Indian Tacos


for the taco meat
1 lb ground bison
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz pinto beans, drained
10 oz canned diced tomato with green chile
4 oz canned fire-roasted diced Hatch green chiles
1 tablespoon hot Mexican-style chili powder
2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeno

for the fry bread
2 cups water
2 packages dry yeast
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 cups flour

to serve:
shredded sharp cheddar
shredded iceburg lettuce
diced tomatoes
optional: sour cream and avocado

for the fry bread:
Whisk the flour and yeast togehter in a large bowl. Place the sugar, salt, water and butter in a small sauce pan and heat until almost boiling. Allow to cool slightly. Pour over the flour and yeast and mix with a dough hook until a smooth, not too sticky ball of dough forms. If the dough is very sticky, slowly mix in additional flour. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the meat. Saute the meat, onions and garlic in a large skillet until the onions just soften. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a deep frying pan or skillet. Divide dough into about 15 pieces. On a clean, floured surface, roll dough into discs about 1/4 inch thick circles about 6 inches in diameter. Fry until golden brown on each side. Drain both sides on paper towel lined plates. If they puff up a lot during frying, press with a paper towel to deflate.

Place the meat on the center of the taco. Sprinkle with desired toppings. Fold in half to eat.

Serves 15.

My thoughts:

Indian tacos started out as a Najavo invention but quickly grew to become a popular contemporary powwow and festival treat served all over North America. Fry bread was named the official state bread of South Dakota back in 2005 and Indian tacos became the official state dish of Arizona in 1995. There is even a National Indian Taco Competition in Oklahoma. They are the perfect fair food: fried, spicy and portable. And they are surprisingly easy to make at home.

The fry bread comes together quickly and if cooked in hot oil and drained, much less greasy than you’d think. Some recipes call for baking soda instead of yeast but I find that a yeast dough yields a much more tender, tastier bread.

Often the beans in Indian tacos are served as a topping but adding them to the meat imbues them with flavor and eliminates the need to heat them separately. Bison is an extremely lean meat that works well with strong spices and isn’t as “heavy” as ground beef-perfect for use in a dish like Indian tacos.

Note: you can also bake the dough for the fry bread at 450 for a few minutes to make a tasty flatbread.


  1. MMM. This makes me hungry! I have never heard of Indian Tacos before. Glad I know about them now.

  2. It seems like everyone was having taco night last night! I swear, at least 5 people bought taco fixings at the store today. Weird!

  3. I've had these at a few pow wows and also at the Indian Museum in DC. They are yummy and I'm so glad to know they are easy to make at home. Thanks!

  4. These look amazing! I can't wait to try these out.

  5. ♥peachkins♥

    I've never had indian tacos this looks yummy!!

  6. I had fry bread drizzled with honey in a puebla in Arizona. So good! I'm sure this would be delicious too.

  7. I'd never heard of Indian Tacos either, but I do believe I want to get to know them, intimately. I loved learning a bit more about fry bread too.

  8. Great photo! Your recipe sounds terrific. I would love to try my hand at making fry bread sometime!

  9. Wow, I'm always amazed to hear of folks who have never heard of Indian Tacos (ahem: Navajo Tacos). Here in Arizona at least, many Navajo families also prepare what they call "dry bread" which is the fry bread dough cooked on a griddle instead (dry) and it makes for thick, fluffy tortillas. Often, they make fry bread or dry bread on a regular basis (daily for some of the ones I know). And of course, here in the Southwest every frybread cook insists on Bluebird brand flour milled in Cortez, Colorado.

  10. I grill my "fry" bread, in an effort to make me feel a little better about eating it 🙂

  11. These look great! Totally making me hungry, and I am cooking tacos for dinner. Wish I had seen it a bit sooner, I would have tried this out. 🙂

  12. That bread looks perfectly delicious. I've never heard of these, but I'd love to try one.

  13. I lived in Arizona for many years and always looked forward to their fry bread at the pow-wows! Either with honey, or beans and hot sauce – they were delicious! Thank you for this recipe!

  14. I've never heard of Indian tacos. There sound super delicious.

  15. we are never full

    so creative! lovely pictures. never heard of indian tacos but before i started reading i had imagined it to have indian (india indian not native american) flavors versus mexican flavors.very cool.

  16. Wow, this looks divine! I have never heard of tacos made of bison.
    : ]

    These look postively fabulous. And I love that you've added a recipe (and tips) for the frybread.

    If you love these, you should visit Milwaukee during "Indian Summer," one of the many festivals here that feature great ethnic cuisines (among other things).

  18. LoveFeast Table

    This sounds unbelievable!! I think my fam would love it! Will try this next time instead of tortillas.

  19. Caviar and Codfish

    There's a little buffalo farm near me, and I can't wait to get over there for the ground now. : )

  20. This looks amazing and I love the fusion of Indian and mMxican. And I have some bison in my freezer!

  21. Obviously the people who never heard of Indian Tacos do not live near a reservation. We made these in college as a fundraiser. I love using ground turkey with all the fixings or have butter, honey, and cinnamon. I make my bread w/o yeast and we stretch the dough to make the rounds.

  22. Obviously the people who never heard of Indian Tacos do not live near a reservation. We did these as fundraiser in college. We didn't use yeast and we stretched the dough to make the rounds. I love mine with ground turkey with all the fixings or dessert style with honey, butter, and cinnamon.