What to Serve With Tacos

Appetizers, Side Dishes, and More

Esquites

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Whether you're making a batch of crunchy beef tacos, whipping up some tender chicken fajitas, or laying out an impressive taco bar spread so everyone can make their own, everyone loves taco night. And they'll love it even more when you serve tacos with delicious appetizers, sides, and drinks.

  • 01 of 17

    Micheladas

    How to Create Your Personal Michelada Recipe

    The Spruce 

    Micheladas are flavorful spicy beer cocktails that are enjoyed from brunch until sundown. They're especially delicious on a hot day since they're cold and low alcohol. Adjust the beer to your tastes—light Mexican lagers make a hot sauce-forward michelada, while dark Mexican lagers add more toasty beer complexity.

  • 02 of 17

    Guacamole

    Guacamole

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    No taco night is complete without a big bowl of freshly-made guacamole. Serve as an appetizer with chips and as a topping for the tacos. You'll need perfectly ripe avocados, so shop accordingly. If you're worried your avocados won't be soft enough in time, place them in a paper bag with a banana to speed up the ripening process.

  • 03 of 17

    Vegan Frijoles Negros (Black Beans)

    Frijoles Negro (Black Beans)

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak 

    Black beans are a classic taco side dish and can double up as a taco filling for vegans and vegetarians. These frijoles are made from scratch, but they are simple to put together if you allow enough cooking time. The key to their deliciousness is the sofrito, a blend of bell pepper, onion, garlic, and spices.

  • 04 of 17

    Coleslaw Salad With Purple Cabbage

    Coleslaw Salad With Purple Cabbage

     The Spruce

    For a refreshing crunch, throw together some quick and easy coleslaw. It will add some nice texture and cool creaminess to your taco spread. It also makes a good topping for fish or shrimp tacos.

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  • 05 of 17

    Arroz Con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

    Arroz Con Leche

    The Spruce 

    Mexican rice pudding, or arroz con leche, is creamy and delicious and—unlike most rice puddings—is also egg free. The cinnamon-flavored dessert is best served warm, but can be chilled and served cold, too.

  • 06 of 17

    Cadillac Margarita

    Cadillac Margarita

    The Spruce 

    Turn your taco night into a party by serving Cadillac margaritas. Made with the same basic ratio as ordinary margaritas, Cadillac margaritas use top-shelf ingredients for a superior experience. A well-aged reposado tequila, Grand Marnier orange liqueur, and fresh-squeezed lime juice are all you need.

  • 07 of 17

    Esquites (Mexican Corn Off the Cob)

    Esquites

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Esquites, a simple, but flavorful dish of corn cooked in lard or bacon grease, onion, jalapeño, and lime juice, is an especially good dish to make in the summertime when corn is at its peak. Top with a dollop of sour cream or mayonnaise and a sprinkle of cheese.

  • 08 of 17

    Easy Mexican and Spanish-Style Rice

    Easy Mexican and Spanish-Style Rice

    The Spruce 

    There are a number of packaged Mexican rice options at the grocery store, but making your own is easy and far superior. A few simple ingredients like tomato sauce and garlic add lots of flavor to plain white rice for a tasty side dish.

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  • 09 of 17

    Classic Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe (Pico de Gallo)

    Classic Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

     The Spruce

    Fresh tomato salsa is quick and easy to make and is an ideal taco night appetizer, side dish, or topping. For best results, use high-quality tomatoes. Summertime is ideal for making salsa since that's when tomatoes and peppers are at their best, but even hothouse tomatoes will make a tasty pico de gallo.

  • 10 of 17

    Horchata

    Horchata

     The Spruce

    Horchata is one of the most popular agua frescas in Mexico. Often made with rice, it can also be made using nuts, seeds, and/or milk. This homemade recipe blends up white rice and soaks it in water before straining. It's mostly hands-off, making it a good make-ahead, kid-friendly drink for a taco party.

  • 11 of 17

    Instant Pot Refried Beans

    Instant Pot Refried Beans

    The Spruce 

    Using a pressure cooker to make refried beans saves time and effort. There's no need to soak the beans and they take a fraction of the usual time to cook. It's also a one-pot dish, cooking and pureeing in the Instant Pot. Serve as a side dish, a taco topping, or with chips as a bean dip.

  • 12 of 17

    Easy Tres Leches Cake

    Tres leche cake

    Dorling Kindersley / Charlotte Tolhurst / Getty Images 

    Tres leches cake gets its name from the three milks used to give the cake its signature moist texture. This version uses a boxed cake mix as the base for a shortcut that's still delicious and a great way to end a meal.

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  • 13 of 17

    Romaine Salad with Queso Fresco

    Romaine Salad with Queso Fresco

     The Spruce / Katie Workman

    Lighten up your taco bar with a fresh and lively green salad. This simple romaine salad is topped with crumbled queso fresco, a salty Mexican cheese. Red bell pepper adds color and celery adds crunch.

  • 14 of 17

    Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

    Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

    Elote, or Mexican street corn, is sure to be a family favorite. Perfectly roasted, boiled, or grilled corn on the cob is slathered in garlic mayo and rolled in cheese before being dusted with cilantro and chili powder. It's a messy and fun side dish that pairs perfectly with tacos.

  • 15 of 17

    Quinoa and Black Bean Salad With Corn and Cilantro

    Quinoa and Black Bean Salad With Corn and Cilantro

    Bill Boch / Getty Images 

    For a healthy side dish, make this easy quinoa salad with black beans, corn, and cilantro. Use vegetable broth to cook the quinoa for more flavor. This salad can be made ahead of time and served chilled, and the leftovers make a nice lunch.

  • 16 of 17

    Paloma Tequila Cocktail

    Paloma Tequila Cocktail

     The Spruce

    Palomas are a simple, but delicious combination of tequila, fresh lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Blanco or reposado tequilas are best for this cocktail, and Jarritos grapefruit soda is especially good. Serve with a salted rim and a wedge of lime.

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  • 17 of 17

    Churros

    Churros

    Tastyart Ltd Rob White / Getty Images

    Churros are a favorite treat throughout Central and South America. This homemade recipe is piped through a star tip, creating the signature ribbed shape, and fried until golden brown before being tossed in cinnamon sugar.