Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (2024)

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Got the dinner doldrums? Time for a little taco talk. Tacos are a sure way of kicking up your meal into high gear. Serve them with flavorful toppings and sides, and supper just got a little more exciting! Not only are taco bars delicious, but I'm here to help you figure out your Taco Bar menu with a handy FREE downloadable Taco Party Checklist that includes invitations and an ebook!

If hosting a tex mex party, tacos are low maintenance and custom-built and allow your guests to be creative. So, put tacos on the menu. You won't be sorry you did. If you are looking for recipe ideas for your taco party, I have a full list of my favorites!

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Table of contents

  • What is Cinco De Mayo?
  • Wedding Taco Bar
  • Taco Bar Party
  • Taco Bar Party Ideas
  • Taco Bar at Home
  • What Sides go with Taco Bars?
  • What is a walking taco?
  • How to make walking tacos
  • Dip Cups
  • Taco Bar Ideas
  • Taco Bars
    • Taco Salad Bar
    • Nacho Bar
    • Burrito or Burrito Bowl Taco Bar
    • Walking Taco Bar
  • Taco Bar Checklist (Printables)
    • Taco Bar Drinks
      • Margarita Punch (for 25 people)
      • Beer
      • Wine
      • Non-alcoholic Drinks
      • Can I Make Taco Fillings Ahead of Time?
  • Tips for the Best Taco Party
    • Leftovers
  • How to Host a Taco Bar
  • How to Make Hard Shell Tacos
    • How to Make Hard Shell Tacos in the Oven
    • How to Make Hard Taco BOWLS in the Oven
    • How to Make Taco CHIPS in the Oven
      • Options
  • Taco Seasoning Mixture
    • Setting up a Taco Bar for a Large Gathering
    • Rough Guidelines for Feeding People
    • For 25 people?
    • For 50 people?
    • For 100 people?
    • Other Meat Options
    • Carnitas
    • All the Fixings
    • Tortillas
    • Cheese Options
    • Salsa Options
    • Veggie Choices
    • Hot Sauces
    • Other Sauces
    • Condiments and Toppings
    • Garnishes
    • Herbs and Spices
    • Desserts
  • Ground Beef Hard Shell Tacos
  • Best Hard Shell Taco Recipe
  • Taco Bar Ingredients

This taco bar menu has the best hard shell taco recipes, along with a comprehensive checklist and free eBook that's loaded with ingredients and Mexican food ideas. So you won't miss a single thing when it comes to taco planning for home, parties or weddings.

When I say a comprehensive list, I mean a complete list, including how to make air fryer chicken tacos in minutes. Ideal for a taco-for-two weeknight meal or a weekend taco party, we've covered it all.

Ground beef or ground pork are also AMAZING taco choices. This epic post has got EVERYTHING from Taco Tuesday at home to hosting the best taco fiesta ever! It's chock full of options and printable checklists in the form of an eBook that you're going to LOVE and rely on.

Why hard shell tacos and not soft you might ask? There's nothing wrong with soft tacos. We think they're terrific and have included some wonderful recipes that use them!

But the one reason we focus on hard shell tacos is simply they're crunch! If you're big on crunchy, then these hard shell taco recipes are for you!

When you think Mexico, what's the first food that comes to mind? Tacos, of course! Mexico is where they got their start, and it's not surprising.

These beautiful people know how to make the most fabulous street food. Tacos began showing up in the US in the early 1900s and are widely popular today. Muchos-gracias!

What is Cinco De Mayo?

A yearly celebration that occurs May 5 that honors the Mexican army's defeat over the French empire in 1862. These days, it's more celebrated in the U.S. to honor Mexican-American culture.

Wedding Taco Bar

My close friend, born and raised in Mexico, was getting married and wanted her rehearsal dinner to be a taco bar. That's what inspired this post. We needed to figure out a way of making the best wedding taco bar ever!

Basically it's a taco buffet wedding-style and they're several reasons for doing it:

  • Affordable
  • Popular
  • Lots of choice - there's something for everyone
  • Add a Mexican-inspired drink and dessert bar
  • Keep it going all night long
  • Build the taco theme in with the wedding décor - cake, flowers, tablecloths, balloons, cacti, sombreros, flags, guitars, donkeys
  • Takeaway gifts can be taco-labeled spices, hot sauces, Mexican-colored stationery, pens, scarves, ceramic pots

We weren't sure how this wedding taco bar was going to go, but it turned out to be a very fine, memorable Mexican fiesta.

All the notes I kept on making this wedding taco bar are worth sharing. Hence, the reason for this post and eBook.

You'll be pleasantly surprised just how much fun you can have creating a taco bar. It's sure to satisfy any crowd, no matter how big. And your taco party is guaranteed to be a big hit with adults and kids alike.

Everyone gets to create their own tacos, just the way they like it.

The main goal of my eBooks is to give people as much recipe information and choice as possible. And it's so heartwarming to know these guides can be put to good use.

Taco Bar Party

Many years ago, we had a taco party for my son's 9th birthday. The kids had a blast and my son was excited to do it again for his next birthday.

By the time his 10th birthday came around, he wasn't interested in birthday parties anymore and just wanted a quiet celebration at home and hang out with his friends later. We would have gladly done it again, but that's kids for you!

