19 Best Taco Recipes

No matter what day of the week and no matter the occasion, tacos are always a good idea. There are fewer foods more universally-loved or versatile than tacos, though perhaps it's their unique adaptability that accounts for their endless acclaim. After all, what other food could you swap the protein, toppings, and even the base of while still retaining at least some semblance of the original dish? Very few, we'd venture to argue, which is why tacos stand supreme.

Those who enjoy a classic taco might opt for a corn tortilla, ground beef, diced onion, and a sprinkle of cilantro; meanwhile, those who enjoy shaking things up might deck out a fried fish taco with coleslaw and a drizzle of hot sauce. With so many types out there, it can be hard to land on a worthy recipe or figure out how to switch things up. 

Fortunately, these 19 recipes will steer you in the right direction, whether you're looking for classic beef tacos, vegetarian toppings, or even a breakfast option. So, grab your tortillas, and let's get to loading them up.

Smoked chicken tacos

In a world where beef (typically) reigns supreme as the choice protein for tacos, it's nice to see chicken get a chance to shine. Ideal for those who enjoy grilling or smoking meats, these smoked chicken tacos feature slow-and-low-cooked chicken breast along with an assortment of bright toppings including an avocado crema, sliced orange bell pepper, and diced red onion. 

The smoked chicken tacos recipe may not be best for those who are pressed for time (the chicken takes over two hours to cook), but the smoky flavors are well worth the wait if you do have a Saturday afternoon to give it a try. Bust out the Traeger or other type of smoker and prove that a backyard BBQ doesn't have to revolve around burgers and hot dogs.

Recipe: Smoked Chicken Tacos

Easy ground beef street tacos

Taco purists know that sometimes the simplest tacos are the absolute best, and that may very well be the case with these ground beef street tacos. It doesn't get much more classic than these tacos: Featuring spiced and seasoned ground beef, diced white onion, fresh chopped cilantro, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese all atop corn tortillas, this recipe showcases simplicity at its best. If you've ever enjoyed tacos at a taqueria and have wanted to replicate them, then these street tacos will give you the most authentic results, utilizing ingredients that you can easily source at nearly any grocery store.

Recipe: Easy Ground Beef Street Tacos

Tri-tip steak tacos

There are fewer delicacies more enjoyable in this world than a steak taco, and this tri-tip steak taco is certainly no exception. While steak might fire up images of grilling, this recipe actually calls for roasting the tri-tip, particularly ideal for those apartment dwellers, grill-less folks, or those who simply prefer to keep their cooking activities limited to the kitchen.

When the tri-tip roasts, you'll be able to focus on whipping up a sweet — yes, sweet — guacamole, thanks to the clever addition of crushed pineapple. It may be debatable whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza, but we can guarantee that it absolutely belongs in a steak taco. 

Recipe: Tri-Tip Steak Tacos

Walking tacos

Who says that tacos have to come in a tortilla? If a traditional taco isn't handheld enough for you, then there's no doubt that this walking taco recipe will do the trick. Picture all of the classic goodies that one might find in a typical taco (meat, cheese, lettuce), all packed up in a Doritos bag and ready for a night on the town.

While walking tacos don't have a reputation for being the most refined dish out there, this recipe does feature some elevated elements. From the freshly made pico de gallo to the crema, which features sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, and fresh lime juice, there's quite a bit to love about this take on the classic walking taco.

Recipe: Walking Taco

Beer-battered fish tacos

There is a place for fish tacos in this world, and that place is the very next slot on your dinner menu. These beer-battered fish tacos star the ever-versatile cod, a flaky white fish that is especially delicious when fried. And, how convenient, because you'll be whipping up a quick and easy beer batter and frying the fish to crispy perfection in this recipe.

Of course, a tortilla with some fried fish slapped on top isn't all too exciting on its own. You'll dress these deep-fried bad boys up with a chipotle crema, some shredded cabbage, cilantro, and cotija cheese — plenty of brightness and freshness to contrast the fried nature of the fish.

Recipe: Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Smoked pork tacos

Fans of al pastor are sure to enjoy these smoked pork tacos, which feature slowly smoked pork tenderloin and the fruity addition of fresh pineapple. While it's not exactly al pastor, this recipe still captures a similar flavor profile, ideal for the home cook who might not have access to a spit but does indeed have access to a smoker.

Aside from the pork and pineapple, these tacos also feature avocado, red onion, and sliced radish. The garnishes are simple here, giving the smoked pork tenderloin a chance to shine without being overpowered by a giant heap of salsa or crema.

Recipe: Smoked Pork Tacos

Creamy taco soup

If you want to get as abstract as possible with the definition of a taco, then this creamy taco soup recipe will certainly suffice. Without a doubt the least on-the-go taco variation on this list, this soup is ideal for those who enjoy tacos with an extra serving of coziness. 

Gluten-free and low-carb folks can rejoice at this recipe, which packs in all of the savory goodness of a classic taco, minus the tortillas. Between the ground beef, black beans, corn, and tomato sauce base, this soup is simply brimming with taco-y goodness. And, for those who absolutely need a tortilla to go with their taco, fear not, you can pair the soup with some tortilla chips to fill the void.

Recipe: Creamy Taco Soup

Indian steak tacos

Some fusion foods come together more harmoniously than others, and we can safely say that these Indian steak tacos blend Indian and Mexican cuisine with pitch perfect precision. This recipe is made up of two parts: A masala paste, which will serve as a marinade for the steak, and then the tacos themselves, which feature a naan "tortilla" instead of a corn or flour one.

You can expect bright, savory, and subtly tangy flavors in this dish, with the masala marinade really shining on the otherwise muted flank steak. Adorn these tacos with red onion, cilantro, and a fresh squeeze of lime, and, voila, you've got a fusion taco that looks as good as it tastes.

Recipe: Indian Steak Tacos

Duck confit tacos

It's not too hard to find a beef, pork, chicken, or fish taco recipe, but what about duck confit tacos? Now that's a rarer find, but for those who enjoy the delicacy of duck or want to get creative with their protein of choice, then these duck confit tacos are just the fit. 

Before you begin to panic about cooking duck, this recipe calls for pre-cooked, refrigerated, or frozen shredded duck confit. With what is typically the most time-consuming part of the recipe already taken care of (you don't have to worry about cooking the meat from scratch, just heating it up), you can focus on the other elements that make these tacos pop, including the jalapeño-infused cranberry salsa and the crunchy cabbage slaw. 

Recipe: Duck Confit Tacos

Grilled shrimp tacos with honeydew salsa

If fruit ever has a chance to shine on a taco, it's typically pineapple that steps into the limelight, or maybe mango, or, perhaps, an avocado, if we're getting technical. Our shrimp taco recipe allows a very unexpected fruit — honeydew — to step up to the plate in the form of spicy salsa, and crazily enough, it works remarkably well.

Those who have had honeydew before know that the melon certainly doesn't have a bad flavor, it just ... doesn't have much of a flavor at all. But that mild, neutral flavor that it does have works quite well here, especially when paired with heavier hitters like sriracha and jalapeño. The salsa also works especially well since shrimp is the protein of choice — beef probably wouldn't work with the salsa but about shrimp? It's a match made in wacky-food-pairing heaven.

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Honeydew Salsa

Slow cooker al pastor

While this recipe is technically one for al pastor and not necessarily for al pastor tacos, it would be absurd and borderline criminal to not slap some of this slow-cooked pork onto a corn tortilla. And the beauty of al pastor is that you really don't need any special garnishes to make a taco feel complete because the tender meat and sweet pineapple provide plenty of flavors as-is, so just a simple sprinkle of cilantro will do the trick.

The slow cooker recipe itself will walk you through the steps of cooking a pork shoulder to tender perfection, though as the name suggests, this isn't ideal for those who are in a hurry. This slow-cooker al pastor recipe will take some planning ahead, but luckily, you can just load up the slow cooker in the morning and come back to find perfectly-cooked al pastor — no spit needed. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Al Pastor

Carnitas tacos

Of all the meats you can pile onto a tortilla — and, moreover, of all the variations of meats you can make from a singular protein — carnitas are a fan-favorite for a reason. This particular carnitas tacos recipe features pork carnitas cooked in a Dutch oven, so you don't even need a slow cooker to make this recipe, just a stovetop, a sturdy pot, and a bit of patience.

Once cooked, you'll shred the carnitas up and top off your tacos with tomatillo salsa, thinly-sliced radishes, and some white onion. Oh, and don't forget the squeeze of lime, which will provide the perfect pop of acidity and truly bring together the savory, spicy flavors that this recipe has to offer.

Recipe: Carnitas Tacos 

Pulled jackfruit tacos

Look, we're not going to deny that jackfruit might be a polarizing food, with some people embracing its incredible versatility and others avoiding it at all costs. It also doesn't help that jackfruit is somewhat intimidating to work with, often growing to be quite massive in size and a bit perplexing to look at once cut open. If you've never cooked with jackfruit, don't sweat it. To make these tacos, you can use fresh fruit, or you can simply use the canned kind.

No matter which way feel about jackfruit, there's no denying that it is a remarkable resource for vegetarians and vegans, especially those plant-based folks who want to mimic the texture of meat. In this pulled jackfruit taco recipe, the jackfruit takes on a shredded texture, somewhat similar to pulled pork, but with added Indian flavors. Topped off with fried potato papads, these jackfruit tacos turn out to be quite the work of art. 

Recipe: Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

Choco taco-Inspired ice cream sandwiches

Let's all take a collective moment of silence for Choco Tacos, the beloved taco-shaped ice cream treat that no longer is available at Taco Bell. For those who have been struggling to fill the Choco Taco void, you're in luck with these Choco Taco-inspired ice cream sandwiches, which are just about guaranteed to fill that chocolate taco-sized hole in your heart. 

Strategically using pizzelle cookies as the "taco" shells (yes, you will need a pizzelle iron to do so), these nifty little ice cream treats really are quite similar to the ill-fated classic. Unlike the Choco Taco, however, you aren't dependent on any outside factors to get your hands on one of these homemade versions. With the right tools and hankering for a chocolatey treat, you can single-handedly keep the Choco Taco dream alive.

Recipe: Choco Taco-Inspired Ice Cream Sandwich

Chorizo breakfast tacos

We tend to associate tacos with dinner and, maybe, lunch (or maybe even dessert if you're still hung up on the Choco Taco) but what about breakfast? As it turns out, tacos make a delightful breakfast option as well, as proven by these chorizo breakfast tacos. You'll find many of the classic taco fixings on these tacos, including protein, cheese, avocado, and cilantro. They veer from the norm with the addition of eggs, which not only make the tacos more breakfast-appropriate, but also guarantees that you'll feel nice and full and ready to take on the day. 

Recipe: Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

Cheesy taco bake

While we certainly appreciate the put-togetherness of a classic taco, we can also appreciate the deconstructed nature of this cheesy taco bake. Somewhat like a casserole, this beef, bean, corn, and tortilla chip-loaded taco bake is ideal for feeding a hungry family on a busy weeknight, and especially ideal if said family wants to switch things up from traditional tacos. 

As for serving this taco bake, it's best with some sliced avocado, sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. And don't forget the extra tortilla chips on the side, ideal for scooping up all of that meaty, cheesy goodness.

Recipe: Easy Cheesy Taco Bake

Fried salmon tacos

As it turns out, salmon makes for a pretty good taco addition — especially when it's blackened and topped off avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. These tacos put a fresh and fun twist on fish tacos, opting for the popular pinkish seafood instead of common fish taco go-tos like cod or tilapia.

While these are called fried fish tacos, don't let that scare you into thinking that you'll have to deep-fry the fish. Instead, you'll give the salmon a light pan fry, and thanks to the abundance of seasoning, it will leave the fish blackened and nice and crispy on the outside.

Recipe: Fried Salmon Tacos

Slow-cooker Mexican chicken tinga

For those who prefer their chicken shredded on tacos, then this Mexican chicken tinga recipe is just the solution. This recipe is another example of one that is technically only for the meat and not for tacos specifically, but once you've whipped up a batch of this flavorful chicken tinga, it will be pretty hard to resist slapping some onto a tortilla.

Because this is a slow cooker recipe, it is one that you'll have to somewhat plan ahead for — as in, get the chicken going in the morning so it'll be ready by evening. You'll be grateful that you did once you enjoy this juicy chicken in taco form, ideally garnished with avocado, cotija, onion, and cilantro. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Tinga

Roasted rutabaga and eggplant tacos

What better way to round out this list than with one final vegetarian option: Roasted rutabaga and eggplant tacos. As the name suggests, rutabaga and eggplant will serve as the bulk of these tacos, but you can also count on a cabbage slaw and a cilantro lime crema to bring some bright, acidic flavors to the dish.

Though these tacos are vegetarian (vegan if you don't include the crema), anyone can enjoy the wholesome goodness that they have to offer. While these rutabaga tacos certainly look different than your classic beef option, they pack plenty of flavors and offer a welcome change of pace from traditional tacos.

Recipe: Roasted Rutabaga and Eggplant Tacos