Navajo Tacos (Indian Fry Bread)


Navajo Tacos, also known as Indian Fry Bread, are a beloved dish with roots deeply embedded in Navajo culture. This traditional Southwest American fare combines the crispy texture of fried bread with a variety of savory or sweet toppings, making it a versatile and satisfying meal for any occasion. Let’s dive into the world of Navajo Tacos and learn how to create this delectable dish at home.


  • For the Fry Bread:
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons softened butter or ghee
    • 1 ¼ cup whole milk
    • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • Savory Toppings:
    • 1 lb ground beef 80/20
    • 2 tbsp Steak fajita seasoning or Homemade Taco Seasoning
    • 15 oz black beans, drained
    • 2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
    • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
    • Sour cream
    • Queso sauce or shredded cheese of choice
  • Sweet Version:
    • Honey
    • Powdered Sugar


  1. Make the Dough: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and softened butter until crumbly. Create a well in the center and pour in the milk. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Form Dough: Roll the dough into a log and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten into 6-inch circles. Prick each circle with a fork to prevent puffing during frying.
  3. Fry: Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan to 350°F. Carefully fry each dough circle for about 30 seconds on one side until lightly golden, then flip and fold into a taco shell shape. Fry until both sides are golden brown and crispy.
  4. Prepare Toppings: For savory tacos, brown the ground beef with seasoning until cooked through. Gather other toppings such as black beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese.
  5. Assemble Tacos: Fill each fry bread taco shell with the cooked ground beef, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese for a savory version. Alternatively, drizzle honey and dust with powdered sugar for a sweet twist.

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Serve Fresh and Hot: Navajo Tacos are best enjoyed fresh and hot, straight out of the fryer. Serve them immediately after assembling to preserve their crispy texture and hot fillings.
  2. Garnish with Fresh Ingredients: Enhance the visual appeal and flavor of your Navajo Tacos by garnishing them with fresh toppings such as chopped cilantro, sliced jalapenos, or diced avocado. These additions not only add color but also freshness and a burst of flavor.
  3. Serve with Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces on the side, such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, to complement the flavors of the tacos and allow guests to customize their dining experience.
  4. Present Creatively: Arrange the Navajo Tacos on a platter or serving board, and consider serving them with a selection of side dishes such as Mexican rice, refried beans, or a crisp salad to create a complete meal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have leftovers, store the components separately to maintain their freshness. Place the fried bread in an airtight container at room temperature to preserve its crispness. Store the cooked ground beef and toppings in separate containers in the refrigerator.
  2. Reheating: To reheat leftover Navajo Tacos, gently warm the fry bread in a toaster oven or conventional oven to restore its crisp texture. Reheat the ground beef and other toppings in a microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
  3. Enjoy Within 1-2 Days: Navajo Tacos are best enjoyed fresh, but if properly stored, they can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. However, keep in mind that the texture of the fry bread may soften over time, so it’s best to consume them as soon as possible for the best taste and texture.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Navajo Tacos are served fresh, flavorful, and enjoyed to the fullest extent possible. Whether serving a crowd or enjoying a cozy meal at home, Navajo Tacos are sure to be a hit!

Variations of Navajo Tacos (Indian Fry Bread):