Taco party for my son's 9A taco bar party can be costly or inexpensive. Either way, it can turn out great! For example, on Taco Tuesdays at home, I often make shrimp. But if serving 75 people, I would choose something else.

Ground beef or a ground beef and ground pork blend may be the best and most reasonable option when feeding a large crowd. It can easily be prepared ahead of time and freezes beautifully until needed.

Taco bar parties are not only perfect for weddings and rehearsal dinners, they're fabulous for birthdays, tailgating parties, viewing sporting events, Cinco de Mayo, Father's Day, baby showers, bridal showers, graduation or anniversaries and more!

Honestly, any excuse for a taco bar party will do! Adjust your ingredients to suit who will be eating the tacos and you're on your merry way!

Since everything can be prepared ahead, this will allow you to spend quality time with your guests, while they're having a ball building their own tacos.

With the amount of choice, those on special diets need not be left out. They can adjust accordingly and enjoy tacos that suits them.

Make a taco party potluck and use a sign-up sheet, so you don't end up with too many duplicates. This guarantees more variety, and you don't have to rely on your memory alone. I encourage you to do the same.

Whenever I do a potluck, I ask people to bring appetizers, side dishes or other meals that go well with a taco bar.

Everyone has something to offer and it rounds out the party nicely! Works every single time.

Taco Bar Party Ideas

There's no shortage of ideas, believe me! Take these Homemade Mexican Corn Dip Recipe,Homemade Queso Dip and Cheesy Bacon Ranch Bean Dip recipes for example. They're made for taco bars. So easy to make, they're guaranteed to be a huge hit.

Leave some of that corn dip and queso dip in small slow cookers or crock pots throughout the party and the guests will on keep coming!

Place little cups beside the slow cookers, so everyone can take a scoop. Perfect for topping their tacos and as chip dip.

People love the dips so much, there's never enough, no matter how much we make.

Same goes for this Easy Mexican Homemade Tomato Salsa. Simple to prepare and perfect in so many things, you can never make enough of this either! For smaller gatherings (less than 20 people), give these Perfect Cheesy Taco Egg Rolls a try. I get rave reviews every single time I make them. They're that good.

It's helpful to have a list of recipe options that provides choice. Some people want easy, Others want something new. How about both? This handy little guide is designed to make your life a little easier and to give you some fresh ideas. You don't have to go it alone.

Pace yourself. Everything can pretty much be prepared in advance and if you don't own a slow cooker or crock pot, borrow one. Sometimes that's all I ask some guests to bring, so I have enough food for everyone.

As far as taco bar party ideas go, having appetizers ready for when guests arrive is always a good start. But having dinners and side dishes ready to go are great ideas too.

We watched my son and his friends turn Slow Cooker Taco Chicken and Rice,Slow Cooker Cheesy Taco Beef Hash, and Taco Zucchini Beef and Pork Skillet into fantastic burritos, even though these recipes are tasty on their own.

Simple Tortilla Casserole is super tasty and has become hugely popular among many family and friends. Every time we plan a get together, this dish is always requested.

Frito Casserole with Fresh Guacamole is an easy casserole that is definitely drool worthy. Basically a cheesy, chili filled casserole covered in corn chips with some wonderful guacamole to go along with it. This versatile casserole recipe is a definite keeper.

Cheesy Taco Meatloaf works as a base for tacos, but can be served all on its own and eaten with a fork. Lots of fun with a whole love of yum!

For those that aren't into red meat, Easy Crunchy Mexican Chicken,Cheesy Salsa Baked Chicken, Slow Cooker Cheesy Salsa Chicken,FAST Air Fryer Shredded Chicken Tacos andBuffalo Chicken Enchiladasare terrific options! Because of their popularity, I've had to double and triple these recipes on many occasions.

Taco Bar at Home

This is where things can get a bit tricky. When creating a taco bar at home, decide how much food you think is enough, then double it. Yes, you heard that right.

That's the rule my grandma taught me, and when I think I've made way too much, it's never is the case.

There's been a few events where I've prepared Chicken Tortilla Soup to accommodate those that have had surgery or weren't well.

Depending on the size of the crowd, wraps and burritos are a perfect addition. Most popular are Pork and Bean Burritos,Easy Cheesy Baked Empanadas,Easy Crispy Mexican Chicken Salsa Wraps, Cheesy Burger Burritos,FAST Air Fryer Shredded Chicken Tacos andBuffalo Chicken Enchiladas.

All have that Mexican flare that can give your taco bar a real boost.

What Sides go with Taco Bars?

Don't overlook those taco bar side dishes to complement the taco bar either. As the name says, side dishes can be served on the side or right inside the tacos. You can't go wrong.

If Cheesy Mexican Hash Brown Casserole,Cheesy Mexican Corn Casserole or Slow Cooker Mexican Street Corn Casseroleisn't on the taco bar menu, we could have a possible revolt on our hands!

Okay, that's a stretch, but you get the point.

No taco bar would be complete without some Mexican sweet endings. Last but not least, are two fabulous desserts: Easy Cheesecake Chimichangas and Churros. Put these on your bucket list, as you don't want to miss out.

