air fryer chalupa
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Air Fryer Chalupa

What is an Air Fryer Chalupa?

These Air Fryer Chalupas are not the chalupas you will find at Taco Bell with the puffy, deep fried shells.  These are styled most after the chalupas you will receive if you order a chalupa at a regular Mexican restaurant in the States.  As written, these chalupas are a light, protein-packed dish that comes together very quickly and is easy to make your own.

What are the Ingredients in an Air Fryer Chalupa?

Here is what you will need to make these air fryer chalupas:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray, I used olive oil spray
  • Prepared refried beans
  • Taco seasoning
  • Salsa
  • Shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Prepared guacamole
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes

Optional toppings that you may wish to add:

  • Hot sauce
  • Taco sauce
  • Additional salsa
  • Pico de gallo
  • Crumbled or shredded cotija cheese
  • Finely chopped cilantro
air fryer chalupa

How to make Air Fryer Chalupas?

Here are the easy steps to make these Air Fry Chalupas:

  • Begin by combining the refried beans with the salsa and taco seasoning.  Stir well to combine.  If the beans still seem to thick to be easily spreadable, add a bit of water or broth and stir again to make more pliable.  
  • Lightly spray the corn tortillas with cooking oil (I used olive oil spray).  Spread with the bean mixture and sprinkle with the pepper jack cheese.  
  • Air fry the tortillas once topped with the beans and cheese.
  • Spread, gently, with the guacamole and sprinkle with the tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Top with any additional toppings (hot sauce, taco sauce, salsa, pico de gallo, cotija cheese or cilantro) that you may prefer and serve immediately.  

Preparation Notes:

  • Leftover taco beef would be a perfect substitute for the bean mixture if you wanted to do so, simply follow the directions while subbing the beef mixture for the bean.  
  • If you would like a crispier chalupa, air fry just the tortilla on one side for 5 minutes first, then flip, add the filling mixture and continue with the recipe as written.
  • Air fryer times can vary, based on your model, keep a close eye on your air fryer chalupas to ensure they don’t burn.

What is the difference in a taco and a chalupa

Tacos and chalupas are both popular Mexican dishes that are enjoyed all over the world. While they share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two:

  1. Shell: Tacos are typically made with a soft or hard shell, while chalupas are made with a fried corn tortilla shell that is thicker and has a flatter shape.
  2. Filling: Tacos can be filled with a variety of meats, such as beef, chicken, pork, or fish, as well as beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. Chalupas are usually filled with shredded chicken or pork, refried beans, lettuce, cheese, and salsa.
  3. Toppings: Tacos are often topped with a variety of condiments, such as sour cream, guacamole, chopped onions, and cilantro. Chalupas may also be topped with sour cream, guacamole, and other condiments, but the toppings are typically more limited than those of a taco.
  4. Origin: Tacos originated in Mexico and have been popular in the United States for decades, while chalupas are a regional specialty from the state of Puebla in Mexico.

In summary, the main differences between tacos and chalupas are the type of shell, filling, and toppings used in each dish. However, both are delicious and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Can Air Fryer Chalupas be made in advance?

Unfortunately, this is one dish that really does not keep all that well.  You could probably make it a bit ahead of serving and reheat, but, much like many Mexican-takeout leftovers, the dish would begin to become soggy and unappealing.  If you are wanting to make these in advance, your best bet would be to shred the lettuce and dice the fresh tomatoes.  Pre-combine the refried beans with the taco seasoning and the salsa.  From there, the chalupas can easily be assembled with minimal hands on time.  

air fryer chalupa

What to serve with Air Fryer Chalupas?

Here are a few ideas of what to serve with you easy air fryer chalupas:

  • Creamy Cajun Pasta in the Instant Pot is another super easy dish, which, while a bit more Tex-Mex, would be a great addition to these chalupas.
  • Have brunch on the mind?  This Jalapeno Popper Spanish Tortilla is the perfect blend of eggs, cheese, jalapenos and all the spicy goddess one would expect from a jalapeno popper, but in Spanish Tortilla form.
  • Pepper and Mango Fajitas are an easy dish for your Instant Pot that evokes Spring and Summer every which way.  They would make for a light, fresh dinner when paired with the air fryer chalupas.
  • This easy vegetarian tortilla soup is another easy alternative that would make for a light, easy, weekday friendly dish.
  • Some other ideas for dishes that would pair well with air fryer chalupas include:
    • Spanish, Taco-style, or Cilantro-Lime Rice
    • Freshly made guacamole salad
    • These Air Fryer Stuffed Poblanos be a perfect match for these chalupas…stack your racks and have all of dinner done at one time.
air fryer chalupa


5 from 1 vote


  • 1 can refried beans
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • cup prepared guacamole
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Optional top top:
  • Grated cotija cheese
  • Hot sauce
  • Minced cilantro


  • Combine the refried beans with the salsa and taco seasoning and stir well to mix, you can add a bit of water if needed if your beans are particularly dry.
  • Spray the corn tortillas lightly with cooking oil spray. Top each tortillas with approximately ¼ cup of the bean mixture and spread out in an even layer until near the edges, leaving a small border. Divide the pepper jack cheese evenly among the tortillas.
  • Heat the air fryer to 350 degrees. Air fry the chalupas for approximately 8 minutes, until bean mixture is heated through, cheese has melted and the tortilla is beginning to brown.
  • Remove from the air fryer. Divide the guacamole among the tortillas, spreading gently atop the bean and cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Serve immediately.


Air fryer times can vary, so be sure to check the chalupas part way through the cooking time to ensure the tortillas do not burn.
You could easily substitute left over taco meat for the bean mixture, just follow the same proportions listed above.
The recipe, as written is most like chalupas are served at most Mexican restaurants in the States which is crispy on the edges and softer in the middle. If you would prefer a crispier base all around, try air frying the plain tortilla first for half of the time, then flipping, adding the beans and cheese and finishing the cooking time.


  1. […] Air Fryer Chalupa These are styled most after the chalupas you will receive if you order a chalupa at a regular Mexican restaurant in the States.  As written, these chalupas are a light, protein-packed dish that comes together very quickly and is easy to make your own. […]

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