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22 of Our Favorite Taco Toppings Ranked

Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish that are made using a few great tasting core ingredients. Small tortilla shells are filled with a combination of meats, vegetables, and sauces.

Mexican Tacos With Beef

A great thing about tacos is that they are easy to make and they can be enjoyed at any time of the day. 

Now you may be wondering what toppings go well with tacos. You will be pleased to know that there are many options to choose from.

Regardless of whether you are a meat-eater or a vegetarian, you will find a delicious topping that caters to your dietary requirements.

Below, we have compiled a list of 22 of the best taco toppings available.

The majority of them are super easy to prepare and can be rustled up in as little as 5 minutes.  

Shredded Cheese

No tacos are complete without cheese. Cheddar tends to be the most commonly used variety, although you will likely find that other types work just as well.

taco cheese

The creaminess of the cheese complements the other flavors of the dish without being too overpowering. 

If you fancy being a little more adventurous why not add some blue cheese instead? Remember that blue cheese is quite strong so some may find it a little too flavorsome.

As such, you should avoid adding it to your tacos in excessive amounts.

Alternatively, you may choose to add some Monterey Jack cheese. It has a sweet but mild flavor which will work well with the other ingredients.

For a more authentic touch, why not add some crumbled cotija. This Mexican cheese has a salty taste and a similar texture to feta cheese. 

Ground Beef

Ground beef is a key taco ingredient. A few different types of ground beef can be bought from the majority of grocery stores. The fat content of beef gives it plenty of flavor.

beef taco

If ground beef doesn’t appeal to you, chicken or pork can be added instead.

Marinate and season your meat to enhance the flavor and there you have the perfect taco filling.

Fried fish can taste just as good as meat in tacos. In comparison to meat, it is a lot more delicate and it can be quite expensive too.

Popular options for tacos include snapper, grouper, and halibut. Fish tends to have a pretty mild flavor so the toppings that accompany it shouldn’t be too powerful. 


Some people may prefer more basic toppings. Tomatoes are a fruit that are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients.

Chopped tomatoes on a wooden cutting board.

Bright red in color, they are going to add a vibrant touch to your dish.

The flavor of tomatoes is pretty balanced, as it is equally sweet and tangy.

You may notice slight differences in the taste depending on the variety that you choose to use.


Now, this may not sound like the most exciting topping, however, it is a good choice for those who enjoy a combination of rich flavors and healthy ingredients. 

shredded lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is the type that is most commonly used for tacos.

It has a crispy texture and mild flavor so it isn’t going to take away from the taste of the other ingredients. 

Rather than sticking to one type of lettuce why not add a combination of a few different types.

Make sure that the lettuce that you use is nice and fresh so that it doesn’t wilt once added to your tacos. 

Refried Beans

Refried beans are a staple in many Mexican dishes and they are a favorite amongst vegetarians who are looking for great tasting meat-free options.

See also  11 Most Popular Mexican Beers To Enjoy 
refried beans

Typically, pinto beans are used to make this dish as they have a buttery consistency that works very well. 

Although the word ‘refried’ implies that these beans are cooked twice, this is not the case.

Instead, they are initially cooked in water to soften them and then fried and seasoned. 

The flavor of these beans can be described as a combination of sweet and savory and they’re also healthy as they contain plenty of nutrients.


Tacos can taste quite salty so sweet onions will make the flavors more balanced.

chopped onions

As implied, sweet onions are much milder in comparison to other varieties so they are not going to overpower the taste of the other ingredients in the tacos.

If you prefer your onions to have a stronger and more pungent flavor, serve them raw, otherwise, you can cook them on a low heat until they start to soften.


Rice can either be served as a side dish to tacos or used as a filling. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, rice delivers several health benefits.

mexican rice

Rice, in general, contains carbohydrates that give you energy and certain varieties like brown rice have a lot of nutritional value. 

When rice is cooked and served alone it can taste a little bland, however, you can season it to make it more flavorful.

Cilantro and lime juice pair particularly well with steamed rice as they make the taste of the dish more interesting without being too intense.