Once people get a taste of these taco bar side dishes, the requests to make them again will keep on coming. If you're anything like me, it's hard to say no.

All are simply AMAZING and we can hardly wait for you to chime in and let us know what you think.

What is a walking taco?

A walking taco is simply a cup or bag (lunch bag size) full of homemade or store-bought tortilla or corn chips, covered with your favorite taco bar toppings.

Also known as a Doritos walking taco, these amazing creations will have you doing cartwheels; if not physically, then at least in your mind.

A small bag of Doritos or Fritos chips covered with all of your favorite taco ingredients or toppings is also absolutely delicious, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

How to make walking tacos

No matter what kind of walking tacos you choose, the chips will have to be broken up a bit. If using Doritos or Fritos, open the bag from the long edge, so you can easily access the taco mixture.

Then add all of those yummy taco bar toppings or ingredients to your walking tacos, and you're laughing! Everything from ground meat, shredded cheese, refried beans, sour cream, pickles, sweet peppers, onions, pickled jalapenos; the list goes on.

Everything your heart desires goes right inside the bag of tortilla or corn chips.

My son maintains he can't live without Doritos. He regularly makes Doritos walking tacos right inside the Doritos bag, grabs a fork and dives right in. I can tell from the look on his face, he enjoys every bite.

If you're not keen on bags, then consider using plastic cups. They're less messy and a bit easier to eat in some situations.

Both work beautifully to consume outside.

Elevate your taco bar game by including Doritos walking tacos as an option. Leave a variety pack of of Doritos or Fritos on the table and watch as everyone dig in. Less mess and delicious at the same time, your guests will thank you for it!

Happens every time and it's a pleasure to watch.

Dip Cups

My friend prepares small plastic cups that have a wide base and low sides, sometimes with lids, which are pretty cheap for dipping chips in to.

She starts by putting a dollop of refried beans, guacamole, sour cream (already mixed with some taco seasoning and some hot sauce), chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, shredded cheese and salsa.

Served with a bag of chips and you're in heaven. She prefers to make the dip cups herself before guests arrive. Smart and convenient.

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Taco Bar Ideas

Have I mentioned how much we love to create a taco bar and not just on taco night? Give us a reason, any reason at all, and we're on it!

Here's a basic list of some taco bar ideas:


  • Corn or Flour Tortillas - hard shells or soft or a combination of both
  • Meat mixture - ground pork, beef or a combination
  • Shredded cheeses of your choice - cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, Monterey Jack
  • Salsa
  • Mexican Rice
  • Refried beans
  • Sour cream,
  • Assorted dips (as mentioned above)
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Onions, finely chopped
  • Jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • Hot Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Guacamole
  • Seasonings (optional) - garlic, onion and chili powder, chile powder, oregano, cumin, Taco seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes
  • Side dishes - see suggestions above

Mexican-Themed Decorations

Set up this Mexican buffet and it practically runs itself, allowing the hosts to mingle more with the guests. That means spending less time in the kitchen and more time on the sofa socializing. Who isn't down for that? And folks appreciate those entertainers that can really entertain.

Included down below is much more information and ideas on how to make your Taco Bar a success, while keeping everything as simple as possible.

Taco Bars

There are so many kinds of taco bars but our favorites are listed further down. For the most part, it's fairly easy to serve more than one by including options from the very start.

Set up on a long table, like a buffet. A taco bar usually includes hard and soft flour or corn tacos or tortillas.

Given there's quite a few different kinds of taco bars to choose from, consider doing more than one at the same time. That way food allergies, personal tastes and desires is all covered.

Everyone LOVES choices, don't they? And how much more work does it take to add more chips, bowls, hard tortilla shells and an assortment of toppings?

You get the idea. Keeps your guests well-fed and endlessly entertained for hours!

Taco Salad Bar

When creating a taco salad bar, make sure there's loads of homemade or store-bought tortilla bowls, piled high for easy access, so everyone gets a chance to fill them up with those tasty taco fillings.

Nacho Bar

The more you add to your nacho bar, the more you can say, it's "nacho average bar". 😉 One basic rule is making sure there are huge bowls of chips for easy access. Keep the line going so people can constantly fill their plates.

One close friend lined a garbage can with a garbage bag and and filled it with corn chips and tortilla chips! She just kept filling it all night long. If that sounds a bit gross, the point is, the bigger the container, the less often you will need to fill it.

Burrito or Burrito Bowl Taco Bar

Transform your taco bar into a burrito or burrito bowl bar by simply providing burritos and/or burrito bowls. Same great ingredients served slightly differently.,

Remember to provide parchment paper, plates or a cutting board station for everyone to roll their burrito up.

If using bowls, guests can build their own.

Walking Taco Bar

Similar to a nacho bar, either buy cases of single serve Doritos or Fritos or have LOTS of big bags of chips available for people to help themselves.

Remember: all taco bar ingredients are the same no matter what kind of taco bar party you have.

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Taco Bar Checklist (Printables)

Taco Party ChecklistDownload

Taco Party InvitationsDownload

Shopping List

Topping Options

Pot Luck Sheet

How to Set Up

As I said earlier, give us an excuse for a Taco bar party and away we go! Set up a taco bar for that special game and game nights will never look the same. All you need to buy are invitations!

