No taco bar is complete without a great range of fillings for your tacos.
But knowing what to stock your taco bar with can be tricky – that’s why we’ve done all the work for you, and made this list of the best taco fillings for a great taco bar.
So whether it’s Taco Tuesday, a family gathering, or you’re just craving some delicious tacos (we don’t blame you), this list has got you covered! We’ve gathered 33 of the best toppings to serve at your taco bar right here.
Let’s get started, shall we?
25 Best Taco Toppings
1) Ground Beef
Starting off our list is the key ingredient in almost every taco recipe out there! Ground beef is one of the most common taco fillings, and works as a great base in both soft and hard tacos.
Ground beef is great at carrying spices and flavors added during cooking, making it a versatile ingredient on top of being a good source of protein and (of course) delicious.
Fry the beef up with some spices and seasoning, and layer it into your taco. You can use other meats too (and we’ll get to those later) but nothing can ever surpass the classic!
2) Shredded Chicken
Although beef is the traditional taco-filler, you can also choose from a variety of different meats and meat-free options.
Not far behind beef in terms of popularity is chicken – shredded chicken makes a perfect topping for tacos, especially when it’s loaded with seasonings or a spicy sauce.
Cook the chicken until tender, then shred it with a fork or meat claws and layer it onto your tacos.
Chicken is also a lighter option than ground beef and won’t be as greasy.
No taco is complete with a tasty, spicy salsa! The most common type of salsa for tacos is Salsa Roja – a red salsa made with tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro.
On top of tasting delicious, this salsa is also super easy to make and can be whipped up in no time.
You can also adjust the amount of chili you put in without affecting the rest of the recipe, so you can easily make it spicier or milder to suit your taste.
4) Grated Cheese
You’d be hard-pressed to find a good taco bar that isn’t well-stocked with a wide variety of cheeses. Grated cheese is a good choice as it’s ready to sprinkle on your tacos right out of the bag.
You can either grate your own cheese or simply buy pre-grated cheese for added convenience.
Some of the best cheeses to choose from include cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, and even non-grated cheeses such as feta or (preferably) cotija.
5) Black Beans
A staple of Mexican cooking, black beans are a great source of protein and are an ideal topping for vegetarian tacos. They also provide some texture and bite, along with plenty of antioxidants.
On top of being really good for you, black beans also add a mild, creamy taste to your tacos, along with absorbing the flavors of whatever they’re cooked in.
If you’re looking for an option to make your taco bar vegetarian-friendly, then black beans are the topping you need!
Guacamole is right up there with salsa in terms of popularity, and a chunky homemade guac is sure to go down a hit next Taco Tuesday. Luckily, a good guac is easy to make and can be whipped up in just a few minutes!
Simply mash some avocado, diced onion, jalapenos, tomato, some salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice together in a bowl until it’s the desired consistency, and serve!
Sprinkle on some cilantro leaves for an extra bit of flavor, and dollop on top of your tacos.
It might seem like a basic choice, but adding some salad to your taco is an easy way to give it a refreshing crunch and balance out the bolder flavors.
Lettuce is one of the best options and is a great palette cleanser, while spinach and rocket leaves add a peppery hit and are packed full of healthy nutrients.
Topping your tacos with salad doesn’t just make them healthier, but also adds to the taste as well!
8) Refried Beans
Refried beans aren’t to everyone’s taste, but it’s hard to deny that they’re one of the most popular taco fillings out there.
Refried beans are beans that have been cooked, mashed with ingredients such as onion, garlic, and jalapenos, before being cooked again.
They’re creamy, flavorful, and with a slight earthy sweetness, refried beans go great with spicy ingredients or crunchy vegetables.
9) Sour Cream
This tangy, rich dressing adds a creamy deepness to your tacos.
Made by mixing cream with lactic acid, sour cream is thick and smooth, and brings a hint of sourness that only improves the flavor of the other fillings in your taco, especially if they’re spicy or tangy themselves.
Put a generous dollop of sour cream on your tacos for a delicious creamy hit.
