These Cherry Cheesecake Tacos are adorable summer desserts that are incredibly easy to assemble and offer delicious contrasting textures. Soft and creamy cheesecake filling, fruity chunks of sweet canned cherry, and the crispy fried taco shells make a delicious combination in every bite.
These cherry cheesecake tacos are a super fun twist to the traditional taco and can be varied in many ways, whether you want to change up the taco filling, add a different coating to the soft taco-size tortillas or use a different cooking method for your taco shells!
And if you have any leftover cherry pie filling from this recipe, make a batch of these Easy Cherry Bars.
Table of contents
These cheesecake dessert tacos offer a sweet alternative to the traditional Mexican-inspired street-size tacos we’re all familiar with.
The taco shells are homemade and deep fried using a flour tortilla shell that are then generously coated in a cinnamon sugar mixture (inside and out) for crispy perfection. These tacos satisfy all your deep fried dessert cravings!
Canned cherry pie filling and a no-bake cheesecake filling make assembly a breeze.
What Ingredients do I Need?
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- Cool Whip
- cherry pie filling
- flour tortillas – we prefer the soft-taco size
- oil for frying
- cinnamon and sugar
How to Make Cherry Cheesecake Tacos
Fry the Taco Shells: Heat a Dutch oven or heavy pot filled with vegetable oil or shortening. Pinch a tortilla, folded in half, between your tongs. Submerge the tortilla and fry it until puffy and golden, ensuring that it remains folded in half. Toss in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Prepare the Cheesecake Filling: Beat together the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the Cool Whip to make the fluffy filling.
Fill the Taco Shells: Carefully spoon or pipe a strip of cheesecake filling into each taco shell. The taco shells do not have a lot of give so I find it easiest to pipe in a line of filling – it doesn’t require that I handle the shells too much or need to open up the shell. Once the cheesecake layer is in there, go ahead and mound some cherry pie filling on top.
Variations and Substitutions
Dessert tacos can pretty much be modified to satisfy any preference you may have. Just like you may build your own savory tacos at home, you can also add various different fillings and toppings to these dessert tacos. Here are some great ideas for you to try:
- Instead of using cherry pie filling, experiment with different fruit pie fillings such as strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry.
- Instead of coating your freshly fried taco shells with cinnamon sugar, use crushed cookie crumbs from Oreos, Nutter Butters, Wafers or Graham Crackers.
- Make a flavored cheesecake filling for your tacos by adding in cocoa powder, or food coloring and flavorings.
- Adding chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or hot fudge sauce over your cheesecake filling with some maraschino cherries and colorful sprinkles would make an adorable Chocolate Sundae taco that kids will go crazy for.
You can store leftover fully assembled dessert tacos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days but they will taste the best when eaten within a few hours of making and assembling.
The longer you store your dessert tacos, the greater the risk of the taco shells softening.
Don’t freeze your fully assembled dessert tacos as this will spoil the texture of the tortillas and you will end up with a soggy mess once your dessert has defrosted. Eating them frozen will also be tricky and not as enjoyable as freshly made dessert tacos.
You could make the cheesecake filling 3 months in advance though and store this in the freezer, ready to be defrosted when you intend making a batch of these dessert tacos.
If you own an air fryer and prefer the health benefits of frying food this way instead of traditional deep frying, then you’ll be pleased to know that these flour tortillas can be added to your air fryer for these dessert tacos!
Whether you’re using an air fryer taco mould or not, it’s advisable to first warm your flour tortillas in the microwave to bring them to room temperature before you cook them in the air fryer. Once at room temperature, spray both sides of your tortillas with olive oil and then position them over taco shell moulds and cook for about 6 minutes.
If you don’t have a mould, you just need to be slightly more resourceful by crumbling some aluminium foil into cylindrical shapes to drape your tortillas over, ensuring sufficient space between each taco for proper air circulation.
Tips For Making Cherry Cheesecake Tacos
- Make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature when making the taco filling as this will help to mix the ingredients for a smooth consistency.
- You can use white or brown sugar when coating these taco shells and you can also omit the cinnamon if you wish. Make sure that you coat the shells immediately after frying so that the sugar sticks well to the shells before the oil dries.
- Using fresh fruit instead of canned pie filling is just as delicious.
- This recipe will make 18 tacos which can change depending on the size of your cookie cutter or if you use store bought taco shells instead.
- Easily double or halve this recipe depending on your needs.
Cherry Cheesecake Tacos
- 1 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 oz. tub Cool Whip frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
Taco Shell Ingredients:
- 18 street taco size flour tortillas or cut soft taco size tortillas to a 4” round with a bowl, glass, or cookie cutter
- Vegetable oil or shortening for frying at least 4 cups
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oil to 350°F in a deep stockpot or Dutch oven.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
- Add in Cool Whip and continue beating until mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with Tip #1M or to a gallon size Ziploc bag. Set in refrigerator to stay cold while preparing taco shells.
- When oil has reached a temperature of precisely 350°, it’s time to fry the taco shells.
- Using long-handled tongs (to keep your hands far away from the oil), pinch together two sides of a tortilla to form a folded taco shape. Holding the sides together, submerge the tortilla into the oil, frying for 1-2 minutes.
- The tortilla will bubble up. If you lose your grip with the tongs, just use them to fold the taco back in half and keep it submerged to brown the inside and outside evenly.
- When the tortilla is lightly browned, remove from the oil and place directly in the tray of cinnamon sugar.
- Use a spoon to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the tortilla (inside and out) and then set on a paper-towel lined inverted muffin tin to help the taco shells hold their shape while cooling.
- When tacos shells are cooled, pipe a line of cheesecake filling across the center of the taco.
- Top with 3-4 cherries (and sauce) from the can of pie filling,
- Serve immediately.