Jack in the Box Taco Recipe!

This Jack in the Box Taco Recipe will be your go to taco recipe.  So good!

This recipe first published in 2013 and has now finally been updated 10 years later!

My late husband loved Jack in the Box tacos, but sadly they closed all of their Illinois locations long ago.

These tacos ARE THE REAL DEAL!  Not sure I would know if the difference and part of me wants to sell them out of my house on the weekends!

How do you make Jack in the Box taco meat?

There are two things you need to do for the Jack in the Box taco meat.  First, brown the beef.  Add remaining ingredients and boil for 5 minutes.  Let cool.

Second, puree the beef mixture.  I know it seems weird, but it mimics the beef found in Jack in the Box tacos.

Can you air fry Jack in the Box tacos?

Yep!  We deep fried, air fried and pan fried.  Obviously the deep fried version is the best, but the air fried version was almost as tasty.  We have cooking instructions in the notes section of the recipe card.

Also note:  we tried adding the American cheese to the tacos before cooking, and that didn’t work with any cooking method.


Ingredients you’ll need to make Jack in the Box Tacos:

  • ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • seasonings mentioned in the recipe card (most of these are pantry staples)
  • corn tortillas – while I prefer El Milagro corn tortillas, these are only readily available in the Chicago area.  For this recipe, I used Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas which can be found nationwide.

Equipment needed to make Jack in the Box Tacos:

  • deep fryer
  • air fryer
  • skillet

We decided to try all three methods, because not everyone has a deep fryer or an air fryer.  Hopefully everyone has a stove and a skillet!

ingredients to make Jack in the box tacos condiments
beef for Jack in the Box Tacos pureed beef for tacos


This is what happened when we tried adding the cheese to the tacos before cooking.  No matter which method we chose, the result was awful, so we suggest adding the cheese to the hot taco as soon as it is done cooking.

The deep fried version is by far the preferred method.  I thought the pan fried version came in second, and air fried version last.  My daughter Hannah chose:  deep fryer, air fryer and pan fried last.

This is a photo of Jack in the Box Tacos

This is a photo of Jack in the Box Tacos

Jack in the Box Tacos

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

These taste like the real deal Jack in the Box Tacos! My husband found a copycat recipe in 2013 the first time we made them, but the link to our inspiration is no longer available in 2023. I adapted the beef ingredients too from the original recipe, and while it may seem weird to grind up the beef in a food processor, it totally makes these tacos.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon masa corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 20 corn tortillas


  1. Brown ground beef. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to a large stock pot and bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
  3. Place beef mixture in a food processor and pulse the beef mixture. Don't worry, it will look like paste!
  4. Making 5 tacos at a time, microwave the corn tortillas for 30 seconds, or until pliable.
  5. Quickly add 3 tablespoons beef paste to half of each tortilla, fold over in half, set on a baking sheet, and repeat until all tacos are filled.
  6. Place baking sheet in freezer for 30 minutes. Store tortillas in a ziplock bag and cook from frozen.
  7. Don't skip the freezing on the baking sheet step - it will ensure that the tacos won't stick together and you can cook however many you want.
  8. See notes with different cooking instructions.
  9. Optional but delicious: add 1/2 slice of American cheese, sliced lettuce and taco sauce. This addition isn't included in the WW points or nutrition, so adjust accordingly.


TO DEEP FRY: Heat deep fryer to 350. Deep fry from frozen for 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

TO AIR FRY: Air fry at 360 for 7-9 minutes, or until desired doneness. Spray the frozen tacos with avocado oil spray prior to cooking.

TO PAN FRY: Heat a skillet over medium heat with avocado oil spray. Cook for 5 minutes a side from frozen.

If you are on the WW plan, click here for the WW link. As of 2023, these tacos are 3 WW points each. For the deep fry method, I add 1 more point for the oil.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 218mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


For those of you who made this recipe based on the photos I published in 2013 – I appreciate your support!

jack in the box taco


My memory is that I placed that dinner plate on top of our microwave near the under the counter mounted fluorescent light – ha!

Are you looking for side dishes for these tacos? 


Stovetop Refried Beans

Ancho Chile Salsa

Black Bean Dip

Let us know if you give these tacos a try.  Be sure to tag us on Instagram and TikTok!  @mybizzykitchen on IG and @mybizzykitchen_ on TikTok