Tacos de Canasta

Tacos de canasta

The Spruce Eats / Ubish Yaren

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 20 tacos
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
513 Calories
14g Fat
87g Carbs
15g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 513
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 726mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 87g 32%
Dietary Fiber 19g 66%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 24mg 118%
Calcium 145mg 11%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1314mg 28%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tacos de canasta translates in English as "basket tacos," which perfectly describes how they're transported and served. To make they, you'll fill your tacos individually, as usual. Then you'll steam them together with a chile-infused oil, packed in a basket, which keeps them warm. They're also sometimes called tacos sudados (sweaty!).

The tacos are a common street food you'll find all over Mexico. Typically, vendors attach a large basket to the back of their bicycles and ride around the city. Just like your favorite taco truck, they stopping at certain stops at certain times when they're certain to attract plenty of customers.

Because you'll be steaming these tacos, we recommend you use corn tortillas, not flour. This is a good way to use up any tacos that have gone stale (but not so stale that they break when you fold them).

In addition to the below ingredients, you will also need:

  • 1 basket, large enough for 40 tacos
  • At least 1 large towel or blanket
  • 1 large, clean plastic bag
  • Parchment or waxed paper

Packed well, tacos de canasta will keep warm for 5-6 hours.


  • 1/2 medium white onion

  • 1 jalapeño peppers

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or lard

  • 2 pounds peeled and diced potatoes

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or lard

  • 1/2 medium white onion

  • 1 cloves garlic 

  • 4 cups canned black beans

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 pounds tomatillos

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/2 roughly-chopped medium white onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 ripe avocados, diced

  • 40 corn tortillas

  • 3 tablespoons achiote paste, or 3 tablespoons ground achiote powder

  • 2 cups of vegetable oil, or pork lard, for frying

Steps to Make It

Make the two fillings

  1. Gather the ingredients. Slice the onion crosswise. Slice off the stems and tops off the jalapeños, slice them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and veins. Then slice them crosswise.

  2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until soft. Then add the potatoes and cook, pressing with a spatula, until they are completely crumbled. Add salt and stir to incorporate. Set aside.

  3. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they start to caramelize. Add the beans with the liquid in the can and cook, again pressing with a spatula until they are crushed. Add salt and stir to incorporate. Set aside.

Make the salsa

  1. Gather the ingredients. Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Gently lower in the tomatillos and cook until the skins begin to peel, about 30 seconds. Remove and let cool long enough to remove and discard the skins.

  2. Add the cooked tomatoes, along with garlic, onion, and cilantro, to a blender and blend until mostly pureed, but still slightly chunky. Stir in chopped avocado.

Build the tacos

  1. Line the basket with the towel or blanket and place the plastic bag inside. Line the inside of the plastic bag with parchment or waxed paper.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the achiote paste and dissolve into the oil. Dip each tortilla into the hot, seasoned oil and set aside.

  3. When the tortillas are cool enough to handle, fill half of them with the potato filling and the other half with the bean filling. As you fill and fold each taco, assemble inside the plastic bag in layers, drizzling 1-2 tablespoons over the top of each layer. Repeat with all of the tortillas and then tightly close the bag. Fold the towel or blanket over the top. If necessary, add more towels on top to keep warmer, longer.

  4. Serve the tacos with the salsa. If you're not eating them all at once, keep the rest in the bag, covered with the towel.

How long do tacos de canasta stay warm?

Packed carefully, tacos de canasta will keep warm for 5-6 hours.

Handle chiles carefully

Take care to wash your hands thoroughly after handling chiles. Some people use gloves or wrap their hands in plastic bags to protect themselves. Oils from the chiles can irritate your eyes and nose if you handle chiles and then absentmindedly touch your face.

Make ahead

You can make the fillings and the salsa 1-3 days ahead of time, and store them in the refrigerator. Warm the fillings before assembling the tacos, then pack.

Once packed and steamed, we recommend consuming the tacos on the same day.