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Taco Toppings: Ideas for Your Next Taco Bar Party

Taco Toppings: Ideas for Your Next Taco Bar Party

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Tacos are a delicious, hand-held Mexican food consisting of corn or flour tortillas, meat, veggies, cheese, salsa and sauces that many people enjoy around the world.

A super fun idea for a dinner party is to have a taco-themed night at your house and invite your family and closest friends over.

Taco parties are intimate gatherings that unify people through food, laughter and the celebration of togetherness. There's something magical about tacos that just brings people together.

If you're thinking about throwing a taco party, we have some taco bar toppings ideas that may help spruce up your event!

Let's get started!


How to Make a Taco Bar at Home

Taco bars are simply various food items spread over a kitchen counter or set up on a table, and are the ingredients for constructing tacos tailored to the individual's preference and taste.

With a plate in hand, your guests will approach the beginning of your taco bar. The first item you should have available is the foundation of your taco; the shell.

There are many different types of shells you can use, but the two favorites are your basic corn tortilla (hard taco) and your flour tortilla (soft taco).

Next, have different protein types available for your guests.

While many people prefer your typical seasoned ground beef option, a growing number of people are opting for ground turkey, chicken, seasoned steak, shredded chicken, pulled pork, and vegetarian or vegan options like beans, falafel or meat substitutes.

Having an array of proteins at your taco bar will ensure your guests are satisfied and will rave about your awesome taco party!

After the protein is added, your guests are going to want some toppings to make it a true taco experience.

Popular toppings include shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, Pico de Gallo, pinto beans, red, brown or white rice, sauteed or grilled peppers, shredded cheese (Mexican blend), chopped onions, avocado, cilantro, mango salsa, sour cream, green and red salsas, lime juice, guacamole, black olives, jalapenos, corn, habaneros, queso and other items.

Having small dishes filled with these items spread out on your taco bar will guarantee a successful taco bar party!


Taco Toppings Ideas: The Protein


Protein is one of the most important components of a taco, and if you want a successful taco fiesta at your home, you'll want to include several options on your taco bar.


Ground Beef for Your Taco Bar

The most standard of protein options is seasoned ground beef. Simply fry up a pound or two with some taco seasoning and offer it to your guests as an option.

Taco seasoning can easily be found in almost every grocery store, and they're usually fairly inexpensive and delicious.

If you're a foodie, you can make your own taco seasoning and explore new and creative ways to bring out the flavors of your ground beef.

Unless you're doing a specific type of taco night (such as a fish taco party), it is essential to have traditional ground beef as an option for your guests. Definitely include this option!


Ground Turkey or Chicken for Your Taco Bar

Our health-conscious society is compelling many people to switch from red meat to using alternatives like ground turkey or ground chicken.

If you're having guests over who are more health driven people, it would be a good idea to add ground turkey or ground chicken as a protein option.

The benefit of using ground turkey is that it's healthier but very similar to the generally preferred ground beef option.


Steak or Beef Tips for Your Taco Bar

Another popular protein type for tacos and fajitas is grilled beef. Instead of using the ground beef option, fire up the grill and cook some seasoned and peppered sirloin steaks or beef tips.

Having a carne asada option will take your taco bar party to a higher level.


Grilled Chicken for Your Taco Bar

Chicken is a popular protein around the world. It's often more accessible than beef in some countries, and it is a good option for your health-conscious guests.

Often, many people claim chicken is too dry for tacos, but if you master the art of grilling marinated chicken, your guests will think otherwise.

Marinated and seasoned grilled chicken can be a juicy, mouth-watering protein option for your taco fiesta!

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Pulled Pork for Your Taco Bar

Asian pulled pork tacos are becoming increasingly popular, with good reason. Pulled pork is a delicious option for the meat base of a taco.

We highly recommend having a pulled pork option at your next taco party!


Seared or Raw Tuna for Your Taco Bar

If you've ever been to a Hawaiian restaurant you may have seen tuna poke or tuna fish tacos on the menu.

Seared or raw tuna is a popular protein in the foodie world.

Seared tuna is a fun option because it's different than what most people are used to. If they're feeling adventurous, give your guests something new to try!

You can cook the tuna all the way through, but many people who like fish tacos want the tuna cubes seared. Essentially you're leaving the tuna raw except for a little searing on the outside.

Yes, you can eat raw tuna.

Give it a try!


Cooked Fish For Your Taco Bar

Certainly, not everyone wants their fish raw when it comes to taco night.

Salmon, mackerel, mahi-mahi, swordfish, tilapia, cod and other white fish have seen rising popularity in the world of tacos and can be a great addition to your taco party!

Seasoned well or breaded with beer batter, fish can be a great protein option for any taco bar.


Vegetarian or Vegan Options for Your Taco Bar

Many people are switching to the plant-based diet, but that doesn't mean you can't have an awesome taco bar party and please all of your guests!

Black beans and pinto beans are a great source of protein, and when seasoned and cooked well, they are a perfect option for your vegetarian or vegan guests.

If you want to replicate the taco experience without using animal products, there are texture vegetable protein, soy-based, and non-soy plant-based products designed to function the same way ground beef functions.

If you season vegan "ground beef" perfectly, you can create a vegan option that is virtually indistinguishable from the traditional ground beef option.

Add a meat substitute option as a protein for your next taco party!


Taco Toppings Ideas: The Veggies


Veggie toppings are essential to any delightful taco bar.

Crisp lettuce or cool fresh tomatoes colliding with hot meat, cheese and salsas create a symphony of flavor and texture that your mouth craves and will thank you for.

