Are you still trying to figure out the best side dishes for tacos? Coming up with ideas about what to serve with tacos can be tricky. That’s we’re going to help you take your taco nights to the next level with 11 excellent sides for tacos. From Mexican sweet potatoes to delicious Spanish Rice, these sides are sure-fire crowd-pleasers.
Tacos are a traditional Mexican food, but this handy little Mexican sandwich has made its way around the world to become a much-loved snack or meal. Traditionally, tacos are served on corn tortillas, but you can also make tacos with flour tortillas (soft tacos) or crunchy taco shells.
While the internet and the telephone are okay inventions, the taco is humankind’s most remarkable achievement by far! Now, that’s in no way understating Mexico’s other outstanding contributions, but folks are just crazy about tacos!
Tacos are a beloved staple in many households and restaurants, offering a wide range of delicious fillings and flavors to delight every palate. The key to a truly memorable taco experience, however, lies in the perfect selection of sides. With an endless assortment of creative options, choosing the best side dishes can elevate a simple taco night into an unforgettable feast.
Traditionally, tacos are accompanied by classic side dishes such as rice and beans, but adventurous home cooks and inventive chefs have pushed the boundaries to create innovative concoctions that complement and enhance the main event. By considering the flavor profiles and textures of various ingredients, one can craft side dishes that harmoniously blend with the chosen taco fillings, whether they be spicy, smoky, sweet, or tangy.
From vibrant salsas and creamy guacamole to crunchy slaw and zesty salads, the realm of sides-for-tacos presents endless opportunities for culinary exploration. By diving into the world of satisfying accompaniments, taco enthusiasts can discover new pairings and mouthwatering combinations to elevate their taco game to a new level.
When it comes to what goes on tacos, you have tons of options to choose from.
For example, you can taste the sweet diced tomatoes, crispy shredded lettuce, sweet onions, creamy guacamole, crumbly cheese, spicy peppers, cool sour cream, herby fresh cilantro, and of course, the deliciously seasoned ground beef.
You can have all these different textures and flavors wrapped into one fresh and warm tortilla or corn shell (everyone has their own thing). Now, that’s what you call a party in your mouth, people! Whoever invented tacos deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
Here are 11 mouth-watering side dishes to make any taco night a huge success.
Are you looking for a new dish to jazz up your taco nights? Mexican sweet potatoes are among the tastiest sides for tacos. They can almost be your main course. Mexican sweet potatoes are bursting with delicious flavors such as sweet potato, avocado, red onion, corn, and jalapeno.
And let’s not forget the tasty herbs and spices that capture the spirit of a traditional Mexican meal.
This dish is super-easy to make, requiring very little prep work. All of the cooking takes place in your oven, and you will need at least a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
Once the potatoes, cheese, and canned corn (or frozen corn) finish baking, you add your toppings, and you’ve got yourself a side any taco would be proud of. You can also add cilantro, green onion, and sour cream.
You can also mix the sweet potatoes and other ingredients for an incredible Mexican sweet potatoes salad.
When asking “what goes with tacos,” it’s hard to think of a more traditional side dish than chips and salsa. The combination of flavorful salsa and salty (or unsalted) crispy tortilla chips is an unbeatable side dish for any Mexican meal.
Best of all, making homemade salsa is quick and easy. The only thing you have to do is toss everything into your food processor and let it do all the hard work!
Homemade salsa is excellent with tortilla chips, but you can also use it as taco seasoning to give your tacos an extra kick. Try some on your enchilada. Salsa’s also great for quesadillas, burritos, taco salads, or just about anything to give it some extra zing!
Also, you can use canned tomatoes if you don’t want to fuss with worrying about ripeness issues.
As for the chips, you have a lot of options to choose from at the grocery store. Everyone has their favorite brands, and you can find a lot of chips with flavors like jalapeno and cilantro lime to give your dipping an extra jolt of flavor.
You can also pair your salsa with a large bowl of hot, cheesy queso and bean dip for some seriously delicious dipping. Or, you can use some salsa to your corn salad for an incredible Mexican corn salad upgrade.
Roasted Elote (Mexican Street Corn) is a popular food you can find at countless fairs, and food stands worldwide. This simple dish is easy to make and so delicious that you won’t mind grabbing a toothpick afterward.
Unlike other sides for tacos, this dish is best cooked over a grill, be careful not to cook it for too long. Once the grilled corn is nice and tender, you just put on seasonings like cilantro, lime, and pepper, let it cool for a bit and serve.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to give these grilled corn time to cool down before eating. Anyone who’s eaten piping hot grilled corn knows this is true.
You can also make Mexican street corn salad. You can use fresh corn for this dish.
We also recommend sprinkling your finished dish with cotija cheese.
You’ll notice a lot of smiling heads turning when you walk into a room carrying a platter of this fantastic dish!
4. Corn Pudding
You can add a sweet twist to your taco night when serving corn pudding as a side dish. While corn pudding may look like a corn casserole, it’s smoother and creamier. The recipe uses canned corn and five eggs, giving it a texture similar to custard. You also thicken the mixture with a bit of corn starch.
The flavor of corn pudding pairs well with various meat dishes, and you can make it with or without sugar, depending on how sweet you want it. Some folks like to add a hint of nutmeg and vanilla extract.
You can serve either hot or cold, and it stores well in the refrigerator for a tasty snack or pairs well with just about any Mexican entree.
