Making a crunchy taco salad shell bowl at home is simple and easy to make with your air fryer. The result is a wonderful crunchy bowl without frying in oil. They taste better, in my opinion, than popular Taco Bell® menu item. Mix and match the salad ingredients to fit your personal taste.
There are several ways to do this on the web, but this one is easy and works best for me. This is not a recipe, per se, but a method.
The restaurant version uses flour tortillas. However, you may also make these shell bowls with corn tortillas. If you use corn tortillas, I recommend warming them 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave to make them more pliable.
Read my Notes at the end for info on basket air fryers and to see what else I made with these basic ingredients in my air fryer. Yum!
Taco Salad Shell Bowl Recipe
Flour tortillas, burrito size
Vegetable oil spray
For the shell bowls:
Tear off a piece of aluminum foil double the size of the tortilla, plus 2 inches. Fold the foil in half. Spray the tortilla with vegetable oil on both sides and place in the center of the foil.
You will need an oven-proof bowl to wrap the tortilla around for shaping. (I used a small Corelle® bowl.) Using the foil, lift up the sides of the tortilla and crimp the foil over the rim of the bowl as shown in the picture.
Set the air fryer temperature to 350 F. (I have an Instant Pot® Vortex Air Fryer, which does not have a basket.) Place the foil-wrapped bowl on the tray on the bottom shelf. Set the timer for 5 minutes. I didn’t bother preheating. When the time is up, unwrap the foil and lay it flat. Remove the oven-proof bowl. Use oven mitts!
Return the tortillas on the foil to the bottom tray and set the timer for 2 minutes, flipping the shell upside-down halfway through. Watch closely until the bowl is browned to your liking. You may not need the entire 2 minutes.
Load with the fillings of choice and enjoy.
Yield: 1 taco salad shell bowl
• I used Fit & Active® low-carb flour tortillas, and they worked beautifully.
• If you have an air fryer with a basket, you may need to adjust timing and/or preheat first. Keep a close eye on the timing until you get the hang of it. The foil wrapping method will work in both types of fryers.
• You will only be able to do one shell at a time, but they are quick to make and will stay crispy for a couple of hours. I do not recommend making them any further in advance.
• We had taco salads with half of the fillings. The next night, I used the meat filling to make taquitos in the air fryer. I filled the tortillas with the meat, sprinkled with cheese, and rolled them up into a log. Placed them on foil on the tray, sprinkled with shredded cheese, and used the bottom shelf. Set temperature at 350 F. for 5 minutes with no preheating. I served them with the same fillers as the salad, but on the side. They were fantastic!
Taco Salad Shell Bowl Recipe Photo ©2021 Peggy Filippone