How To Make The Best Taco Shells In The Air Fryer

Taco shells are a fundamental component of a great taco experience, providing the perfect vessel for an array of delicious fillings.

While store-bought taco shells are convenient, making your taco shells at home can elevate your taco night to a whole new level.

One of the best methods for achieving crispy, delicious taco shells is by using an air fryer.

Let us talk about it.

Making Hard Taco Shells

Taco Shells

Creating perfectly crispy hard taco shells in the air fryer is a simple process that enhances the texture and flavor of store-bought shells.

Follow these steps to achieve ideal results:

Preheating the Air Fryer

Start by preheating your air fryer to 350 degrees F.

Proper preheating is essential as it ensures that the air fryer reaches the correct temperature for evenly warming and crisping the taco shells.

Arranging the Hard Taco Shells

Take your hard taco shells and carefully place them in a single layer inside the air fryer basket.

It is important to ensure that the shells do not overlap or touch each other.

Overlapping can prevent the shells from crisping evenly and may result in uneven textures.

If your air fryer basket is small, you may need to work in batches to avoid crowding the shells.

Other than that, do not alter the recipe too much; that’s a general rule.

This extra step will ensure that each shell gets the proper air circulation needed for uniform crisping.

Air Frying the Taco Shells

Once the taco shells are arranged in the basket, set the timer for about 2 minutes.

This brief period is typically sufficient to warm the shells and enhance their crispiness without burning them.

However, keep an eye on them as air fryers can vary slightly in performance.

During the air frying process, the hot air circulation will help the shells to achieve a delightful crisp texture, making them more enjoyable to bite into.

Equipment and Ingredients

the air fryer

To make taco shells in the air fryer, you’ll need some basic equipment and ingredients.

The essential equipment includes an air fryer and optionally, a mini muffin pan and aluminum foil.

The mini muffin pan can be particularly useful for shaping the tortillas into perfect shell forms, while aluminum foil helps in heating soft tortillas uniformly.

Here’s a detailed list of what you’ll need:


  • Air fryer
  • Mini muffin pan (optional)
  • Aluminum foil (optional)

The main ingredient you’ll need is corn tortillas. These are ideal because they crisp up nicely in the air fryer.

You can use hard taco shells and flour tortillas if you prefer different textures.

Having these ingredients and equipment on hand will ensure you’re well-prepared to create delicious taco shells that will impress your family and friends.


Preparing Corn Tortillas

Corn Tortillas

To begin making corn tortillas, follow these detailed steps to ensure perfect, crispy taco shells:

Preheating the Air Fryer

  • Start by preheating your air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). 
  • Preheating is crucial as it ensures that the tortillas cook evenly and achieve the desired level of crispiness.

Using the Muffin Pan Method

  • Take a mini muffin pan and turn it upside down. 
  • The upside-down muffin pan creates natural molds that are perfect for shaping the tortillas into classic taco shell forms.
  • Bend each corn tortilla gently and place them into the indents of the upside-down muffin pan. 

Ensure that the tortillas are evenly spaced and securely positioned to avoid any overlap, which can prevent even cooking.

Air Frying the Tortillas

Once the tortillas are positioned on the muffin pan, place the entire pan into the air fryer basket.

Make sure the muffin pan fits comfortably and does not obstruct the air circulation within the fryer.

  • Set the air fryer to cook on the lowest rack for about 3 minutes.
  • During this time, the tortillas will start to turn golden brown and become crispy. 

Keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking, as different air fryers can vary slightly in cooking times.

Flipping the Tortillas

  • After the initial 3 minutes, carefully remove the muffin pan from the air fryer.
  • Using tongs, gently flip the tortillas and place them directly into the air fryer basket.
  • Return the tortillas to the air fryer and cook for an additional 1 minute.

This final minute of air frying ensures that the tortillas achieve a perfect texture, with a consistent crispiness throughout.

Preparing Soft Tortillas


Soft tortillas can also be prepared in the air fryer for a warm and pliable texture. Begin by preheating the air fryer to 250 degrees F.

Wrap up to six soft tortillas in aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.

Place the wrapped tortillas in the air fryer and heat them for 3-4 minutes until they are warmed through.

The gentle heat of the air fryer will warm the tortillas evenly without making them too crispy.

You will quickly see that this is not the only thing you can do with an airfryer. You can also prepare quality popcorn.

Serving Suggestions

Pair your homemade taco shells with delicious side dishes to complete your meal.

Spanish rice, refried beans, and fresh corn salad are excellent choices that complement the flavors of tacos. For taco fillings, the options are endless.

Traditional beef and chicken are always popular, but vegetarian options like roasted vegetables and beans are equally satisfying.

Fish tacos with slaw offer a fresh and tangy alternative.

Picture of Mitra McGonnaghal

Mitra McGonnaghal

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