Alternatively, you could steam the rice and then add some lettuce, a sprinkle of cheese, and some avocado chunks. To complete the dish, why not mix in some sour cream.


Avocados are known for their unique taste which some would describe as nutty. Although the flavor may be quite mild, it will still be noticeable when added to the tacos.

Sliced avocado on a cutting board

In fact, you won’t need to pair it with too many other ingredients.

First, you will need to slice the avocado in half before removing the pit.

Then you will need to scoop it out of its skin before chopping it into small, easily digestible chunks.

Once you have done this, you can add as much to your tacos as you want.

Sour Cream

The taste of sour cream makes it a delicious accompaniment to tacos. It is known for its tangy, rich taste and creamy texture.

Three tacos topped with sour cream

Because sour cream is so rich, it does not need to be added to your tacos in excessive amounts, instead, you will find that a little goes a long way.

Sour cream is healthy so long as it is eaten in moderation. As it contains a lot of saturated fat, it’s not the healthiest when consumed excessively.

Some may prefer to swap it for yogurt which is healthier. Greek yogurt, in particular, contains fewer calories and less fat. Moreover, it is also higher in protein.

Chopped Cilantro

Cilantro is often mistaken for coriander because it comes from the same plant, however, they are not the same as they have different tastes and uses.

Chopped cilantro on wooden board

Cilantro is the name given to the stalks and leaves of the plant and it is used to season lots of dishes.

Moreover, cilantro has a strong aroma and an aromatic but herby taste.

As such, it is likely to complement the flavors of the other ingredients in your tacos very well. 

Hot Sauce

For those who like foods with a spicy kick, this is going to be the perfect topping. There are many types of hot sauce available and they vary in terms of heat intensity and flavor.

mexican hot sauce

Try not to choose one that is going to be too hot for you because it may make your tacos less enjoyable.

Sriracha is made from red jalapeno peppers and is ranked as moderately tasty which is likely to be appreciated by those who do not enjoy sauces that are overpoweringly hot. It has a kick of garlic and it tastes quite sweet. 

See also  Tampa's Ultimate Mexican Food Guide

If you prefer a hot sauce that has a spicy and smokey taste, you may like Harissa. The fresh chilies provide the smokiness whilst the citrus juice and vinegar make it a little bit tangy.

Whilst you can buy ready-made Harissa sauce from the supermarket, making your own homemade version is pretty easy too.

Peri-Peri sauce is going to go particularly well with chicken tacos. This is a versatile sauce that is made from hot chili peppers. Depending on the type that you use, it will sometimes taste a little sweet. 

Tomato Salsa

Salsa is another popular condiment that is used in Mexican cuisine. Combine some ripe chopped tomatoes with onion and top it with cilantro.

Traditional Latin American mexican salsa sauce

It can then be served in a dish alongside your tacos and added as desired. 

The ingredients in the salsa give it a sweet but refreshing taste. Although salsa is readily available in the majority of grocery stores, it is also super easy to make from home.

You simply need to chop all three of your ingredients up into smaller chunks.

To give the salsa more flavor why not add some lime juice and a touch of salt. You can even add some more ingredients such as corn or mango. 

Once you have chopped up your ingredients you can either serve the salsa chunky or you can blend it so that it has a smoother consistency. 

Pico De Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

Pico de Gallo, also known as Salsa Fresca, is a dish that consists of chopped serrano peppers, tomatoes, and onions.

Bowl of Pico De Gallo (Salsa Fresca) on a wooden board.

It is very similar to salsa except it has a chunkier consistency. The ingredients are typically seasoned with cilantro, salt, and lime juice. 

Whilst it tastes delicious when added to the tacos, it can also be served as a side dish or eaten alone.

Just like salsa, Pico de Gallo is easy to make as it only uses a few ingredients.

Grilled Corn

Corn is a versatile vegetable that goes well with tacos. You can either use it as a topping or serve it alongside your tacos.

mexican grilled corn

If you find the taste of corn a little bland you can flavor it by adding butter and seasoning it with salt and pepper. 

You can cook corn in a number of ways. Grilling sweetcorn locks in the flavor and also makes it juicer.

