hand holding taco

Soft Shell or Hard Shell Tacos?

Taquerias, taco trucks, and Mexican restaurants across the country all serve tacos. There’s a huge variety of meats and a number of vegetables that can be used, and each cook will prepare their tacos a little differently. Some like to serve a taco plate with creamy beans and soft rice on the side, while others simply hand you a plate of meat, onion, and cilantro so you can use whatever toppings you wish. The age-old debate, though, is on the tortilla itself. The question is: hard shell tacos or soft shell tacos? Let’s taco-bout both!


A few tacos from Benny’s!

Types of Tortillas

There are plenty of options for tortillas, and depending on where you go, you’ll notice cooks have a preference. They might like to use yellow corn tortillas, while others prefer white corn tortillas. Some taquerias exclusively use flour tortillas. If you’re in a health-conscious restaurant that offers vegan options, though, you might even encounter spinach tortillas!

All of these tortillas (yes, even spinach!) can come in soft or hard forms.

Soft Shell Tacos

Soft shell tacos use tortillas that are generally not cooked or are only slightly charred. Some cooks like to lightly fry them in oil so they have a bit more taste or so that they’re firmer; it’s possible for the taco to tear, otherwise. They’re a bit doughy in texture and bring out the flavor profiles of all the toppings.

Soft shell tacos are easy to mold and move, which can help if there are a lot of ingredients on the taco. However, it’s not uncommon to see these tacos so overloaded that the toppings will spill off when being eaten!

You have to eat a soft taco quickly, otherwise, the juices from the meat and toppings will seep into the tortilla and turn it mushy. This will make the taco tear easier or fall apart quicker, leading to an extremely messy eating experience. This is why it’s common for taco-eaters to only order a small number of tacos at a time when they go to stands, so they can eat everything fresh and intact!

Hard Shell Tacos

Hard shell tacos are what most people think of when asked about tacos. The curved shape is iconic, and it acts as a boat for the ingredients. They’re usually more salted, which adds to the flavor, and for many taco-eaters, this is enough to place them in a tier of their own.

When it comes to handling, you would think it’s easy to keep everything inside the hard shell taco. Yes, everything fits snugly and can be pressed down to be more compact so as to fit more ingredients, but it can be precarious. With one bite, the hard shell can crumble, leading to the ingredients all falling out – which is a tragedy if you aren’t eating over a plate!

The problem of juice, though, is still present with hard shell tacos just as it is with soft shells. The hard shell may get soft as well, but more likely, the juices will drip out the other end, leading to many slippery hands and wrists. You have to be careful no matter what taco you eat, it seems!

One of the allures of the hard shell taco is its similarity to tortilla chips. Chips are already made for salsa, guacamole, dip, and more, which happen to be the primary ingredients of tacos. The flavor profile is a favorite for many.

Mixing the Tortillas

If you’re having tacos at home, there are two methods you can use to incorporate both types of tortillas.

The first is simply to lay the soft shell tacos on the plate and eat your hard shell tacos as usual, but don’t worry about making a mess. The excess ingredients will fall onto the soft shells, and you can simply pick up where you left off! Don’t forget to throw your soft shells on the burner on the stove for 10-20 seconds on each side to get them warm and slightly blackened!

The second method is to actually turn your hard shell taco into a taco itself by wrapping it in a soft shell. This lets you maneuver the exterior to catch any ingredients and provides some extra flavor. You can even line the soft shell with another ingredient to make layers!

Tacos de Birria

When it comes to tacos de birria, though, there’s no question about what kind of tortilla has to be used. Birria tacos are made by frying the tortilla with the ingredients inside. The goat, cheese, and other spices and seasons come together in a collection of tasty goodness, but the cheese is what holds the taco together – literally and figuratively. These tacos are then dunked in a soup or stew and eaten. Of course, it’s possible that the ingredients may fall out and end up in the stew – which means you simply have to eat it like a normal bowl of soup. Yum!

Benny’s Tacos – Satisfying Your Cravings

tostada bowl

Tostada bowl from Benny’s!

Benny’s Tacos serves soft shell yellow corn tacos for our customers. We offer a large variety of ingredients, from chipotle chicken to beef barbacoa, from fried fish to grilled shrimp, from al pastor to grilled veggies. We consider ourselves experts in the world of tacos, and you’ll always find our tacos to be packed and stacked with the tastiest ingredients!

If you’re a hard shell taco fan, fear not. Our tostada bowl is the perfect option for you. We pack a large hard shell tortilla with more ingredients and toppings than can fit on a taco – including rice and beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole, and more! Break it apart, enjoy it with a fork, split it with a friend – no matter what, we’re sure you’ll love it!

If you’re feeling hungry for some tacos, don’t hesitate to give Benny’s Tacos a call today. Order pickup or delivery from any of our locations in Westchester, Culver City, or Santa Monica. And don’t forget – if you need catering, Benny’s can help! Click here to contact us and place an order today!

Download Our App


Browse Our Menu

Our Most Popular Dishes