similar to boiling then the oil is too hot. Turn down the stove, let it cool a bit, and try again.
You can also use a popcorn kernel if you have any handy. Drop a single kernel in the oil, and if it pops the oil is ready to go.
Just fish out the kernel before you fry the tortillas!
Mexican Chalupa FAQ
The shape! Chalupa is the Mexican word for “boat” because the fried tortilla has a slight curve to hold in the filling.
With tostadas, the fried masa is laid completely flat to allow for a mountain of toppings.
Yes — and it’s a game-changer when it comes to busy weeknights!
Brown a large batch of ground beef and freeze for later use. You can either season based on how you’ll be using it later, or leave it plain and add the seasoning when you reheat it.
- Brown: Cook in a large skillet, working in batches depending on how much you’ll be making.
- Cool: Drain off all of of the fat and let it cool, either in the pan or in the fridge.
- Store: Portion into storage bags based on how much you’ll need for your meals, then freeze for up to 4 months.
Be sure to mark not only the Use By date, but also what flavor the meat is if you added seasoning. Then, thaw in the fridge or dump right in the pan and heat from frozen!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Mexican Recipe Links
Mexican Chalupa + Video
- 1 pound ground beef
- ounce taco seasoning, TSRI taco seasoning mix
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chop
- 8 corn tortillas
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 cup refried beans
- Toppings of your choice: more salsa, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat brown the ground beef. Drain any excess fat or water off and add the taco seasoning, salsa, and fresh cilantro, mix until combined and cook 2 additional minutes stirring occasionally. Keep warm.
- In a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat, add enough vegetable oil so it goes up the side of the skillet about 1/4th of an inch. Heat until the oil reaches a temperature between 325°F and 350°F. Carefully place the tortillas one by one into the hot oil, let fry for 2 minutes and flip, cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Tortillas will puff up. Drain well on a paper towel and immediately season each tortilla with a pinch of kosher salt. Continue to do this until all of the tortillas as cooked.
- While you are frying the tortillas, heat the refried beans until warm, set aside until ready to assemble the chalupas.
- To serve, add 2 tablespoons of the beans on the chalupa and smear it so it covers evenly. Top with the ground beef mixture and toppings of your choice! I like to add more salsa, fresh cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, and queso fresco to ours.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published October 2020, updated and republished February 2023
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