  1. Vegetarian Option: Replace the ground beef with seasoned black beans or lentils for a hearty and flavorful vegetarian version. Add sautéed vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms for added texture and flavor.
  2. Chicken or Pork: Substitute the ground beef with cooked and shredded chicken or pork seasoned with your favorite taco seasoning. This variation offers a lighter and leaner option while still providing plenty of flavor.
  3. Seafood Twist: Experiment with seafood fillings such as grilled shrimp, fish, or scallops seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and lime juice. Top with fresh salsa, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing and zesty twist.
  4. Breakfast Tacos: Transform Navajo Tacos into a delicious breakfast option by filling the fry bread with scrambled eggs, crispy bacon or sausage, diced potatoes, and shredded cheese. Serve with salsa, avocado, and sour cream for a satisfying morning meal.
  5. Southwest BBQ: Combine the flavors of the Southwest with smoky barbecue sauce by topping the fry bread with pulled pork or beef brisket, coleslaw, pickled onions, and a drizzle of tangy barbecue sauce. This variation offers a delicious fusion of flavors that is sure to please barbecue lovers.
  6. Tex-Mex Fusion: Incorporate Tex-Mex flavors by filling the fry bread with seasoned ground beef or chicken, refried beans, Mexican rice, shredded cheese, and sliced jalapenos. Top with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
  7. Sweet Dessert Tacos: For a sweet twist, skip the savory fillings and instead fill the fry bread with sliced fresh fruit such as strawberries, bananas, and kiwi. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar for a delicious dessert option.
  8. Cheeseburger Tacos: Combine the flavors of a cheeseburger with the crispy fry bread by topping it with seasoned ground beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a drizzle of ketchup and mustard. This fun and creative variation offers a unique twist on a classic favorite.
  9. Mediterranean Inspired: Create a Mediterranean-inspired version by filling the fry bread with grilled chicken or lamb, tzatziki sauce, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and feta cheese. Garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or dill for a refreshing and flavorful option.
  10. Vegan Option: For a vegan-friendly version, use plant-based alternatives such as seasoned tofu or tempeh for the filling. Top with vegan cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and shredded lettuce for a delicious and satisfying vegan taco option.

These variations offer endless possibilities for customizing Navajo Tacos to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Get creative and experiment with different fillings, toppings, and flavors to create your own unique twist on this beloved dish!


1. What is Navajo Tacos (Indian Fry Bread)? Navajo Tacos, also known as Indian Fry Bread Tacos, are a popular Native American dish consisting of crispy fry bread topped with savory fillings such as seasoned ground beef, beans, lettuce, cheese, and other toppings.

2. Is Navajo Tacos traditional Native American cuisine? While fry bread itself has roots in Native American culture, Navajo Tacos are considered more of a modern adaptation that emerged in the mid-20th century, combining traditional fry bread with ingredients like ground meat and vegetables.

3. Can I make Navajo Tacos gluten-free? Yes, you can make gluten-free Navajo Tacos by using a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour for the fry bread. There are many gluten-free flour options available, such as almond flour, rice flour, or a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix.

4. What are some popular toppings for Navajo Tacos? Popular toppings for Navajo Tacos include seasoned ground beef or chicken, refried beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and chopped cilantro. You can customize the toppings to suit your taste preferences.

5. Can I bake the fry bread instead of frying it? While traditional Navajo Tacos are made with fry bread that is deep-fried, you can also bake the fry bread in the oven for a healthier alternative. Simply brush the dough rounds with oil and bake them in a preheated oven until golden and crispy.

6. How do I store leftover Navajo Tacos? Store leftover Navajo Tacos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Keep the fry bread and toppings separate to prevent the bread from becoming soggy. Reheat the fry bread in the oven or toaster oven before assembling the tacos.

7. Can I freeze Navajo Tacos for later? While it’s best to enjoy Navajo Tacos fresh, you can freeze the fry bread for later use. Allow the fry bread to cool completely, then place it in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 1-2 months. Thaw and reheat before serving.

8. Can I make Navajo Tacos ahead of time for a party? Yes, you can prepare the components of Navajo Tacos ahead of time and assemble them just before serving. Prepare the fry bread, cook the meat filling, and chop the toppings in advance, then reheat and assemble the tacos when ready to serve.

9. Are Navajo Tacos suitable for a crowd? Yes, Navajo Tacos are perfect for feeding a crowd, as they can easily be customized to accommodate different tastes and dietary preferences. Set up a taco bar with various toppings and let guests assemble their own tacos for a fun and interactive dining experience.

10. Can I make sweet dessert versions of Navajo Tacos? Absolutely! You can create sweet dessert versions of Navajo Tacos by topping the fry bread with sweet fillings such as sliced fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or honey. Get creative and experiment with different combinations for a delicious treat.


Navajo Tacos are not just a meal, they’re an experience that celebrates tradition, flavor, and creativity. Whether you’re indulging in the savory goodness of seasoned beef and cheese or savoring the sweetness of honey and powdered sugar, Navajo Tacos are sure to delight your taste buds and transport you to the heart of the Southwest.

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