Having various veggie toppings for your taco bar ensures that your guests will have a full, rich taco experience.

There are many different types of veggies you can use.

Let's take a look at some!


Lettuce for Your Taco Bar

Shredded iceberg lettuce is the most common type of uncooked, green vegetable used in making tacos, but there's more than just iceberg out there.

For your tacos, you can try

Baby Bibb Lettuce

Green Leaf Lettuce

Butterhead Lettuce



Oak Leaf Lettuce

Red Leaf Lettuce


Little Gem Lettuce


Romaine Lettuce

Essentially, you can offer your guests a fun and interesting array of lettuces and greens, but be sure to include the traditional shredded iceberg lettuce at your taco party, as many people prefer it.


Diced Tomatoes for Your Taco Bar

Diced tomatoes are an essential ingredient in any taco bar! Be sure to include them at your next taco party.

Many different types of tomatoes have a unique taste. Some of our favorites are:

Brandywine Tomatoes

Black Krim Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Jubilee Tomatoes

Big Beef Tomatoes

Better Boy Tomatoes

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Tigerella Tomatoes

Japanese Black Tomatoes

Celebrity Tomatoes

Campari Tomatoes

There are many great tomato options for your taco bar. Get creative here!


Grilled Peppers for Your Taco Bar

The difference between a good taco bar and a great taco bar is the addition of grilled peppers.

Having a green, red, yellow and orange pepper medley grilled and seasoned to perfection will create a true taco experience for your hungry guests!

Always remember to include sliced raw or brined jalapeno peppers as well.


Avocado for Your Taco Bar

Not to be confused with guacamole (although that's a great option too), the simple sliced or cubed avocado is a great addition to your taco bar.

If you don't have avocados at your taco party, people might think you're not very hip! And you don't want that, right?

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Onions for Your Taco Bar

There are two different ways that people like onions when it comes to tacos; raw and grilled.

Having both options for your taco bar will have your guests thinking back on your taco party and thinking, 'Man, that was definitely a superior taco bar.'

My personal favorite is raw red onions and grilled yellow onions.

A rookie mistake is adding yellow onions to the meat. That might be fine if you're cooking for yourself or a couple of people, but avoid doing that at a taco party with many guests.

Keep your grilled onions and raw onions in separate compartments and don't add it to any of the proteins, because there are some die-hard anti-onion people out there!


Slaws and Radishes for Your Taco Bar

Adding some crispy crunch to your taco is a delicious and healthy way to spruce things up and offer something different.

Fresh, uncooked mixtures of diced cabbage, chopped carrots, chard, pumpkin seeds and radishes in a creamy vinaigrette are an excellent option for the modern taco party guest!


Taco Toppings Ideas: The Cheese


Having a cheese option is an essential element of any taco bar. Your taco party will be a huge failure if you do not have a good assortment of Mexican cheeses.

The most common and easiest option for your cheese is to purchase a bag of cheese at the grocery store entitled 'Mexican Blend'.


Mexican Blends

Mexican cheese blends typically consist of Monterey Jack, queso quesadilla, Asadero, and cheddar.

You can use a Mexican blend of cheese for sure. Actually, we suggest having a blend of shredded cheese as your staple cheese at your taco party.

However, if you really want to zest up your taco night, you're going to want to offer some special cheeses. You can get creative here, but look for spicy and bold.

Some of our favorite cheeses to use are hot pepper cheese, ghost pepper cheddar, habanero cheddar, and Carolina Reaper cheddar.

Note: the Carolina Reaper Cheddar is extremely hot. We advise providing placards or signs to indicate which cheeses are high on the Scoville scale.


Cheese Sauces for Your Taco Bar

Having shredded cheese is a must to include in your taco bar.

Almost equally as important is to have some good cheese sauces too.

Three great options for cheese sauces are:

Queso Fundido

Spicy Queso Dip

Nacho Cheese

While not necessarily used on the taco itself, these are great options to have as a side for guests to dip their tortilla chips in.


Taco Toppings Ideas: The Salsa & Sauces

Having some taco topping sauce is the icing on the cake at any good taco party.

You'll want to have sauces stationed at the end of your taco bar for your guests to apply to their tacos as a nice finishing touch.


Sour Cream for Your Taco Bar

Sour cream is a must-have at any taco bar. Make sure to include a good, rich sour cream.

We recommend not using lite or diet sour cream here. It's a small addition to the taco, and there's no point in dialing back the calories here. Use a good, full-bodied sour cream.


Guacamole for Your Taco Bar

Smashing avocadoes into a paste and mixing it with cilantro, lime juice, raw onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, salt and seasoning makes what we know as guacamole.

You may make your guac a little different, but why split hairs? Guacamole is essential to a taco party. Make it!


Salsa For Your Taco Bar

The fun thing about salsa is that there are infinite different ways you can make it.

When it comes to salsa, you are limited only by your imagination. You can get creative here.

Some of the most popular salsas are:

Pico de Gallo

Verde Mild Salsa

Mango Habanero Salsa

Tomato Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa

Salsa Con Queso

Pineapple Mango Salsa


Other Sauces for Taco Night

There are countless different types of salsas and sauces you can use for your taco night. Some of our favorites are chimichurri sauce, Mexican orange sauce, tabasco sauce, siracha, and traditional red sauce found in taco kits across the world.


Bottom Line

Taco night is a chance for any party host to get creative and have a lot of fun!

While we may not have listed every possible ingredient known to mankind, we hope that this article has inspired you and given you some great ideas for your upcoming taco party!

The cool thing about taco night is that, as long as you have your essentials, you can try different things and bring in some additions that really get people talking.

Have fun and enjoy!


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