Taco Bar Drinks

  • Margaritas
  • Pina Coladas
  • Sangria (made with wine and includes fruit juice and is definitely worth a look)
  • Bloody Mary's
  • Beer
  • Wine

Margarita's top the list of course. Tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur with ice is the standard individual serving. There are different flavored Margarita mixes you can also buy.

Consider making a Margarita punch instead. Serving it in a big punch bowl will go a lot further.

Margarita Punch (for 25 people)

  • 1-2 cups of Triple Sec (orange liqueur)
  • 1 bottle of Tequila
  • 1 cup of fresh-squeezed lime
  • Several tablespoons of coarse salt
  • 1 gallon of ice

When getting ready to serve, combine tequila, triple sec and lime juice. You may need to add more triple sec. Taste as you go. Pour several tablespoons of lime on one plate and several tablespoons of coarse salt on another. Guests can moisten the tops of their glasses in the lime juice and then dip it in the salt. Add ice in each glass and ladle in the punch. Delightful!


No Taco bar would be complete without beer. Lagers in particular, are meant for tacos. The most popular Mexican beer by far, is Corona. Don't forget those lime wedges! Other varieties include Modelo, Pacifica and Victoria, but other brands are just fine like Samuel Adams, Pilsner, Molson, Heineken and Carlsberg, just to name a few.


Even though they say red wine for beef and white wine for fish and chicken, I would serve a mix. Any light or medium-bodied reds will do. Zinfandel and Pinot Noir are fine examples. The same goes for California reds. Dry white wines go well with any taco bar too. And don't discount the rosés - a blend of white and red, there are some fabulous ones out there.

Non-alcoholic Drinks

  • Seltzers
  • Juices - cranberry, orange, pineapple, tomato
  • Ice tea, coffee
  • Shirley Temples
  • Roy Rodgers (same idea as a Shirley Temple, but made with grenadine syrup and cola)
  • Soda pop

Customize the taco bar menu any way you want.

End the night with something sweet. Churros with chocolate dipping sauce is easy and delicious. If you're really ambitious, make churros from scratch. Scroll down for the entire recipe. If you're pinched for time, buy frozen and pop them in the oven.

For a do-it-yourself taco bar, see the entire shopping list and all the recipes needed to make that night special. A simple concept that's guaranteed to be a success because, well, we're talking tacos, people!

Hosting a get-together is stressful enough. We get it.

Taco bars are quick and easy and don't require a whole lot of planning. With a little organization and a few details, we'll show you how to throw a fabulous Mexican Fiesta that won't break the bank.

And the best part is that it doesn't require hours of labor in the kitchen.

Can I Make Taco Fillings Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! Throw an excellent taco bar party bash for your family’s next celebration by creating a quick-and-easy menu that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

With a little prep, you can make most fillings ahead of time. Taco proteins can be done days and even weeks ahead of schedule. Cooked ground beef, pork and shredded chicken freeze beautifully!

Classic sides include Mexican rice, refried beans, chips and salsa, as well as guacamole.

Tips for the Best Taco Party

As mentioned, this event doesn't need to be costly. First things first, your goal is for everyone to have a good time, build their own tacos, walking tacos, burritos salad or bowl.

In advance

  • Send out invitations at least 4 weeks in advance and request RSVP.
  • How many guests will there be?
  • Consider turning it into a potluck affair and have guests sign-up for what they would like to bring. (See sign-up sheet).
  • Plan the menu and keep it simple, beginning with main fillings, then toppings, side dishes, desserts and drinks.
  • Make a detailed grocery and party decorations list. Don't forget the condiments and disposables!
  • Purchase plastic squeeze bottles for sour cream and taco sauces.
  • Consider purchasing flavored sour cream, or flavor it yourself with taco seasoning and/or hot sauce.
  • Make sure all dietary considerations and that there's something for everyone. Labelling everything comes in handy.
  • Borrow slow cookers and crock pots if you don't have any or enough. Asking guests to bring them is perfectly fine.
  • Average about 3-4 tacos per guest. Suggest two, maybe three meat fillings and plan on a half pound of meat per person. Take a rough poll to find out which meat is most in demand and plan accordingly.
  • Triple or quadruple the ingredients to ensure there's more than enough for everyone and to keep the party going.
  • Meat can be cooked the day of in crock pots and slow cookers or ahead of time and frozen in airtight containers or in labeled resealable bags. Make sure you drain the grease from the cooked meat before adding water and seasoning it.
  • Depending how much meat you're making, add a ⅓ cup of salsa for approximately every pound for a wonderful change.

Almost everything can be done the day before.

