36 Taco Recipes So Good You’ll Never Want to Make Anything Else
Need a standout “Taco Tuesday” recipe? With these cheesy, meat- and veggie-packed tacos on the menu, you’ll want to have one (or three) every night.
Baja Shrimp Tacos With Creamy Slaw
Briny shrimp, full-bodied hot sauce, and a creamy, crisp slaw come together to create a taco full of texture and flavor. We like using both red and green cabbage for a colorful slaw, but feel free to choose one or the other. In terms of Mexican hot sauce, we like Valentina or Cholula. If you can’t find those, opt for Sriracha rather than Tabasco or Crystal (which are thinner and more vinegar-y). You can use a gas stove flame to achieve a nice char on the tortillas. To do this, simply place one tortilla on each burner set on low heat. Use tongs to flip them when the bottom starts to char.
Get the recipe: Baja Shrimp Tacos With Creamy Slaw
The secret ingredient to this simple salsa verde? Cucumber. It’s an atypical touch that gives the tomatillo-based sauce a slight sweetness, which works wonders with all the sharp ingredients (onion, lime juice, garlic, etc). The result is an unbelievably fresh-tasting salsa with a good balance of lime, herb, and spices. The salsa comes together quickly in the blender, meaning no chopping required (we’d rather save our energy for the actual tacos). If you have leftovers, cook the sauce until it breaks down, then toss in some chopped fresh herbs and use it as a homemade enchilada sauce.
Get the recipe: Salsa Verde
Pico de Gallo
This pico gets better and more flavorful as it sits, meaning you can make it in advance then set it aside and forget it. The olive oil will keep the herbs vibrant and green, so don’t worry about them browning. Cayenne and jalapeño provide a little kick, but if you prefer your pico mild, simply omit the two. Alternatively, if you want more heat, simply leave the seeds in the jalapeño. Serve leftovers on top of eggs the next morning, or use to top a burrito bowl or a taco salad. Trust us, once you have some in the fridge you’ll find endless uses for it.
Get the recipe: Pico de Gallo
This is officially our new favorite salsa, simply because it’s exactly what salsa should be. Though occasionally we like to get more creative, most of the time we just want a good, go-to salsa—no frills or funky flavors. Using canned tomatoes means you can make it all year long, and accenting it with fresh ingredients (onion, lime juice, jalapeño), as well as garlic and cayenne, rounds it out nicely. You can use it wherever you would use a jarred salsa: tucked into tacos, dolloped on top of nachos, spooned over eggs, etc. We have a feeling you won’t be buying salsa at the store anytime soon.
Get the recipe: Blender Salsa
If you’re looking for a refreshing, well-balanced cocktail, this is the one. The bitterness of the grapefruit is perfectly offset by a sweet simple syrup and tangy lime juice. Thanks to its beautiful color, it’s the perfect warm-weather drink, whether you’re serving it with Mexican food or not. Don’t panic if you can’t find ruby red grapefruit—a regular grapefruit will work just fine. Just don’t be tempted to buy store-bought grapefruit juice. Not only is freshly-squeezed so much better, but you’ll use the rind to flavor the simple syrup. If you want, make extra simple syrup to add to a margarita, or to sweeten lemonade.
Get the recipe: Paloma
Mushroom and Corn Tacos
These tacos are earthy, toasty, and almost meaty thanks to umami-rich mushrooms. In fact, it’s one of those recipes you can serve to meat-eaters, and they won’t miss a bit of the beef. Though a cast iron skillet isn’t essential, it’s great for charring the corn and cooking the mushrooms. Finishing the tacos with raw white onion, leafy green cilantro, and vibrant red chili pepper really makes the tacos pop with color. For best results, try to find large shiitakes (smaller ones will cook before they turn brown). Any extra mushroom mixture can be added to an omelet or scattered over pizza.
Get the recipe: Mushroom and Corn Tacos
If you like Bloody Marys, you’ll love this michelada, which is made with beer, Clamato juice, fresh lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and soy sauce. If you’re serving it at a party, feel free to go crazy with garnishes—think smoky bacon, stuffed olives, or even shrimp. Once you have all the ingredients, the drink comes together in minutes. You’ll stir everything together in a large pitcher filled with ice, then pour it into glasses rimmed with Mexican fruit seasoning or kosher salt. To get the seasoning to stick, rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glasses.
