Navajo Tacos

Navajo fry bread topped with spicy beans, carne asada meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream.

navajo tacos recipe

Navajo Tacos Recipe

I first had Navajo fry bread years ago when I went to the Grand Canyon. I have never forgotten how good it was. This recipe is pretty similar to what I remember having that day and is easy to make.

Because you are going to make the fry bread it is just a little more involved than regular tacos but just add about a half hour to how long that takes you to make. One bite and you will know it is worth the time. It brings tacos up another level. The fry bread dough has to rest 30 minutes before frying so plan accordingly. When I was frying the fry bread some of the pieces got big bubbles when I flipped it over, just press down with your tongs where the bubbles are gently and they will deflate so that you can evenly cook the pieces of bread. I had huge reservations about the dried milk in this, but you don’t even taste so I am not going to question why. It works and that is all that matters to me. I did pulse the dried ingredients to make sure that the dried milk mixed well in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you can make this dough in a bowl, just knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes before you let it rest. The dough should be a little sticky.

The beans can be cooking while the dough rests and so can your meat. I started with canned beans and rinsed them well. The pink beans I get are made by Goya and should be easy to find in most large supermarkets. These beans have a soft and creamy texture, I use them quite often in place of pintos.

I used carne asada meat because I have a grocery store near me that has it in their meat case all of the time and I like the steak kind of quality it has to it. Ground beef will work just fine.

navajo tacos recipe

Navajo Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 8
Navajo fry bread topped with spicy beans, carne asada meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream.
  • Spicy Beans
  • 2 16 oz. cans Pink Beans (can use Pintos)
  • water
  • 3/4 cup onions - finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • Navajo Fry Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 3/4-1 cup warm water
  • oil for frying
  • Meat Mixture
  • 1 1/2 lbs. carne asada meat or ground beef
  • remaining package taco seasoning mix
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion - finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • water
  • To serve:
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • chopped jalapeno peppers - optional
  • hot sauce - optional
  1. Spicy Beans
  2. Rinse beans well. Cover with water in a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until most of the water is gone and vegetables are cooked. (about 30 minutes) Taste to adjust seasonings.
  3. Fry Bread
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and powdered milk in a food processor. Give it a quick whirl to combine everything. Add the water, I used almost a cup. Pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Transfer to a small bowl and cover. Let set for 30 minutes before frying.
  5. Pour oil into a frying pan, heat to 325 degrees.
  6. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll out on a floured surface to about the size of a small dinner plate. (a little thinner than what you would do pie crust) Carefully put the rolled out piece of dough one at a time in the hot grease. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on a piece of paper towel.
  7. Meat Mixture
  8. If using carne asada meat, add a couple of tablespoons of the taco seasonings to the meat, let set for 5 minutes. Brown meat in a large skillet with the onions and garlic. Add the taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of water. Cook for about 10 - 15 minutes while you make the fry bread.



  1. Angela says

    Hello… I just seen this recipe my boyfriend is NavajoI make this bread all the time. The dry milk you do not have to use. We never do an neither does his grandma. We usually use pinto beans. An if the dough is sticky you have used to much water. Just thought I would let you know that. Also its good with Picante sauce!!

    • Mary Ellen says

      Hi Angela, I wondered about that. They were good and easy to make, will you please share your recipe so I could try it?

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