How to Create an Amazing Taco Bar
I got inspired to write this article after my mother-in-law made a do it yourself Mexican/taco spread with a couple homemade dips and slow cooker chicken.
Having lots of homemade components is essential for an amazing spread. There is nothing wrong with a few canned or prepared items, but go the extra mile and make a few of them yourself.
Make sure that your spread includes ample choices. Even the pickiest eaters should be able to find something that they like. Everyone will be able to make the exact creations that they want.
A taco bar is perfect for family gatherings, graduation parties, and birthday parties. You can scale it down for a more intimate date party or go all out for a big family bash.
Soft tortillas and hard shell tacos
Provide both soft and hard shells. We usually buy Mission flour tortillas and Old El Paso Stand 'n Stuff hard shells, but there are lots of other varieties out there. For soft shells, consider corn, whole wheat, and multigrain tortillas.
- MissionMenus.com :: Recipes and menus for the entire family
- Recipes from Old El Paso™
Flavorful, fun and simple recipes for Tacos, Enchiladas and more from Old El Paso™
- Homemade Tortillas Recipe | Taste of Home
For cheese, I recommend both a combination shredded cheese and a Mexican crumbled cheese, such as La Chona Enchilado cheese. Mexican cheeses can usually be found in the dairy section of the grocery store. I almost always have some sort of colby-jack or fiesta blend of shredded cheese so I use what's on hand. If you're feeling ambitious, you can shred your own.
Either ripped or shredded iceberg lettuce works well. Normally at home I'm preparing tacos for a small number of people so I rip up quarter or half a head of lettuce. If you're serving a large group, you may decide that purchasing shredded lettuce is easier, which is fine.
I'm a firm believer in only eating regular sour cream. The taste of light sour cream is not worth the decrease in calories or fat. I like the different sizes that the Daisy brand offers for sour cream. You can get the one that's just right for your group.
I love avocados so guacamole is must for me. If you've never had it homemade, it's worth giving it a shot before you dismiss the idea. You can make it as mild or spicy as you like.
Guacamole Recipe | Chef Tips
I'm not a big fan of prepared salsas, but I love a little fresh salsa with warm, homemade tortilla chips. Making your own salsa is well worth the effort. If you do want to buy a prepared salsa, branch out from the traditional ones.
Tortilla chips and/or Doritos
Providing chips will give people the option to make taco salad or nachos if they like. Chips work wonderfully on the side, too.
I have to admit that my husband and I are big fans of the pre-made Spanish rice mixes. They are cheap, tasty, and relatively healthy. You are welcome to make your own if you like.
Refried beans are the other taco bar component I don't usually make myself. If I had homemade refried beans more often, I might dislike the canned ones, but for now, I think that they're pretty good. People can choose to make burritos with them or eat them on the side.
Ground beef and chicken
You can also add a third option, such as steak, if you like. When my mother-in-law made her spread, she made ground beef on the stove and chicken in the crock pot. My husband is partial to ground beef for tacos so I make it frequently on the stove with Old El Paso taco seasoning. Their seasonings work well on other meats, too.
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs where you can buy Mexican cookies at almost any locally owned grocery store. If you do not live near a Mexican grocery store, consider making or purchasing Mexican wedding cookies or flan.
Mexican Wedding Cakes Recipe | Joyofbaking
If the group you're serving loves margaritas, whip up a homemade batch. Consider using fun cups and/or drink markers. If you're hosting a holiday or other family event, provide kiddie cocktails as well that are just as much fun.
- Delicious frozen margarita recipe. It's so easy to make a real margarita!
- Sangria Recipe with Red Wine: How to Make Homemade Sangria
Sangria is an easy, delicious summer beverage that you can make at home and enjoy any time during the summer. This recipe includes red wine and brandy.
Great Mexican Cookbooks on Amazon
More recipe resources from the author.
- 3 Ingredient Recipes: Slow Cooker Crock Pot Dinners
Are you looking for easy, healthy dinners with just a few ingredients? Check out these slow cooker crock pot recipes!
- How to Use Shredded Chicken: Recipes and Much More
Do you enjoy making chicken recipes for lunch and dinner? There are numerous possibilities for cooking with shredded chicken from sandwiches to soups to casseroles with something for everyone.
- Immersion Hand Blender Recipes: Pureed Soups, Smoothies, and More
Immersion hand blenders are inexpensive, versatile kitchen appliances. They can be used for pureed soups, dips, dressings, sauces, baby food, smoothies, desserts, and more.