Get the recipe: Michelada
Chile-Lime Mango and Jicama
Take a stroll in the Mission District in San Francisco, and you’ll spot street vendors with containers of ripe mango and jicama topped with a tangy spicy combo of chile and lime juice. If you’re unfamiliar with jicama, it’s a type of tuber that tastes like a crisp savory apple. Find it near the potatoes in the supermarket, specialty produce shops, and Latin American and Asian markets. Green apple is a great substitute for jicama and it’ll be just as tasty with the sweet and savory topping made from lime juice, red pepper flakes, sugar, and kosher salt. Throw together this quick dish and pair it with carnitas or fish tacos, or enjoy it on its own on a hot summer day.
Get the recipe: Chile-Lime Mango and Jicama
Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca
A slice of fresh chilled watermelon is pretty refreshing. But this “fresh water,” made with blended watermelon and a mint-infused simple syrup is downright chuggable. The recipe calls for 8 cups of chopped seedless watermelon, which equals about 1 medium watermelon. Use as much or as little of the simple syrup as you’d like depending on the ripeness of the fruit, and serve everything over ice with a dash of freshly squeezed lime juice. If you have extra, store it in an airtight container to have on hand for stirring into mint juleps, mojitos, or iced teas.
Get the recipe: Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca
Despite a short ingredient list, this taco is exceptionally complex. Chorizo packs a punch with paprika-peppery kick, sweet onions and garlic add a savory edge, and barely cooked zucchini contributes fresh summer flavor. There’s a ton of texture and color, making this recipe a gorgeous option for entertaining. Feel free to substitute yellow squash for zucchini. The quick pickled onions will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. If you have some extra time, we recommend doubling the recipe because they are a fantastic accompaniment to a charcuterie board, sandwich, or burger. You can also use the same recipe to pickle other thinly sliced vegetables like okra, turnips, radishes, or cucumbers.
Get the recipe: Chorizo-Zucchini Tacos
Chopped Cheese Tacos
Chopped cheese sandwiches came into the spotlight recently, but if you haven’t heard of them, here’s a quick explainer. Ground beef, onion, and bell peppers are often cooked together on a griddle, chopped up, covered in cheese, and stuffed into a toasted hoagie roll with some shredded lettuce. Here’s another way to think about them: the Philly Cheese Steak meets the streets of New York. We thought this trend was too indulgent and delicious to ignore, so we turned it into a taco for you. Serve with a cold Modelo or any type of Mexican soda.
Get the recipe: Chopped Cheese Tacos
Everyone knows that one of the best parts of going to a great taco spot is the refreshing, sweet and creamy, icy-cold glass of horchata. You never know if it counts as dessert, but you’d like to think it doesn’t; after all, it’s quite necessary to cut through the extra spicy sauce you ordered because you thought you could handle it. Well, the great news is that it’s pretty easy to make your own delicious version at home. The trick? Boiling the rice soaking liquid with cinnamon sticks instead of just mixing in the ground spice for added flavor and complexity.
Get the recipe: Horchata
Grilled California Fish Tacos
Battered and fried fish tacos are certainly delicious (we’d be hard pressed to turn them down) but the whole frying part can be a drag to pull off at home on a sweltering summer day. Not to mention that deep fried foods and bikini season don’t always go hand in hand. That’s why these super cool Cali-style tacos, made with firm grilled white fish, might be the ideal taco for summer. Swordfish, mahi mahi, halibut, snapper, or tilapia would work swimmingly in this recipe. A whole half avocado per serving adds irresistible creamy flavor, and grilled scallions take each tortilla over the top.