  • Set up taco bar buffet-style on a dining, kitchen table or kitchen island.
  • Think about the order in which your guests will need to line up to access ingredients to avoid food traffic jams.
  • Place signs by the empty bowls, so you know where everything is going to go. If serving outside, use food covers.
  • To visibly see ingredients and toppings, use cake stands, empty boxes or resealable containers covered in colorful cloths or wrapping paper.
  • A bright, colorful banner or flags can make a splash and add color to your taco bar celebration.
  • Piñatas are conversation starters, lots of fun and super festive.
  • Consider colored reusable spoons and forks.
  • Use individual bowls or a serving tray with dividers
  • Brightly-colored disposable plates, bowls and cutlery.
  • Clear plastic cups with some colored or decorated masking tape around the top, or middle or wherever you would like to put them; this helps everyone identify their own cup.
  • Add colorful tablecloths and napkins.
  • Paper towels and baby wipes should be on hand to clean faces and hands.
  • Lay out colorful ceramic bowls and serving dishes to add to the ambiance.
  • Theme-colored flowers at the tables
  • Play themed background music
  • Lots of garbage cans and garbage bags.
  • Use coolers filled with ice to help keep foods cool, especially the dairy, sour cream, cheeses, tomatoes and other toppings.
  • Have a box of large resealable bags around just in case.

The day of

  • Wash and chop toppings; separate in plastic-covered bowls and store in fridge for maximum freshness.
  • Guacamole is best served fresh, but consider purchasing store-bought as needed.
  • Freshly shredded cheese is always best and cheaper that pre-shredded. You can freeze if there's any left over.
  • Put out snacks, appetizers and drinks as guests arrive
  • Serve everything mild so people can add their own spices to their liking.
  • Use as many crock pots and slow cookers you can to keep meat mixtures warm on day of the event.
  • Place meat in slow cooker with ¼ cup of water and periodically check to see if more water is needed.
  • Label taco toppings to make it easy for party goers to identify. This will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters and those that are on special diets.
  • Heat store-bought corn or flour tortillas, bowls or shells, according to specific package directions, just to be safe.
  • Consider purchasing a tortilla warmer or this one. Both are terrific .but if you can place a damp towel in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the tortillas on top in foil to keep warm.
  • Keep tortillas warm by wrapping in foil inside the oven on low heat, and when ready to serve, place in slow cooker still in foil on the low setting.
  • Have a variety of drinks available including water, coffee and creamers, sugar and sweetener packets.
  • Use cups, bags or bought chips (semi-broken) so guests can add toppings of their choice and create their own personal walking tacos. All they need do is grab a fork and mingle.
  • To keep things cool, use a large foil tray with ice and place another foil tray on top. A brilliant idea, and one I wish I'd thought of myself.


  • Instead of keeping leftovers, ask guests to bring plastic containers, so everyone can take some goodies home with them. Everyone leaves with a little something and it's a great way of cleaning up!
  • Leftovers can also be used the next day. Make walking tacos with something different or freeze leftovers in realistic portions to be used when desired.

How to Host a Taco Bar

Keeping the taco bar well-stocked with a wide variety of toppings keeps the party flowing. And because people help themselves, it allows the host to relax and mingle with guests a little more. Bonus!

We hope these tips have inspired you to set up a taco bar of your own. Get-togethers, Taco Tuesday family dinner or Cinco de Mayo never looked so good!

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How to Make Hard Shell Tacos

Taco celebrations, whether it be with family or with a large gathering, just wouldn't be the same without crunchy homemade hard taco shells.

Making hard taco shells, bowls for taco salad and chips in the comfort of your own home is a truly a breeze.

Homemade hard shell tacos have less calories, saturated fat and added chemicals you can do without.

All you need is cooking spray (or a vegetable oil), corn tortillas and you're good to go! Unfortunately I haven't had much success with flour tortillas. But you may have better luck than me. Let me know how you make out.

How to Make Hard Shell Tacos in the Oven

Place oven rack in the middle position and remove the other rack or put it at the lowest level in the oven. Personally, I remove mine, so it's out of the way.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

At your workstation, make a pile of as many taco shells as needed and put 3 or 4 corn tortillas in the microwave to soften for 10 to 15 seconds.

Once soft and warm, cover the tortillas in cooking spray. A cutting board or rimmed baking sheet is great to control all of the spraying going on!

Open oven door, pull out oven rack and carefully lay each tortilla over top of two of the bars. This will give your hard taco shell a wide base.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes (in my oven, about 8 minutes) until tortillas are beautiful and golden brown.

Gently remove them and place on a cutting board, basket or platter until needed.

Repeat until all of your taco shells are baked and done.

How to Make Hard Taco BOWLS in the Oven

Same procedure as above, but instead of the oven rack, use a large muffin pan.

For small corn tortillas, using a 6 hole muffin pan makes the cutest-sized bowls perfect for a crowd.

Turn or flip the muffin pan over and gently press each tortilla into each muffin hole. Use pie weights to make bottom of bowls flat when flipping them over.

Pie weights aren't affected by oven temperatures, and having a flat bowl is important. This is the way I do it. If you don't have pie weights, look around the kitchen to see if there's something else that will work.

Once the corn tortillas are baked and hardened, flip them over and imagine what kinds of goodies you're going to fill them with!

With large corn tortillas and bigger bowls, I've use individual mini bundt pans; flipped them over and ended up with HUGE bowls that are ideal for taco salads.

Remember to weigh down the top, which will be the bottom of the bowl, so the bowl sits flat. Again, use pie weights to do it.

Recently, I used tortilla salad bowl makers that are made for the oven and found they work even better.

No matter what you use, bake for 13 to 16 minutes until golden brown and hard enough to hold their shape.

