Pie Iron Tasty Tacos

Eating tacos while camping? Of course you can with these pie iron tasty tacos!

pie iron tasty taco with sour cream and salsa on a white plate

Tortillas spread with butter, then stuffed with taco meat and cheese, grilled until crispy, and topped with all your favorite taco toppings = comfort food around the campfire. And these pie iron tacos are so easy to make. Bring along some precooked taco meat, shredded cheese, tortillas, and whatever toppings you desire to make this a tasty reality.

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Who doesn’t love food cooked over a campfire? Actually, we know a lot of people who don’t and we just have to feel sorry for them. Because we love to cook over a campfire, especially in a pie iron. These are sometimes called camp cookers, pudgy pies, or even hobo pies, but we use the term pie iron. Whatever you choose to call it, know that these trusty tools make extremely delicious food cooked over the campfire.e.

What we love about Pie Iron Tasty Tacos:

  • These are simple to make
  • They can be made as mild or as spicy as you want
  • We can cook them over wood, charcoal, or gas
  • You can top them with whatever you want
  • Who doesn’t love tacos?

The Ingredients:

  • Butter (it helps to make the tortilla crispy)
  • Tortillas (your preference, flour or corn)
  • Taco Meat (we always make ours at home in advance)
  • Shredded cheese (go for the blend, you’re worth it)
  • Assorted toppings (shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, etc.)
pie iron that has been buttered
small tortillas poked into square pie iron
large tortilla draped over square pie iron
taco meat and shredded cheese on tortilla in pie iron

The Process:

  1. (Optional) Preheat your pie irons over the fire while getting your supplies ready.
  2. Butter the side of your tortillas that will form the outside of your pockets.
  3. (Optional) Sprinkle some seasonings over the butter such as taco seasoning, garlic powder, or another favorite seasoning.
  4. Insert a large tortilla in the bottom half of your pie iron, draping the excess up top. Or insert one small tortilla in each half of your pie iron. Press in bottom to form a pocket. See pictures for examples.
  5. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of taco meat on top of the bottom tortilla.
  6. Sprinkle 1/3 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on top of the taco meat.
pie iron closed with tortilla sticking out
cooked tasty taco in pie iron
square pie iron closed showing trimmed edges
pie iron tasty taco with sour cream and salsa on a white plate
  1. Carefully bring the top tortilla down on top of the mound of meat and cheese and latch the pie iron together. You are aiming to completely fill the tortillas so there is good contact between them and the pie irons. Do not include liquid items such as salsa at this stage or you will end up with a mess.
  2. Trim off the excess tortillas and either snack on them as is, or save them to make crispy cinnamon tortilla chips.
  3. Place on coals and cook, flipping every four minutes or so, until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Remove from pie iron and place on a plate, topping with whatever you desire.

FAQ and How to Customize:

Q. We don’t eat red meat. What else can we use?

A. You could use ground turkey or chicken. Or you could go completely vegetarian with a can of well drained beans.

Q. I don’t want to make taco meat at home, can I use store bought?

A. Yes! You absolutely can. We would suggest testing various brands to find one you like that is not too salty.

Q. What cheese do you recommend?

A. We enjoy our shredded blend of Mexican blend but not everyone likes preshredded cheese. You can take your own block of cheese and grate your own or use sliced cheese of your preference.

Q. Why don’t you put other ingredients inside the tortillas like salsa?

A.  We don’t like soggy tacos. So, we try to keep the items inside as dry as possible until they are heated through and crispy.

Q. What are some other ingredients we could use?

A. Instead of using ground meat or beans, some vegetarians use lentils or quinoa for their tacos. Other ideas might be well-drained diced tomatoes, canned corn, finely diced onions or chilis. Think about what you enjoy in your tacos at home and try them here. Just don’t stuff your tortilla to the point where it will break or you will have a mess to clean up.

Q. What can I use instead of a pie iron?

A. We have not tried this, but it seems like you could possibly use your cast iron skillet for more of a quesadilla result. Or you could try wrapping your tacos in heavy duty foil similar to cooking a foil packet on the fire. Neither one would have the same crispy exterior as the pie iron, but we think they would still be tasty!

Q. How long should I cook the pie iron tasty tacos?

A. This will depend on how hot your fire is and if you preheated your pie irons. We like to preheat our irons so the food will cook faster. However, then you are at risk of burning yourself while assembling the tacos. Which is why we state that step is optional and leave that to your discretion.

