Taco Bar Ideas & Recipes

With a holiday like Cinco de Mayo, coming up with unique and interactive entertainment ideas can be a struggle. A usual crowd-pleaser is a Cinco de Mayo taco bar, complete with all the fixings for a killer taco. A taco bar party can be easy to set up and a great way to encourage your guests to mingle and socialize. Taco bar ideas can go beyond just a crispy shell and fried meat, check out our taco bar party ideas to be inspired!

Taco Bar Menu Ideas:

Ground beef or turkey is, of course, a fine filling for a yummy taco, but try to mix it up with grilled steak, pork, chicken and vegetarian options like grilled veggies or tofu. Hard and soft taco shells are great to offer, as well as tortilla chips (to make nachos) and shredded lettuce and tortilla bowls for salad.

A tiered set-up with mulitple options can be a huge space saver, so put those cupcake towers to good use! Offer a variety of taco bar ingredients like different kinds of cheeses (gouda, monteray jack, shredded mozzarella), fresh corn off the cob, shredded carrots, avocado, cucumber, chopped onion, black and pinto beans, cilantro, different color tomatoes, a variety of salsas and taco sauce, sour cream and olives.

Include some signs which explain what each topping is, and offer ideas to guests of different topping combinations. To make nachos, include a melted queso dip and larger plates or shallow bowls. Check out the easy and delicious recipes for taco fillings and Mexican side dishes below.

Beef Taco Filling Recipe


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups minced onion
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
Warm the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions until translucent. Add garlic and cumin and saute for one minute. Add the beef and cook until brown. Add pepper, salt, beef broth and paste and bring to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes until the liquid is gone.
Pork Carnitas Taco Filling Recipe
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cans chicken broth
Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Season the pork with salt and place in oven. Cook about 10 minutes, or until browned. Add onion, lime juice, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Pour broth over everything and simmer for 2-3 hours until pork is tender. Transfer pork to baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Spoon the cooking liquid from the Dutch oven over the pork every 10 minutes or so. Shred once cooked and serve.
Roasted Bean and Corn Salad Recipe
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small can of jalapenos, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and washed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and washed
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red chile sauce 
  • 1 can diced tomato, drained
  • 1 cup diced avocado

Heat oil in a large pan. Add corn, pepper and onion and saute for three minutes. Transfer to bowl and add cilantro, jalapenos and beans. Whisk together juice, garlic, cumin, pepper, salt and chile sauce. Toss with the bean mixture and then add tomato and avocado.

Spanish Rice Recipe


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. minced green onion
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup corn kernels

Heat the oil in a large pan, stir in onion and saute for about 5 minutes. Mix in rice and stir for a few minutes until browned. Add broth, salsa and corn. Simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has cooked down. Season with salt and pepper.

Throw the best taco bar party ever by serving some of the above ideas. Kick off spring, Cinco de Mayo or any celebration with a fun and festive taco bar.

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