The smashed taco craze has taken over social media and I’m here for it. I love any kind of taco, but if there’s a taco that can be made in just a few minutes and has delicious crispy edges and is easy to top with all the taco toppings, I’m into it!

I switched up the flavor profile on the traditional smashed tacos because I wanted to make these vegetarian and also capitalize on the crispy cheddar cheese possibilities. The results were an instant WIN.

What is a smashed taco?

The standard smashed taco is similar to a smashed burger. You add a thin layer of beef to a griddle with some taco seasoning and press it into the skillet or griddle so it gets a nice crust on it. The difference in the taco is you top the beef with a flour tortilla so it cooks through and the beef sticks to the tortilla.

After the beef is cooked (a few minutes) you flip the taco and top with cheese, which will melt, and the flour tortilla gets a chance to get crispy on the griddle.

The results are pretty amazing and I encourage you to try it out if you like a beef taco.

This twist is a little different variation on that, but maybe I should make a standard one as well!

How to make a smashed taco with crispy cheese

The tricks to making this work is very simple.

  1. Make sure your griddle is very clean. If you have any bits stuck to it, your cheese layer will stick which isn’t great.
  2. Don’t overdo it on the cheese. If you add too much cheese, it’ll turn into an oily mess and not a crispy layer of delicious cheese.
  3. Control your heat for these. If your griddle is too hot, the cheese will just burn. I like to use medium-low heat.

If you have all those things in place, these are quite easy to make.

Add a layer of cheese to a preheated griddle that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray and add some sliced jalapenos if you want.

Making the crispy cheese layer.

Once that cheese starts to melt, don’t touch it! Wait until it starts to bubble and get crispy around the edges and then you can add the bean layer!

How to add the refried bean layer to the tacos

To add your bean layer, you’ll want to spread the beans directly on the tortilla and then flip the tortilla onto the cheese.

Beans on tortillas.

With just a little bit of pressure, the bean and cheese layers will stick together and it’ll be quite delicious.

Cheese and bean layer.

You can see the cheese bubbling under this situation.

Once it has cooked like this for about two minutes, the cheese should be really crispy. Use a good spatula to work under the cheese layer so it releases fully. Then you can give it a flip!

Look at these beautiful crispy tacos!

Crispy bean and cheese tacos.

Toppings for the smashed tacos

I don’t think these smashed tacos need any more cheese or, frankly, and creamy things like sour cream. They do need some fresh vegetables though! I like to chop up some tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and lettuce and add that to the tacos with a drizzle of hot sauce.

So good!

Smashed tacos with toppings.

Substitutions and ideas for these tacos

These are a pretty flexible taco. Here are some good ideas for substitutions!

  • You can feel free to change up the cheese as long as it isn’t too melty. Something like mozzarella would probably not crisp up but something like gouda or provolone would.
  • Different kinds of beans would work well as a filling. Try mashed pinto beans or black beans.
  • The toppings can be very flexible. Try different chopped vegetables or even this green taco sauce!

Can you make these tacos in advance?

In short, I wouldn’t. They completely lose their crispiness if they sit too long and would be not great out of the fridge, in my opinion.

If you need to make them in advance, you can hold them in a warm 250˚F oven for a short amount of time if you need to make a big batch of them or something.

These smashed tacos are fast to make and I think they will be an instant hit in your kitchen.

Bean & Cheese Smashed Tacos

5 from 3 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 4 Tacos
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
These bean and cheese crispy smashed tacos take just a few minutes to make and are some of my favorite tacos ever! Crispy cheese, jalapenos, and savory refried beans topped with fresh veggies!



  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup refried beans, canned
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thin (optional)
  • 4 medium flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray, for griddle


  • Tomatoes, Diced
  • Cilantro, Diced
  • white onion, Diced
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Hot Sauce


  • Preheat your griddle or nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Make sure the griddle is very clean if you are using a griddle. Spray lightly with nonstick spray.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of grated cheese in a thin circular layer for each taco. Add sliced jalapenos if you are using them. Allow the cheese to melt on the griddle and start to bubble.
  • Meanwhile, spread refried beans in a thin layer on each tortilla. About 1/4 cup of beans per tortilla is a good guide.
  • Add tortilla to melted cheese with the bean side down on the cheese. Press on the tortilla so the fillings stick together. Allow the taco to continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until cheese is very crispy.
  • Use a sturdy spatula to scrape under the cheese so it releases and flip the taco. Cook for another 2 minutes so the tortilla can crisp up.
  • Remove tacos and serve immediately with toppings of your choice.


If you want to make a bunch of these tacos, you can keep tacos warm in a 250˚F oven while you work on the rest of the tacos. 


Serving: 1taco | Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 1063mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 977IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 493mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Tex-Mex

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Here are a few other great recipes to try!