Make your own cheesy Taco Bell gordita crunch at home, a close copycat of the original sold at Taco Bell! This recipe will teach you how to make the delicious spicy ranch sauce and taco beef seasoning that give this dish its signature flavor. This is an easy and quick recipe to whip together for breakfast or lunch!
What Is a Gordita Crunch?
The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is Taco Bell's fresh take on a taco that wraps a warm flatbread around a hard taco shell, using melted Mexican cheese as the glue to hold it all together.
Inside, there's a layer of seasoned beef and spicy ranch sauce. Shredded lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese finishes everything off. The result is a delicious mish-mash of textures and flavors. It's soft, crunchy, cheesy, and there's plenty of spice highlighted in both the beef and the spicy ranch sauce.
Though Taco Bell's version uses a flatbread for the outer layer, I've used a soft taco size flour tortilla for simplicity. Premade flatbreads that you can buy in the grocery store are too large for a single gordita, but if you want to make your own flatbreads from scratch - giving you the ability to make them the correct size - you can!
How To Make Taco Bell's Seasoned Ground Beef
The actual ingredients and method used to season Taco Bell's taco meat is, obviously, a protected secret within the company. However, I think you'll find that the version used in this recipe is a delicious recreation that is reminiscent of Taco Bell's proprietary blend of spices.
To season 1 pound of ground beef, you will need the following ingredients (see recipe card for specific amounts):
- dried minced onion
- beef bouillon cube
- garlic powder
- chili powder
- cayenne pepper (leave out for less spice)
You can use any ground beef that you have on hand. 80/20 or 75/25 will yield the best flavor, though you can use a leaner variety if you are watching your fat and calories.
Brown the ground beef as you normally would and break it up into itty bitty pieces in the skillet. Drain out most of the fat, then add some water and spices and let it simmer. Voila! Perfect taco beef to great your own Taco Bell gordita crunch in your own kitchen.
Try My Crustless Taco Pie - You'll Love It
How To Make Taco Bell's Spicy Ranch Sauce
To recreate the creamy, bite-y ranch sauce layered into a Taco Bell gordita crunch, I turned to the actual ingredients list for inspiration. The ingredients are:
Spicy Ranch Sauce - Soybean oil, buttermilk, water, vinegar, cage-free egg yolk, sour cream, sugar, contains 1% or less of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried red & habanero peppers, spice, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (P), glucono delta lactone, xanthan gum, natural flavor, lactic acid, propylene glycol alginate, calcium disodium EDTA (PF). Contains: Egg, Milk [certified vegetarian]
That gave me a good place to start. After removing the obvious preservative ingredients, I experimented with different proportions and ended up with a spicy ranch sauce that's super delicious and really close to the original! My sauce includes:
- Buttermilk ranch dressing
- Sour cream
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Habanero hot sauce
Need More Heat? I made my sauce with a little kick, but it's not too overpowering. If you are a super spice lover, go ahead and double the amount of habanero sauce.
Want More Taco Bell Copycats? Try the Chicken Bacon Ranch Crunchwrap!
Variations For Your Taco Bell Gordita Crunch
Use this recipe as a starting point and vary the ingredients to your liking. Here are some ideas:
- Cheese: Use different types of cheese to create interest in the flavor profile of the dish.
- Tortilla Chips: If you can't find hard taco shells, tuck several tortilla chips in the soft tortilla. Shh, no one will know (maybe)
- Dressing: If you can find pre-made spicy ranch dressing, you can skip a couple of steps even if it ends up not tasting exactly like Taco Bell's gordita crunch. You can experiment with other dressing as well, such as Thousand Island!
- Flatbread: If you can find appropriately-sized flatbreads, go ahead and use them for an even more authentic recreation!
What To Serve With A Gordita Crunch
While these gorditas can be a meal all on their own, serve them up with any of your favorite Mexican side dishes. A few to try include:
- Mexican rice
- Refried beans
- Street corn
- Chips and Salsa
- Mexican salad
- Big ol' pitcher of margaritas... oops, how'd this get here?
Can This Dish Be Prepared in Advance?
I don't recommend fully assembling your Taco Bell gordita crunch in advance, as the hard taco shell will get stale or soft and mess up the whole texture combo of the dish. What you can do is prepare the individual components: spicy ranch sauce, taco beef, shred your lettuce and cheese, etc and then put it all together when ready to serve (make sure to warm up the beef again).
Storage Instructions For Prepared Taco Bell Gordita Crunch
As mentioned above, the longer the filling sits in the hard shell taco, the soggier it will get. However, I totally get not wanting to waste food and leftovers. To store, wrap the cooled gordita crunch tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
To reheat, preheat oven to 350. Unwrap and place Crunch on a baking sheet and heat until warmed through. This will add a little crunch back to the hard shell taco, though keep in mind the dressing and lettuce will get warm as well. Hey, I'm here for it - I hate wasting food!Print
Taco Bell Gordita Crunch
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 5
An easy recreation of Taco Bell's cheesy gordita crunch! Soft flour tortillas are attached with melty cheese to a hard taco shell and filled with seasoned ground beef, spicy ranch sauce, and topped with shredded lettuce and cheddar cheese!
Spicy Ranch Sauce
- ½ cup buttermilk ranch dressing
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon habanero hot sauce
Taco Beef Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon white granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
Cheesy Gordita Crunch Assembly
- 1 pound ground beef
- ⅔ cup water
- 5 hard taco shells
- 5 soft taco tortillas
- Shredded lettuce
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, or more for extra cheesy gorditas
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
For Spicy Ranch Sauce
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Taste and add additional habanero sauce if you prefer more heat.
For Taco Beef Seasoning
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
For Taco Beef
- In a medium skillet, brown ground beef and break into very small bits with a metal spatula. Drain most of the grease. Add water and taco beef seasoning, stir well, and let simmer 5 minutes. Keep warm.
- Set oven to low broil. On a large baking sheet, arrange soft taco tortillas. Top generously with Mexican blend cheese. Place in oven until cheese has melted (watch it closely).
- Place a hard taco shell on melted cheese and fold edges of soft tortilla around the shell, pressing down to adhere. Return to oven for an additional 2 minutes to warm.
- Add taco beef to each shell and top with spicy ranch sauce, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese.
You can use flatbreads instead of soft tortillas. You can also vary the type of cheese used. If you can find premade spicy ranch sauce, you can take a shortcut there as well (though it won't taste as closely to Taco Bell's version)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stovetop and Oven
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The seasoning for the beef is spot on! Thanks for the recipe.