Repeat until all the corn tortilla bowls you desire are made.

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How to Make Taco CHIPS in the Oven

Making taco chips is something I LOVE to do, because I can season them any way I want. Just like my wonton crisps, soup and salad wonton crisps, preparing these chips couldn't get any easier.

I prefer to make corn chips with oil, but they can easily be made with cooking spray too. Make sure the pan is well-coated with cooking spray as well as both sides of the corn tortillas slices. Then bake as directed.

When using oil:

  • 2 - 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt or seasoned salt


  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • taco seasoning
  • cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pull out and measure all of your ingredients.

Stack corn tortillas and cut into whatever shape you desire. I cut them in half and stack them on top of each other. Then cut them in half again and again, until they're the size you want.

Coat a foil-lined (or parchment paper) baking sheet with oil and place sliced corn tortillas on the sheet in a single layer, making sure they don't touch.

Brush them with olive or vegetable oil.

Sprinkle with salt and any other spices you wish.

Bake 8 to 11 minutes or until crispy and golden; especially around the edges.

Flip wrappers and sprinkle with more spices. NO salt.

Lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray and bake for 2 minutes more.

Remove from oven and season immediately with salt or seasoned salt.

Using tongs, place on a wire rack to cool, as chips will keep cooking if left on baking sheet.

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Taco Seasoning Mixture

One package taco seasoning, or make your own

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (if desired)

In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Or open a package of taco seasoning and you have the perfect amount.

Making Taco Ground Beef or Ground Beef/Pork Blend for 25 people

  • 10 pounds of ground beef
  • 5 medium onions, chopped
  • 3-5 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • ¼ cup onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper or some cayenne if desired
  • 4-5 cups of water

Combine seasonings in a bowl.

In large pot, brown beef or beef/pork mixture (in batches if necessary).

Drain off fat, add onions and cook until soft.

Then add garlic and cook for a minute or you can smell the garlic.

Add seasonings to ground meat and blend.

Stir water into mixture and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Taste as you go and add more of whatever you desire.

Setting up a Taco Bar for a Large Gathering

The task can seem a bit daunting, but the key is to know the amount of people you're expecting. Break it down into food categories and start listing what you're going to have.

  • 3-4 appetizers (refer to options above)
  • 3-4 main dishes (reference above)
  • 4 side dishes (many choice to choose from above)
  • Tons of soft and hard shell tortillas
  • Baskets or bags of different colored tortilla chips, Doritos, corn chips, etc.
  • A host of different toppings, dips and condiments
  • Drinks - alcohol and non-alcohol beverages including water, juices, tea, coffee and pop

Make the most of slow cookers, crock pots, electric skillets and chafing dishes for meats and main dishes. Prepare what you can in advance.

Milder sauces are more popular than hotter sauces. Consider using only mild or medium heat sauces, but also offering hot sauce for those guests that like the heat.

Rough Guidelines for Feeding People

If you’re thinking of using a buffet style taco bar for your next celebration you'll need to know how much food to buy and prepare. I'm giving you a rough estimate to make your decisions right here.

Just know that it is impossible to be exact when figuring out how much food to serve. You can't predict individual appetites' or personal tastes. This is not an exact science.

You must consider how many main courses you are serving and how many sides are also included.

At the end of the day I don't ever get it exactly right and I have planned many of these so don't be upset if you run out of something or have too much of another. Ultimately, people are there to celebrate and will forgive oversights.

Luckily, most ingredients are served without heat so serving is so easy. Guests help themselves so they can each create their own perfect taco.

You have so many choices for toppings you can easily work within any budget. Everything from cheap and cheerful to gourmet works!

To calculate how much food you'll need think about it like this. The average adult will eat two jam packed tacos each, maybe 3, with an average individual serving of protein being around 4 oz. Usually an average taco holds 3 oz of meat with other toppings inside each taco as well.

Generally speaking, a pound of ground beef reduces to about ¾ of a pound when cooked and drained.

I never worry that I serve too many extras because frankly most of the ingredients required or desired at a taco bar can be used to make sooooooo many other meals.

Leftovers are never a problem. Also, there are always a few people that help clean up that are always willing to take leftovers home. As long as food items are stored properly throughout the event there should be no safety issue.

Even tossing extra shredded cheese with some cornstarch before storing inside your fridge or freezer for use at a later date solves the having extra cheese left problem.

Storing extra ground meat inside portion controlled freezer bags makes for easy storage.

No matter what I do the shredded cheese, onions and tomatoes are super popular and generally run out first. No matter how much I make or have around.

For 25 people?

  • 10 pounds of ground beef
  • 25 taco shells
  • 15 cups cheese, shredded
  • lettuce, shredded
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • 32 oz salsa
  • 16 oz taco sauce
  • 32 oz sour cream

For 50 people?

  • 15 pounds of ground beef
  • 50 taco shells
  • 25 cups cheese, shredded
  • 5 large bags lettuce, shredded
  • 6 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 64 oz salsa
  • 32 oz taco sauce
  • 64 oz sour cream

For 100 people?

