Can you really make hard-shell tacos in your toaster?

Typically in the hard shell vs. soft shell taco debate, I am a soft-shell kinda gal. However, one magnificent restaurant has me second-guessing myself, and that fine dining establishment is Taco Bell.

I love a good hard-shelled Taco Bell taco, packed with sour cream and overflowing with whatever meat that is.

The thing is, I usually have the appropriate taco ingredients around my kitchen anyway, but my homemade soft-shell tacos never satisfy my hankering for a hard shell taco à la Taco Bell — especially late at night.

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Enter: the Taco Toaster. These are two handheld tools that promise to help form a crispy taco shell right in your toaster. It’s advertised as healthier, mess-free and barely an additional step to making tacos at home, so I thought, why not?

But as someone who lives across the street from a Taco Bell Cantina (fancy Taco Bell, open 24 hours), will the Taco Toaster actually fulfill my cravings enough to keep me at home and making my own?

How it works

The instructions are simple: First, I have to heat the tortillas with a damp paper towel in the microwave for 15 seconds, and then put them on my Taco Toaster to toast.

Am I already annoyed that this is a multi-step process when I could be on my way to the Cantina across the street? Yes.

How I will be evaluating the Taco Toaster

I’ll be looking at three factors:

  1. Stability. Will this taco shell crumble in my hands before I even take my first bite?
  2. Taste. How does my homemade taco compare to an elite Taco Bell taco?
  3. Crunchiness. Will the tortilla actually come out crispy, or will it burn in my toaster?

Does the Taco Toaster actually work?

This was an absolute nightmare — and I know I say that about a lot of things pertaining to cooking, but I’m serious. I went through five or six tortillas that just broke apart in the toaster and didn’t heat up enough, despite double-checking that my toaster worked (it did) and putting them in for as long as my toaster allowed.

Plus — and to be fair, the packaging does warn you about this — the Taco Toasters themselves get extremely hot after two uses.

This was a lot of time and energy to simply toast a tortilla. I finally got one to not totally fall apart before inserting it into my toaster, but the odds of the Taco Toasters working effectively are too low for me to consider this a necessary kitchen gadget and an alternative to my Taco Bell trips.

I didn’t waste the broken tortillas, though — if you cut them up and cook them in the oven at 350 degrees, you have your own tortilla chips. The tortilla chips were the only silver lining in this process.

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