Make Your Own Taco Night (with Homemade Corn Tortillas)

When you have a three year-old staying with you, chances are you’re probably not going out to dinner. We did go out one night and that’s a whole story in and of itself. Most nights, though, I cooked and that turned out to be a lot of fun, coming up with food to make for a small crowd (other friends dropped by in the hours leading up to dinner). One night, someone suggested going out for tacos and I responded, “I can make tacos right here!” Then I ran to the store and bought a bunch of stuff to prove that my homemade tacos would be just as good as whatever we’d get at a restaurant.

My first step was to make a salsa. When I have to buy grocery store tomatoes out-of-season, I almost always buy cherry tomatoes because they’re consistently tart and good. So I cut a box of those in half, added chopped red onion, a minced jalapeno, salt, fresh lime juice, a splash of olive oil and chopped cilantro, tasting to adjust.


Step two was the meat. I decided to go for raw Mexican chorizo. If you can find that, your job is really easy: take the chorizo out of the casing, brown it in a pan coated in vegetable oil, breaking it up as you do. When it’s almost entirely cooked through and the fat has leached out, make a hot spot and cook half a chopped onion in there with a pinch of salt.


Stir that all together and then add a can or two of drained pinto beans depending on how many people you’re feeding. Stir and taste for salt. Turn the heat off until you’re ready to serve.

Once I had that ready to go, I grated some cheddar cheese and opened a container of sour cream. Here’s the fixins bar.


But what really made this make-your-own taco night special was making the tortillas from scratch. I did a whole post the other day called “It’s So Easy To Make Your Own Corn Tortillas” and it’s true, it is so easy. So easy, in fact, even a kid can do it.


Well she can sit in a chair eating a homemade quesadilla while watching you do it. Here’s my work station.


Once I started flattening the tortillas, I heated a cast iron skillet on high and turned the heat on low for the meat. Once a tortilla was cooked and ready to go…


…I called the first guest into the kitchen. Meet Gabe.


Meet his taco.


Doesn’t that look good?

The best part is there was plenty of everything to go around; so I kept cooking tortillas, calling people in, watching them make tacos and chatting all the while. It was a lot of fun.

So if you have a tortilla press and some friends to invite over, have a Make Your Own Taco Night. A good time is guaranteed for all.

10 thoughts on “Make Your Own Taco Night (with Homemade Corn Tortillas)”

    1. If you don’t have a tortilla press you can just use two wooden cutting boards. That’s how we grew up doing it.

  1. Ahhh raw chorizo no!!!! I bought some the other day at the grocery store, also for tacos, some cheapo 99 cent brand in the dairy section – it was DISGUSTING. It never cooked down and became this bubbly, goopy fatty mess that seemed to have tripled in mass and literally gave me nightmares afterwards. The atrocious list of ingredients should have been a tip off. Adam, where do you get your chorizo/where did I err??

  2. Might I suggest you switch out cojita cheese for the cheddar, and mexican crema for the sour cream. Shredded cabbage (or just packaged coleslaw), sliced radishes and a squeeze of lime will transport your tacos to a higher level. and closer to the border.

    1. I agree with everything but the cabbage, ew, ick, YUCK! I’ve lived in CA my entire life (4th generation NATIVE) and will live here until the day I die. I don’t know why cabbage has come into vogue on tacos the last 10-15 years. It’s gross as all get out! Absolutely disgusting! Every Mexican restaurant, deli or taco truck at which I’ve ever eaten served LETTUCE on their beef, pork or chicken tacos. Cabbage ONLY goes on fish tacos.

      Also, I would NEVER have served chorizo tacos to a 3 year-old. Too spicy for most little kids. I would have gone with the more pedestrian chili powder and cumin flavored ground beef. Also, tacos aren’t supposed to be filled with beans. At least not any of the tacos I’ve ever seen in the dozens of Mexican kitchens I’ve been invited into. Meat is often stretched with grated or small dices of potato, however. Other than coleslaw (served as a salad, not a condiment) I’ve never seen cabbage in a Mexican’s home kitchen, either.

      1. I am very late to this party, but I couldnt help but leave a comment. I have been reading through several comments here, and so many people find it neccessary to point out what should or should not be in a particular dish. Balogna or is that luncheon meat? There is no…….this must be in there for it to be authentic. Food is as evolutionary as language, perhaps more rapidly so. It is nice to have a general idea about authetic ingredients, but from then on you improvise. I was just reading a Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe the other day, by some famous somebody, and nowhere listed in the ingredients was the one spice that sets this recipe apart…allspice. I looked at the recipe and thought balooney, this isn’t authentic, but as an experienced homechef, I could “taste” the final dish based on what was listed, and it “tasted” great.

        I commend you on this blog that has simple homey recipes anyone can tackle.

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