Navajo Taco Recipe

Navajo tacos are such a fun spin on traditional tacos, made with puffy, fried, flour-tortilla-like fry bread and flavorful ground beef and beans, plus any and all of your favorite taco toppings!

For a different take on taco night, add these to your line-up for delicious, smoky tacos wrapped in crunchy, fluffy fry bread!

prepared navajo taco on a plate

What Are Navajo Tacos?

I’m so excited to share this Navajo tacos recipe with you all today! Navajo tacos are a traditional Native American food made with fry bread, which is like a fluffy and crunchy fried flour tortilla, plus hearty ground beef, beans, and any other favorite taco toppings. You can use any combo of tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, olives, and sour cream on top.

The fry bread is what really sets them apart from traditional Mexican or Tex-Mex tacos, and it is so delicious. Frying it makes it puff up and get airy and fluffy and soft in the middle, while giving the outside a crunchy bite. It holds up to the robust flavors in the ground beef mixture and other taco toppings SO well. If you’ve never tried them, I can’t recommend Navajo tacos enough! Especially if your household is full of as many taco fans as mine is. Enjoy!

Recipe Ingredients:

I love these flavorful, savory tacos for their big taste and crunchy texture. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ground beef: This is the main topping in Navajo tacos, and mixed with a handful of additional seasonings and ingredients, it packs big flavor.

Onion: Feel free to use yellow or white.

Garlic: Garlic adds that perfect savory flavor touch.

Red kidney beans: Kidney beans add some extra heartiness to the ground beef mixture.

Diced tomatoes: Tomatoes bring a little touch of acidity.

Diced green chilis: Diced green chilis add some heat and extra brightness to the beef.

Seasonings: Chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper round out the smoky, warm flavors of the beef mixture.

Fry bread ingredients: To make the fry bread, you’ll need milk, butter, all-purpose flour, baking powder, yeast, salt, and vegetable oil (for frying).

collate of steps to make navajo tacos

How to Make Navajo Tacos:

Navajo tacos are so fun to make and they don’t take a whole lot of time! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cook beef and onion over medium-high heat about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain extra grease from the pan.
  3. Add the garlic; cook about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes, and green chilis; stir to combine.
  5. Add the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika; stir to combine.
  6. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Get the meat topping going and then make the fry bread.

To make the fry bread:

  1. Microwave milk and the butter until just warm and the butter is melted.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, yeast, and salt to a medium mixing bowl; stir to combine.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour the milk/butter into the center of the well.
  4. Stir to combine well.
  5. Knead the mixture a few times to work the dough into a smooth ball.
  6. Cover the dough ball with a clean dish towel; let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven; prepare a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels.
  8. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces
  9. Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick circles.
  10. Start cooking the dough when oil reaches 350 to 375 degrees F., a few at a time.
  11. Cook for roughly 90 seconds per side, or until each side is golden-brown.
  12. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the oil; place on your paper towel-lined cooking sheet.
  13. Repeat with remaining dough until it’s all cooked.
  14. Serve with Navajo taco toppings or with honey butter on top.

fry bread on plates made into Navajo tacos with lots of toppings

Topping Ideas:

You can serve Navajo tacos with so many options, including any of the following:

  • Ground beef (or venison) — use the recipe below for flavorful, hearty meat!
  • Beans
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Sour cream
  • Any other favorite taco toppings

You can also serve fry bread with sweet toppings, like honey butter, honey, jam, or powdered sugar.

What to Serve with Navajo Tacos:

Navajo tacos are filling and have lots of nutritional value in them from the meat (protein), veggies, and beans! If you’d like, you can serve with a simple side salad or fresh fruit for a light side dish!

pan of cooked frybread ready to eat

 

Other favorite easy taco dinners:

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Navajo Tacos


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x

Description

Navajo tacos are such a fun spin on traditional tacos, made with puffy, fried, flour-tortilla-like fry bread and flavorful ground beef and beans, plus any and all of your favorite taco toppings!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Meat Topping:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans (15 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces), drained
  • 1 can diced green chilis (4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Fry Bread:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon rapid rise or active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot, add the beef and onion, and cook together over medium to medium-high heat until the beef is cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
  2. If there’s extra grease, drain it from the pan.
  3. Add the garlic, and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes, and green chilis, and stir to combine.
  5. Add the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika, and stir to combine.
  6. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through.
  7. I like to get the meat topping going and then make the fry bread. The topping is okay to rest over low temperature, keeping warm until the fry bread is ready.

To make the fry bread:

  1. Add the milk and the butter to a small microwave-safe bowl, and heat until just warm and the butter is melted. You’ll want to milk to be no warmer than 110 degrees F. when you use it.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, yeast, and salt to a medium mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour the milk/butter into the center of the well.
  4. Stir to combine well.
  5. Dump the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it a few times to work the dough into a smooth ball. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour.
  6. Cover the dough ball with a clean dish towel, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. While the dough is resting, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat in a heavy bottom Dutch oven or pan. Prepare a baking sheet with a layer or two of paper towels.
  8. After the 10 minutes have passed, cut the dough into 8 even pieces
  9. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick circles, using additional flour as needed. Don’t stack the uncooked dough on top of each other, as they tend to stick together.
  10. When the oil has reached 350 to 375 degrees F. on a thermometer, start cooking the dough, a few at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Don’t crowd the pan; they shouldn’t touch while cooking.
  11. Cook for roughly 90 seconds per side, or until each side is golden-brown. Flip the dough over after 90 seconds, or when the oil side is brown, and cook the other side until it is also golden-brown.
  12. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the oil, and place on your paper towel-lined cooking sheet.
  13. Repeat with remaining dough until it’s all cooked.
  14. Serve with Navajo taco toppings or with honey butter on top.

Notes

  • Top with any additional favorite taco toppings, like shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, or sour cream.
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stove top, fry
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 8 SERVING SIZE: 1 taco (includes meat but not toppings)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262.7 Fat: 3.9g Cholesterol: 38.3mg Sodium: 396.8mg Carbohydrates: 36.8g Sugars: 3.4g Protein: 19.4g Vitamin A: 28.9µg Vitamin C: 9.5mg

Keywords: how to make navajo tacos, navajo tacos, navajo taco recipe, easy navajo tacos and fry bread

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Navajo tacos are a delicious, fun, and rich take on tacos, made with fluffy fry bread, a hearty beef and bean mixture, and fresh taco toppings!

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.