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How do you freeze taco shells?

Freezing taco shells is a great way to save time and always have them on hand for taco night. While you can buy pre-made frozen taco shells, homemade ones taste so much better. Freezing them yourself also allows you to control the ingredients and adjust seasonings to your taste. Here’s a step-by-step guide to freezing taco shells so they stay fresh and crispy.

Should You Freeze Taco Shells?

Freezing taco shells is definitely recommended if you want to save time prepping tacos or make bulk batches for meal prepping. Here are some of the benefits of freezing taco shells:

  • Saves prep time – Taco shells can be frozen straight after baking them. Then you’ll have homemade shells ready in minutes whenever you need them.
  • Makes meal planning easier – Freezing a batch of taco shells allows you to always have the components for tacos ready to go. No last minute trips to the store required.
  • Allows buying ingredients in bulk – Freezing taco shells means you can take advantage of bulk deals on things like tortillas and taco seasoning that may go bad before you use them up otherwise.
  • Lets you control ingredients – Freezing homemade shells means you control exactly what goes into them, allowing you to adjust seasonings and flavors how you like.
  • Maintains freshness and crunch – Properly frozen taco shells will keep the same freshly baked taste and crunchy texture as when first made.

The only potential downside is that frozen taco shells are more fragile and prone to breaking. However, by following the proper technique, you can minimize cracks and breakage.

How to Freeze Taco Shells

Follow these simple steps for flawlessly frozen taco shells:

1. Bake the Taco Shells

First, prepare fresh taco shells according to your favorite recipe. Allow them to cool completely after baking. Warm or room temperature shells will get soggy in the freezer.

2. Wrap in Foil

Each taco shell should be individually wrapped in foil to prevent freezer burn. Tear off sheets of aluminum foil that are larger than each shell. Carefully wrap each taco shell entirely in foil, sealing the edges tightly.

3. Place in Freezer Bags

Put the foil wrapped shells in freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air before sealing the bags securely shut. This prevents moisture from getting in and creating ice crystals on the shells.

4. Freeze

Lay the filled freezer bags flat in your freezer. Avoid overfilling bags and stacking them upright, which can cause the shells to crack under pressure. Let the taco shells freeze completely overnight before using or transferring to long-term storage.

How Long Do Frozen Taco Shells Last?

Frozen taco shells stay fresh for a remarkably long time when stored properly. Here’s how long taco shells keep in the freezer:

  • Freezer – 3 to 6 months
  • Deep freezer – 6 to 12 months

For maximum freshness, use frozen taco shells within 3 months. Handle the frozen shells gently and minimize openings to prevent cracking. Be sure to label the freezer bags with the date so you know when they were made.

Can You Refreeze Taco Shells?

You can safely refreeze taco shells if they are thawed but still cold and firm. Follow these steps for refreezing taco shells:

  1. Inspect each taco shell. Discard any with signs of moisture or sogginess.
  2. Rewrap any unfrozen shells in foil.
  3. Return shells to a freezer bag, removing excess air.
  4. Freeze for at least 24 hours to solidly refreeze.

Only refreeze shells once for best quality. Do not refreeze shells that are warm or soft.

How to Thaw Frozen Taco Shells

Thaw frozen taco shells gently to prevent cracks and breaks. Here are some thawing methods:

Refrigerator Thaw

For a slow, gentle thaw, let frozen taco shells thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Place them in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet. This can take 12-24 hours but protects quality.

Room Temperature Thaw

You can also thaw frozen taco shells on the counter at room temperature. This goes faster than refrigerator thawing. Place the frozen shells on a baking sheet and let sit for 1-2 hours. Check frequently to prevent condensation.

Microwave Thaw

For a quick thaw, the microwave works in just a few minutes. Unwrap the frozen shells and place on a microwave-safe plate in a single layer. Microwave at 50% power, checking every 30 seconds until thawed.

Avoid any rushing water or steam thawing methods, as the moisture will make the shells soggy. Let thawed taco shells dry out a bit before using to restore crispiness if needed.

How to Use Frozen Taco Shells

Frozen and thawed taco shells can be used in any taco recipe. They go great with ground beef, chicken, fish, and plenty of bold taco toppings. Here are some serving ideas:

  • Ground beef tacos – Seasoned ground beef with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, etc.
  • Chicken tacos – Shredded Mexican chicken, avocado, peppers, onions, cilantro, lime juice, etc.
  • Fish tacos – Pan fried white fish, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, crema, etc.
  • Breakfast tacos – Scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage, potato, avocado, etc.
  • Dessert tacos – Fried tortilla shells with ice cream, fruit, honey, chocolate sauce, etc.

You can also incorporate frozen taco shells into Mexican casseroles, nachos, salad toppers, soup toppers, and more creative recipes.

Troubleshooting Freezing Taco Shells

Follow these tips if you have any trouble with frozen taco shells cracking, staling, or losing that fresh homemade crunch:

Cracking Shells

  • Wrap shells tightly in foil with no air gaps.
  • Don’t overfill freezer bags.
  • Lay bags flat rather than stacking upright.
  • Thaw slowly in the refrigerator.

Soggy Shells

  • Make sure shells are completely cool before freezing.
  • Wipe off any condensation before rewrapping thawed shells.
  • Leave space between shells when microwaving.
  • Let microwaved shells dry out for a few minutes.

Stale Texture

  • Use shells within 3-6 months for best quality.
  • Seal freezer bags tightly.
  • Minimize openings to prevent freezer burn.
  • Consider reheating briefly in the oven to restore crispiness if needed.


Freezing taco shells at home is simple and ensures you always have a stash ready for taco night. Just be sure to wrap the cooled shells well in foil and freezer bags. Thaw slowly in the fridge or microwave. Then you can enjoy freshly homemade tacos in minutes with your favorite fillings. With the right technique, frozen taco shells taste and act just like they were freshly baked.