What is a 'walking taco'? Serving tacos in a snack-sized corn chip bag can lessen your weeknight workload.

food, what is a 'walking taco'? serving tacos in a snack-sized corn chip bag can lessen your weeknight workload.

Walking tacos, tacos served inside corn chip snack bags, are a perfect way to make taco night more exciting. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Food trends come and go, but one that’s making a resurgence on social media is the “walking taco.” What was once an easy campfire food, beloved by parenting bloggers, is now a great way to spice up Taco Tuesday or lay out a mess-free buffet for a game day party. The easy-to-make meal has more than 51 million views under the #WalkingTaco hashtag on TikTok, and with food content creators and chefs making different versions of this dish every day, it’s no wonder the walking taco has become such a popular meal again.

What is a walking taco?

Before you make your walking tacos at home, it’s a good idea to know a little about the history of the dish and other names it might be called.

Emilie Pianfetti, the blogger behind Finding Zest, a family lifestyle blog, says the dish is more of a concept rather than one traditional recipe. “To make it, simply crush a small bag of Fritos or Doritos — whatever you prefer — then open the bag and add your favorite taco toppings. You eat it right out of the bag. It’s really nice because it’s portable and easy [to] clean up,” she tells Yahoo Life.

While the name walking taco might be what it’s known as on social media, the dish has some regional names too. In the south you might hear it called “Frito pie,” while in the midwest you may see “taco-in-a-bag” on menus.

Pianfetti, who posted her original recipe for walking tacos on her blog in 2010, said she originally saw them for sale at events she’d attended. “This would have been the early 2000s from individuals trying to fundraise or from food trucks, that sort of thing,” she says.”I just really loved the idea, so I recreated them at home.”

Since then, the dish has taken off and can be found everywhere from restaurants to weeknight dinners inside family homes.

What types of chips are best for walking tacos?

Just like regular tacos, walking tacos are completely customizable based on what you may have in the fridge or which toppings you like best. Pianfetti likes to start her walking tacos with a base of Fritos or Doritos. “Fritos are actually the more traditional route to go,” she says, “[but] I actually prefer Doritos [because] I find that it’s easier to break up the chip and then eat it.”

While nacho cheese is Pianfetti’s preferred Doritos flavor, she says the taco-flavored chips are also a good option.

Jorge Barrales, co-owner of Papi’s Tacos in Greenville, S.C., says in Mexico City, walking tacos are made with almost any type of chip including Fritos. “They’re using Takis, Doritos and Cheetos,” he says.

What toppings are best for walking tacos?

After choosing a chip base, you can start to pile on the toppings, which can range from Americanized taco toppings like shredded cheese and taco sauce to more traditional Mexican-style taco toppings like pico de gallo and crumbled queso fresco, and everything in between.

“I usually just put whatever I have on hand,” Pianfetti says. “Of course, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, taco sauce, green onions and black olives. The possibilities are really endless.”

At Papi’s Tacos, the toppings lean into the fresh flavors of Mexico. “We cook our chicken barbacoa, which is traditionally made in-house, and top [our walking tacos] off with traditional Mexican toppings, which are lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and queso fresco,” says Barrales.

He also says melted queso dip, guacamole and chopped-up leftover veggies make great toppings if you want to try the dish at home.

Tips for making walking tacos at home

Whether you’re making walking tacos for four or for 40 people, Pianfetti and Barrales agree that setting out all of the toppings like a buffet will make for a better experience for those making the dish at home.

“It’s so exciting for [everyone] to just pick their own toppings,” says Barrales.

Pianfetti says pre-made walking tacos “can get soggy over time” so setting up the meal like a taco bar keeps the ingredients “super fresh” and ensures everyone gets the best experience.

Want to try walking tacos on your next taco night? Barrales shares the walking taco recipe used at Papi’s Tacos.

Papi’s Tacos Travelin’ Taco

Courtesy of Jorge Barrales, Papi’s Tacos

food, what is a 'walking taco'? serving tacos in a snack-sized corn chip bag can lessen your weeknight workload.

(Photo: Papi’s Tacos)


    Shredded slow-cooked chicken barbacoa (ingredients below)

    Shredded lettuce

    Fresh pico de gallo

    Crema or sour cream

    4-6 snack-sized bags of Fritos corn chips

Ingredients for chicken barbacoa:

    5 chicken thighs

    2 chicken breasts

    1/2 guajillo chili

    1 garlic clove

    1/2 bag of avocado leaves

    1/4 tablespoon of black peppercorns

    1/4 tablespoon of whole cloves

    1/4 tablespoon of cumin

    1 tablespoon of kosher salt


    Clean and gut the chili. Boil it with 2 quarts of water for 10 minutes. Strain the chili and blend it with the salt, garlic, peppercorns, cumin and cloves.

    Clean the chicken and place in a deep pan. Add the blended ingredients and rub down the chicken. Scatter the avocado leaves on and around the chicken.

    Bake at 350 F for one and a half hours, then shred.

    Assemble the Travelin’ Taco by opening your bag of Fritos corn chips and adding chicken barbacoa on top. Then add shredded lettuce and fresh pico de gallo. Drizzle crema on top.

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