Q. How do I know if my pie iron temperature is hot enough?

A. You can tell if your pie iron is hot enough by simply throwing a few drops of water in it and seeing how they sizzle. Again, we want to reiterate that preheating the pie iron is optional. When kids are involved in the creation, we tend to leave the irons cold and just cook our items longer.

Q. How do I clean my pie iron after cooking?

A. The best way to clean your cast iron pie iron is to allow it to cool off. Then, while it is still warm, use a damp paper towel or rag to wipe it clean. Do not use soap as you will need to reseason the cooker. The easiest way to clean a Teflon coated cooker is to use a little bit of camping safe soap and water. Make sure to get all the soap off before cooking with it again.

Q.  What type of fire is best for cooking a pie iron tasty taco?

A. We have experimented with all different kinds of cooking our pie iron goodies and prefer a campfire. But if a fire is not an option, we have used charcoal grills, gas grills, even our oven during a torrential downpour. That was interesting because we couldn’t shut the oven door due to the poles. We would NOT recommend repeating that experiment.

Q. How do I prevent a burnt or stuck meal?

A. First, you will want to ensure that you are using something to coat your irons. Depending on what we are cooking we use butter, oil, or spray. With these tasty tacos using tortillas, we butter our irons. These will keep them from getting stuck and makes them delicious.

Now, to prevent them from burning, you will need to flip frequently and keep an eye on them. Unfortunately, because we don’t have exact temperatures on the fire, we can’t give a definite “cook for X minutes” in the recipe. Which is why we open ours up to do a visual check on a regular basis.

Suggested Side Dish:

We love to serve our tasty tacos with a side of grilled vegetables such as corn or okra (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!). Or you could go with a quick and easy salad. Don’t forget your favorite toppings such as guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream.

Suggested Dessert(s):

Don’t forget the tortilla scraps! Crispy cinnamon tortilla chips are easy to make with your leftover tortillas. Just heat up a tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet on the grill, then add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Place your leftover tortillas in the mixture for about 1-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Serve with a side of fruit salsa for dipping.

If that is too elaborate for your camping trip, go for a simpler dessert with Campfire Cones or S’mores Dip. If even these are more work than you want, roast some marshmallows (your choice to eat them straight or turn them into s’mores).

Equipment needed:

  • Pie iron(s): We have two cast iron double pie irons, two cast iron single pie irons, and two aluminum single pie irons. Pie irons also come in a variety of specialized types such as circles, hamburger (round with slots for draining grease), hot dog/bread baker, and (hard to find) waffle versions. Most of our pie irons come from Rome. We recommend a circle or a square for this recipe.
  • Cutting board and knife: We like to have a clean surface to work on and you will need the knife to trim the excess tortilla after you close the iron.
  • Heat resistant gloves: If you are going to be working around a fire, at some point you will probably get burned. These gloves can help prevent that.

More Pie Iron Recipes to Enjoy:

Pie Iron Tasty Tacos are easy to make and delicious to eat.

They are a great camping meal even if you are just “camping” in your backyard. We love how they can be made over the fire or on the grill. Combining taco meat, ooey gooey cheese, and whatever toppings you desire until they melt together inside of the crispy flour tortillas is a win with my family. Tag us on Instagram @campinganswer and show us your creations!

Pie Iron Tasty Tacos

Grill up some tacos in your pie iron for a tasty pocket taco treat
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, camping, pie iron, tortillas
Servings: 4 tacos

Equipment

  • Pie Irons

Ingredients

  • 4 large Tortillas
  • Butter
  • seasoning powder taco, garlic, your favorite
  • 1 cup taco meat cooked
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • assorted toppings salsa, sour cream, etc.

Instructions

  • (Optional) Preheat your pie irons over the fire while getting your supplies ready.
  • Butter the side of your tortillas that will form the outside of your pockets.
  • (Optional) Sprinkle some seasonings over the butter such as taco seasoning, garlic powder, or another favorite seasoning.
  • Insert a large tortilla in the bottom half of your pie iron, draping the excess up top. Or insert one small tortilla in each half of your pie iron. Press in bottom to form a pocket. See pictures for examples.
  • Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of taco meat on top of the bottom tortilla.
  • Sprinkle1/3 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on top of the taco meat.
  • Carefully bring the top tortilla down on top of the mound of meat and cheese and latch the pie iron together. You are aiming to completely fill the tortillas so there is good contact between them and the pie irons. Do not include liquid items such as salsa at this stage or you will end up with a mess.
  • Trim off the excess tortillas and either snack on them as is, or save them to make crispy cinnamon tortilla chips.
  • Place on coals and cook, flipping every four minutes or so, until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from pie iron and place on a plate, topping with whatever you desire.

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