A Taco Bar Is One Of The Most Delicious Ways To Feed Dinner To A Crowd

For many, tacos are the official food of Tuesdays and with good reason — they're a crowd-pleaser. Whether it's got a soft shell or a hard one, a taco is a near-perfect food; big flavor, fresh produce, and sometimes a bit of heat means it's perfect for any occasion. In particular, tacos also offer an elegant solution to feeding a crowd, because all you have to do is set up a taco bar.

Whether you have a few extra folks around the dinner table or are putting on a whole party, taco bars are easy to scale. Along with that, they're also simple to design around your needs. Got a lot of meat-eaters? No problem. Is everyone vegetarian? Equally easy to accommodate. Beyond that, tacos also present an opportunity for everyone at the meal to have their food precisely the way they like it, without putting that expectation on the host. Tacos are awesome to eat, but they're even better when you've picked out every ingredient.

Taco bars are all about toppings

Letting people build their own plate has always been a hit. Taco bars are a natural extension of this, like the salad bar or the ever-popular mashed potato bar you see at weddings. They let everyone be included in the process of putting the meal together, even if it's just on their own plate. And they allow for folks to mix and match fillings and toppings to create multiple different flavor combinations.

The best taco bars have a broad array of toppings. Classics like diced tomatoes, onions, and radishes should make an appearance, but it's great to expand beyond them. Try including charred corn or pickled jalapeños in the spread. Shredded carrots and bell peppers, meanwhile, can bring a ton of crunch and color to the plate while also tasting good.

Don't stop at toppings, though; bring on the salsas and sauces to maximize flavor. Get creative and make some tomato olive salsa, or grab some mango habanero for a blast of fruit and spice. Don't constrain yourself to traditional hot sauces, either — and consider asking guests to bring their favorites to share!

More tips for the taco bar

Next, choose your fillings. There are many choices out there, from spicy black beans to chicken guisado and carne asada. Even ground beef is a strong choice and one that's easily dressed up to match fancier fillings. For example, adding a bit of Mexican Chorizo to the beef gives the finished product a new depth of flavor with a little heat. In an interview with Insider, chef Morgan Bolling described why she started adding chorizo, explaining, "It added smokiness, porky richness, and [an] extra layer of spice with only one ingredient."

Don't forget, though: It's important that the warm ingredients stay warm. There's nothing worse than biting into a taco and discovering cold meat and beans. Using a slow cooker to keep fillings warm is one option, especially if the group is small or you're only offering one filling. If you're serving a larger crowd, chafing dishes and hot plates may be a better answer, so that you're not running back to the kitchen when you could be enjoying some tacos.