What Dessert Goes with Tacos?

Tacos, a delicious and versatile dish, can be found in various combinations of meats, cheeses, and vegetables. However, selecting the perfect dessert to accompany this flavorful meal might leave guests and hosts alike scratching their heads. This article aims to provide guidance for those in search of the ideal sweet treat to complete their taco dining experience.

Trying to find a fitting dessert to pair with tacos involves considering both complementary and contrasting flavors. The spiciness and savory nature of tacos can benefit from a dessert that provides a cooling and balancing effect. Fruit-based desserts and classic Mexican sweets are popular choices to consider.

To make a more informed and satisfying decision, this article delves into the unique characteristics of various desserts, examining how each option can enhance the dining experience when served alongside tacos. By the end of this read, food enthusiasts will have a comprehensive understanding of which dessert best suits their taco feast.

Fundamentals of Pairing Desserts with Tacos

When it comes to pairing desserts with tacos, it’s essential to consider the flavors and textures of both the tacos and the desserts. Tacos, a popular Mexican dish, often consist of flavorful, spicy, and savory ingredients. Therefore, the chosen dessert should complement and balance these flavors nicely.

One key aspect to consider is the level of sweetness in the dessert. Lightly sweetened desserts, such as fresh fruit or sorbet, can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich and spicy flavors typically found in tacos. On the other hand, overly sweet or rich desserts, like chocolate cake or thick custard, may overpower the flavors of the tacos and feel too heavy after a filling meal.

Texture is another crucial factor to keep in mind. Tacos are often characterized by their crispy tortilla shells, and tender, juicy fillings. Pairing them with a dessert that has a contrasting texture will enhance the overall dining experience. For instance, creamy desserts like flan or silky-textured ice cream can provide a pleasant counterbalance to the crunchy nature of tacos.

Moreover, it is essential to consider the cultural aspect of pairing desserts with tacos. Traditional Mexican desserts, such as churros, tres leches cake, or sopapillas, can perfectly harmonize with taco dishes since they originate from the same culinary background. These Mexican desserts often incorporate flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, and caramel, which can complement the spicy and savory flavors of the tacos.

Here are a few dessert recommendations to consider when pairing with tacos:

  • Churros – Deep-fried dough coated in sugar and cinnamon, can be served with chocolate sauce or caramel for dipping
  • Tres Leches Cake – A light, sponge cake soaked in three types of milk and topped with whipped cream, adding a delicate sweetness
  • Sopapillas – Puffed, deep-fried pastries that can be drizzled with honey or sprinkled with powdered sugar
  • Flan – A smooth, creamy custard dessert with a layer of caramel sauce on top
  • Mango Sorbet – A refreshing, fruity alternative that cleanses the palate after a plate of savory tacos

In conclusion, when pairing desserts with tacos, take into consideration the sweetness, texture, and cultural aspects of both dishes. By thoughtfully choosing a dessert that complements the flavors and textures of the tacos, the dining experience can be greatly enhanced, satisfying both the taste buds and the senses.

Popular Mexican Desserts

Churros

Churros are a popular Mexican dessert made from a dough that is deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. They are usually sprinkled with sugar and can be enjoyed on their own or dipped in chocolate or caramel sauce.

Flan

Flan is a creamy, custard-like dessert that is a favorite in Mexican cuisine. It is made from eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, and is often topped with a caramel sauce. This dessert is known for its smooth texture and rich, delicate flavor.

Arroz Con Leche

Arroz con leche, also known as rice pudding, is a classic Mexican dessert made from rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. This sweet treat is usually served cold, making it a refreshing and satisfying option after enjoying flavorful tacos.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake is a popular dessert that consists of a sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk or heavy cream. This results in a moist and tender cake that is often topped with whipped cream and fruit.

Sopapillas

Sopapillas are a type of Mexican pastry made from deep-fried dough. These light and fluffy treats are typically served with a dusting of powdered sugar and can be filled with honey or dulce de leche for added sweetness.

Fried Ice Cream

Fried ice cream is a unique dessert that brings together cold and creamy ice cream with a warm, crispy coating. A scoop of ice cream is quickly dipped in a batter, then deep-fried to create a crisp shell that envelops the still-cold ice cream inside.

Empanadas

Empanadas are a versatile Mexican dessert that can be sweet or savory. The sweet version is made from dough filled with fruit, chocolate, or dulce de leche, then baked or fried until golden brown. These handheld treats are perfect for rounding out a delicious taco meal during a festive fiesta.

Seasonal and Fruit-Based Desserts

When it comes to pairing dessert with tacos, it’s an excellent idea to consider seasonal and fruit-based options. Fruit desserts often complement the flavors of tacos, offering a refreshing contrast to the savory components of the meal.

A popular fruit to pair with tacos is lime. Lime-infused desserts are a delightful choice, as the citrus flavor cuts through the richness of the tacos and offers a great palate cleanser. Some examples of lime desserts include lime bars, lime-pecan tart, or even lime-and-mango sorbet.

