A Beloved Southwest Treat: The Navajo Taco

A Navajo Taco is a staple of the Southwest for good reason- beautifully soft yet slightly crispy fry bread topped with all of your favorite taco fixings.

navajo taco

A Fry Bread Tacos, also known as Navajo Taco or Indian Taco, is a delicious and iconic dish that has its roots in Native American cuisine, particularly among the Navajo people.

Navajo taco is very popular in states like Arizona and New Mexico, and we can see why! All the fillings and toppings you love in a taco put on a piece of delicious fry bread.

These mouthwatering creations feature a crispy, golden-brown fry bread base topped with savory taco fillings, offering a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. 

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What Are Fry Bread Tacos

Fry Bread Tacos are a delightful culinary invention that combines the traditions of Native American fry bread with the flavors of a classic taco. The star of this dish is the fry bread itself, which is a round, flatbread made from a simple dough of flour, water, salt, and baking powder. Flatten the dough and then deep-fry until it puffs up and turns golden brown. This results in a crispy, yet tender bread that serves as the perfect canvas for a medley of taco toppings.

How to Make Navajo Tacos

To make Fry Bread Tacos, follow these steps:

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Fry Bread (homemade or store-bought)
  • Ground Beef or Ground Bison
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Pinto Beans (cooked and seasoned)
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sliced Black Olives
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream (optional)


1. In a frying pan, brown the ground beef (or bison) until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat and add taco seasoning according to package instructions.

2. Add pinto beans and green chilies to the beef mixture.

3. Assemble your toppings: shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, sliced tomatoes, and sour cream.

4. Heat the fry bread in the oven or on a griddle until it’s warm and slightly crispy.

5. Place a generous spoonful of taco meat on top of the fry bread.

6. Add a layer of seasoned pinto beans.

7. Sprinkle on shredded cheddar cheese, followed by lettuce, sliced olives, and tomatoes.

8. If you like, drizzle some sour cream on top.

9. Fold the fry bread in half or leave it open-faced, and your Fry Bread Taco is ready to enjoy!

The History of Navajo Tacos

The origin of Navajo Tacos goes back to the forced relocation of the Navajo people, known as the Long Walk, in the 1860s. During this challenging time, the Navajo adapted to government-issued rations, which included flour, lard, and salt. With these basic ingredients, they created fry bread, which eventually became a staple in their cuisine. Navajo Tacos emerged as a way to make a hearty and flavorful meal using the limited resources available.

Can Fry Bread Be Frozen or Made in an Air Fryer?

Fry bread can be frozen for later use. Simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and store it in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to enjoy it, let it thaw and reheat it in the oven or on a griddle to restore its crispiness.

While traditional fry bread is deep-fried, you can make a slightly healthier version by using an air fryer. Coat the dough with a small amount of oil or cooking spray, then air fry it until it’s golden brown and puffed up.

Navajo Taco

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
Navajo Tacos are a staple of the Southwest for good reason- beautifully soft yet slightly crispy fry bread topped with all of your favorite taco fixings.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, indigenous, Navajo
Servings 8 people
Calories 271 kcal


For Fry Bread

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 cups oil for frying

For Navajo Taco

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans
  • 1 4 oz can of green chilis
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes


  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • diced tomatoes
  • black olives
  • pico de gallo
  • cilantro
  • sliced avocado

Recipe Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Add warm water and mix with a fork until a dough forms. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide into 8 golf sized balls, pat, and roll out the dough into roughly 6 inch discs. Cover with plastic again while you prepare to fry.
  • Heat oil in large skillet until temp reaches 350 F. Fry until the dough is golden brown on each side. Set on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat and add diced white onion. Soften for 2 – 3 minutes then add the ground beef. Cook until browned. Drain excess fat.
  • Add beans, tomatoes, chilies, and the taco seasoning packet. Add roughly ½ cup water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes
  • Top the fry bread with the meat filling with as many toppings as desired.


Calories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 13gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 815mgPotassium: 187mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 410IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Fry bread taco, Navajo taco
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