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Best Taco Bar Ideas: How to Throw a Taco Party

These taco bar ideas are sure to liven up any get-together. With the blend of Tex Mex flavors and colorful foods, your guests will know it’s a special event. 

Are you hosting hosting a Cinco de Mayo party, Taco Tuesday, or just a taco night? A DIY taco bar is a great way to entertain. It’s also easier for you because everyone makes their own tacos.

Whether you’re serving your family, a large crowd of sports buddies, or an intimate group of close friends, a taco party is always a good idea. The best thing about it is that everyone can have whatever fillings they want with very little effort on your part.

Keep everything as easy as possible. Use your slow cooker to cook the meat and Instant Pot for the beans. That frees up your stove and oven for other ingredients.

What to Serve with a Taco Bar

Several tacos in a row on a tray

The best part about having a taco bar is that you can offer a variety of taco fillings and then let everyone pick what they like as they serve themselves.

Offer a selection of soft tortillas, hard taco shells, and tortilla chips. We like classic chips as well as blue corn chips, so I like to include both.

I like to wrap some tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them up in the oven. You can heat several of them up at a time and have the next batch ready to go when you need them.

It’s always a good idea to accommodate people’s dietary needs. For example, someone who follows a gluten-free diet will appreciate corn tortillas.

Other people might prefer flour tortillas. Fortunately, tortillas are very budget-friendly, so you can have plenty of both.

Or if you have guests trying to follow a low carb diet, they will appreciate having plenty of lettuce to make a taco salad.

tacos filled with meat and lettuce

Taco Bar Ideas: Appetizers

If you want to keep it simple, offer a big bowl of classic chips and a variety of dips, including bean dip, fresh salsa, and queso. You can also have a platter of vegetables, cheeses, and bite-size meats.

Taco Meat

You can offer ground beef, sliced flank steak, shredded chicken, or even seafood. It’s always good to put out a variety of taco meat to satisfy everyone. Some people will go for fish or chicken tacos, but others may prefer ground beef.

The best way to know how much meat to buy is to calculate approximately 1/4 to 1/2 of a pound per person (cooked meat), plus extra in case someone is super hungry. If you’re serving large adults with hearty appetites, you might even need more. Small children will be less. 

So if you’re hosting 4 children and 4 adults, you’ll need a minimum of 3-4 pounds of meat. I like to have more because it’s always better to have leftovers than to run out. 

For those who prefer meatless tacos, there should be plenty of other options to stuff the taco shells. In fact, if you’re hosting a large group, there’s bound to be a few people who don’t eat meat.

If you want to be super accommodating, you can sauté cubes of tofu. However, that’s not necessary if you have other proteins, such as beans.

Taco Bar ideas: Tasty Sides and Favorite Fillings

Some of my favorite ingredients for tacos are made with easy recipes. These taco bar ideas are all easy to make or find in any grocery store.

Here are a few taco fillings we enjoy:

Black Beans – Super easy to make in a pressure cooker. You don’t even have to soak the beans overnight.

Homemade Salsa – Make a variety of heat levels, from blazing hot to mild (without any heat at all).

homemade salsa and chips

Ro-Tel Chili – This is a great recipe made with 3 simple ingredients that you can find at any grocery store, and it only takes 30 minutes.

Ro-Tel chili in a bowl

Taco Bell Baja Sauce (Copycat) – Guests will love this one because it’s a delicious taco sauce as well as chip dip or even salad dressing.

bowl of Taco Bell copycat Baja sauce beside a plate of tacos

Festive Tex Mex Salad – Add this to your tacos or eat it on the side. It’s a delicious addition to any taco bar.

Taco Soup – I make this delicious soup in my Instant Pot, but you can also use your slow cooker or even a pot on the stovetop. 

Tex Mex Ranch Potatoes – Flavorful and satisfying, your guests are sure to love these delicious south-of-the-border potatoes.

Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole – Another great option for a side dish, this yummy enchilada casserole is filling. It also helps maintain the whole Tex Mex theme for the feast.

guacamole and chips on a taco bar

We also like refried beans, strips of red and green bell pepper, chopped red onion, sliced black olives, Mexican corn, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, sour cream, pico de gallo, mango salsa, fresh cilantro, and lime juice. 

If you think something might be good on tacos, go ahead and add it. You can even ask each guest to bring their favorite taco filling.

guacamole, salsa, limes, and more taco bar ingredients

Delicious Desserts

Don’t forget about dessert to balance the spicy flavors with some sweetness. Here are some of our favorite desserts that provide a healthy contrast to Mexican food:

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – This homemade ice cream tastes better than anything you’ll buy at a store. It’s so easy to make.

Strawberry Ice Cream – Use either fresh or frozen strawberries for this tasty treat.

Cinnamon Pecan Ice Cream – How can you go wrong with the combination of cinnamon and pecans? This one is as close to perfect as it can get.

Rolo Pretzel Turtles – Possibly one of the easiest treats I make, this will definitely be a hit at family gatherings and get-togethers with friends. 

Creamy No-Bake Cherry Lime Pie – This delicious ice box pie takes the heat down a few notches and leaves everyone with a smile.

Kool Aid Pie – This Kool Aid Pie from Julia’s Simply Southern adds even more of a festive touch to your colorful taco bar.

Butterscotch Pecan Cookies – All of the cookie lovers will appreciate this tasty but easy-to-make treat.

Please feel free to share!

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