Indian Tacos, also known as Navajo tacos, are a Native American taco made on tender, crispy fry bread topped with taco meat, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes.
The first time I heard about Indian Tacos was when we went to the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival in South Dakota with some friends. The Indian tacos were the most popular food choice of all the vendors.
I’ve since learned that they are one of the most popular fair foods in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota! And now you can make them at home without having to wait for the fair.
How To Make Indian Tacos
This Indian tacos recipe starts with a yeast fry bread. (If you want to make a no yeast version, you can follow this fry bread recipe of mine.) The most important thing is to make sure the hot water is the right temperature. If it is too hot and you’ll kill the yeast. Not hot enough and the yeast won’t activate.
Pour water that is between 110˚F-115˚F into a bowl. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the hot water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the yeast to proof (which means foam) for 5-10 minutes.
Once the yeast is ready, add the olive oil, salt, and all-purpose flour to the bowl. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. I like to use my stand mixer with the hook attachment because it makes it so easy!
But I’ve also made the recipe kneading the dough by hand and it works that way too. It just takes a little more muscle.
Remove the dough ball from the bowl. Add the olive oil and coat the sides with the oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn to coat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm draft-free place for about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface.
Can you refrigerate the dough overnight?
Yes, you can refrigerate the dough overnight. Follow the instructions to prepare the dough. After turning it out onto a floured surface, lightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
When ready to use the refrigerated dough, remove it from the fridge and let it stand for 20-30 minutes before dividing the dough.
Can yeast fry bread dough be frozen?
Yes! To freeze this yeast fry bread dough, follow the instructions to prepare the dough. After turning it out onto a floured surface, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, put it in a ziptop freezer bag. Place the dough in the freezer for up to three months.
Remove a ball of dough from the freezer the day before you plan to use it so that it can thaw. Then, remove it from the fridge and let it stand for 20-30 minutes before dividing the dough.
Cut the ball of dough into eight pieces.
Flatten each piece into a thin circle that is about 6-7 inches across. You can use your hands, your fingertips, a rolling pin or a combination of all three.
Put about a 1/2 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet or heavy pot that is wide enough to fit your circles of dough. Use a thermometer and heat the oil to 365˚F.
Carefully add a dough round to the hot oil. I found that the easiest way to add the dough to the oil was to use these silicone oven mitts that protected my hands but allowed me to pick up the dough.
Cook the Indian taco fry bread for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. Always monitor the temperature of the oil and stay close by the skillet.
Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
Can this fry bread be used for other recipes?
Yes, this yeast fry bread can be base for many different recipes from sweet to savory. Here are a few to try:
- Elephant Ears: Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Honey Butter: Brush with melted butter and drizzle with honey.
- Deep Fried Pizza: Top with sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
- Flatbread: Brush with garlic butter and sprinkle with rosemary.
To assemble the Indian tacos, top the fry bread with taco meat, black beans, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes.
What other toppings can I add to Indian fry bread tacos?
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Taco: Top with Jamaican jerk chicken, shredded cabbage, cilantro, and pineapple salsa.
- Hawaiian Taco: Add shredded barbecue pork, pineapple salsa, and shredded lettuce.
- Chipotle Chicken Taco: Put chipotle chicken, shredded lettuce, and corn salsa on the fry bread.
Can Indian Tacos be made ahead of time?
You can definitely prepare all of the Indian tacos topping ahead of time. Cook the taco meat and store it in the fridge. Chop all of the veggies and store them in separate containers in the fridge.
As with most fried foods, fry bread is best enjoyed while it is still fresh and crispy. But sometimes it is more convenient to make things ahead of time!
To reheat fry bread, place them in the oven at 350˚ for 10 minutes. Try wrapping each one in foil to keep them from drying out. You could also try using a toaster oven, an air fryer, or even the microwave in a pinch.
Want to make more fair food? Try these recipes next:
This deep Fried Pickles recipe is a fun way to eat fair food at home! Serve the crispy fried pickles on a stick as an appetizer with dipping sauce.
Make this easy Funnel Cake Recipe and surprise your family with fair food at home! Just add your favorite toppings to these sweet, crispy funnel cakes.
This Corn Fritter recipe makes tender little fried balls of dough with bits of sweet corn inside. Serve them warm with maple syrup and honey drizzled on top.
These Fried Cheese Curds were so easy to make. These deep fried white cheddar cheese curds are the BEST appetizer and the perfect comfort food!