5. Pepper Salad
It’s no secret that peppers are considered almost sacred in Mexico and can appear in nearly every Mexican dish you can think of. Bell pepper Salad is a beautiful low-carb side dish packed with vitamins and minerals that deliver flavor and nutrition.
Making bell pepper salad is a breeze that only requires the mixture of your yellow, green, and red peppers, along with other veggies, in a big mixing bowl along with seasonings such as cilantro.
Like many dishes, you can also add some bell pepper salad to your tacos.
You can also include a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to bring out the flavor. And for extra spice, add some jalapenos.
If you’re a fan of American coleslaw, including Mexican coleslaw as a side dish for your taco night is a sure-fire home run!
Mexican coleslaw has a lot of the same ingredients, such as red onion and cabbage. But, instead of mayo, you’ll use something like fresh lime juice or vinegarette. You can also add a bit of cilantro for a unique flavor.
This slaw is super quick and easy to prepare and tastes great with tacos and means like chicken and fish. This slaw’s also fabulous with corn salad, grilled chicken, and it’s one of the best sides for fish tacos on the planet!
Okay, it’s hard to imagine a taco night without guacamole. This creamy dip goes well with just about every dish out there, but guac and tacos kind of have a special thing going on.
Now, with guacamole, the ripeness of your avocado is critical. Ideally, you want the avocado to be as soft but not too mushy. Finding the right texture balance in your avocado is the key.
You can also ripen your avocado by leaving them at room temperature until they soften, but this could take hours or even days.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to give your extra guacamole flavor, they sell some pretty good pre-measured guacamole flavoring mixes in stores.
And while your guacamole turning brown is just a fact of life, you can delay the process by adding lime juice while covering your guacamole with the plastic wrap touching the surface.
Preparing guacamole doesn’t have many steps, just mashing your avocados and adding your ingredients. Some folks like it plain, while others enjoy adding cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and diced tomato.
Guacamole also tastes fantastic in a taco salad!
For those not familiar with Jicama, it’s a Mexican yam. If you want to try a new flavor that will blow your socks off on taco night, then Jicama with mango slaw is just the ticket!
Many describe Jicama’s taste as a cross between a potato and a pear, while others describe it more as a cross between cabbage and cucumber. This exotic root vegetable is super delicious with mango and mixes well with the seasoned ground beef in your tacos.
You can also add things like carrot, cilantro, and red pepper for a little extra crunch, flavor, and color. This slaw’s great with grilled chicken.
9. Spanish Rice
Spanish Rice is another side dish that feels right on taco night. While plain rice is pretty bland, Spanish Rice is alive, providing mouthfuls of flavors that will make your taste buds sing!
You cook Mexican Rice just as you would regular rice. However, you add special seasonings such as chicken broth and tomato sauce for a unique color and flavor.
Typical Spanish rice spices include garlic salt, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, lime juice, and dried oregano.
This dish is also easy to turn into a deliciously spicy and cheesy casserole using sour cream, cheese, and the chiles of your choice.
After mixing your Mexican Rice with sour cream and chiles, you just put the mixture into a baking dish and add your cheese. You’ll only need to bake it long enough for the cheese to melt, and you’ve got yourself another delicious pairing for your tacos! Or, for an entree, you can add taco meat, chicken, or steak.
You can also make this dish with brown rice or quinoa as healthier alternatives to White Rice.
Another staple food in Mexico is beans, and Mexican black beans make for a fantastic addition to any taco night lineup. These ebony beans are plump and flavorful and go well with all kinds of seasoning.
Refried beans are also great with tacos. But if you’re looking for something a bit more versatile (seasoning-wise), you can’t go wrong with black bean.
You can spice up your black bean dish with seasonings such as cilantro, garlic powder (or fresh garlic clove), salt, ground cumin, and lime.
Throw in your favorite peppers, diced tomatoes, and some onion to take your black bean side dish to the next level.
Also, try some in your corn salad. It’s delicious!
Taco night’s not competing without the right beverage or beverages. If you’ve got kiddos or don’t wish to serve alcohol, non-alcoholic sangria is a great traditional Mexican drink you can serve on taco night.
Beer is also an excellent drink for taco night. Try a Mexican beer like Modelo, Tecate, or Dos Equis to stay in the Mexican spirit.
Also, mojitos and margaritas are always great with tacos. Mojitos with fresh mint is an excellent and refreshing drink, while you can create incredible frozen margaritas (either from scratch or with a mix).
Here are some great cocktail pairings based on specific taco recipes:
- Carne Asada Tacos: Gimme Some Honey
- Chicken Tinga Tacos: Gin & Tonic
- Rajas Con Crema Tacos: Paloma
- Carmotas Tacos: Tequila Sangria
- Baja Fish Tacos: Rose Guava Caipirinha
- Shrimp Tacos: House Margarita
And if you’re looking for a healthier alcoholic option, red wine is a good choice. There are lots of Mexican red wines out there like Vinos Shimul Albarolo 2007, and Casa Madero Shiraz Casa Grande
15+ Sides for Tacos You’ll Love (+Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
- 4 grilled ears of corn
- 1 1/4 tsp. lime juice
- 1/4 cup mayo
- Fine salt
- 3/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 cup Cotija cheese
- Chopped cilantro
- While the corn is grilling, mix all the ingredients together.
- Brush the mayo mixture onto the corn.
- Sprinkle with Cotija cheese and chili powder.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.