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I have made these chicken lumpia tacos for BBQ competitions with the Steak Cookoff Association and on the Food Network’s BBQ Brawl. Every time I prepare them, the judges love them.
What is a lumpia taco?
Lumpia is a Filipino-style egg roll. A lumpia taco is what you get when you place lumpia filling into a fried lumpia wrapper shaped like a taco.
This is not taco meat inside of a lumpia roll. That’s taco lumpia. And it’s not lumpia filling inside of a corn or flour tortilla.
This lumpia taco tastes just like lumpia, but has a fun different shape.
The secret to getting these tacos just right
As I perfected this recipe, there was a lot of trial and error. Here’s what I learned.
First, you have to start with authentic Filipino lumpia wrappers. When fried, they have a shiny, airy crispiness that’s unlike egg roll or won ton wrappers. Both of those wrappers are thicker.
Next, when you roll a lumpia or egg roll, the wrapper folds over itself creating multiple layers. It’s important to create similar layers with the taco shell. I found one layer to be too thin, and three layers were too thick. Two layers are perfect.
There are two ways to make a lumpia taco. You can either fry just the shells and add filling later, or you can add the filling and fry the filling inside.
If you fry them with the filling inside, you can’t just drop the taco into the oil because the filling is not fully rolled in the wrapper. You need to secure it closed with a set of tongs to try to keep as much filling as you can inside. Some will come out and that’s okay.
After it’s cooked, adding some fresh (unfried) filling on top will provide a nice contrast of colors and flavor and will make up for any filling that escapes in the oil.
If you prefer to fry the shells first and add fully-cooked filling after, that’s a bit tricky. I use two pairs of tongs. One pair holds the shell and the other keeps it open. If you don’t do this, the shell will close up on you and you won’t be able to add filling without breaking the shell.
PRO TIP: I fry the shells in advance if I need to make a big batch of lumpia tacos for a party. You can make the shells and store them in a baggie for 1-2 days on the counter. You can make the filling and store it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Then, come party time, add the filling to each shell.
To make lumpia tacos, you need to start with lumpia filling. I recommend using my grilled chicken lumpia filling. That’s what I almost always use for this recipe.
You’ll need lumpia wrappers. You can find them at most Asian markets and online. You’ll also need oil to fry the lumpia taco shells in. I use vegetable or peanut oil.
See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.
How to make lumpia tacos
Place 2 cups of oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Heat the oil until it reaches 375F degrees.
- STEP ONE: Start by folding one lumpia wrapper in half.
- STEP TWO: Place a 3 1/2-inch circle cutter on top and run your knife around the edge. If you have trouble cutting all the way through, use a pair of kitchen shears or scissors.
- STEP THREE: You should end up with a two-layer circle. If you use square lumpia wrappers, you can get two double-layer circles per wrapper.
- STEP FOUR: Place a spoonful of lumpia filling on half of the wrapper.
- STEP FIVE: Grip it with a pair of tongs.
- STEP SIX: Place the lumpia taco into the preheated oil. Be sure to keep a grip on it so it doesn’t open. After 30-45 seconds, it will form a solid shape and you can flip it in the oil to brown both sides. Once browned, remove it from the pot and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tacos.
PRO TIP: You’ll need to fry them one at a time unless you’re really good at holding two sets of tongs at once or you have a helping hand.
- STEP SEVEN: Take some of the extra filling and place it inside the shell for fresh crunch and color. Be gentle opening the shell so you don’t break it.
PRO TIP: Only add extra filling to the top of the taco if the meat in your filling is fully cooked. If your filling includes raw meat, garnish with shredded cabbage, carrots and green onions instead.
How to serve lumpia tacos
Once your tacos are ready, serve them on a platter. They’re delicious with a soy vinegar dipping sauce. You can find that recipe with my chicken lumpia recipe. Sweet chili sauce is also a great option.
There’s no good way to store chicken lumpia tacos once they’re made. Although you can place them in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days, they will become soggy.
Instead, I recommend storing the shells and filling separately and building them as you’re ready to eat them.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Use authentic lumpia wrappers
- Make double-layer circles for the taco shells
- Hold the taco with tongs as it fries
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You can make this recipe with different style wrappers, but they won’t be as light and airy as they are when you use lumpia wrappers. If you use thicker wrappers, you only need one layer.
Any type of lumpia filling will work great in these tacos. You can make lumpiang shanghai, which includes meat, or gulay, which is vegetarian. You can even make turon tacos by adding brown sugar-coated saba bananas.
It depends on how much filling you have. Three cups of filling will make about 20 tacos.
More Filipino recipes
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Chicken Lumpia Tacos
- 2 cups oil
- 20 lumpia wrappers
- 3 cups lumpia filling
- Heat Oil: Place 2 cups of oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Heat to 375F degrees.
- Make Taco Shells: Fold each wrapper in half. Use a 3 1/2-inch circle cutter to cut out double-layer circles from each wrapper. Set aside.
- Fill: Working one at a time, place filling on half of the circle.
- Fry: Fold the taco in half and grip with a pair of tongs.Place it into the oil, keeping a grip of the taco so it doesn't open. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden.
- Drain: Place on a paper towel-lined pan or plate to drain the excess oil.
- Garnish: Add a little of the remaining lumpia filling on top of each taco for color and crunch.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.