How to Throw a Taco Bar Party (Printable Taco Bar Checklist Included)

Throwing a taco bar party just might make your house the coolest one in town.  You know why?  Because, everyone loves tacos, and everyone loves parties.  When you combine the two it’s a matchmade in heaven!  So, grab the taco bar party checklist printable in this post and start planning your awesome shindig!

Taco bar party

I live in a community where many of our friends love to get together for a meal.  It happens almost weekly, sometimes up to three times in one week!  There’s many people here who like to hunt or garden and so there never seems to be a shortage of food available to feed a crowd.

And, it seems we are a town full of people who love to eat.

So, because of that, I knew a taco bar party would probably go over well.  And I’m telling you, it did.  It’s true – EVERYONE loves taco bar parties. 

I watched people return to the table to pile up a second or third helping.  Because, like I said, everyone likes tacos!

A taco bar party can be really great if you have multiple people coming over with special diets.  I once hosted a few people over where someone had celiac while another one was on keto.  This was a perfect meal for them because they could all add to their plates what fit in to the restrictions of their diet.

How to Throw a Taco Bar Party

Picking a Time and Location for your Taco Bar Party

The first thing you are going to want to do is pick a date and time.  I like to pick a time I know most people are available, which is often a Saturday or even a Sunday evening.  I find trying to plan a meal in the middle of the week is always harder as some people can get home from work or extra-curriculars after school quite late.

We also don’t like to pick too late of a time because we have a lot of families come over and some of them have young kids who they put to bed earlier.  So, we often set the time for guests at around 5:00.

Next you’ll want to decide if you want it indoors or outdoors.  If the weather is nice we tend to spill over into the outdoors, though some might hang out inside as well.  Most often the kids play outside at large gatherings at my house because we have a smaller home that makes it difficult for all the kids to play freely inside.

We paired our taco bar party with a bonfire after dinner, and that’s always an option if you have a place you can do that and you enjoy that kind of thing.

Taco bar party printable

Want this taco bar printable sign? Grab it here.

What Do you Need for a Taco Bar Party?

What you need is going to depend on how you want your taco bar party to look.  Do you want it to strictly be tacos in a shell or wrap, or do you want to allow people to make their own taco salad or taco rice bowl?

We did soft wraps, and tortilla chips so they could make a taco salad.  I made sure to have rice on the table in case they wanted to make a taco rice bowl.  I decided to forego the hard shells because I didn’t have a great way to keep them warm (and I’m just not a fan of cold hard shells).

taco bar toppings

So, here are some ideas for a taco bar buffet.


  • Hard shells
  • soft flour wraps
  • soft corn wraps
  • Gluten-free wraps
  • Tortilla Chips


  • Shredded beef
  • Shredded pork
  • Ground beef
  • Shredded chicken
  • Carne Asada


  • Black beans
  • Refried beans
  • lentils


  • Lettuce
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Jalapenos
  • Mild tomato salsa
  • Hot tomato salsa
  • Mango salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Black olives
  • Pico de Gallo
  • hot sauce

Side Dishes


Want a checklist so you can be prepared for your taco bar party?  Get it here, and be sure to take it grocery shopping with you as well so you don’t forget anything!

Don’t feel like you need to provide all of this for your taco bar. These are all just options and ideas.  Depending on how many people it is for and what the event you are having may determine what you include.  For example, since I just had a gathering of 23 people at my house, I offered ground beef, shredded beef, and black beans as filler options.  Meat is expensive, and I didn’t have any chicken, so I used what I had on hand.

However, let’s say I wanted a taco bar wedding reception, I may go all out with more meat and vegetarian options.  Or maybe I was hosting a taco bar graduation party, or a taco bar birthday party.  I might make it a little bigger.

If I know I have gluten-free guests coming, then I’d provide some gluten-free wraps.  Gluten-free options are an awesome taco bar party idea for those guests who have a restricted diet.

I didn’t provide any guacamole because my avocadoes weren’t quite ripe yet and I like to make my own.  Instead though, I made a mango salsa while also providing a store bought jar of tomato salsa.

How Much Taco Meat do you Need for a Taco Bar Party?

Not sure how much meat to make for your taco bar party?

This one I always find difficult.  I’d rather end up with leftovers instead of not having enough meat, but let’s be honest, meat can be expensive so I don’t want to buy too much extra.

The good news is, you don’t have to work the math out in your head.  You can try out this handy dandy taco bar calculator.  Surprised to discover such a thing exists?  They really do make EVERYTHING, don’t they?

Also, the taco bar calculator not only allows you to calculate your meat, but basically any and all of your ingredients.

What to serve for a taco bar dessert?

If you want to stick with a Mexican theme, I’d go with something like churros.  But again, it’s entirely up to you!  I’m a firm believer in doing what works for you. 

churros for a taco bar party

I have never made churros before and decided I didn’t want to learn in the same week I was preparing my taco bar party, so I just went with some brownies, and some pumpkin cream cheese muffins because it’s the fall season here right now.  

No one complained that the dessert wasn’t on theme.  Actually, many people went back for seconds on the muffins because, pumpkin cream cheese muffins are amazing!

So, again, do what works for you for the event you are hosting.

Prepare Ahead of Time

For me, whenever I am hosting a large crowd, I like to make things that I can do a lot of the prep work ahead of time.  This kind of meal is perfect for that kind of thing.

I was able to make the meat in two different slow cookers a head of time and just have them on warm when it was time to eat.  I grated the cheese and cut things like tomatoes and lettuce earlier in the day.  The day before I cooked up the beans and made the mango salsa. 

It really was quite simple to get it all out on the table in a timely manner when everyone arrived because I had so much of it done ahead of time.


Taco Bar Party Ideas

Now that you have a checklist in hand, you can plan the most epic taco bar party your friends and family have ever seen!  So, make a plan, send out an email (or actual, pretty invitations if you are fancy like that) and party away!  You can even add decorations if you want for some added fun. 

Need a game?  Try a pinata as well.  There’s plenty of ways to make a taco bar party fun, whether you want it quite simple, or you would like to go all out.  





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