Food Hack: Pancake House Tacos

February 26, 2019

I always order the same thing at Pancake House, the House Specials Set. The name says it all, it’s  every Pancake House non-pancake specialty on one plate. You get one piece of Pan Chicken with gravy, a small serving of their strangely delicious spaghetti, and what they claim is the “Best Taco in Town.”

Pancake House Tacos1

I won’t go so far as to agree with that boast, but I will say that the Pancake House taco is delicious. With flavorful beef, fresh (we hope) toppings and delicious, processed cheese, what’s not to love? All those elements are fairly easy to replicate at home. The toughest part will be getting the sweet, tangy, zingy dressing right, it’s what completes the dish and ties all the elements together. That clear, slightly greasy (but yummy) liquid that drips from your plate and makes your taco shell soggy is also the thing that makes the Pancake House Taco the Pancake House Taco.

Pancake House Tacos3

As it turns out, the mystery sauce isn’t as mysterious at it initially seemed to be. With olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and some salt, you’ll get a pretty close replica of the Pancake House original, and the best part is you won’t have to pay PHP 107 for it.

Pancake House Tacos2

Food Hack: Pancake House Taco

Total Time: 45 minutes | Yield:  10-12 tacos

Ingredients for the Beef

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 kg ground beef
  • One pack of taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp regular (not extra virgin) olive oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

Other Ingredients

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Grated local cheddar cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped onions
  • Taco shells

Procedure for the Beef

  1. In a pan, sauté the garlic and onions in oil until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the beef and cook until browned. Throughout the cooking process, drain out as much liquid as you can from the pan and the beef with a large spoon or by gently tipping your pan over the sink.
  3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the taco seasoning in half a cup of water, per the instructions in the packet. Pour the liquid into the pan with the beef and add the tomato paste. You’ll know the beef is done once it has absorbed most of the seasoning liquid.
  4. Transfer the beef to a bowl to cool.

Procedure for the Dressing

  1. Mix the oil, vinegar and sugar together in small bowl with a fork.
  2. Add salt and/or more sugar to taste.


  1. While there are no rules to taco assembly, I find that layering the beef at the bottom works best since it minimizes the mess.
  2. I drizzle the dressing over my assembled taco with a spoon. Alternatively, you can toss your chopped tomatoes and onions into the dressing.
Katrina Iriberri Katrina Iriberri

Katrina is a finance worker bee who would never say no to anything flavored salted caramel. When she’s not baking something with chocolate or cream cheese in it, she’s either reading Austen, or Googling the best places to eat in NYC or Paris. She dreams of watching the El Classico at the Bernabéu one day (with Real Madrid winning, of course) and of being adopted by Ina and Jeffrey Garten, if only to inherit Ina’s barn and kitchen.

21 comments in this post SHOW

21 responses to “Food Hack: Pancake House Tacos”

  1. Addi dela Cruz says:

    Ohmygod yes yes yes

  2. Meat says: is the savior we have all been waiting for. YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSsSsSsSsS

  3. Sergia Susana says:

    Love the House Specials Set! This is brilliant!

  4. secretwalangclue says:

    hells to the yes!

  5. berns says:

    any suggestions where to buy taco seasoning?

  6. V says:

    I saw this blog before trying to hack thirst sci as well and she used Italian dressing. I think it’ll work well also. Less prep time pa! :p

  7. Jan says:

    I’ve tried your spaghetti hack and I loved it. I’ll try this over the weekend, and cook the spaghetti again. Can we expect that the “Pan Chicken” will be up for hacking soon? 🙂

  8. roxy831 says:

    yes!!! what brand of taco shells did you use for this?

  9. roxy831 says:

    yes!!! what brand of taco shells did you use for this recipe?

  10. Mommy Marie says:

    I tried this and loved it! Really tastes like the Pancake House tacos though I wish I can get my hands on really good taco shells.

  11. francechua says:

    I hope you can hack their pan fried chicken recipe and that gravy!!

  12. Mary Clare Inonog says:

    i actually work before with pancake house and the taco is really the best! about their chicken, the breading is really the secret there,,, the chicken is marinated in calamansi, salt and pepper only. but the breading is really a secret, it’s from the commissary. they know the secret 🙂

  13. […] you also might want to check out our previous food hacks for Pancake House’s spaghetti and tacos, […]

  14. […] Pancake House Tacos You may find the original post here. […]

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