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Planning a Taco Bar Party: A Fun and Economical Way to Delight Your Guests

Planning a taco bar for graduation parties, showers, or neighborhood get-togethers? Look no further! In this article, we'll guide you through the process of planning a taco bar party that will leave your guests satisfied...

Planning a taco bar for graduation parties, showers, or neighborhood get-togethers? Look no further! In this article, we'll guide you through the process of planning a taco bar party that will leave your guests satisfied and impressed. From the star of the show – the meat – to the delicious toppings and side dishes, we've got you covered. So grab a cool drink and let's dive in!

The Star of Your Taco Party Checklist: The Meat!


Let's start with the batch taco meat. While ground beef seasoned with low sodium taco seasoning is a popular choice, you can also consider pulled pork, pork carnitas, or barbacoa made with a beef roast. Aim for about 15 pounds of meat per 100 people, but adjust accordingly depending on your guests' appetite and the number of side dishes you're serving.

Don't forget to have your meat cooked and ready to go in a crockpot or slow cooker. This ensures that it stays warm and delicious throughout your party.

Taco Shells: Crunchy or Soft, the Choice is Yours!

When it comes to taco shells, the options are endless. You can choose hard corn shells, soft shells (corn or flour), nacho-style chips for sheet pan nachos, or even tostadas. Plan on having 2-3 tacos per guest, and don't be afraid to adjust the quantity based on the age group you're serving. Hungry teens might appreciate an extra taco or two!

taco bar checklist

What Are Some Good Toppings to Put on Tacos?


Of course, no taco is complete without cheese! Whether you prefer Mexican blend, cheddar, or another variety, make sure to have plenty on hand. You can shred your own cheese using a food processor or opt for pre-shredded cheese. Aim for about ten pounds of cheese for your party, and if you have any leftovers, you can always freeze them for later.


Salsa adds that perfect burst of flavor to tacos. Consider having a variety of spice levels and types such as restaurant-style salsa, corn salsa, green salsa, mango salsa, or simple pico de gallo. Label the different types of salsa so that your guests know what they're getting.


If you're a guacamole lover like me, making your own is a delicious option for small gatherings. However, for larger parties, it's best to purchase several containers of guacamole and open them as you need them. Remember, you want to enjoy your party too!

Tortilla Chips

Don't forget to buy a big bowl of tortilla chips – an essential accompaniment to your taco bar. It's a simple yet crowd-pleasing addition, providing a crunchy texture and a vehicle for scooping up all the tasty toppings.

Sour Cream

Sour cream is a must-have for any taco party. The more, the merrier! Make sure you have enough to satisfy everyone's creaminess cravings.


Shredded lettuce is a versatile topping that allows guests to customize their taco bar experience. They can create a taco salad or add it to their tacos. Alternatively, you can make a Mexican Chopped Salad for a refreshing twist.

Diced Onions

The inclusion of diced onions is a personal choice. Some love them, while others might not be as fond. Consider your crowd's preferences, and don't forget to have some Tums on hand, just in case!

Other Taco Bar Ingredients

Consider adding black olives, fresh cilantro, and jalapeno peppers to your toppings bar. And if you're looking to offer a soup addition, why not try Chicken Tortilla Soup or slow cooker Ranch Chicken Chili? The possibilities are endless!


Taco Bar Side Dish Recipes: Perfect Complements to Your Tacos

No taco bar is complete without some delicious side dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Instant Pot Mexican Black Beans
  • Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
  • Mexican Style Rice
  • Mexican Fruit Salad
  • Plain Rice or Slow Cooker Brown Rice
  • Vegetarian Refried Beans
  • Cowboy Caviar
  • Hot Taco Dip
  • Bacon Quesadillas
  • 7 Layer Taco Dip
  • Nacho Cheese Dip (yes, the kind that comes in a can – it's always a hit)
  • Individual bags of Fritos for "walking tacos" or make walking taco casserole
  • Mexican Chopped Salad

Feel free to mix and match these side dishes based on your preferences and the tastes of your guests.

Dessert Ideas for Your Taco Bar

Want to end your taco bar party on a sweet note? Consider these dessert options:

  • Churros
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Regular Cake

These treats will satisfy any sweet tooth and provide a delightful conclusion to your taco extravaganza.

Taco Bar Checklist Printable: Stay Organized and Prepared

Don't forget to grab our printable taco bar checklist! This handy tool will help you stay organized and ensure that you don't miss any essentials while planning your taco bar party.

taco bar checklist

Keep it Casual, Keep it Fun!

The beauty of tacos lies in their simplicity and versatility. You can assemble and prepare everything ahead of time, allowing you to enjoy the party just as much as your guests. Remember, whether you're hosting a graduation party or a casual weekend gathering, the key is to keep it casual and fun.

And if, by chance, you end up with leftovers, don't worry! You can always repurpose the ingredients into a delicious taco salad with Catalina dressing or try out some recipes to make with leftover taco meat.

Other Taco Bar Recipes You'll Love

Looking for more taco-related inspiration? Here are some mouthwatering recipes:

  • Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • Hot Taco Dip with Ground Beef
  • Baja Burgers
  • Chili Lime Pork Medallions
  • Green Chili Pork Burritos
  • Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

These recipes will take your taco bar experience to the next level and leave your guests begging for seconds.

Be an amiga and share this article with the world! Let everyone know about the joy of planning a taco bar party and the endless possibilities it offers. Cheers to a memorable and delicious feast!