10) Pico De Gallo
Pico de gallo is another type of salsa, but one that uses fresh ingredients. This makes it as much as a palette cleanser as it is a dressing, and it brings some spiciness and a hit of lime to boot.
Made by combining diced onion, tomato, and serrano peppers, pico de gallo has a bit of heat and bite to it.
It’s also mixed with a pinch of salt and pepper, some fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for acidity to balance it all out.
Spicy, zesty, and fresh, pico de gallo is a must-have at a taco bar.
11) Grilled Vegetables
Looking to bulk out the filling of your tacos? Try adding some grilled vegetables! Sweet peppers, yellow squash, tomatoes, and bell peppers are all great options here.
Grilling the veg beforehand makes them tender while adding a slightly burnt flavor to the skin, until you’re left with a smoky, juicy veg that’s just bursting with flavor. Season them and add them to your tacos.
12) Pulled Jackfruit
If you want a vegan meat alternative that isn’t just plain old vegetables, then you’re in luck! Jackfruit is a delicious meat-free substitute that has a similar texture to meat, while also absorbing the flavors of what it’s cooked in.
Pulled jackfruit is a great alternative to pulled pork, and works great in a taco.
Simply cook the jackfruit until tender, pull it apart with a fork or meat claws, and season it before frying it up with your other ingredients. Add to your tacos, and enjoy!
13) Chopped Tomato
Tomatoes are an important ingredient in lots of Mexican dishes, and tacos are no exception.
Chopped or diced tomatoes go great with seasoned meat in a taco, adding some moisture and plenty of flavor to go with it.
You can also use them to make salsa, or cook them off with onions and garlic for more flavor.
The acidity and slight sweetness in the tomatoes are the perfect balance for spicy and salty meat, and they are a staple ingredient that no taco bar can do without.
14) Grilled Corn
A staple of Mexican street food, grilled corn is just as at home in a taco bar as it is from a street stall. You can either wrap the cobs of corn in tin foil before grilling or simply put the shucked cobs straight on the grill.
We prefer the second method, as it gives the corn a bit of a char and caramelization, which works great with the flavors in a taco.
While grilled corn is just as delicious on the cob, if you’re putting it in a taco then you’ll need to remove the kernels from the cob.
Toss them with some melted butter or lime juice to give the juicy kernels an extra hit of flavor.
15) Roasted Pepper
Roasted peppers are a great choice for a taco bar. They’re tender, juicy, and have a nice bit of char to them.
They’re also super easy to make and take hardly any time to prepare; all you need to do is put sweet pepper or red pepper in the oven and roast them until the skin starts to char.
Slice them into strips or chunks and add them to your tacos (pro tip: do this before roasting to save time!).
16) Mexican Rice
Mexican rice is a popular side to serve with tacos, but is just as delicious inside the taco itself!
This red rice is cooked in tomato sauce with onion, garlic, and diced peppers for fluffy rice that’s packed with flavor.
As most of the time spent cooking this topping is simmering, it’s an easy-to-make dish that is sure to be a hit.
With all the bold flavors in a great taco, sometimes you need something refreshing to cleanse your palette.
That’s where a fresh, crunchy slaw comes in! Slaw is one of those sides that you can whip up in a matter of minutes and can be customized in any way you want to suit your tastes.
Shred some cabbage and onion, mix it with some fresh coriander and lime juice, and voila – you’ve got a delicious, crunchy slaw ready to go! You can also switch the recipe up with practically whatever veg or other ingredients you want!
Why not add some jalapenos for extra spice, or a dollop of sour cream for some rich creaminess to balance out your tacos? The choice is yours!
18) Pickled Jalapenos
This simple topping is perfect for spice-lovers who want to pack some more heat into their tacos.
You can use store-bought jars if that’s more convenient, but it’s super-easy to make your own at home that tastes far better.
Slice up some jalapenos, add them to a jar with some white vinegar or brine and pickling spices and let them rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using them.
