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How to Set Up a Taco Bar

Want to throw a party for friends without a lot of fuss? This DIY taco bar setup by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest is just the menu to try, whether you're celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just a Friday night.

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One of my favorite holidays to celebrate is Cinco de Mayo, especially when it means I can spend the day making delicious tacos, guacamole, and salsa!

Three fully made tacos sitting on top of wood board on top of orange blanket

Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday this year, and that means it’s time to really step things up with a fun taco party! Yes, please! I could not be more excited about the spread I am sharing with you guys today. Are you ready for an epic taco bar rundown?

I wanted to create a taco bar truly worthy of a Cinco de Mayo fiesta. That meant three different tacos, guacamole, salsa, and all the proper toppings…and yes, margaritas too!

Close-up of meat in green skillet on top of orange blanket

First up is the chipotle chicken taco. Oh how I love these tacos! They’re spicy, saucy and perfect when balanced with a fruit salsa, cheddar cheese and sliced avocado to tame the heat!

Second, the enchilada beef taco! This is a beef lovers taco, think enchilada, but in taco form. I love these tacos paired with my pineapple guacamole.

Last up is the veggie lover’s taco - the roasted cauliflower taco… my personal favorite! These are so good and a great vegetarian option for taco lovers. Be sure to include some black beans for a little protein and heartiness.

Close-up of cauliflower and purple cabbage


Party Tip: If you plan on hosting a Cinco de Mayo Taco Bar Party you can prepare each taco recipe in advance and warm just before serving.


Ok, to follow up our three taco bases, it’s time to talk toppings. Toppings are the key to a great taco bar, and you really cannot have too many. The fun thing about a taco bar is creating your own signature taco, built with the foods you love most.

Squeezing a lime on top of fully prepared taco on wood board

Here are MY must have toppings:

Guacamole - This is an obvious one, but so important. I’ve included my favorite pineapple guacamole with this post, but feel free to keep it simple, or go all out and include a few different guacamoles in your bar.

Salsa - I always have at least three salsas. Classic tomato, salsa verde and a fruit salsa like the mango salsa I’ve included here.

Cheese - I find it best to have a variety of cheese on hand. My favorites are sharp cheddar, pepper jack, and crumbled cajita.

Fresh additions - Shredded cabbage (purple or green), cilantro, lettuce, pickled red onions, jalapenos, tomatoes and plenty of limes.

Sauces - Assorted hot sauces and Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Sides - Beans, rice, tortilla chips, and roasted corn.

Overhead view of taco bar spread with tacos, guacamole, margarita, and chips and dip

Aside from all the yummy food, a taco bar must have plenty of fun Mexican flare. I love throwing a fun patterned throw over the table for a pop of bright color, and then using a mix of colorful dishes and wooden serving pieces to really give off that celebratory vibe.

Stack of grey plates with pineapple and flowers in background and chips and dip to the right

For a fresh take on a flower arrangement, I like to make a vase out of a fresh pineapple by removing the top and scooping out the flesh. Just add water and flowers and you’ll have the perfect vase!

Chef's Tip: Be sure to use that fresh pineapple in your guacamole or salsa!

Scooping meat to put in tortilla to make taco

To display my menu, I like to use a chalkboard to jot down all the tacos and toppings. It’s super fun and a great way to write out the menu for everyone to see.

Glass with margarita and limes in front of chips and salsa with stack of plates to the left and 3-part server with condiments in front

Lastly, margaritas, regular or nonalcoholic, they’re the perfect festive addition to this fiesta! Be sure to check out these mango and passion fruit margaritas!

Print Recipe
Chipotle Chicken Tacos
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Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 2 in chipotle chilesadobo chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
For serving:
  • Flour or corn tortillas warmed
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese shredded
  • Cotija cheese crumbled
  • Cabbage and/or lettuce shredded
  • fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • jalapeños
  • Pickled red onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Assorted salsa and guacamole
  • Black beans and/or pinto beans
Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 2 in chipotle chilesadobo chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
For serving:
  • Flour or corn tortillas warmed
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese shredded
  • Cotija cheese crumbled
  • Cabbage and/or lettuce shredded
  • fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • jalapeños
  • Pickled red onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Assorted salsa and guacamole
  • Black beans and/or pinto beans
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Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when the oil shimmers, add the chicken, onion, garlic, chipotle chilies, cumin, paprika, and a large pinch of both salt and pepper. Coat evenly, spreading in an even layer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned all over, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

Print Recipe
Spicy Enchilada Style Beef Tacos
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Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 jalapeño seeded + chopped
For serving:
  • Flour or corn tortillas warmed
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese shredded
  • Cotija cheese crumbled
  • Cabbage and/or lettuce shredded
  • fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • jalapeños
  • Pickled red onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Assorted salsa and guacamole
  • Black beans and/or pinto beans
Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 jalapeño seeded + chopped
For serving:
  • Flour or corn tortillas warmed
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese shredded
  • Cotija cheese crumbled
  • Cabbage and/or lettuce shredded
  • fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • jalapeños
  • Pickled red onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Assorted salsa and guacamole
  • Black beans and/or pinto beans
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Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the beef and cook until browned all over, breaking up the beef as it cooks. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the enchilada sauce. Add the jalapeño and cook until the sauce has reduced slightly and coats the beef, about 5-10 minutes.

Print Recipe
Roasted Cauliflower Tacos
Votes: 2
Rating: 4.5
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Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper
For serving:
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese
  • Cotija cheese
  • Cabbage and/or lettuce
  • fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • jalapeños
  • Pickled red onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Assorted salsa and guacamole
  • Black beans and/or pinto beans
Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper
For serving:
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese
  • Cotija cheese
  • Cabbage and/or lettuce
  • fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • jalapeños
  • Pickled red onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Assorted salsa and guacamole
  • Black beans and/or pinto beans
Votes: 2
Rating: 4.5
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss together the cauliflower, oil, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking.

Print Recipe
Pineapple Guacamole
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Servings
1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 large ripe Hass avocados halved seeded and peeled (they have to be ripe!)
  • 1 large lime juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 large jalapeño seeded + chopped leave some of the seeds in for a little heat
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
Servings
1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 large ripe Hass avocados halved seeded and peeled (they have to be ripe!)
  • 1 large lime juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 large jalapeño seeded + chopped leave some of the seeds in for a little heat
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
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Instructions
  1. Add the avocado halves to a medium size mixing bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocados and toss well to coat. Add the cumin. Now grab a fork and lightly mash the avocados. I like to keep my guacamole on the chunky side. Next fold in the chopped jalapeño, pineapple, cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

Print Recipe
Chipotle Mango Salsa
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Servings
1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe mango dice
  • 1 ripe but firm avocado diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1-2 in chipotle chilesadobo chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • salt to taste
Servings
1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe mango dice
  • 1 ripe but firm avocado diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1-2 in chipotle chilesadobo chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • salt to taste
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust spiciness and salt as needed. Serve with tacos.

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