Totally Tasty Taco Bar
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Need some Taco Bar Ideas? We have everything you need and more to make your own Taco Bar at home. Delicious ingredients and practical tips on how to serve this easy dinner to your family or even a group of people.
Why I Love Taco Bars
Making a Taco Bar for dinner pretty much solves all of life’s problems.
- It’s easy to make. After browning and seasoning some ground beef, there isn’t much more prep to do!
- It’s a great meal to feed a group of people. Hello, assembly line! Guests can also customize their meal.
- A Taco Bar is cheap! The ingredients are simple, easy to find, and very affordable.
- It works as a make-ahead meal. Simply prep the taco meat ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you want to eat it. Perfect for those nights that everyone is eating at different times!
- It’s freezer-friendly! In this post, we will teach you how to transform a Taco Bar into a freezer meal.
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Taco Bar Ideas
There are SO many options that you can serve at a taco bar. When it’s just my family eating it, I keep it really simple and only set out what I know they will eat.
Here’s a list of ingredients you might consider adding if you’re serving a crowd of people:
- Taco meat (recipe below) – You could also provide Crispy Carnitas or Cilantro Lime Chicken, if you want to have options.
- Taco shells (soft or hard) – If you have a gluten-free eater, provide corn tortillas or gluten-free tortillas.
- Chopped iceberg or green leaf lettuce
- Diced tomatoes
- Diced red onion or white onion
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Avocados, diced or sliced or Guacamole
- Cilantro, finely diced
- Lime wedges
- Black beans, rinsed and warmed
- Sour cream
Make sure to have some tortilla chips on the side!
How to Make Taco Meat
A taco bar is only going to be as good as the taco meat, am-I-right? Skip the pre-packaged taco seasoning kits and make your own taco meat at home using our Homemade Taco Seasoning.
Here’s the basic method for making taco meat with ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken), but check out the recipe below for specifics:
- In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium heat. Saute diced onion, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Add ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it browns. Drain off excess grease.
- Sprinkle taco seasoning over the meat and stir until coated. Add in some chicken/beef/vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced some, about 5 minutes.
Change it up by using our Shredded Beef Tacos!
How to Make It Ahead as a Freezer Meal
I love this meal idea for new moms! It’s such a great one to double and freeze. So, either stash it in your freezer for a few weeks down the road or pass it on to someone who could use a great meal.
To Freeze for Later: Cook the meat as directed, then let the mixture cool completely. Place it in a freezer bag, seal and freeze. In separate bags, freeze about 1 cup of shredded cheese and tortillas along with the meat, to complete your kit
To Prepare from Frozen: Let all ingredients thaw in the refrigerator. Serve as directed.
Free Freezer Meal Labels
Keep track of freezer meals the easy way with our printable freezer meal labels.
Side Dishes That Go Well With Tacos
If you’re looking to be a little extra, try serving a few of these sides or appetizers along with your taco buffet.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
Totally Tasty Taco Bar
An easy dinner idea that is great for a crowd. Lay out the ingredients and let your eaters choose their own taco adventure with all of the Mexican Toppings.
Taco Seasoning Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less for sensitive palates)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Taco Meat Ingredients
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 small white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3–4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (sub: ground turkey)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
Additional Taco Bar Ingredients (pick and choose from the ideas below)
- 12–16 taco shells (soft or hard)
- 1–2 cups chopped lettuce
- 1–2 cups diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1–2 avocados, diced
- 1 cup salsa
- Cilantro leaves, diced
- Lime wedges
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and warmed
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
Make It Now:
- Make Seasoning: In a small bowl, stir together taco seasoning ingredients. Set aside.
- Saute Onion: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the diced onion, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 3-4 minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more.
- Cook Ground Meat: Add the ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula as it browns. Drain off excess grease.
- Season & Simmer: Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of taco seasoning over the meat and stir until coated. Add in 1 cup of chicken/beef/vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced some, about 5 minutes.
- Serve: Transfer cooked ground meat to a serving bowl and set out with other Mexican toppings in an assembly line to make your homemade taco bar!
Freeze For Later: Cook the meat as directed, then let the mixture cool completely. Place it in a freezer bag, seal and freeze. In separate bags, freeze about 2 cups of shredded cheese and soft tortillas along with the meat, to complete your kit.
Prepare For Later: Let all ingredients thaw in the refrigerator. Serve as directed.
Where We Get Our Beef: We get our beef from ButcherBox. The beef is grass-fed and curated from trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, chicken, and wild salmon–and have used it for years ourselves.
In addition to ground beef, Cilantro Lime Chicken or Crispy Carnitas would be a great addition to the Taco Bar.
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