Tacos de Papa Dorados (Potato Tacos Recipe)

Tacos de papa or Mexican potato tacos are going to become a whole family favorite fried tacos. These easy crispy golden tacos are easy to make and incredibly inexpensive too. Toss out those store bought taco shells and make these today!

A plate with 3 crispy fried potato tacos that are topped with lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream.
Tacos de Papa or Mexican Vegan Potato Tacos

What Are Tacos de Papa

Papa means potato, so these are Mexican potato tacos.

These perfectly crispy and golden potato tacos are some of the most popular meat free tacos in Mexican cuisine. You’ll commonly find them in a Mexican restaurant as well as every Mexican home.

They are made with budget friendly ingredients most people always have at home. I believe that the use of the inexpensive ingredients is one of the reasons it makes these one of the most popular taco around.

They are made with soft corn tortillas and a seasoned potato mixture, folded in either half moon shapes or rolled up, then deep fried. Lastly the crispy shell taco is served with a shredded lettuce or shredded cabbage, crumbled cheese, sour cream and salsa.

This tacos de papa recipe is so simple but trust me these tacos are incredibly flavorful and delicious. In my book these are some of the best tacos ever. 

A tray with folded up Mexican vegan potato tacos ready to be fried.

Why You’ll Love Tacos de Papa

The main ingredients, potato and corn tortillas, are incredibly budget friendly.
They are a meatless Mexican dish that even hardcore meat eaters will enjoy.
These tacos can easily be made either vegetarian or vegan. 
You can serve with your favorite taco toppings and let everyone add what they like. 
A great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes and extra corn tortillas.

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Ingredients to make Mexican tacos de papa. There are warm corn tortillas, boiled potatoes, onion, garlic, salt and crumbled cheese.
Tacos de Papa Ingredients

Crispy Potato Tacos Ingredients

As I mentioned above the ingredients are easily accessible to everyone and best of all, they’re very budget friendly. These ingredients are what I use in my version of potato tacos, feel free to make substitutions where you’d like. 

Corn Tortillas: You want to use soft corn tortillas and not flour tortillas for fried tacos. Flour will yield a completely different result and it won’t hold up well with the salsa. (Use either yellow or white corn tortillas.)

Potatoes: If you have access to russet potatoes then that’s a great one to use, if not use whichever variety is available to you.

Onion: I always use white onion but you could use yellow onion or shallots. In a pinch you could even use red onion or spring onions, of course these two will give a slightly different taste.

Garlic: Typically I use around 2 garlic cloves but you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder if desired.

Salt: This is to season the potatoes when boiling and also to add to the potato mixture. I like to use sea salt.

Pepper: If you’d like you could also add a pinch or so of ground black pepper or chili powder.

Oil: You’ll need some olive oil to fry the onion and garlic and you’ll also need some vegetable oil to deep fry the tacos.

Lettuce or Cabbage: To top the tacos you need either some shredded cabbage or shredded lettuce. This is up to you, everyone prefers one over the other.

Cheese: You can use crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco or also a vegan cheese of your choice.

Salsa: This is another personal choice. I personally love plenty of fresh tomato salsa over my tacos dorados. But you could use pico de gallo or salsa verde instead, if you’d like. If you have no salsa then you could just splash some hot sauce over your tacos.

Sour Cream: You simply can’t have tacos dorados without some Mexican sour cream or crema. I have a yummy vegan crema recipe.

After you make these tacos dorados de papa try my Tacos Dorados de Frijoles.

Three tacos dorados filled with refried black beans and topped with shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream and radishes.
Refried Beans Tacos Dorados

How to Make Tacos de Papa

Step 1: Make the Mashed Potato Filling
To make the filling boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium heat. It should take from 15 to 20 minutes, boil until they’re fork tender. Then drain and set aside.

Making the Filling for Tacos Dorados de Papa. Onion and garlic are sauted in then the boiled potato pieces are added to the pan and mashed.
Making the Filling for Tacos Dorados de Papa

Heat the olive oil in large skillet and once hot sauté the onion and garlic until soft.

Then add the cooked and drained potato into the pan, and use a potato masher to start mashing until broken down.

You want a thick mashed potato consistency that sticks together. Before assembling the tacos the potato mixture needs to cool down and come to room temperature.

A bowl of mashed potatoes with crumbled cheese being mixed in to make the vegetarian stuffing for tacos de papa.
Vegetarian Mexican Potato Tacos with Cheese

Once the mashed potatoes have cooled you can mix in crumbled or shredded cheese.

Step 2: Assemble The Tacos
Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan  over medium-high heat.

Warm corn tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds. They only need to be warm enough to become flexible and bend easy. 

Folding and assembling vegan potato tacos with the mashed potato filling on corn tortillas then folding into half moon shapes before using a toothpick to pin close.
Folding and assembling vegan potato tacos

Grab a warm soft corn tortilla, in half of each tortilla place one heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture. Then fold in half into half moon shapes. Use a toothpick to weave through the top to pin it closed. If you’d like a tighter seal you can use 3 toothpicks to pin all three sides.

