Chalupa Vs Taco: What Are The Differences?

For many people, distinguishing Mexican specialties is never a piece of cake, especially when it comes to chalupa vs taco.

While they are known as two different dishes, they share some similar components, making ordering from a street stand a bit perplexing.

If you’re having trouble telling the difference between these two popular wraps, today’s thorough breakdown on taco and chalupa is sure to be of help. Read till the end to find out more interesting information.

Related: Top 30 most popular Mexican foods

What Are They?

A chalupa is made by pressing a thin layer of masa dough around the outside of a small mold, producing an open container that mimics the same-named boat, then deep-frying the result to make crisp, shallow corn cups.

Shredded chicken, pork, chopped onion, chipotle pepper, red salsa, and green salsa are just a few of these components. They’re comparable to tostadas in that they’re both made of fried or baked masa dough.

Small, thick, boat-shaped fried masa tortillas with only salsa, cheese, and shredded lettuce on top are traditional dishes from Cholula, Puebla. In certain parts of Mexico, chorizo, pork, shredded chicken, or refried beans are added to the standard cheese, salsa, and lettuce toppings. Sometimes, the fried masa is formed into a tostada and topped with traditional chalupa ingredients.

Taco, which translates to “wedge,” is a typical Mexican meal that consists of a tortilla topped with a filling, folded, and eaten by hand.

People often get the terms fajita and taco mixed up. Fajitas are cooked beef strips wrapped up in a flour tortilla with onions and peppers. Taco is made with shredded, grilled, ground beef and cold vegetables wrapped in a firm or soft tortilla. It’s usually smaller than a fajita, and the filling is simply folded in half.

The carrier is at the center of most of the controversy about tacos. If it should be crispy or soft, and whether corn or wheat should be used. There are no right or incorrect answers here. Although mild corn variants are the most prevalent in Mexico, the only thing you need to know is that they are lovely in all forms and sizes!

The Main Differences

Although the toppings of these two dishes are pretty similar, it is the shell that distinguishes the two. Also, a chalupa is fried just before serving, while a taco is not.

Traditional tacos are soft-shelled with corn tortillas, but Americanized variants may employ crisply folded shells or wheat tortillas instead of corn.

Chalupas, on the other hand, are not folded but rather stiff and boat-shaped. The chalupa shells, which resemble maize tortillas but are somewhat thicker, are fried and topped with salsa while still hot. Red salsa can also be used instead of green salsa.

How To Make Chalupas


  • 1 cup dried pinto beans
  • 3-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1 package (9-1/4 ounces) corn chips
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Salsa


  • In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the beans and enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for 1 hour. Drain the beans and toss out the liquid.
  • Combine the 3-1/2 cups water, onion, chiles, garlic, chili powder, salt, cumin, and oregano in a 3-quart slow cooker. Toss in the roast and beans. Cook for 2 hours on high, covered. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for another 6 hours, or until the pork is extremely soft.
  • Remove the roast from the pan and shred it with a fork. Drain the beans and set aside the boiling liquid in a saucepan. Set aside the beans and pork. Remove and discard the fat from the cooking liquid before bringing it to a boil. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to 1-1/2 cups. Heat through the beef and bean combination.
  • Spoon meat mixture over corn chips and top with green onions, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and salsa to serve.

Nutrition Facts

393 calories, 19g fat (3g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 680mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 8g fiber), 18g protein.

How To Make Tacos


  • 1 lb. 90% to 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 12 taco shells – either hard shells or small 6-inch soft flour tortillas will work
  • Optional Taco Toppings: shredded cheese shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, taco sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.


  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown the meat. Using a wooden spoon, shred the meat. Toss the meat with chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir everything together thoroughly. Cook until the beef is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to medium. Combine the tomato sauce and water in a mixing bowl. To mix, stir everything together. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring regularly until part of the liquid has evaporated and the meat mixture is still saucy. Turn off the heat.
  • Warm the taco shells according to the instructions on the box.
  • Fill the taco shells with 2 heaping tablespoons of taco meat. Top with desired taco toppings: shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, taco sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Nutrition Facts

129kcal calories, 9g Carbohydrates, 9g Protein, 6g Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 25mg Cholesterol, 265mg Sodium, 199mg Potassium, 1g Fiber, 1g Sugar.


Is it possible to freeze a taco?

Yes, you can fill a small plastic bag with your cooked beef filling and freeze it. The prepared shredded/sticks of veg may be put in a separate container, as can the tortillas. It’s best to keep the soft flour tortillas in a large sealed plastic bag, laying flat, with each wrap separated from the others!

Then, when defrosting, take the entire bag out of the freezer and do it all at once, or you may remove some individuals. To thaw the meat and vegetables, take them out the night before you want to use them and place them in the refrigerator. It may be microwaved or pan-fried the next day.

What are the best fillings to opt for for a chalupa?

Shredded chicken or pig, chorizo, ground beef, refried beans, and eggs are all popular chalupa fillings. This fried snack is commonly garnished with shredded lettuce, cheese, chopped raw onion, and salsa, but you may also add tomatoes, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.

Is beef a popular type of fillings for Mexican foods?

Yes, it is. And you can find beef in many Mexican dishes around the world.

Is it free to order these two dishes from Taco Bell?

Some readers asked this question, and unfortunately, the answer is no. You need to pay for your orders there.


This concludes our comparison of chalupa vs taco. We understand how difficult it is to choose between these two dishes since each has its unique taste.

Hope that our comprehensive guide has provided you with enough knowledge and relevant insights. Don’t forget to come back for more valuable tips and advice on Mexican dishes.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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