Potato Tacos

by Matt on December 6, 2010

In the world of taquerias there are potato tacos (tacos de papa) and then there are potato tacos. And if you’ve never had one, it’s exactly what you think: tender chunks of potatoes are cooked with onions and spices and nestled inside a corn tortilla and topped with shredded lettuce and salsa.


And sometimes they’re mashed and tucked inside a corn or flour tortilla and doused with Mexican crema and again, topped with lettuce, cabbage, salsa or pico de gallo.

And then there’s the Casa de Matt variety: a type that forsakes all pomp and circumstance and distills it down to the bare essentials. And it’s not very pretty.

When I cook at home I try my best to incorporate some type of quasi-balance. I like some freshness with my fried, some raw with my baked, some greens with the browns. But when I make this recipe I throw any type of balance out of the window and over the years it has become my guilty pleasure. Let’s take a look.

Mashed potatoes are seasoned with salt, pepper, copious amounts of sour cream, sometimes shredded cheese (almost any type I have!) and spread inside a pliable corn tortilla. These tacos are then fried in oil until crispy, drained on a paper towel so that I may kid myself that I’m removing some oil, and then doused — DOUSED — in hot sauce with a few pickled jalapeños on the side.

Could I add something fresh, say radishes or shredded cabbage? I could. But I don’t.

This is soul food, the crunchy greasy kind that tastes oh so good but is best enjoyed sporadically. Or when you find yourself with a giant mound of leftover mashed potatoes.

Matt’s Stripped Down Potato Tacos
These are all very basic approximations as I don’t think I’ve ever written it down. But it’s not hard to figure out.

Mashed potatoes, feel free to add additional seasoning or shredded cheese or a few spoonfuls of sour cream
Corn tortillas
Oil for frying

1. Spread one or two tablespoons of the mashed potatoes onto half of a corn tortilla. Fold over to form a taco. Repeat, depending on how hungry you are.

2. Once formed, carefully place the tacos into hot oil. You want enough to slightly cover the taco but you won’t need to get crazy with a deep fryer. I suppose you could, though.

3. Fry until golden then use tongs to remove the tacos. Drain on paper towels and let cool slightly so you don’t burn your face off. Top with hot sauce.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet December 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

Um… I would die for this.

Magda December 6, 2010 at 8:59 am

I have never had potato tacos. I would love to try yours though! They look perfectly fried.

Marvin Jansen December 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

Yummy, yummy, I want one for my tummy now.

Alanna December 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

Oh man. And here just yesterday I threw out at least ten pounds of leftover mashed potatoes. If only I’d saved one last little spoonful I’d be having one of these for lunch right now instead of, well, something “fresh”. Fun, Matt!

Sally December 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

I love this post!

Sounds scrummy… might just well have to try these, think they would be great hangover food!

Katryn@rampantcuisine December 6, 2010 at 11:31 am

I can almost smell these through my computer screen…yum.

cptexas December 6, 2010 at 11:34 am

Haha – this is my husbands favorite dinner. He call them PT’s. I boil potatoes and mash with a little garlic powder and salt, no butter because it gets runny and makes a mess when frying. I do ad a strip of cheese then fry till brown and crunchy. Shredded cabbage is a must for us. And talk about cheap! Muy Mexican of us.

Avonelle December 6, 2010 at 11:53 am

I can actually ‘see’ myself eating one of these (or two) the VERY next time I make mashies!!! WooHoo!!! And Cholula is sooo delish!!! Made of win!

sweetlife December 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Oh my goodness, my mom used to make these for us AlL the time when we were little…funny my girls love them too!! your super sweet to feature these, and baby ..you make them look so COOL!!


Mary @ stylefyles December 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm

these sounds AWESOME.

I want them tonight.

kay* December 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm


this post literally made me laugh out loud! i LOVE how you write. i think i’ll definitely be giving these tacos a try this weekend.

Kristen December 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Tortillas and potatoes are a magic combination. I always put potatoes in my enchiladas. YUM!

laura k December 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Wow. You have just made my stomach growl, loudly. And I just had lunch. I might have to eschew my otherwise healthy dinner plans for tonight and have these instead.

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather December 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Potato taco, yum! I would have never thought to make these.

Denise Michaels @ Adventurous Foodie December 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I have respect for food that isn’t always pretty but that bursts with flavor. Love the pictures I see online of one perfect dish of blackberries or something. But for pure comfort and flavor give me ugly food anytime. I’ve made a point of showing pictures of food on my blog the way it really looks to me when I take it out of the oven or out of the pan. Because when you see such a perfect picture and can’t figure out why yours doesn’t look quite so pretty. It can be a little discouraging.

Fran December 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm

It’s like a Taco version of a knish and I have a feeling better than the heartburn inducing hockey pucks that are knishes. :) I’m oing to have to give this a try.

kphipps December 6, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Now that is what I call some hot carb on carb action.

