Navajo Taco Recipe

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Navajo Taco Recipe

World Cuisines


Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


Today, Navajo tacos are celebrated across various Native American communities and the United States, especially at powwows, fairs, and gatherings. They serve not only as a delicious meal but also as a reminder of the Navajo’s rich history and survival. Preparing and sharing Navajo tacos is a way of honoring Native American heritage and the interweaving of cultures in the American tapestry.


For the Frybread:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
Oil for frying (vegetable or canola)
For the Topping:
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes, diced
1 head lettuce, shredded
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa or hot sauce (optional)

Navajo Taco Recipe

Step 1: Prepare the Frybread Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Gradually add the warm water, stirring until the dough comes together.

On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Let it rest for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Cook the Frybread

Heat oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each piece into a thin circle.

Fry each piece of dough for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Step 3: Prepare the Toppings

In a pan, cook the ground meat and chopped onion over medium heat until the meat is browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm the pinto beans in a small pot or in the microwave.

Step 4: Assemble the Navajo Tacos

Place a piece of frybread on a plate.

Top with the meat mixture, followed by beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Add a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of salsa or hot sauce, if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Navajo tacos are best enjoyed fresh and warm. They are versatile and can be customized with various toppings according to personal preference, such as avocado, jalapeños, or cilantro.

Pairing them with a cold beverage or a traditional side dish can enhance the dining experience.

Navajo tacos are more than just a meal; they are a vibrant expression of history, culture, and resilience. By following this recipe, you can bring a piece of Navajo heritage into your kitchen and share a meal that tells a story of survival, adaptation, and unity. Whether for a family dinner, a cultural celebration, or simply to savor something new, Navajo tacos offer a delicious way to appreciate and honor Native American cuisine.

Embarking on the culinary journey of making Navajo tacos is not just about following a recipe; it’s about engaging with a dish that holds deep cultural significance and history. As you prepare Navajo tacos, you’re participating in a tradition that spans generations, a celebration of resilience and creativity in the face of hardship.

Tips for Perfect Frybread

Making frybread, the heart of the Navajo taco, can seem daunting at first, but with a few tips, you can achieve the perfect texture and taste:

Temperature of the Oil: Ensuring the oil is at the right temperature (around 350°F to 375°F) is crucial. If the oil is not hot enough, the frybread will absorb too much oil and become greasy; if it’s too hot, it will brown too quickly without cooking through.

Thickness: The thickness of the dough affects the cooking time and texture. Aim for a thickness of about 1/4 inch. This allows the frybread to puff up slightly while still being sturdy enough to hold the toppings.

Handling the Dough: Handle the dough as little as possible after kneading to keep it tender. Overworking the dough can result in tough frybread.

The Importance of Toppings

The toppings for Navajo tacos can be customized to cater to different dietary preferences and tastes, making this dish incredibly versatile. Here are some ideas:

Vegetarian Option: Substitute the ground meat with quinoa or a mix of beans for a hearty vegetarian version. Adding roasted vegetables can also enhance the flavor and nutritional content.

Spice it Up: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, incorporating chopped jalapeños, chipotle peppers, or a spicy salsa can add a kick to your tacos.

Freshness: Incorporating fresh ingredients like cilantro, lime juice, or diced avocado can add a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the meat and beans.

The Joy of Sharing

One of the most beautiful aspects of Navajo tacos is the joy of sharing them with others. This dish brings people together, offering a delicious reason to gather, share stories, and enjoy the company of friends and family. It’s a celebration of community, history, and the simple pleasure of good food.

Preserving Tradition

As Navajo tacos continue to gain popularity, it’s important to remember and respect their origins. This dish is a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of the Navajo people, a reminder of the trials they endured, and a symbol of their enduring strength and culture. By preparing and sharing Navajo tacos, we pay homage to this rich history and ensure that the stories and traditions continue to be passed down through generations.

Navajo tacos are much more than a delightful meal; they are a bridge to understanding and appreciating the deep cultural roots and history of the Navajo people. By incorporating this dish into your culinary repertoire, you’re not only treating yourself to a delicious meal but also connecting with a piece of American history. So, gather your ingredients, roll out your dough, and prepare for a culinary adventure that transcends time and culture, one delicious bite at a time.


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