  • 25 pounds of ground beef
  • 100 taco shells, soft and crunchy
  • 40 cups cheese, shredded
  • 6 large bags lettuce, shredded
  • 10 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 138 oz salsa
  • 64 oz taco sauce
  • 128 oz sour cream

Other Meat Options

  • Sirloin or ribeye steak
  • Ground chicken or turkey
  • Pulled pork
  • Bacon
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Chorizo sausages
  • Italian sausages
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • White fish


Speaking of pork, Carnitas is a Mexican pork dish that's seasoned and simmered for hours. Recipe is linked below. It can be made from inexpensive cuts of pork like the butt or shoulder. Very much like pulled pork only it's roasted after it's shredded to crisp it up. Making it the slow cooker means it doesn't have to be tended to leaving you to carry on making other things for your fiesta.

All the Fixings

  • 2 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese (at least 8 cups)
  • 4 pounds of shredded iceberg lettuce (approximately 12 cups)
  • 3 pounds of diced tomatoes (6 large, 9 medium or 12 small)
  • 3-4 large red or white onions, diced finely or thinly-sliced rounds
  • 4 pounds of canned kidney beans or black beans, drained (approximately 6 cans)
  • 1-½ pounds of black or green pitted olives, chopped and drained (approximately 3 jars or cans)
  • 1 gallon of salsa (about 7-8, 16 oz. jars)
  • 32 ounces of sour cream or crème fraiche


  • 100-150 tortilla shells which are equal to 2-3 tacos per person. Suggest 50-75 hard and 50-75 soft)
  • 6-8 large bags of tortilla chips, or
  • For walking tacos, 100 individual bags of tortilla chips, Doritos and/or Fritos

Cheese Options

  • Cheddar cheese is the standard, of course! But don't discount:
  • Mozzarella (or a blend of cheddar cheese)
  • Monterey Jack
  • Ricotta
  • Feta
  • Blue cheese
  • White American
  • Parmesan

If you really want Mexican cheese, consider:

  • Asadero - mild and and creamy
  • Corina - strong and salty
  • Oaxaca - stringy and yummy

Salsa Options

Milder sauces are more popular than hotter sauces. Consider using only mild or medium heat sauces, but also offering hot sauce for those guests that like the heat.

  • Salsa verde - is a Mexican, tomato-based sauce, usually made with chopped coriander, onion and hot peppers. The Italian version is made with garlic, capers, anchovies, lemon, parsley and olive oil.
  • Picko de gallo - is more chunkier than salsa verde as it's made from uncooked tomatoes, chiles, onions, lime juice, cilantro and salt.
  • Green salsa is made from a variety of green tomatoes and is tartier in flavor.
  • Fruit salsas - mango, peach and pineapple are three examples.
  • Vegetable salsas - one example is made with vinegar, olive oil, cumin, finely chopped garlic, zucchini, onions, green, red and jalapeno bell peppers.
  • Roasted tomato - you can either buy roasted tomatoes in a can and add all the spices to make regular salsa or roast them yourself on a baking sheet, drizzled with oil, broiled for 4 minutes.

Veggie Choices

  • Coleslaw
  • Corn on the cob
  • Salads - Caesar, mixed green, spinach, arugula, green bean, three bean, pasta, chick pea
  • Carrots and celery slices
  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage, shredded
  • Green and red bell pepper slices
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini, roasted
  • Pickles - sweet, bread and butter, dill
  • Onions, pickled

Hot Sauces

Milder sauces are more popular than hotter sauces. Consider using only mild or medium heat sauces, but also offering hot sauce for those guests that like the heat.

As my son says, "bring it on"! He's a fan of all kind of hot sauces. They range from mild, smoky, hot to pants on fire hot! Some samples are:

  • Frank's Red Hot
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Chipotle
  • Chile
  • Habanero
  • Sriracha
  • Tabasco

If you want authentic, Mexican hot sauces, here's a few:

  • Cholula
  • Valentina
  • Salsa Bufalo
  • El Yucateco

We've never tried them. If you do, we'd like to hear about it.

Other Sauces

Remoulade sauce New Orleans style


Guacamole is avocado-based and we think it's wonderful, But it can be made in different ways. There are several listed online:

  • Cheesy
  • Bacon and sun-dried tomato
  • Corn
  • Jalapeno
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Chipotle
  • Frozen Peas

Cilantro sauce

Mayo and roasted garlic

Shrimp Taco Sauce

Taco Bell Taco Sauce Copykat

Condiments and Toppings

Serve condiments in plastic squeeze bottles if possible. Serving things like sour cream, taco sauce and even salsa becomes so much easier.

If pickled red onions aren't on the condiments list, you might want to add it. It complements carnitas like no other. For convenience sake, buy store-bought or if your so inspired, make your own.

Besides salsa, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, jalapenos, cheese and onion, you might want to consider other condiments depending on what you're serving.

Have a look at our favorite Dips post with all of our favorites including some listed below. I urge you to have a look they're all so good if I don't say so myself.

  • Caesar dressing
  • Ranch
  • French
  • Thousand Island
  • Blue Cheese
  • Italian dressing

And you can't forget the good old standbys - mustard and ketchup.


It's worth mentioning again that parsley and cilantro are the garnishes of choice. Don't forget those lemons and limes!

