I won't forget the first time I had Taco Bell's potato tacos. My mother and I went to Taco Bell after my dance practice and ordered our usual order: 2 crunchy tacos, substitute beans in place of beef. "You know, you mentioned you were vegetarian; you should give this crispy potato soft taco a try," said the cashier. We took his advice, and it was absolutely worth it. The savory, crispy yet fluffy morsels of potato combined with the spicy, yet tangy Baja sauce, the rich Jack cheese, and the cooling shreds of lettuce made each bite a deeply satisfying and euphoric experience filled with harmonious contrasts in tastes, temperatures, and textures. I was in love.

Since then, from the Spicy Potato Soft Taco to Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, Taco Bell's signature taters have been a staple of my dining experience. I mean, crispy potatoes and cheese - what's not to love?

In Summer 2020, Taco Bell discontinued many of their popular vegetarian menu items, including the Spicy Potato Soft Taco and other potato items. While Taco Bell has since decided to bring potatoes back to the menu, this was incredibly disappointing news at the time. This series of tweets just about summed up my devastation:

So, like any good foodie, I was on the hunt for alternatives. The most common recipe I found when searching for "crispy potato tacos" on the web have been Tacos Dorados de Papa. They are incredibly delicious and one of my favorite Mexican dishes to make, but aren't quite the same.

The best recipes I was able to find were this recipe by Timothy Pakron of Mississippi Vegan and this one by Philip of Southern Fatty. These recipes by some of my favorite food influencers are both incredibly close to the original menu item and very tasty.

But as someone with parents who maintain that the best way to eat potatoes is with Indian flavors, I wanted to create a potato taco recipe that would allow them to enjoy some Taco Bell nostalgia while keeping their flavor preferences in mind. So with these two recipes and the original menu item in mind, I set out to make the best taco I have ever made in my life.

And this is what I came up with:

South Indianized Spicy Potato Soft Tacos

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:35 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Medium


  • 1 large potato - Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes work beautifully in this dish
  • 1/4 large red bell pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambar powder - any curry powder blend available in your local grocery store can be substituted in a pinch. Taste carefully and adjust your turmeric/salt levels accordingly.
  • Salt to taste
  • Any melting cheese - vegan cheese also works
  • Optional: guacamole for dipping/serving
  • For the yogurt dip:
  • 1/4 cup plain unflavored yogurt
  • 1 tsp bisi bele bhath powder - this spice blend is available at any Indian grocery store; smoked paprika is an excellent alternative. Taste and adjust your seasoning levels accordingly.
  • Chopped cilantro to taste
Bhageerathi Ganesan
  • Step 1

    Chop up your potato into roughly uniform dice. Microwave for 4 minutes or until chunks are fork-tender. Season with turmeric, curry powder blend of choice, and salt.

    Bhageerathi Ganesan
  • Step 2

    Chop your bell pepper into similar-sized chunks; sauté the potatoes and bell pepper together until the pepper chunks have softened and the potatoes are crispy on the edges. Adjust salt and seasoning as needed.

    Bhageerathi Ganesan
  • Step 3

    To make the yogurt dip: Combine yogurt, spice blend of choice, and chopped cilantro and mix thoroughly. Adjust salt and seasoning as needed.

    Bhageerathi Ganesan
  • Step 4

    Gently heat your tortillas on a hot griddle until slightly charred and pliable. Assemble tacos with potatoes, cheese, dipping sauce, and guacamole as desired. Enjoy!

    Bhageerathi Ganesan

So there you have it - potato tacos with an Indian flair that are incredibly easy to make. It may not be quite the same as the original menu item, but if you find yourself craving Taco Bell's delicious taters late at night, these tacos will definitely have your back.

And for those of you who like copycat recipes but still crave the original menu item, great news! Taco Bell will be bringing potatoes back to the menu beginning March 11! Even better news is on the horizon for vegetarians and vegans - Taco Bell is working with Beyond Meat to make innovative plant-based protein options for vegans and non-vegans alike. Looks like lots of delicious options are in store this year!

Bon appetit!