Easy Homemade Cafeteria Beef Crispitos Recipe

December 30, 2023
Ingredients for beef crispitos.

WTF are Beef Crispitos?

What the fuck are beef crispitos? I didn’t know when I decided to try this recipe because that’s what social media told me to try. I just assumed that it was a mispronunciation of taquito. If you all know us you know that we love Mexican food! Turns out I was half right. What little research I did on these things told me that it was a cafeteria staple for most people growing up.

I’m guessing that those people are all Gen Z because when I was growing up (Millennial represent) we didn’t have crispitos day. We had four different varietals of fried chicken Monday through Thursday and the only thing more certain than the sun rising was that we had pizza on Fridays. And it was Elio’s rip-off pizza that came in rectangles but was made homemade by the vodka-swigging lunch lady who ran the show. I’m not exaggerating either. Our high school cafeteria always smelled like a combination of vodka and old hot oil. I learned as I got older that this is also what the best bars smell like.

Ground beef cooking in cast iron skillet for beef crispitos.

Here is what you will need to make this beef crispitos recipe!

So what is a beef crispito? It’s basically a taquito. And neither one of these is authentic. Here’s my take on this high school/7-11 staple.

For the Crispitos:

For the Cilantro Lime Crema:

For the ground beef seasoning

Adding beef to the tortilla for beef crispitos.

The Best Crispitos Recipe

Start by making the beef seasoning. Simply combine all of the spices in a small bowl and stir to combine. This seasoning gives the crispitos the best flavor Set aside until it’s time to cook the beef.

Next, make the cilantro lime aioli. Whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined. Do not forget the lime juice. It is the best way to make this aioli. Make sure to give it a taste and adjust the ingredients to your tastebuds.

First tip, always add a little more tequila, or just take a swig from the bottle. Or do both. Yea. Do both. Take your 12-inch flour tortillas and cut them in half. Set aside for building the crispitos.

Dice your onions and cilantro and set aside.

Now it’s time to cook. Add a thin drizzle of grapeseed oil, olive oil, or cooking spray to your large skillet over medium heat. You could use a frying pan here but a deep-set skillet works best. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet when cooking any kind of beef, even ground beef. A well-kept cast iron skillet just cooks beef well. But not well done. never cook your beef well done. Ground beef is the exception.

Beef crispitos rolled and browning in a pan.

Time to cook these Beef Crispitos!

Break up your beef with a wooden spoon and top it with roughly half of the spice blend. Stir the spice blend into the beef as you continue to break up the meat. As you start to see less and less red in the beef as it cooks, add in the diced onion. Your last three to four minutes of cooking the beef will be used to cook the onion.

You just want the onion to be lightly cooked through; do not cook the onion until they are translucent. After cooking the rest of the beef and the onion, add the cilantro to the skillet and remove from heat. The remaining low heat in the skillet will slightly wilt the cilantro. Remove everything from the skillet.

Let the beef cool for just a few minutes, this will make it easier to work with. It’s time to make the crispitos.

Lay out the tortilla halves. Unfortunately, corn tortillas will not work in the recipe so make sure to use flour ones. On the straight end, place a thin layer of ground beef filling, top with your cheese blend, and roll. Now rolling is tough, and I’d honestly just recommend watching videos of Chipotle employees rolling the burritos, or just watching the video posted to @a.couple.bites on TikTok. Do that second one. Give us the views and impressions.

At this step, some people choose to put cheddar cheese, cream cheese, cheese sauce, refried beans, and other various favorite toppings. Feel free to make these your own and as close to what reminds you of what you had on crispito day.

Browned beef crispitos in a cast iron skillet.

Did you just say food glue?

To help the tortillas stick better when you close them, apply a little food glue. What is food glue?

A couple tablespoons of flour and water. That’s it. Brush it at the round end of the tortilla as you close it to help keep it closed. Repeat the process for each crispito and place them aside. We like to place them on a baking sheet until we are ready to cook them.

When all of the beef crispitos are rolled, add a thin layer of grapeseed oil back to the cast iron and turn it on medium-high heat. Once the oil has become hot, roughly two to three minutes, working in small batches, place a few beef crispitos in the skillet seam side down. Depending on the size of the skillet, you’ll probably be able to fit three.

Remember, the beef inside is already cooked. So this final step in the process is just to get a little golden brown crisp on the outside of the tortillas. You should only need a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and place on either a paper towel or a cooling rack to let any excess oil be removed. These should be nice and crispy right now.

Top with the cilantro lime aioli and enjoy these before the bell rings for fifth period.

Feel free to store your leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. You can even freeze them if you’d like!

Tools we used!

Finished Beef crispitos on a plate with dipping sauce.

Beef Crispitos FAQ

Can I freeze these beef crispitos?

These would be great to make ahead and defrost. Just make sure you put them in a ziplock bag!

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Finished Beef crispitos on a plate with dipping sauce.

Beef Crispitos

  • Author: Matt and Melissa


These are what kids rushed to lunch lines for but elevated. We could honestly eat them every day of the week!


Units Scale

For the Beef Crispitos:

  • 1 lb ground beef (we ground our own)
  • 412 inch flour tortillas, cut in half
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons ground beef seasoning (see below)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

For the Sour Cream Sauce

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 oz tequila

For the Ground Beef Seasoning (refrigerate leftovers) 

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the beef seasoning in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside until it is time to use in the recipe. You can store your leftovers of this in the fridge. 
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the cilantro lime dipping sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper based on your taste buds. Set aside. This will be for dipping your beef crispitos. 
  3. Take your 4- 12 inch flour tortillas and cut them in half down the center. Set aside
  4. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat add your grapeseed oil and allow it to come to temperature. Add your ground beef, diced red onion, and beef seasoning. Using a wooden spoon break up the beef while you cook it. about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the cooked beef to a bowl.
  5. Lay out one of the halves of tortillas that you cut on a cutting board. On the straight edge, place a thin layer of beef, and top with your cheese.
  6. To roll the tortilla fold in both sides toward the center and then roll the flat edge toward the rounded edge. Keep the end of the roll on the bottom to keep them sealed.
  7. Over medium heat in your cast iron skillet that you used for the ground beef add your crispitos seam side down and allow to brown for 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat.
  8. Serve these on a plate with your tequila dipping sauce and enjoy! 
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We’re Matt and Melissa, and this is our food blog, though it may not be the food blog you are expecting. We are here to take you on a culinary adventure through our kitchen, our passions, our stories, and our liquor cabinet. Residing in Monmouth County, NJ (the best county in NJ) we love to cook and create in our kitchen. But we know we’re not the real experts and the only thing more fun than tasting our own creations are tasting others’. When we’re not cooking for you, we’re around town sampling all that New Jersey’s culinary scene has to offer. Let take A Couple Bites!

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