They also last for 3-4 weeks, so you can add them to any recipe you want – they don’t just taste great in tacos!
19) Hot Sauce
There are countless hot sauces out there, with various different flavors and spice levels to choose from. Any one of them will be a great addition to your tacos, especially if you’re a spice-lover.
On top of just adding a spicy kick to your tacos, a good hot sauce will add some delicious flavor to accentuate the taste of your taco.
Keep your taco bar well-stocked with hot sauce; you can never have too much!
20) Cilantro Lime Rice
Just like Mexican rice, this is a common side dish that works great in a taco.
First, rice is cooked in chicken or vegetable stock for added flavor. It’s then mixed with fresh cilantro and a generous squeeze of lime juice for a zesty and refreshing topping that works great at lifting up other flavors or as a palette cleanser.
21) Black Olives
Olives might be a divisive ingredient, but if you’re a fan then you’ll love them in a taco.
Black olives are the better choice because of their more gentle flavor that adds to the rest of the ingredients instead of taking away from them.
With a hint of saltiness and a slight bite, olives are an often-underestimated topping that works great in a taco.
22) Green Onion
Green onions have a milder taste than normal onions, and are more popular as a topping than as an ingredient.
This fresh, slightly bitter veg adds a vibrant hit of flavor to each bite of your tacos, and brings a gentle sweetness that works great with the acidity.
These long stalks are perfect for a tasty taco topping, so finely chop a bunch and add it to your taco bar!
23) Salsa Verde
This green variation of salsa is known as one of the spiciest salsas out there, but don’t let this put you off – salsa verde packs a lot of great flavor along with its heat.
Made with tomatillo, garlic, onion, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice, salsa verde is a spicy and zesty salsa that adds a lot of depth to tacos and makes a great topping for fans of spice.
24) Fried Egg
This might seem like an odd choice, but adding a fried egg to your taco can be a game-changer.
The richness and soft texture of the egg goes great with the spicy meat or can be a meat substitute in itself, while the runny yolk mixes with the other ingredients for a delicious coating.
You can also use a poached egg if you don’t want the egg to be greasy while still getting that beautiful runny golden yolk.
25) Pineapple Salsa
Salsas don’t just have to be spicy – they can also come with some fruity flavors and a hit of sweetness, like in this delicious pineapple salsa.
Adding some crushed pineapple to a simple salsa recipe of tomato, onion, and chili brings some depth to the other ingredients, adding sweetness as well as acidity.
The pineapple also works perfectly with the fresh cilantro and zesty lime, and brings delicious tropical flavors to your tacos!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Use Soft- Or Hard-Shell Tacos?
This largely depends on your personal preferences. Soft taco shells are the more traditional style, and make the taco easier to load with toppings and (more importantly) bite into.
They also have more of that great corn tortilla flavor.
Hard-shell tacos are also a good choice, and give your taco a bit more stability and some extra crunch. However, they can be trickier to hold and eat.
Whichever type of taco shell you prefer, they’re always better if you warm them up first.
What Are Authentic Tacos Traditionally Topped With?
While there are plenty of great taco toppings to choose from on this list, let’s take a look at what tacos are traditionally topped with.
Authentic tacos use a soft corn tortilla shell and are filled with seasoned meat (typically beef), diced tomatoes, and onion, and served with sides such as salsa and guacamole.
The tacos are topped with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice for a burst of flavor.
What Is The Best Cheese For Tacos?
No delicious taco is complete without some gooey cheese – but what’s the best cheese to use? Traditional tacos use queso cotija, a dry and crumbly cheese, but there are plenty of alternatives.
A medium cheddar is a popular choice and melts on the top of your tacos. Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or feta are also great options for taco cheese and are right at home in any taco bar!
There you have it! With these great taco toppings, you’re sure to have a great taco bar perfect for parties and taco nights.
There’s something here for everyone to love, and it’s sure to be a hit at family gatherings or barbecues.
So stock your taco bar with these delicious toppings, and get ready for the best Taco Tuesday ever!