Get the recipe: Grilled California Fish Tacos
Creamy Rajas and Greens Tacos
A tasty taco doesn’t always have to be filled with meat. In fact, we’d argue that this purely vegetarian option is just as rich and satisfying. Made from hearty sautéed chard, thinly sliced crunchy radishes, and salty cotija cheese, it gets a lot of flavor from charred poblanos. Broil them in one batch on a sheet tray just until they’re blistered, and gently peel away their outer skin. The results will be irresistible and smoky. Finally, a quick homemade queso sauce, basically a béchamel with Monterey Jack cheese mixed in, tips this recipe into the realm of truly indulgent.
Get the recipe: Creamy Rajas and Greens Tacos
Crispy Chicken Skin Tacos
There are only a few ingredients in this recipe so we recommend buying the highest quality chicken you can find, whether it’s a free-range organic bird or a kosher chicken. Starting the chicken on the stove in a cast iron skillet ensures that the skin turns deeply golden brown and crackly. Skin-on boneless chicken thighs aren’t always available at the supermarket. If you can’t find them, ask your butcher to debone them for you or simply run a paring knife along the bone and pop it out yourself (it’ll take just a couple of minutes). In a pinch, use store bought salsa verde—although taking a few minutes to make it yourself adds unbeatable fresh flavor.
Get the recipe: Crispy Chicken Skin Tacos
Beef and Pineapple Tacos
When sautéed or grilled, pineapple chunks take on a richer flavor that’s a little sweet, a little tart. Scoop a generous serving atop seared steak (don’t forget to add a sprinkling of cilantro and lime juice, too!) for a surprisingly fresh taco.
Get the recipe: Beef and Pineapple Tacos
Shredded Pork Tacos
A Dutch oven or slow cooker ensures pork shoulder becomes fall-off-the-bone tender and supremely flavorful as it cooks low and slow. Load warm tortillas with a generous serving of pulled pork, and then add your favorite toppings—radishes, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, and more.
Get the recipe: Shredded Pork Tacos
Grilled Chili Shrimp Tacos
A homemade chili paste is easy to make—garlic, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper—but delivers a bold, smoky taste that pairs beautifully with a sweet-and-spicy pineapple-jalapeño salsa. Grill the tortillas before filling to add char and make them more pliable.
Get the recipe: Grilled Chili Shrimp Tacos
Scrambled Egg Tacos
Mix things up: Serve tacos for breakfast or breakfast tacos for dinner. Here, toasted tortillas hold creamy scrambled eggs rather than ground beef. Sliced avocado, salsa, cheese, and cilantro round out the meal. For an extra-special treat the whole family will love, serve with breakfast potatoes.
Get the recipe: Scrambled Egg Tacos
Pork and Pineapple Tacos
Up to four hours of marinating time requires a little forethought, but the flavor payoff is big, bold, and delicious. Thinly sliced jalapeño and diced red onion cut through the sweetness, while crumbled cotija cheese adds a hint of salt.
Get the recipe: Pork and Pineapple Tacos
Steak and Plantain Tacos
Plantains, the starchier and less sugary version of a banana, are generally green and can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Here, the slightly sweet potato-like texture of the plantain provides the perfect complement to the tangy cabbage slaw.
Get the recipe: Steak and Plantain Tacos
Tilapia Tacos With Cucumber Relish
Perfect for kids or the less-than-adventurous eater, the texture and taste of white fish, like tilapia or halibut, is a good foray into a deeper appreciation for seafood. Here, the fish is seasoned, grilled, and then paired with a crunchy marinated cucumber and radish mixture.
Get the recipe: Tilapia Tacos With Cucumber Relish
Steak and Roasted Carrot Tacos With Avocado
Sour cream, ripe avocado slices, and lime provide a cool, tangy contrast to the warm, smoky crunch of the cumin-spiced carrots. A few sprigs of watercress, a leafy green with a slight bite, add an extra punch of nutrients.
Get the recipe: Steak and Roasted Carrot Tacos With Avocado
Shrimp Tacos With Guacamole Cream and Olive Salsa
Who needs sour cream, when you can top fresh shrimp tacos with a simple (all you need is avocado, lime juice, and salt) yet flavor-packed guacamole cream instead? An olive salsa (yes, really!) adds zest and salt to each and every bite.