Dear lord how I love potato tacos! I never thought of using leftover mashed potatoes to make them. Reminds me of the wonderful potato, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos at our old friend Taco Cabana.

Anadrol December 7, 2010 at 4:03 am

In short: Love it. Thanks for the tip.

LimeCake December 7, 2010 at 4:04 am

I’ve just had dinner but I’m wishing I had this instead! Think I’ll be trying this with some leftover sweet potatoes and Tabasco. I suppose grilling this sans oil would take away all the fun, right? Nothing like a little unadulterated carb on carb action, as @kphipps comments.

SMITH BITES December 7, 2010 at 6:27 am

dear God in heaven – i do believe i have everything to make these!! it’s a sign, i tell you, a sign!!

Margaret Roach December 7, 2010 at 8:09 am

My kind of meal.

Teresa December 7, 2010 at 10:28 am

This is a new concept for me, but I know my husband would go wild for these, and they are now in the rotation. The photo completely rocks it.

Angharad December 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

This is beyond awesome. If I shared some of the “when I’m alone” meals that I consume…well, I don’t think I could make it look this pretty! They sound delicious!

Crissy December 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! So simple, so perfect.

Kimberley December 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm

OMG! I love potato tacos! They are such the ultimate comfort food! Doesn’t hurt when you’ve had a few drinks either. ;)

Minelab-garrett December 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm

tender chunks of potatoes are cooked with onions and spices and nestled inside a corn tortilla and topped with shredded lettuce and salsa – great recipe!

SWEETONVEG December 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm


Annemarie December 8, 2010 at 12:55 am

Oh, oh my!

Kiran December 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

A simple vegetarian taco! Looks so yummy! Can I try baking it instead of deep frying? Would it work?

Matt December 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

Hi Kiran! I’ve made baked corn tortilla chips before but have never baked these, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work? This recipe could even be vegan if needed! If you try it please do let me know :)

Fanny December 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Oooh! So simple and it sounds really delicious too. I will definitely try it asap.

Kimberley December 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Oh hell yes is right! Although have to say – I love pickled cabbage, and would probably want some of that stuffed in there too.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners December 8, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Last I heard mashed potatoes is what they served in heaven. I love mashed potatoes and make then with sour cream and heavy cream and butter because if you’re going to go fat you might as well go all out. I also enjoy fried things very much so this is genius and I am definitely making it.

peej December 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I just made a similar version of this last week & it was wonderful. same thing: mashed potatoes & cheese between 2 tortillas & cooked in a quesadilla maker machine. fantastic! simple! had spinach herb tortillas & the smell of the herbs along with the onion&garlic spices added to the mashed potatoes! OMG!

Monica December 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

This picture seriously made my mouth water! YUM! You rock!

marla {family fresh cooking} December 10, 2010 at 7:17 am

I bet a dreamy nap must take place after munching on these. There is a book called “Potatoes not Prozac.” These babies would lift anyones mood. xo

bianca December 10, 2010 at 11:09 am

I have never heard of potato tacos, sounds yummy! I’m going to convince my sister to make this recipe with me this weekend.

Stefanie December 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

hi – i LOVE these too! so glad i’m not the only one!

Andrea December 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Matt, you’re so awesome!!! Mashed potato tacos are my favorite!!!! Especially w/ chile de arbol salsa! Oh, and cheese! I love love everything you make! :)

Monica December 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm

how in the hell have i never heard of this until now?!? OMG, I am in love!!! I might make mashed potatoes just for this….

Becca December 12, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Oh my gosh!! those look delicious! Calorie free I’m sure ?;)

charity December 15, 2010 at 12:31 am

omg……apply face.

Carrie December 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

This is the first time I have been to your website and I am in love with this post. Not only does this sound delicious, but your design is wonderful. I hope my family makes mashed potatoes for Christmas so I can steal them and make these at home …

shaun@everybodylovesramen June 27, 2011 at 1:19 am

Gonna try this as quick as possible man.

I LOVE your photo styling — very unique & inspiring. It’s part of what keeps me coming back to your blog all the time.

Minelab-garrett June 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I LOVE your photo styling — very unique & inspiring. It’s part of what keeps me coming back to your blog all the time – :)

Dan July 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

Made these with the Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes you have posted for my wife and they were amazing!!! So easy and simple they have to be wonderful.

World Best Recipes August 24, 2011 at 5:25 am

I can’t wait to try this.

PCC August 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

My abuelita used to make these tacos all the time!! However, she would add a little bit of seasoned ground beef into the potato mixture. My wife is a vegitarian, so if she is not in the mood for just the potato tacos, I’ll add some Morningstar soy “ground beef.” For toppings we add a little bit of pico de gallo and shredded cheese with a heavy dose of Tapatio!

Ashley October 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I know this post is old… but I made these last night and they were AWESOME! I feel forced to make them again tonight since I have leftover potatoes. The jalapenos and hot sauce are a definite must.


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