Vegan and Vegetarian Potato Tacos Ready to be Fried
Vegan and Vegetarian Potato Tacos Ready to be Fried

Step 3: Fry The Tacos
Carefully fry tacos in the hot oil until crispy and golden brown on both sides. Fry on first side for 5 minutes then flip and fry for another 2-3 minutes. 

A frying pan with hot oil and 4 tacos frying then a plate lined with paper towels and some fried tacos draining off excess oil.
Deep Fried Tacos

After frying lay on a large plate (or baking sheet) lined with paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Air Fryer Potato Tacos

You can save some calories and instead of deep frying you can use your air fryer.

Once you’ve shaped the tacos then either brush or spray with some vegetable oil. Place some inside the air fryer basket in a single layer.

Set temperature to 390F and set the timer to 5 minutes. After timer goes off, flip and fry a further 4 minutes. You want to keep a close eye because not all air fryers are the same. Don’t let them burn!!

Topping crispy fried tacos with shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream.

Nancy’s Tips for Perfect Tacos de Papa

Prevent cracked tortillas or cracked tacos: Do so by making sure that they are properly warmed up before using. Do a test by folding the warmed tortilla in half and if it doesn’t crack then you’re good to go.
Crispy tacos every time: Make sure you fry until golden brown and this will ensure crispiness.
How to tell if the oil is hot enough: Place a wooden spoon into the hot oil and if the edges start to bubble up then it’s ready.
Flavorful tacos: Do taste the potato filling before you use it. Adjust any seasoning if you’d like.

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Mexican Crema Drizzled Over Crispy Tacos.
Mexican Crema Drizzled Over Crispy Tacos

How to Serve Potato Tacos

When it comes to crispy tacos you can top with your favorite garnishes. It’s part of what makes them such a fun and delicious Mexican food. 

You can use shredded cabbage or lettuce, vegan or regular cheese, a squeeze of lime juice, your favorite salsa, and a good drizzle of Mexican crema.

Do not add the garnishes until right before serving to avoid soggy tacos.

Please notice that though it’s more common to add the garnishes on top of the tacos, there are some people in the Northern parts of Mexico that will add them to the inside of the tacos, to resembles American-style taco shells.

This potato taco recipe is great when served as a lunch or dinner. It’s perfect party food or for game day when you want a quick and fun meal to serve.

This is one of those meatless meals that’s nice and simple, but bursting with deliciousness! 

Side Dishes for Tacos de Papa

I personally just like to eat my tacos as pictured, but you can of course add any side dish that you’d like. Some delicious ideas are: Homemade Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos), Refried Black Beans, Mexican red riceZanahorias en Escabeche or Mexican Pickled CarrotsSautéed Nopales, Salsa Roja or Salsa Verde. 

A plate on top of a white and orange kitchen towel, on the plate are 3 crispy fried potato tacos that are topped with lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream.
Mexican Potato Tacos Recipe

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“These potato tacos were wonderful! They came out perfectly crispy, and the potato filling was so hearty and flavorful. Delicious way to enjoy taco night!” Amanda
Don’t forget to add your review

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Crispy Tacos

Allow your tacos to come to room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

Fridge
These tacos will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just keep in mind that the crispy tortillas will become soft, so it’s important to properly reheat.

Freezer
Though tortillas freeze quite well, potatoes do not. So it’s not recommended to to freeze tacos dorados de papa.

Reheating
I love to use my air fryer for this. Simply set the temperature to 390F and cook for 3 minutes. Check on the tacos and if warm and crispy remove, if not add another 2 minutes.

You could also reheat in the oven or toaster oven. Preheat oven to 400F and lay the tacos on a baking tray in a single layer.  Heat for 5 minutes, flip and heat another couple of minutes. Check on them and determine if they need to be left longer or removed.

Three crispy fried tacos on a brown plate and topped with lettuce, cheese, sour cream and mild salsa.
Tacos Dorados de Papa (Easy and Crispy Potato Tacos Recipe)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Leftover Mashed Potatoes?

If you have thick leftover mashed potatoes that can hold together for these fried potato tacos then you can use them.

Can You Use Leftover Boiled Potatoes?

Leftover potatoes are a big yes!  You could even use roasted or baked potatoes. Well as long as you can make the flavors you originally seasoned these leftover potatoes with work for tacos, then go for it.

Can You Make Tacos de Papa Ahead?

You can make the potato filling a day or couple days ahead. But I suggest assembling and cooking the tacos the same day you’ll be serving. Additionally don’t add the garnishes until right before serving. 

Are tacos de papa gluten-free?

Yes because potatoes and corn tortillas are naturally gluten free. Make sure to read the tortilla package label to confirm.

Are Tacos de Papa Vegetarian?

Yes and what makes them a vegetarian dish is usually the sour cream and cheese toppings, or if you add cheese to the potato mixture.  Crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco are both delicious as garnishes and in the potatoes. 

Are These Tacos Vegan?

Yes, without the toppings they are traditionally a vegan Mexican recipe!

