Weeknight Cooking

The Core Tenet of Thrifty Cooking (& How to Apply it to Breakfast Tacos)

March  9, 2017

Remember during the election, when that guy went on TV and “warned” that, with immigration proceeding the way he perceived it to be, we were headed toward a taco truck on every corner?

I still can’t fathom how he could think that was a threat (and, clearly, neither could the news anchors...)—it sounds incredible. Tacos are delicious, inexpensive, and versatile: They can be lunch, dinner, or breakfast, and they offer a low-risk opportunity to get comfortable with loose, pantry-inspired cooking.

Breakfast tacos, in particular, are a great place to start branching out: I, personally, always have a carton of eggs in the fridge (and it's likely that most of you do, too), and lots of us feel comfortable enough preparing classic breakfast foods (eggs, sausage, hash) to begin exploring ways to combine them.

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We can start super simple, with scrambled eggs in a tortilla topped with your traditional taco toppings of chopped onion and cilantro, maybe a splash of hot sauce, too. Add cheese and you have the bodega/deli breakfast sandwich of tacos. If you have a can of green chiles or a fresh Anaheim or poblano, you can go full Austin-style breakfast taco (highly recommended).

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Top Comment:
“We always have leftover black beans, spinach and potato leftovers for some reason so I add them to my chorizo, jalepeno and egg mixture and plop that into corn tortillas for a yummy breakfast or "breakfast for dinner" for us.”
— Laura S.

Then there’s the question of potatoes or sweet potatoes to bulk things out. And do we want meat, like bacon, breakfast sausage, or chorizo? Or do we want meatless protein with black or pinto beans? It’s all up to you and the substance of your pantry, of course.

My breakfast tacos of choice include green chiles and Mexican chorizo, which I often have leftover from another dish. If you happen to have made my lentil stew with Spanish chorizo, you can finely chop that up and use it instead: It’s not traditional, but I'm fine with that because finding multiple uses for one item is a core tenet of cooking thriftily. (And even if you do go out to buy Mexican chorizo, rather than using what you have, the meal for four will still cost you between $10 and $13.)

To keep dishes and fuss to a minimum, I like to make the taco filling all in one pan, finishing with the eggs to make one big messy scramble. That way, you can toast your corn tortillas in another pan on the burner alongside you at the same time as you scramble. As usual, please tell us about your breakfast taco making adventures in the comments!

How do you take your breakfast tacos? Tell us in the comments below.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Annelm699 September 14, 2021
I have a really quick simple one I make for breakfast. I spread a thin layer of refried beans on a small soft tortilla, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Microwave 35 seconds and scramble an egg gently with salt and pepper and put on tortilla and fold
Nina N. March 15, 2017
Every morning I have eggs in tortilla with middle eastern toppings- almost always hummus, sometimes harrissa, cucumer, feta, olives... Rarely, but its amazing, I spread two fresh/smashed dates onto the tortilla and then place the egg.
Leanne B. March 15, 2017
Sounds delicious!
Traci B. March 9, 2017
Poor decision to quote "that guy". I was excited about your article, then just annoyed in the first few sentences. O well.
Laura S. March 9, 2017
We always have leftover black beans, spinach and potato leftovers for some reason so I add them to my chorizo, jalepeno and egg mixture and plop that into corn tortillas for a yummy breakfast or "breakfast for dinner" for us.
Lauren R. March 9, 2017
The one comment I want to make a plug for is making your own tortillas! Once you buy a press, just have a bag of masa harina on hand. They are SO wonderful and so easy to make. Honestly, I wouldn't hate them as dinner alone with some salsa/guacamole.
Leanne B. March 9, 2017
Absolutely! If tortillas are a staple for you it is a super worthwhile investment and definitely simple and quick to make with the press. I want to come to your house!
Alexandra S. March 9, 2017
Love this Leanne! Chilies, eggs, tortillas, cheese—is there anything better? My favorite way to toast tortillas these days is in the toaster. They almost hold their folded shape when they emerge all toasty.
Leanne B. March 9, 2017
Ah what a good idea! I actually only have a toaster oven, so sometimes will do it in there, but I like the foldover idea a lot.