Tacos de Papa

Tacos de Papa

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife. Got a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Email Kenji here, and he'll do his best to answer your queries in a future post. Become a fan of The Food Lab on Facebook for play-by-plays on future kitchen tests and recipe experiments


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced on a microplane
  • 1 pickled jalapeño, finely chopped (fresh can be substituted)
  • 2 whole canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons of sauce from the can
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or 1/3 cup sour cream thinned with 1 tablespoon milk
  • Finely sliced scallions
  • Crumbled cotija cheese
  • Lime wedges
  • Salsa of your choice
  • 24 fresh tortillas, kept warm in a clean dish towel


  1. 1.

    Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium saucepan and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and simmer until potatoes fully tender and just starting to break down, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, add oil, onion, and garlic to a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions and garlic are fully softened but have not taken on any color, about 6 minutes. Add pickled jalapeño, chopped chipotles, and adobo sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to fry, about 1 minute. Add potatoes, capers, and cream and stir to combine, mashing potatoes slightly. Season to taste with salt and transfer to serving bowl.

  3. 3.

    To serve, bring potato mixture, scallions, cotija, salsa, lime wedges, and hot tortillas to the table. Each taco should be made by stacking two tortillas, adding a small amount of the potato mixture, and topping as desired.