Strawberries are another delicious dessert option that can pair well with tacos. Fresh strawberries can be dipped in chocolate to create scrumptious chocolate-covered strawberries, or they can be incorporated into a fruit salad with other seasonal fruits like mango, watermelon, and cherry. This combination adds a touch of sweetness to round out the taco meal experience.

For a more indulgent choice, you can opt for a mango-based dessert. Incorporating mango into a cheesecake, parfait, or panna cotta can add rich, tropical flavors that complement the spice commonly found in tacos. Mangoes can also be used to make a cool and refreshing watermelon sorbet, which is perfect for hot summer days when tacos are typically enjoyed.

Nuts, such as pecans, make for a wonderful addition to fruit-based desserts as well. Pecans can add crunch and depth to desserts like fruit crumbles or cobblers, amplifying the flavors of fruits like strawberries and cherries.

In conclusion, the key to finding the perfect dessert to pair with tacos is focusing on refreshing, fruit-based options that contrast and complement the flavors of the main course. Whether it’s a lime-infused treat, a juicy fruit salad, or a delicious mango creation, there’s a delectable dessert choice for every taco lover.

Alternative and Special Diet Options

When enjoying tacos, it’s essential to consider alternative and special diet options for desserts that can appeal to various dietary restrictions and preferences. For those following a vegan lifestyle, there are several great options to satisfy their sweet tooth.

A favorite among vegan desserts is the Mexican Sweet Corn Cake. This moist cake is made from cornmeal, vegetable oil, and egg replacement, giving it a rich texture and subtle sweetness. It can be easily adapted to be gluten-free if necessary, by using gluten-free flour.

Mexican Wedding Cookies are another vegan-friendly choice. These buttery cookies made with vegan margarine, flour, and powdered sugar will melt in your mouth. The addition of ground nuts, like almonds or pecans, enhances their rich flavor.

For a light and fruity dessert, paletas are a refreshing choice. These Mexican popsicles offer a variety of flavors, such as mango, vanilla, or coconut, and can easily be made at home with fresh fruits and plant-based milk, like almond or coconut milk.

For guests following other special diets, consider these options:

DietDessert options
Dairy-freeSalsa and tortilla chips, guacamole, or vegan sour cream
Gluten-freeFruit salsa with corn tortilla chips, pastel de elote
Low-carbSugar-free mousse, cheesecake, or a mint-infused horchata

Sopaipillas are a popular gluten-free dessert. Prepared with tapioca flour and almond flour, these fried pastries can be drizzled with honey or dusted with cinnamon sugar for a sweet finish.

If you’re looking for a low-carb dessert option, consider a sugar-free mousse with flavors like chocolate or strawberry, or a decadent sugar-free cheesecake. For a refreshing drink that can double as dessert, a mint-infused horchata made with almond milk and a sugar substitute can be a delightful choice.

In conclusion, there are plenty of alternative and special diet options for desserts that pair well with tacos. It’s all about finding the right balance of flavors and textures to create a satisfying and inclusive dining experience for all guests.

Other Dessert Ideas for Taco Nights

When planning a taco night, you may want to consider some additional dessert options to complement your main course. Mexican cuisine offers a wide variety of tasty desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth after a savory meal.

For instance, rice pudding (arroz con leche) is a popular Mexican dessert that consists of rice cooked with milk, sugar, and cinnamon, often garnished with raisins. This creamy and slightly spiced dish would make a fitting choice to round off a taco meal. Another traditional Mexican dessert is buñuelos, which are thin, crispy fried pastries sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. They can be enjoyed plain or drizzled with syrup or honey for added sweetness.

If you’re looking for something refreshing, try serving ice cream or popsicles with flavors inspired by Mexican ingredients, like mango, cajeta (caramel), or horchata. These frozen desserts will provide an invigorating contrast to the bold flavors of tacos and side dishes, like enchiladas and beans.

Chocolate also plays a significant role in Mexican cuisine, making it an ideal ingredient for dessert recipes. A rich chocolate cake infused with cinnamon or chili spices would be an indulgent option for taco night. Similarly, cookies made with Mexican chocolate or featuring a hint of spice will offer a delightful treat that can be enjoyed on their own or paired with a strong espresso.

As for incorporating cheese into your dessert options, consider serving a creamy cheesecake or churros filled with sweet, melted cheese. These confections strike the perfect balance between sweet and savory, making them an attractive dessert choice for a Mexican dinner.

While not all of these suggestions may be traditional Mexican dessert recipes, they are inspired by the flavors and ingredients commonly found in this rich and varied cuisine. Offering a well-rounded selection of dessert options will ensure a memorable and satisfying conclusion to your taco night.

What Dessert Goes with Tacos?

Tasty Mexican treat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 433 kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Deep fryer or heavy skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening. Stir in 3/4 cup warm water until dough is smooth. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  • Roll out dough on a floured board until thin. Cut into 2 inch squares.
  • Heat oil in deep-fryer or heavy skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  • Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll warm sopapillas in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 6gFat: 19g
Keyword desserts for tacos, sopapillas
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Follow Us
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
Follow Us
Latest posts by Cassie Marshall (see all)