If you do not want to grill it, you can boil it in a large pot for around 8 minutes until it is tender. Avoid boiling it in salt water because salt tends to make the corn a little tough.

Alternatively, you can cook corn in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes. 


Jalapenos are going to be enjoyed by those who like ingredients with a spicy kick. These medium sized chili peppers can range in pungency.

jalapeno peppers

Whilst some are quite hot others are significantly milder. 

The intensity of jalapenos differs depending on color. The green ones are usually hotter, but the heat of the red ones is not quite as intense.

Moreover, the taste of jalapenos can differ depending on how they are cooked. When roasted, they have a smokey and rich flavor. 

Green Onions (Scallions)

Scallions have a sharp taste though some would say that it is a little spicy too.

Chopped Green Onions (Scallions) on white background.

This vegetable has a long, white stem and looks very similar to spring onions. Scallions are easy to prepare.

You do not need to cook them, instead, you simply need to chop them into small pieces and then add them to the top of your tacos.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers have a sweet, mild flavor and they come in a few varieties, thus being yellow, orange, green, red, and sometimes brown.

See also  17 Tasty Mexican Appetizer Ideas and Recipes 
chopped bell pepper

The taste will differ slightly depending on the color of the bell peppers that you use.

Not only are bell peppers low in calories, but they have a lot of nutritional value. They contain potassium, fiber, and vitamins and they can be eaten cooked or raw.

Should you decide to cook them, you can either roast, bake or fry them. Regardless of the cooking method that you opt for, they are going to taste great. 

If you are looking for a healthier way to enjoy your tacos, why not fill some peppers with the toppings of your choice before cooking them in the same way as you would cook your tacos. 


Guacamole is a dip or spread that is made using avocado as the core ingredient. It is a popular condiment that is served as an accompaniment to many Mexican dishes.


It has a noticeable nutty, but sweet flavor and a buttery texture. 

Tomatoes are often added to guacamole along with onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of garlic and salt.

A great thing about guacamole is that it is super straightforward to make. In fact, it can be made in as little as 5 minutes.

All that you need to do is prepare your ingredients before mashing them together.

The consistency is going to be a matter of preference. Whilst some may prefer guacamole that has a chunky texture, others may prefer it when all of the ingredients are smooth and well mixed. 

Lime Juice

Whilst this may not seem like the most obvious choice for a taco topping, the tangy flavor is really going to enhance the flavors of your other ingredients.

Sliced lime.

This juice has a distinct taste; it is both sweet and slightly acidic. 

Once you have filled your taco shells with all of your favorite ingredients, squeeze some lime juice over the top and then you can tuck in.

Black Olives

Black olives have a pretty unique flavor. Those that are ripe taste slightly salty but mild although they can sometimes be a little tangy too.

If you use them before they have had the chance to ripen you will likely find that they taste quite bitter. 

Olives are available in a few different varieties, the most popular being green or black. The flavor is going to depend on the type that you use.

Although olives may not appeal to everyone, they are going to add a nice taste to your tacos as they are not too overpowering.

Fried Eggs

Again, this may seem like a peculiar choice but eggs have a unique taste that works well with many dishes.

The delicious runny yolk is also going to cover the other ingredients inside the taco. 

Simply fry the eggs for approximately 10 minutes and then put them on top of your tacos. If you do not like fried eggs, you may prefer to use eggs of another variety.

This topping makes tacos the perfect breakfast option. 

Tropical Pineapple Salsa

Salsa is often used to top tacos. Pineapple salsa is a tropical take on regular salsa.

The combination of tangy and sweet flavors creates a delicious and fresh tasting topping.

It is easy to make and uses a few simple ingredients. As well as adding flavor to your tacos, pineapple salsa is going to make the dish look colorful too. 

If you are not keen on pineapple, you will find other fruits that can work just as well. Mango salsa can either be made sweet or spicy depending on your preference.

Just like pineapple salsa, this version isn’t hard to make and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.

Whether you’re making pineapple salsa or mango salsa, you may wish to use fruit that is pre-cut as this will save you from having to prepare it all yourself.


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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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