How to Make a Copycat Cheesy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell

You can make a spot-on copycat of Taco Bell's Cheesy Gordita Crunch at home in under 30 minutes.

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Who doesn’t love a good copycat recipe? From a copycat Crunchwrap Supreme to Chipotle’s chicken recipe, anytime we can bring a homemade version of our favorite fast food or restaurant menu item into our kitchens, we’re happy. This copycat Cheesy Gordita Crunch recipe from Taco Bell is no exception.

Loaded with perfectly seasoned beef and a drizzle of spicy ranch dressing, these tasty tacos are encased in a fluffy flour tortilla and finished with tasty taco toppings. Added bonus? This is one restaurant copycat recipe that even beginner home cooks can master. It’s easy, cheesy, and can be on your table in under 30 minutes. Now that’s what we call fast food!

Copycat Cheesy Gordita Crunch Recipe

This recipe makes 8 Cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos.

Ingredients

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  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 8 taco shells, warmed
  • 8 tablespoons spicy ranch salad dressing
  • Optional toppings: Additional shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped red onion and/or lime wedges

Tools

  • Large Skillet: Stop buying cheap skillets that need frequent replacement. Once you invest in a high-quality enameled cast-iron skillet, you’ll never go back.
  • Serving Bowls: Perfect for family-style table settings of a build-your-own taco bar. Fill with toppings and let everyone doctor up their Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
  • Measuring Cup: For measuring liquids and pouring sauces with precision and accuracy.

Directions

Step 1: Brown the beef

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In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks, about 5-7 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. You don’t need to rinse ground beef, though.

Step 2: Season the beef

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Stir in the taco seasoning and water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: You can use store-bought taco seasoning or make this homemade seasoning for tacos.

Step 3: Melt the cheese

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Meanwhile, sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese over one side of each tortilla. Place on a microwave-safe plate (read this if you’re considering using a paper plate in the microwave); heat, uncovered, on high for 15-20 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Editor’s Tip: Not into prepping one shell at a time? Use the oven instead. Arrange the flour tortillas on a large sheet pan. Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup of cheese, then transfer the tray to a preheated 400°F oven. Bake for 3-4 minutes until the cheese starts to melt; remove the tray, and immediately wrap each cheesy tortilla around a taco shell. Return to the oven for another 1-2 minutes. Then finish the recipe as directed below.

Step 4: Add the ‘crunch’

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Immediately wrap each tortilla around a taco shell while they’re still warm.

Step 5: Fill and serve

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Fill with beef mixture, drizzle with spicy ranch dressing, and serve with the taco toppings of your choice.

Editor’s Tip: You can choose your favorite brand of spicy ranch or make your own. We especially love this jalapeno ranch dip!

Tips for Making a Copycat Cheesy Gordita Crunch

How can you make a Cheesy Gordita Crunch your own?

While our recipe sticks to the original Cheesy Gordita Crunch ingredients, don’t be afraid to deviate. Make this recipe with seasoned ground chicken or turkey, try it with a batch of Crock-Pot al pastor pork or use the filling from this vegan taco recipe.

If you’re feeling ambitious, play around with making your own flour tortillas or pillowy homemade naan, which is closer to what Taco Bells uses to wrap their Cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos.

Can you make a copycat Cheesy Gordita Crunch ahead of time?

While the cheesy taco shells are best prepped just before serving, you can certainly make the rest of the recipe ahead for on-demand Cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos anytime you want them. Prep the seasoned beef as directed and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can also prep any taco toppings ahead and store them in individual containers until ready to serve.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren is a recipe developer and food photographer. At Taste of Home, you’ll find her putting famous celebrity recipes to the test, from Dolly Parton’s stampede soup to Stanley Tucci’s six-ingredient pasta casserole. She’s also known for her FoodTok finds and sharing tips for how to re-create Internet-famous 15-hour potatoes, apple pie cinnamon rolls and chamoy pickles. When she’s not trying out a recipe-gone-viral, she’s developing copycat recipes and new twists on comfort food for her food blog, Frydae.