Beef Tortilla Stack

Prep Time
Cook Time
2h 30m
Ready In

"Tried and true. I used to make this all the time and recently I realized I hadn't made it in a while, so I decided to make it. My daughter ooo'd and aww'd and asked what was wrong with me because I hadn't made it in so long. She claimed it was her favorite dish I've made. It is essential to shred the meat as the liquid will absorb into the crevices of the shreds, otherwise leaving it in chunks will be more runny. To save time, I've normally completed the cooking of the meat the day before and I finish it off the next day. Voila, it's done. I think I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine, but I can't quite recall. I have changed it through the years, adding my own tweaks."

Original is 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (399.1 g)
  • Calories 634.8
  • Total Fat - 46.9 g
  • Saturated Fat - 15 g
  • Cholesterol - 122.5 mg
  • Sodium - 797.3 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 26.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 5.3 g
  • Sugars - 3.9 g
  • Protein - 28.9 g
  • Calcium - 127 mg
  • Iron - 3 mg
  • Vitamin C - 8.9 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

In 5 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 T salad oil. Once oil is hot, add onions and sauté until golden brown. Remove onion and set aside. Add 1 T more of oil to hot pan to heat. Add steak and sear until well browned on both sides.

Step 2

Add onion back to Dutch oven, taco seasoning mix, salt, pepper, and water over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 ½ to 2 hours until meat is very tender and falls apart when tested with a fork.

Step 3

When meat is done, remove steak from pan and transfer to a plate. Shred meat with a couple of forks. Return meat back to pan and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon, until liquid has absorbed; keep warm if using that same day or you can cook up to this point the day before and refrigerate. If making the beef a day ahead keep in mind to reheat before proceeding.

Step 4

In a 10” skillet over medium high heat, add 1 T vegetable oil, cook one tortilla until lightly browned and puffy. Turn tortilla over and repeat, so that both sides are golden brown.

Step 5

Remove tortilla to cookie sheet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas, using 1 T oil for each.

Step 6

On serving plate, place one tortilla. Spread one-fourth of sour cream evenly on tortilla. Top with one-third of meat mixture, then spoon 1/3 of salsa over top, then one-fourth of chopped avocado. Repeat layering two more times.

Step 7

Place the fourth tortilla over the top. Dot with sour-cream and spread evenly, sprinkle with chopped tomato and remaining avocado.

Step 8

To serve, slice as you would a cake. To each serving, sprinkle some lime juice to your liking, to taste (optional). Serve and enjoy.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • Be sure to choose a good quality chuck shoulder steak for the best flavor.
  • For the tortillas, look for those that are soft and pliable so they don't break when you cook them.

  • Substitute vegetable oil with olive oil. The benefit of this substitution is that olive oil is a healthier option, as it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which can help reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
  • Substitute beef chuck shoulder with ground turkey. The benefit of this substitution is that ground turkey is a leaner meat, which is lower in calories and fat, making it a healthier option.

Vegetarian Version Replace the beef chuck shoulder with two cans of black beans, rinsed and drained. Use vegetable oil instead of regular oil. Omit the taco seasoning mix and replace with 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. Use vegetable broth instead of water. Omit the sour cream and replace with vegan sour cream or vegan cream cheese.

Mexican Style Replace the beef chuck shoulder with 1 pound of ground chicken. Omit the taco seasoning mix and replace with 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. Add 1 diced jalapeno pepper and 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes. Use chicken broth instead of water. Replace the sour cream with 1/2 cup of Mexican crema.

Mexican Rice: This delicious side dish is the perfect accompaniment to the Beef Tortilla Stack. It's easy to make and adds a delicious flavor to the meal. The combination of the savory beef and the slightly sweet rice is a great match.

Black Beans: This hearty side dish is a great way to round out the meal. The earthy flavor of the black beans pairs nicely with the beef and rice, and it adds a healthy dose of plant-based protein. Plus, it's quick and easy to make, so you can have dinner on the table in no time.


Q: How do I shred the beef?

A: Shred the beef with a couple of forks. Pull the forks in opposite directions to break the meat into small pieces. This will help the liquid absorb into the crevices of the shreds.

Q: How long should I cook the beef?

A: The cooking time will depend on the cut of beef you are using. Generally, a thicker cut will take longer to cook than a thinner cut. For best results, use a thermometer to ensure the beef reaches an internal temperature of at least 145°F.

3 Reviews


This was fun to make, fun to eat, and fun to serve. My kids were delighted by the stacked tortillas. I omitted the avocados and added a little cheese and cilantro. Definitely a kid-pleasing recipe!


review by:
(25 Feb 2023)


Delicious! I followed through on your suggestion to cook and shred the meat the day before making this a super easy to prepare lunch which was enjoyed. I think the flavourful shredded beef would make for a great rollup as well. This will see to reruns at my house!


review by:
(10 Jul 2017)


Made for the FF&F FYC Tag Game, mainly because it took me back to my Tex-Mex roots in Dallas B4 coming to live in Iceland. I tinkered a bit w/your recipe, but I doubt you’ll be unhappy w/my chgs/adds. I was to the point of starting assembly when the tinkering started. I looked at all the prepared ingredients (plus some shredded cheese I felt it needed) & wondered how I’d manage to cut the stack into wedges. So I grabbed my hand-held “magic wand” & whizzed the meat to where it more resembled grd meat than shredded meat. I combined the sour cream & salsa so I could layer them together. Then I started the assembly. When I got to the top tortilla, I got creative w/avocado slices, black olives & a sprinkling of dried cilantro. Cutting it was like cutting a pie – The 1st wedge was awkward & a little unsightly, but the 2nd was much better. This serves 6 as an appy, but 4 as a main-dish IMO. All that said, this was fun to make & even more fun to eat! Thx for sharing this recipe w/us.


review by:
(6 Apr 2016)

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Fun facts:

The beef tortilla stack is a dish that has been around since the 1950s. It was popularized by actress and singer Doris Day, who featured the dish in her cookbook, Doris Day's Cookbook.

The beef tortilla stack is believed to have originated in Mexico, where it is known as a "taco de cazuela." This dish has become a popular favorite in the United States, with many variations and adaptations.