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Taco bar with all the toppings lined up

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.

Yield: 6-8 servings (12-16 tacos, depending on size of shells) 1x
Prep: 20 minutesCook: 25 minutesTotal: 45 minutes


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), warmed according to package directions
  • 12 cups chopped lettuce
  • 12 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion (or Pickled Red Onions)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sub: Mexican blend or Cotija cheese)
  • 12 avocados, diced (or Guacamole)
  • 1 cup salsa (recommend: Mateo’s medium salsa)
  • Cilantro Lime Aioli (put in a squeeze bottle from the dollar store)
  • Sour cream (sub: plain Greek yogurt)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and warmed (sub: pinto beans)
  • Cilantro Lime Rice

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Make It Now:

  1. Make Seasoning: In a small bowl, stir together taco seasoning ingredients. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve: Transfer cooked ground meat to a serving bowl and set out with other Mexican toppings in various shapes/sizes of bowls in an assembly line to make your homemade taco bar! Keep soft tortillas warm by wrapping in a clean dish towel.

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.


  • In addition to ground beef taco meat, consider offering other meat filling choices like Cilantro Lime Chicken, Crispy Carnitas, Shredded Beef Tacos, and/or Southwest Chicken
  • When you make taco meat, double the batch and freeze for later.
  • Hosting a group? Have attendees help bring toppings for the Taco Bar!
  • Consider providing a variety of salsas. Some like mild while others like it HOT!
  • 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.
  • Gluten-Free Version: This is an easy meal to make gluten-free. Just omit using wheat flour tortillas and use soft or hard shell corn tortillas instead.
© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: Mexican Method: Stovetop