Totally Tasty Taco Bar

By Polly Conner
May 21, 2021

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.

ingredients set out in bowls for a taco bar

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.
Overhead shot of tacos

A Short Video Showing How Easy Taco Bars Can Be!

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.

Overhead shot of ingredients for a taco bar

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 or gluten-free tortillas.
  • Chopped Iceburg or green leaf lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced red onion or white onion
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Avocados, diced or sliced or Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • 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.

Ingredients for taco meat

Here’s the basic method for making taco meat with ground beef, but check out the recipe below for specifics:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Overhead shot of taco meat

How to Make Tacos 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: 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: Let all ingredients thaw in the refrigerator. Serve as directed.

Make tacos a freezer meal

Side Dish Ideas

Need some ideas to serve with your Taco Bar? Here are some delicious side dish ideas!

Avocado Lime Salsa – One of my all-time favorite side dish recipes!

Guacamole – A Tex-Mex classic.

Texas Caviar Dip – Another great recipe for crowds.

Print

Totally Tasty Taco Bar

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings (1216 tacos, depending on size of shells) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

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.


Ingredients

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 

  • 12 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 34 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)

  • 1216 taco shells (soft or hard)
  • 12 cups chopped lettuce
  • 12 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Cilantro leaves, diced
  • Lime wedges
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and warmed

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together taco seasoning ingredients. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Notes

In addition to ground beef, Cilantro Lime Chicken or Crispy Carnitas would be a great addition to the Taco Bar.

We get all of our meat from ButcherBox and highly recommend their service. Reach our Honest ButcherBox Review here.

Ground beef taco assembled on a cutting board.

Leave a Comment

Your comments make our day. Thank you! If you made the recipe, please choose a star rating, too.

Leave a Reply

Recipe rating

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 reply
  1. CHEE-CHEE MCCALEBB says:

    IM trying this for the first time it looks simple and fun for my taco night with family ill let everyone know how it went and taste

    Reply