Get the recipe: Shrimp Tacos With Guacamole Cream and Olive Salsa
Vegetarian Tacos With Goat Cheese
Chili-spiced tofu, which is seared until golden brown and crispy around the edges, adds staying power to a taco brimming with vegetables. Add the crumbled goat cheese while the rest of the ingredients are still warm, so it becomes nice and creamy.
Get the recipe: Vegetarian Tacos With Goat Cheese
Salmon Tacos With Cabbage Slaw
If you prefer a slaw with bold taste, prep this part of the recipe first. That way, the cabbage has more time to soften up and the flavors have more time to develop. Top each fish taco with a generous serving of the tangy salad.
Get the recipe: Salmon Tacos With Cabbage Slaw
Bass Tacos With Grapefruit Salsa
As long as the tortilla is made with 100-percent corn, tacos can make for a satisfying gluten-free meal. Here, corn tortillas are filled with an unexpected but incredibly delicious combination of coriander-spiced white fish, chopped grapefruit, diced avocado, and chives.
Get the recipe: Bass Tacos With Grapefruit Salsa
Spanish chorizo, a sausage made from smoked pork and red pepper that is seasoned with chili and paprika, makes these tacos ideal for someone who likes a little heat. Incorporate a bit of ground turkey to add bulk, without the extra calories and fat.
Get the recipe: Turkey-Chorizo Tacos
Butternut Squash and Bean Tacos
This nutrient-dense taco is filled with an unexpected combination of ingredients, but butternut squash and black beans pair surprisingly well together. The rich, earthy flavors of the combo are offset by the zesty bite of the red onions and the creamy goat cheese.
Get the recipe: Butternut Squash and Bean Tacos
Seared Salmon Tacos With Sriracha Mayo
Mix up taco night by giving fish tacos a slight Asian flair. Salmon marinates in a mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar for just 10 minutes before it’s cooked on the stovetop. A spicy Sriracha mayo balances out any residual sweetness from the marinade.
Get the recipe: Seared Salmon Tacos With Sriracha Mayo
Citrus-Marinated Steak Tacos
A marinade of garlic, lime juice, vinegar, and red pepper infuses skirt steak (a fatty, quick-cooking cut of meat) with bright, zesty flavors. After an hour of marinating time, grill the meat until charred and medium-rare, then top with a chunky avocado-lime salsa.
Get the recipe: Citrus-Marinated Steak Tacos
Pork and Pinto Bean Enchilada Tacos
This recipe combines two Mexican favorites—enchiladas and tacos—into one delicious meal. Golden brown, cumin-spiced bites of pork are smothered in a green enchilada sauce and then topped with pinto beans, crumbled cotija cheese, and sliced red onions.
Get the recipe: Pork and Pinto Bean Enchilada Tacos
Skirt Steak Tacos With Greek Salsa
Quick pickled onions (just let them sit in vinegar for five minutes) are tossed with chopped Persian cucumbers, sliced grape tomatoes, and seasonings to create a topping that’s bursting with fresh summer flavors. Spiced steak and crumbled Feta complete the part Greek, part Mexican meal.
Get the recipe: Skirt Steak Tacos With Greek Salsa
Blistered Tomato Salsa and Roasted Chicken Thigh Tacos
Tomatillos, a green variety of tomatoes encased in a papery husk, have a more tart taste than their red counterparts. Broil the tomatillos to produce a char that gives the resulting salsa a slightly smoky taste. A big dollop atop shredded chicken will have the whole family asking for seconds.
Get the recipe: Blistered Tomato Salsa and Roasted Chicken Thigh Tacos
Smoky Flounder Tacos With Beet and Carrot Slaw
Beets and carrots are chopped into matchsticks and then tossed with parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings to create a slaw like you’ve probably never tasted before (but will make over and over again). Sprinkle it over white fish to add a tasty crunch to each taco.
Get the recipe: Smoky Flounder Tacos With Beet and Carrot Slaw
Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos
Cocoa powder… in tacos? The pantry staple—for baking, that is—is actually the secret ingredient in this dinnertime favorite. The cocoa adds a rich depth and umami flavor to the pork, while it cooks in the slow cooker. Once it’s done, the meat will be tender and shred easily.
Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos