Host a Make-Your-Own Taco Party

Table spread of a taco party

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If there's one type of party that gets people excited, it's a taco party. Everyone enjoys some sort of variation on a taco, and the endless customization makes it appealing to people who follow every type of diet, from vegetarian to gluten-free to low-carb. As a bonus, it's one of the easiest menus for a party host to put together—with a little bit of chopping of vegetables, you'll be ready to serve without cooking all day.

Play into the taco theme by putting up Mexican-inspired decorations, serving an assortment of margaritas and Mexican-made beers, like Corona or Modelo, and playing mariachi music in the background.

Creating a Taco Bar

The key to a successful make-your-own taco party is providing a wide variety of toppings, so your guests can customize their tacos to their heart's content. Start by setting out the ingredients for the tacos themselves, which should include:

  • Hard- and soft-shell (corn and flour) tortillas
  • Shredded chicken
  • Seasoned ground beef
  • Refried beans
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sauteed bell peppers
  • Sauteed or raw sliced red or white onions
  • Black olives
  • Jalapenos (raw or pickled)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Lime wedges

Put each ingredient in its bowl with a spoon, so guests can help themselves. Make sure to have a big bowl of lettuce available for people to make taco salads. If there will be a lot of vegetarians in attendance, including a bowl of seasoned sofritas, which is made of tofu. Keep tortillas warm in a special tortilla warming dish or put them on a hot plate that's set to low heat.

Next, include some appropriate side dishes:

  • Mexican rice
  • Black beans
  • Corn (on the cob or in a salad)
  • Tortilla chips

A slow cooker will keep the rice, beans, and corn at the right temperature throughout the party.

Finally, on a separate table, set up a couple of themed desserts:

  • Churros
  • Flan
  • Dulce de leche

Taco Party Decorating Ideas

Depending on what you have around your home, use any of these idea to give your table the ambiance of a Mexican fiesta.

  • If you have a Mexican-style blanket, use that as your tablecloth. Alternatively, assorted linens in red, white, and green will lend the colors of the Mexican flag to your table. Another option is using bright pinks, blues, yellows, greens, and crisp whites for a bit of a more natural fiesta feel. A taco party is a perfect time to incorporate your love of bold and bright colors into a table setting.
  • Tie white napkins with green and red raffia.
  • Woven baskets are perfect to hold outdoor blankets for seating and to use as planters to give your outdoor oasis more of a tropical vibe.
  • Fill a bowl with colorful bell peppers for your centerpiece (use them in your cooking later in the week).
  • If you have a Mexican sombrero, use it as your centerpiece. Place jalapeno peppers and limes around the brim.
  • Tropical palm leaves and greenery can add to the fiesta feel of the day scattered throughout tables or laid across napkins as part of the table setting.