Camping Recipes

Walking Tacos

Everyone loves tacos. There is likely not a more perfect food in the world. Millions would agree. With all of the different filling and topping combinations, it is easy to find a combination that works best for anyone. So is there any way to make a taco even better? Will those in the mid-west part of the US think that there is. Because of this, we have the culinary creation of walking tacos. Now you can enjoy your tacos while doing other activities. You won’t have to crane your neck to eat it. The best part is that you won’t lose any of those fillings out the back side of your shell. The only drawback that I see to it is having to decide exactly what you will put on your walking taco!

In the mood for Mexican? Try these Camp Skillet Chicken Fajitas for a more substantial meal.

History of Walking Tacos

A constructed walking taco
A constructed walking taco

Like any great meal everyone tries to lay a claim to the first walking taco. It is a bit more difficult than some recipes to really nail down when the first walking taco was made. There are a few main ideas of when it was first developed.

The first is that it is an adaptation of Frito Pie. Even Frito pie has numerous origins from the wife of the inventor of Frito’s to a wonderful lady from New Mexico named Teresa Hernandez. Essentially the thought is that people loved Frito Pie so much that they wanted to take it with them and so it morphed into the walking taco. Hernandez started selling the Frito and chili mixture to over 30,000 people a year from a local store.

The second theory is that it originated as a fair food during the Knoxville World’s Fair in 1982. A man named Joe Schoentrup needed a food that could be cleanly carried during the fair. He too likely took inspiration from the Frito Pie. In either case the food that so many people love was made easily portable. It is no wonder that it does well as a fair food.

It has really taken off in the mid-west as well as with Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops over the years because of its easiness. You can have children prepare the toppings that they like and then just add it to the bag of chips. There is really no muss or fuss and they can walk around the campsite easily.

What is a Walking Taco

It is likely that you have already guessed what a walking taco is. However, if you are still wondering why we need to modify the glorious taco, you needn’t any longer. First as I mentioned above this is a great hand food for kids that keeps messes at a minimum. Clean up is a breeze as well. This is a godsend especially around the campfire.

walking taco
That delicious taco meat!

Essentially, a walking taco is a mix of taco toppings that you prepare and a bag of chips. The most common chips used are Fritos (c) and Doritos (c). However, you can be as creative as you like if there are a type of chips that you prefer more (as you will see in the substitutions below).

If you have taco night at your home during the week then you likely already know the toppings that your family will like to have. It is just a matter of preparing those toppings. You can go with standard taco toppings. Make it a fajita themed walking taco, or even go with a Korean taco theme! The options are really endless as the main goal here is to make an easy meal that is transportable.

Walking Taco Substitutions

One of my favorite parts of walking tacos is the fact that there are so many different combinations that you can make. My family, and millions of mid-westerners, love the standard taco approach. It is what is included in the recipe below. It is essentially taco seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and a bag of chips. What happens if your campers don’t like Fritos or Doritos? Well, consider some of these changes for your next walking taco! I would recommend sour cream and onion chips as my favorite replacement.


  • Fritos
  • Chili & Cheese Fritos
  • Doritos (all flavors)
  • Sour Cream & Onion
  • Classic Potato
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Sour Cream & Cheddar
  • Ruffles
  • If you are still looking for ideas literally all chips work!


  • Ground beef, chicken, steak, or pork
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Refried Beans
  • Spanish Rice
  • Black Beans
  • Fajita Veggie Mix
  • Hot Sauce
  • Bacon


  • Standard Taco
  • Fajita
  • Korean Tacos
  • Hamburger
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Chili in a bag

The Tools

walking taco
Add some delicious onions to the mix and cook them right in your cookware.

Since making walking tacos is such a breeze you do not need many tools. The basics include a cutting board, a knife, a pan and a campstove. If you want to make things even easier you can prepare your chopped veggies at home before you even leave. I love having this meal the first night at the campsite because it requires so little effort for setup and clean up.

The two biggest items that you are going to need are a good camp cooking set to cook you meat in and a campstove. You could also use a fire or grill grate if you don’t have a campstove. Having a campstove makes cooking quick and easy though and it is my preferred method.

Learn more about campstoves now!

Your camp stove is an essential piece of camping gear and choosing a brand or type is very important to your camping trips. Your investment in your stove will be well worth the price in the long run when it is reliable, easy to use, easy to clean, and eco-friendly. Take your time to investigate the possibilities and find the one that will meet your needs for camping.

What is your favorite walking taco topping? Tell us in the comments below, on our Facebook, or on Reddit!

Walking Tacos

Walking Tacos

Walking tacos are a classic handheld food. They are so great to have on your first-night camping because they are quick to make and require very little clean-up. This recipe stays pretty true to the classic recipe with the addition of some grilled onions. So make your first dinner on the trail easy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Tex Mex
Servings 4


  • Campfire or Camp Stove
  • Frying Pan
  • Bowl
  • Spoon


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 pkg Taco Seasoning
  • 4 Individual sized bags of Doritos Or your favorite chip
  • 1 medium Onion Sliced
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Diced Tomatoes


  • Heat frying pan over the fire or camp stove and add in ground beef.
    1 lb Ground Beef
  • Once ground beef is complete cook and add in the taco seasoning per the directions on the package.
    1 pkg Taco Seasoning
  • While beef is finishing slice your onions, tomatoes, and lettuce (if you did not buy pre-shredded lettuce).
    1 medium Onion, Shredded Lettuce, Diced Tomatoes
  • Once beef and season are completed move them to a bowl. Then add the sliced onions to the pan. Cook until translucent.
  • When onions are just about done, assemble your walking taco by opening a bag of Doritos, placing a scoop of taco meat into the bag, and topping with your favorite taco items. My family uses shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and the cooked onions from above.
    4 Individual sized bags of Doritos, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese


Camp Hero Notes:
  1. Doritos and Fritos are classically used for Walking Tacos, however, feel free to try other chip types as well. BBQ is a fan favorite around our picnic table.
Keyword Chips, Onions, Tacos, Tex Mex, Walking Tacos