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!
Table of Contents
What Are Tacos de Papa
These perfectly crispy and golden 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.
Papa means potato, so these are Mexican potato tacos.
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, served with a shredded lettuce or shredded cabbage, crumbled cheese, sour cream and salsa.
Very basic recipe but trust me they’re incredibly flavorful and delicious.
Are These Tacos Vegan
Yes, 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.
How to Make Them Vegetarian
As previously mentioned, these are indeed a vegan taco. However you can also make a vegetarian version if you’d like.
To do so, simply mix in crumbled some cotija cheese or queso fresco into the prepared potato mixture.
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.
Crispy Potato Tacos Ingredients
As I mentioned above the ingredients are easily accessible to everyone and best of all, they’re very budget friendly.
- 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.
- 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. If you’d like you could also add a pinch or so of ground black pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
How to Make the Filling
To make the filling it’s just a matter of boiling the potatoes in a large pot over medium heat with salted water and waiting until they’re fork tender. Then drain.
In a large skillet sautéing onion and garlic in a little olive oil and cooking until soft. Then adding 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.
Can You Use Leftover Mashed Potatoes or Boiled Potatoes?
Mashed potatoes tend to be a bit too thin to hold together for fried potato tacos. So I’d advice against it.
Leftover potatoes are a big yes! Well as long as you can make the flavors you originally seasoned these leftover potatoes with, then go for it. I mean a little butter flavor isn’t going to ruin your tacos.
How to Make Tacos de Papa
Once the potato filling is prepared and has come to room temperature then you can proceed.
Start by heating the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Turn flame to medium-high heat and allow to heat up while you take the tortillas and warm them in the microwave for 15 seconds. They only need to be warm enough to become flexible and bend easy.
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.
Line a large plate with paper towel to drain off excess oil. Carefully fry tacos in the hot oil until crispy and golden brown on both sides.
Air Fryer Method
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. 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!!
How to Serve Potato Tacos
All you need are the shredded cabbage or lettuce, vegan or regular cheese, tomato salsa and a good drizzle of Mexican crema.
Nice and simple. But bursting with deliciousness!
Pro 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 it 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.
Tacos de Papa (Potato Tacos Recipe)
- 1 lb. of potato peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups water for boiling
- 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup onion finely chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
- 16 corn tortillas warm
- 3 cup iceberg lettuce shredded or use white cabbage
- 1/2 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve 3 or 4 tacos on each plate and top with shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Serve immediately and enjoy!
How to Reheat Leftover Crispy Tacos
I love to use my air fryer for this. Simple 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. Set temperature to 400F and leave in there for 5 minutes. Check on them and determine if they need to be left longer or removed.
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. Below are some ideas.
- Homemade Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)
- Zanahorias en Escabeche or Mexican Pickled Carrots
- Sautéed Nopales
More Tacos Recipes
Check out these vegan and vegetarian tacos for another taco night.
- Chorizo with Eggs
- Vegan Birria Tacos
- Fajita Tacos by Profusion Curry
- Potato Tacos with Spinach
- Breakfast Tacos: Huevos con Salchicha
- Vegan Carnitas Tacos
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…