Isn’t that amazing?! So next time anyone tells you that you can’t be a “true” Mexican and not eat meat, point to these tacos as an example…along with the countless other options

You could actually even make a vegan cheese version by using your favorite crumbly vegan Mexican cheese. I have a recipe for vegan cotija cheese and it works deliciously in these tacos. 

More Tacos Recipes

Check out these vegan and vegetarian tacos for another taco night.

Nancy Lopez author of Mexican Made Meatless

Gracias

I’m so happy you stopped by. If you have any questions or want to let me know how you liked this recipe, do leave a comment. Muchas gracias, I appreciate you!

A plate with 3 crispy fried potato tacos that are topped with lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream.

Tacos de Papa (Potato Tacos Recipe)

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
Tacos de papa or Mexican potato tacos are going to become a whole family favorite fried tacos. These easy crispy golden tacos are easy to make and incredibly inexpensive too. Toss out those store bought taco shells and make these today!
5 from 39 votes
Pin Recipe Leave a Review
Print Recipe
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Mexican vegan, vegan mexican
Servings 16 tacos
Calories 258 kcal

Ingredients
  

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. potato peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups water for boiling
  • 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 16 corn tortillas warm

Toppings

  • 3 cup iceberg lettuce shredded or use white cabbage
  • ½ cup vegan sour cream (use my homemade recipe)
  • 1 cup homemade tomato salsa (use my homemade recipe)
  • 1 cup vegan cotija cheese (or regular cotija)

Instructions
 

  • Place the potatoes and the 1 teaspoon of salt into a pot, then pour in enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set aside.
    Ingredients to make Mexican tacos de papa. There are warm corn tortillas, boiled potatoes, onion, garlic, salt and crumbled cheese.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Once hot add the chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté until soft and a little crispy. Turn off the heat then add the boiled potatoes, the half teaspoon of salt, and use a potato masher to mash until smooth. Taste and adjust salt if desired or necessary.
    Making the Filling for Tacos Dorados de Papa. Onion and garlic are sauted in then the boiled potato pieces are added to the pan and mashed.
  • Warm up the corn tortillas then place one tablespoon of the potato filling on it. Spread it around to one half of the tortilla. Fold in half moon shapes then use a toothpick to pin the top — you could use one toothpick for each of the 3 sides if desired.
    Folding and assembling vegan potato tacos with the mashed potato filling on corn tortillas then folding into half moon shapes before using a toothpick to pin close.
  • In a frying pan you’re going to heat the cup of vegetable oil. You can test the heat of the oil by placing a wood spoon into it and if the edges on the spoon are bubbling then it’s hot enough. Carefully place some tacos into the oil, but don’t over crowd, and fry on both sides until nice and crispy. It’ll be about 5 minutes on one side then 3 minutes on the other.
    A frying pan with hot oil and 4 tacos frying then a plate lined with paper towels and some fried tacos draining off excess oil.
  • Place the fried tacos on a paper towel lined plate and drain off excess oil. Continue to fry all of the tacos until done. Allow to cool slightly and remove the toothpicks before serving.
    Mexican crema being drizzled over crispy potato tacos.
  • Serve 3 or 4 tacos on each plate and top with shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Serve immediately and enjoy!
    Three crispy fried tacos on a brown plate and topped with lettuce, cheese, sour cream and mild salsa. One taco has a bite taken out of it.

Notes

To make a vegetarian version, mix in 1 cup of crumbled queso cotija or queso fresco to the potato mixture. 

Nutrition

Serving: 16servingsCalories: 258kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 655mgPotassium: 151mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 205IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!

Originally published in May 2020, updated in February 2024.

Three crispy fried tacos on a brown plate and topped with lettuce, cheese, sour cream and mild salsa. One taco has a bite taken out of it.
Delicious Vegan Crispy Tacos

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53 Comments

  1. Just from reading it, I can tell there’s something elemental missing. I wish I could ask my abuelita but alas that’s not gonna happen. Nonetheless, I have a pretty good idea what it is and it is a can of Pato tomato sauce.
    It may be a single ingredient, but it makes a utterly next level dish with it. Thank you for the basics.

    1. Hi Frank!
      I wish you could ask your abuelita too, there’s nothing quite like abuela’s cooking.
      Pato tomato sauce is not an ingredient we use here in Mexico, I believe that’s only found in the US. Regardless feel free to experiment with my recipe until it tastes like your abuela’s. Enjoy!

  2. Bonjour,
    Ne trouvant pas de lien pour m’inscrire à votre newsletter, j’aimerai que vous m’ajoutiez à votre liste grace au mail que je vous donne ci-dessous, car j’apprécie vraiment votre blog et la diversité des recettes proposées….
    Espérant avoir bientôt de vos nouvelles dans ma boîte mail….
    Bien amicalement,
    Marilyn

    1. Bonjour Marilyn,
      Je suis désolé, je ne parle pas bien français, donc j’utilise Google Translate. 🙂
      Viola je vous ai ajouté à ma liste de newsletter. Merci. ~Nancy