Herbs and Spices

Taco seasoning and how to make it was mentioned earlier. Here is a full and separate list of herbs and spices for your Taco bar:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cumin
  • Paprika (smoked)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Cinnamon


Besides chimichanga and churro recipes (see links above), here are some other suggestions that will round out the Taco party nicely:

  • Fresh fruit and cream cheese dip
  • Easy Cheesecake Chimichangas
  • Chocolate tortillas
  • Easy Fried Ice Cream Cake
  • Easy Homemade Churros
  • Corn Cake
  • Fried Ice Cream
  • Mexican Wedding cookies
  • Lime Tarts
  • Taco Cookies
  • Banana Split Taco
  • Tres Leches Cake

Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (9)

Ground Beef Hard Shell Tacos

Again, for the homemade taco seasoning, I combine chili powder, ground cumin, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and dried oregano.

Although you can make your own, store-bought hard taco shells are convenient and saves you time. Nowadays, there are lots of options and brands out there that aren’t made with a lot of bad ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list, the better!

Best Hard Shell Taco Recipe

  • olive oil
  • white onion
  • jalapeño, if desired
  • garlic cloves
  • ground beef
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • cumin powder
  • salt
  • oregano

Corn or Flour Tortillas

  • taco shells


  • avocado
  • tomato
  • cheese
  • lettuce
  • green or red salsa
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • limes for serving


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the diced onions. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add jalapeño and garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes or until garlic becomes fragrant.
  3. Push veggies to the sides. Cook the ground beef in the center and sprinkle in onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, salt and oregano.
  4. Stir and cook the beef through, then drain excess liquid and set aside.
  5. Lay out all the fillings and assemble the tacos by adding the ground beef, guacamole, tomato, cheese, lettuce, salsa and cilantro.
  6. Serve immediately with lime wedges.


This beef mixture can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Taco Bar Ingredients

  • Taco Meat, ground beef or ground pork or a blend
  • quick air fried taco shredded chicken
  • Grab a rotisserie chicken and shred it to cut down on prep and cooking time
  • Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Tacos
  • Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Tacos
  • Pulled Pork
  • Sweet Sriracha Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Tacos)
  • Charro Beans
  • Barbacoa, beef, lamb or goat
  • Mexican Rice, white rice or brown rice
  • Purple or Green Cabbage
  • Radishes
  • Hard and soft shell flour or corn tortillas
  • tortilla bowls
  • tortilla or corn chips, store bought or homemade, provide bags for walking tacos
  • Fritos, Cheetos and/or Doritos bags
  • Shredded or thinly-sliced iceberg lettuce for tacos or salads
  • Sliced or chopped tomato
  • Sliced or chopped white or red/purple onion
  • Pickled onions
  • Cilantro, fresh chopped
  • Cilantro chimichurri
  • The Ultimate Guacamole
  • Easy Mexican Homemade Tomato Salsa
  • Green Salsa
  • Taco sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • Canned pineapple chunks for pork
  • Corn
  • Spicy pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • Sweet peppers, chopped
  • Black beans, pinto beans
  • Refried beans
  • Sour Cream or Mexican Crema or Greek Yogurt
  • Cheese - Mexican blend, cheddar, Jack cheeses, Colby cheese, cotija, asadero, oaxaca, chihuahua cheeses
  • Nacho cheese, canned or package
  • Jalapenos, milder pickled or fresh sliced or Poblano Chiles
  • Olives, pitted, sliced
  • Avocado
  • Hot sauces

Now. After all this talk about taco parties, aren't you ready to get this party started? Again, have your say by leaving your comments. We love hearing from you!

Best Hard Shell Taco - Video

Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (10)

Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (11)

Hard Shell Taco Recipe

Taco bar menu has the best hard shell taco recipe and a COMPLETE checklist with free ebook full of ingredients and ideas for home, a taco party or wedding.

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins

Total Time 40 minutes mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine Mexican

Servings 12 tacos

Calories 181 kcal


  • olive oil for cooking
  • ½ medium white onion diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground oregano dried
  • 10-12 taco shells


  • 1 avocado mashed with salt and lime juice
  • 1 tomato diced
  • ½ cup Colby jack cheese or cheese of your choice freshly shredded is best
  • 1 cup lettuce shredded
  • ½ cup green or red salsa
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro garnish, if desired
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving


  • Get out and measure your ingredients.

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (12)

  • Heat the oil over medium heat and add diced onions. Cook until they become translucent. Add the jalapeño and garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (13)

  • Push the veggies to the sides and cook the ground beef in the center and sprinkle in the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, salt and oregano.

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (14)

  • Stir and cook the beef until browned, then drain off the excess liquid and set aside.

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (15)

  • Lay out all of the fillings and assemble the tacos by adding the ground beef, guacamole, tomato, cheese, lettuce, salsa and cilantro.

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (16)

  • Serve immediately with lime wedges.

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (17)

  • Enjoy every bite!

    Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (18)


Storage options: The beef mixture can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge.


Calories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 8gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 161mgPotassium: 273mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 254IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg

Keyword hard shell taco, hard shell taco recipe, taco bar, taco bar ideas, taco bar menu

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Taco Bar Menu - For Home, Party, Wedding and More (2024)


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