Chico's Tacos Copy Cat {Recipe}

Chicos Tacos Recipe

I must admit, I’ve never been to El Paso…I’ve been close and was in Las Cruces, but never made it into El Paso.  I’ve heard rumors of this amazing place called Chico’s Tacos.  I know people that drive the 6 hours to El Paso just to eat Chico’s Tacos.  When my in-laws drive through the area, they picked up some to bring back home.  My husband LOVES the stuff.  I’m allergic to tomatoes, so I can’t eat it since it’s swimming in a tomato sauce, but I had to find the recipe for him.  I searched and searched, finding out it is VERY difficult to find this recipe.  I found a few random tutorials and decided to try it.  After lots of trial and errors, we came pretty close to their deliciousness.


  • American Cheese
  • Beef Taquitos (I used frozen, but you can make your own with ground beef and corn tortillas)

Red Sauce: 

  • 3 ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Large can whole tomatoes
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon
  • 3 Cups Water
Green Sauce
  • 10 Jalapenos
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • 1 Cup Water
First you are creating the red sauce.  Puree the tomatoes and jalapenos in the blender.  Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, bouillon and seasonings to a large pan and bring to a boil.  I don’t have an exact amount of seasonings because we just added to taste.  Ensure it comes to a full boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes.  This brings out the flavor.


To create your green sauce, cut the stems off your jalapenos.  Cut in half and remove the seeds.  Puree in a blender.  In a small saucepan, mix jalapenos, salt, garlic powder and onion powder.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.


Grate your American Cheese with the finest grater you have.  I have a big square grater that has both regular and fine.  Now you want to ensure you are using American Cheese.  It makes a huge difference.  We tried a cheddar and a Colby Jack, and they aren’t the same.  To get the American Cheese, I went to the deli and asked for a piece unsliced.  She just cut me a chunk off big block she had.  Worked GREAT!


Make your taquitos.  I didn’t want to bother with making them myself so I bought a box of frozen beef taquitos.  In research I have found that Chico’s Tacos actually uses soy meat, but you can make taquitos yourself by browning beef, then place a corn tortilla in hot oil for a few seconds.  Roll your beef up in the tortilla and deep fry.  I didn’t want to deal with heat and grease so I threw mine in the oven.  Plus, my taquitos always fall apart in the oil, so it’s just easier to buy frozen.


You are ready to eat!  I didn’t have the neat little boats they put they use at Chico’s…but I found these take out containers at the Dollar Tree.  Put the taquitos in the container, cover in your red tomato sauce.  Throw a large handful of cheese on top and put  a small container of green sauce on the side, or you can spoon it on the top!  The green sauce will have a KICK so it’s best to put on the side so you don’t make it too hot to eat!



  1. BigDaddyH El Paso says

    The recipe is more than Tomatos and jalapenos, I have the real recipe for 100.00 dollars I will share…I got from Francisco the real owner back when it was out of a trailer near Washington Park in El Paso, TX in the 70’s

      • Erika says

        Loved your copy cat recipe, i am from el paso and havent been there in more than 20 years, what i miss from el paso are chicos tacos. It ocurred to me that maybe i could find the recipe online. Followed yours and came mighty close to the real deal. Gracias!!

    • Chris says

      I just may be interested in your “real” recipe for $100.00… I’ve spent all day re-creating the tomato sauce and think I’ve nailed it, but you definitely peaked my interest.

      • says

        Hey, is this the original recipe she claims to have? Did you actually pay $100.00? I am from El Paso and that is my first place I visit, after family….of course. Let me know. Thank You,

        • says

          This is not the original. I did not pay for this recipe. I found several recipes online to get a base of where to start and with trial and error found one that was as close as I could come. there was a lot of taste testing involved. :)

    • Steve-o says

      I’m sure my copy cat is not exactly like the original,but heck I think it’s 10 times better than it.Not being over-modest or caucky;if you’d put mine and the original side by side, I honestly believe that mine would be a winner, just my opinion.Steve-o from Chuco town,if you wanna take the taste test e-mail me at . I like experimenting with different spices and like to make my own meats and sauces.

    • painless says

      “The recipe is more than Tomatos and jalapenos, I have the real recipe for 100.00 dollars I will share…I got from Francisco the real owner back when it was out of a trailer near Washington Park in El Paso, TX in the 70′s”

      I was eating these at Chicos in 1968, and I am pretty sure it wasn’t a trailer.

  2. EW says

    You need to add a small banana and use the tomato y pollo broth works out great not sure why the banana but they get them by the case in their veggie shippments and they serve no bananas in any dish it works well

  3. Angela says

    hmm, I was so excited to find this recipe…but then not. The jalapeno sauce, might be close, but the tomato sauce, even in your picture looks way to much like tomatoes. And I would not use frozen taquitos- those things are not right!!!

      • Robbie J Gomez says

        Hey Amber! As a native El Pasoan, who transplanted to the Austin area, your recipe is pretty yummy!! My family and I were craving Chico’s late one night and I remembered coming across your recipe. Normally I would make my own taquitos, but it was late so I bought a box of frozen. You hit the nail on the head girl!! The only thing I would do differently is fry the frozen taquitos! It’s not the real deal, but considering I’m 580 miles away…these will do just fine!! Thank you for sharing!! God bless!

        • says

          So glad you liked them! We are in Albuquerque, so many of us know and love Chico’s……since it’s SO far, this has been great to get everyone by. :)

  4. Matt says

    Another native El Pasoan chiming in. I’ve made your recipe three times now, and it satisfies the craving all the way in San Antonio. Thank you!

  5. Nora says

    Thank you for the recipe. I have made it twice since I found it and getting ready to make it again. It satisfies the craving when you can’t get to Chico’s that often and I live in El Paso. Your sauce is pretty close and I didn’t have to pay $100 :) I have also been to the original Chico’s on Alameda back in the 70’s, you did good Amber. Thanks again.

  6. Amanda says

    I ADORE Chico’s Tacos. I live in Las Cruces, but just can’t get there often enough. This recipe is pretty darn close.
    Next time you’re in the area, be sure to go. Nothing beats the real thing.

  7. Trace says

    Fellow el pasoin here, I live in Beeville Texas now and I didn’t have the tomatoes but I had tomato sauce and added everything in and it still came out yummy but not as good as chicos on alameda st. I put my taquitos in the oven and then stuck them in the fryer for that greasy taste and came out perfect

  8. says

    I’m from El Paso I love Chicos. A friend made her own version of the sauce. She used one ingredient that really makes the difference its called El Pato sauce it comes in a small can. Another thing I heard on the Food Network is that the tacos are made of turkey.

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