Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Cheesy Gordita Crunch

As much as I love fancy pants Mexican food, there will always be a place in my heart for good old Taco Bell.  There’s just something about that warm spicy saucy beef, fake cheese sauce, and salty taco sauces that will always bring me back.  I always always always get the same thing at Taco Bell when I go – a number 5 (Nachos Bell Grande + hard taco supreme) and a Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is so, so, SO good.  My favorite part about it is the sauce – a creamy pepperjack sauce, according to the interwebz.  But that warm, soft, pillowy gordita wrapped around the crunchy taco shell and the melted cheese and the sauce…. oh yum.  I just might have to go to Taco Bell for lunch today!

I was scouring Pinterest one day and found copycat recipes for the pepperjack sauce and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.  I promptly “pinned for later!” and now how-many-years-later-I’m-not-even-sure here I am, making it, finally!

All of the copycat recipes were by the same blogger – //Texas Cookin’ at Home//.  His blog hasn’t been active for a couple years now, but thankfully his recipes are still up!  I was pleasantly surprised by this copycat recipe because it was pretty dang close to the original!

Here are links to his original recipes:

//Cheesy Gordita Crunch//
//Creamy Pepperjack Sauce//
//Copycat Taco Bell Beef//

But lucky for you I will put everything right here so you won’t have to hop around to all the different pages.  ?  Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the recipes:

?For the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, my store did not have thick flour tortillas or gorditas, so I just bought taco-size flour tortillas.  They still ended up being pretty good.  Also, I think I needed to sprinkle more cheese onto the tortillas to make them stick to the taco shell.

?For the Creamy Pepperjack Sauce, this sauce did turn out a little more runny than I’d hoped.  I think I just need to add more mayonnaise at the end, or maybe even some sour cream.  The flavor on it’s own wasn’t what I thought it might be, BUT, combined with everything, it was pretty damn close!  Also, I noticed that the mayonnaise didn’t incorporate completely to make a uniform sauce.  Next time, I might leave the cheese sauce in the processor, and whiz the mayonnaise in when it’s cooled, to create a more uniform sauce.

?For the Copycat Taco Bell Beef, I have no bad things to say!  The flavor and texture of this was on point.  It didn’t taste exactly like Taco Bell – it tasted better!  Initially I had thought that the step about adding everything to a Ziploc bag and squishing it around would be unnecessary, but afterwards I was glad I did this step, so don’t skip it.  I may play with this a little bit in the future – maybe use arrowroot powder instead of flour, to limit the Bad White Stuff.  But, whatever, I’m wrapping the whole thing in a flour tortilla, so maybe it’s a moot point.

?Thoughts on the recipes as a whole:  Though I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner this night, and it was quite tasty, I will probably only make this again when I have the time, or when I have guests over.  This isn’t really something you could do on a weeknight unless you had everything prepped already.  The sauce alone has to chill for at least 4 hours before using.  Also, I had to buy several ingredients for this recipe, to only use a tiny bit of them.  You may not have to if you have these things in your house already.  But like, I had to buy a small jar of pimentos only to use 1 tablespoon of them.  What am I supposed to do with the rest of those pimentos?  I mean //pimento cheese// obv, duh, but still, you know what I mean?  I will probably make this again, but be forewarned, it IS a lot of ingredients, and it DID take some time.  I DO think it was worth it!

Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch

For the Creamy Pepperjack Sauce:
1/3 cup pepperjack cheese, freshly grated, finely on a Microplane grater
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, finely on a Microplane grater
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium to large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon dry buttermilk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
5 tablespoons vinegar (divided use)
1 tablespoon pimentos, drained
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 – 1/2 cup mayonnaise (possibly more, depending on your desired consistency)

For the Copycat Taco Bell Beef:
1 lb ground beef
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried onions
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pinch of cayenne
About a 1/2 cup of water (possibly more)

For the Cheesy Gordita Crunch:
Hard taco shells
Gordita tortillas (or taco-size flour tortillas)
Finely shredded Mexican cheese blend
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Copycat Taco Bell Beef
Creamy Pepperjack Sauce

For the Creamy Pepperjack Sauce:
1. Combine the grated cheeses and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Toss together with a fork until combined and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cornstarch, mustard, jalapeno, dry buttermilk, evaporated milk, and 4 tablespoons vinegar. Whisk until the buttermilk has dissolved. Turn on the heat to medium and whisk often while the mixture is heating. Bring the mixture to a good simmer, then turn off the heat and remove from the heat completely.

3. Whisk in the cheeses about 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly for about a minute after each addition, to ensure that the cheese fully melts before adding more.

4. When all cheese has been incorporated, pour into a blender (I used my small mini-food processor). Add in the pimentos. Pulse and blend until the peppers are finely chopped and the mixture is smooth. Pour out into a small, seal-able bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

5. When the cheese mixture has cooled completely, add the last tablespoon of vinegar and begin adding mayonnaise. Whisk together to combine well.  Add as much mayonnaise as you’d like to make it a good consistency – you want to be able to spoon it onto your tacos, so not too runny, but not too thick either.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to combine and the sauce to firm up a bit.

For the Copycat Taco Bell Beef:
1. Add all ingredients from flour through cayenne to a small bowl, and whisk together to combine.

2. Put the raw ground beef into a large Ziploc bag, and pour the spice mixture over top. Seal the Ziploc bag, pushing out any air. Squish everything around until the spice mixture is worked into the beef.

3. When combined, pour the beef into a skillet and head over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Stir frequently to break up the beef, but also to keep it from sticking. As the water cooks off, add the rest of the water, to keep the beef simmering. Don’t drain the beef; just keep simmering until the water cooks off and until the meat is cooked through. Keep warm until ready to assemble into tacos or Cheesy Gordita Crunches!

For the Cheesy Gordita Crunch:
1. Warm hard taco shells in oven according to package directions.

2. Lay tortillas on a cookie sheet and top each with some of the shredded cheese. I used about 1/4 cup as directed, but you may want to use more. Warm in the oven until the cheese melts. (Alternatively, you can do about 2 at a time in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.)

3. When the cheese has melted onto the tortillas, grab a taco shell and place in the center. Gently wrap the tortilla up around the taco shell, and lay it on its side. Continue until finished. To try and keep the tortilla adhered to the shell, you can nest the shells inside each other as you work.

4. Now, to assemble! Add taco beef to each shell. Top with creamy pepperjack sauce. Top with shredded lettuce and shredded cheese. Then, eat!