Keto Taco Shells are an easy meal option that the whole family will love. You don't need to be on a low-carb diet to LOVE cheese taco shells, after all!
Mexican food - and Mexican-American food - always hits the spot, but can be difficult when low carbbing.
Rice, beans, flour tortillas - all among my favorite foods, but they all rack up the carb count quickly! Even traditional tacos, as simple as they are, are pretty carbby - both flour and con tortillas are high in carbs.
Good news, though - you don’t need to forgo tacos on keto!
With little time and effort, you can easily make the your own cheese taco shells - and they’re gluten-free taco shells!
The Nutritional Info
These taco shells are great for almost any low carb diet, including for those on a keto diet.
Cheese generally only has a small amount of carbs. As is, this recipe results in cheese taco shells that are only 4 grams of net carbs per serving. (A serving is half the recipe, or 3 taco shells).
Due to the varied options, toppings are not included in the nutritional information - just the shells. Also, swapping the cheese type or adding seasonings may influence your final carb count.
Ready for your next Taco Tuesday? Let’s get to it...
Equipment for Making Low-Carb Taco Shells
At the very least, you will need a couple large baking sheet pans, and something to make the tacos on - more on that in a minute.
You’ll also need some parchment paper - NOT wax paper - and a fair amount of paper towel.
I also like to have a Sharpie on hand, to draw an outline of the taco shape on the parchment paper.
As far as forming your taco shell shape, you have a couple of options:
The option involving the least amount of hassle is to just buy a set of Taco Holders.
Flip them upside down, and you have 3 perfect forms for your taco shells. Let your circles of baked cheese cool while draped over them, and you’re good to go.
Flip em over again, and they’ll hold your cooled taco shells in place for filling and eating.
DIY Cheese Taco Shell Forms
If you are lacking the space needed to invest in single-function kitchen equipment - like we are - you can rig up a pretty simple setup, using some common kitchen items.
You’ll want 6 glasses or cups. They don’t have to be a matched set, but you’ll want sets of 2 to be the same height.
Alternately, you can drape them across a wooden spoon, ideally with a wide handle.
I take squares of aluminum foil, fold them a few times, and drape them over the skewers to provide shaped base to support the cheese.
Keto Cheese Taco Shells Ingredients
This recipe has been a bit of a project to get to. Initially, I played around with making keto flour tortillas, using ingredients like psyllium powder, coconut flour, almond flour, protein isolate, and even cream cheese.
While I did come up with a recipe for keto tortilla chips that I love, I haven’t been 100% happy with the keto tortillas
When it came down to it... why bother with that, when crispy keto taco shells made of nothing but shredded cheese are a super easy option?
Yes, cheese is the only ingredient you’ll need to make these keto taco shells - easily found at any grocery store! You’ll want between ⅓ cup and ½ cup of cheese per 6" shell.
Note: Some people make shells out of baked cheese slices, I didn’t like the different shape - square - when it came to making tacos. So - shredded cheese circles, it is!
I use a mix of sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese for the base recipe, but you can customize by using your favorite cheese - more on that in a bit.
What to Fill Your Cheesy Keto Taco Shells With
There are a surprising number of low carb options when it comes to filling these crispy cheese taco shells, so you can more or less use your favorite taco fillings.
A few ideas:
Want low carb beef tacos? You can make a low carb taco meat with taco seasoning (just check the ingredients!) and ground beef.
I like to season up some ground chicken or ground turkey sometimes.
Chopped up raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts tossed in salt, pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Smoked Paprika, and Smoked Serrano Powder before being sauteed in a bit of olive oil is a SUPER tasty option.
Some of our other favorite toppings include:
Lettuce or salad greens
Low Carb Salsa
Shredded cheddar cheese
How to Make Perfect Keto Taco Shells
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, this is the pictorial overview, with additional tips and info.
First step: Get all set up.
Preheat your oven, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Lay out your taco molds on your kitchen counter or other work space, or assemble them if you’re doing the DIY route.
Pro tip: I like to use a 6" cake pan and a Sharpie marker to trace circles on the parchment paper before putting the parchment on the cookie sheet.
Place the paper marked-side down on the baking tray to avoid transferring the marker to the low carb tacos as the cheese melts.
In a medium bowl, mix together cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.
Arrange into 6 roughly equal piles on the baking pans - 3 per pan, spread out from each other and the sides.
Note: Don’t feel tied to using exact measurements, as provided. If your circles are looking a bit sparse, feel free to add a bit more cheese.
Arrange the cheese in each pile into a 6" round, roughly even thickness throughout.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted and the edges of the cheese have browned. Remove from oven and allow the cheese circles to partially cool, about 2 minutes.
It’s a good idea to blot the tops of the cheese with paper towel, then flip onto a clean section of parchment and blot the other side. It’s the easiest way to get rid of the excess oil
Carefully lift each cheese round (I use my fingers, you can use a silicone spatula if you prefer), drape over your prepared spoon handle / glasses setup.
Allow the taco shells to fully cool.
Remove taco shells from the suspended spoons, put 3 on each plate.
Fill cheese taco shells with your desired taco toppings. Serve immediately.
Low Carb Taco Shells Variations
I like to think of this keto tacos recipe as a great starting point, and one that’s a great base to play around with.
Here are a few ways that you can customize these cheese shells for your next low carb taco night:
Change the Type of Cheese
Not feeling the cheddar? There are all kinds of cheese that you can use to make these easy cheese taco shells!
Monterey Jack is great, and Jalapeno jack is a fun option. These cheeses don’t set up as crunchy as Parmesan cheese does, though.
While I usually go for flavour, if you’re aiming for more structure, try mozzarella cheese! The lower fat / moisture content makes for robust faux tortilla shells!
Just note that all cheese melts a bit differently, in terms of spread, crunch, and oil release.
As an example, all Parmesan tacos will be really lacy, as the cheese doesn’t really spread when it melts. I like to mix it with a meltier cheese, for a more filled-in shell.
Also, in general, hard cheeses will make more of a hard cheese taco shell / crunchy tacos, while softer cheeses will cool to a more pliable shell.
Season the Cheese
Just keep an eye on the amount used - onion and garlic powder have a shocking carb count!
Change the Format
This basic recipe - or the variations - and concept can be used to make bowl-style crunchy taco shells for taco salads, or as appetizer cups.
Smaller rounds can be draped over Mini Muffin Pan to make cute appetizer cups.
Just be sure to let the cheese cool all the way to room temperature (or chilled) before using!
More Keto Mexican / Tex Mex Recipes
Looking for more Keto Tex Mex and Mexican inspired recipes? Here are a few ideas for you:
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Keto Taco Shells (Cheese Taco Shells)
- 2 cups Finely shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup Finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Arrange into 6 roughly equal piles on the baking pans - 3 per pan, spread out from each other and the sides.
- Arrange the cheese in each pile into a 6" round, roughly even thickness throughout.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted and the edges have browned. Remove from oven and allow to partially cool, about 2 minutes.
- Carefully lift each cheese round with a silicone spatula, drape over your prepared spoon handle / glasses setup.
- Allow the taco shells to fully cool.
- Remove taco shells from the suspended spoons, put 3 on each plate.
- Fill cheese taco shells with your desired taco toppings. Serve immediately.