Don't know what toppings to put on the tacos you just made? Here is a list of some of the most popular, but most importantly, the most delicious taco toppings to bring out the best flavors from your tacos!
- The Best Taco Toppings to Bring Out the Best Flavor from Your Tacos
- What toppings to put on a taco
- What is a common/popular topping for tacos in Mexico?
- Toppings for Crispy Tacos
- What can be considered a fried taco?
- What are the most common salsas for tacos?
- Raw Salsas for Tacos
- Roasted & Creamy Salsas
- What are some healthy taco toppings?
- Extra Taco Toppings
The Best Taco Toppings to Bring Out the Best Flavor from Your Tacos
Tacos toppings are generally very straightforward and easy and quick to prepare. The toppings serve to complement the filling of the tacos, whether they be steak, pork, seafood, or vegetable tacos. Each topping plays a crucial part in making the tacos a whole meal. Toppings can include a combination of vegetables and salsas. And a few types of tacos might also have crumbled cheese and Mexican Cream.
No two tacos are created equal, and the toppings you use will depend on the type of taco you’re making. For example, we have some tacos that will only be found topped a salsa, like a lamb barbacoa taco. While there are other tacos that will be loaded with toppings, they can have up to 6-8 toppings. Crispy Tacos is a good example.
Nowadays, some taquerias will have an elaborate display of toppings that they offer, and that can be a little overwhelming for those not familiar with eating tacos. Some taco bars here in the States will have a cart with up to 10 or more salsas, plus 10 different other toppings like chopped vegetables and peppers.
What toppings to put on a taco
As I mentioned above, not every taco is the same, and thus each taco has its own unique toppings. However, one thing that stays the same is the prevalence of a good salsa. Many people can’t conceive the idea of eating their French fries without ketchup, and we feel the same about eating a taco without salsa!
My goal in this post is to explain to you what toppings go with certain types of tacos. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everything is written in stone, or that you can’t experiment by creating your own taco topping combinations.
What is a common/popular topping for tacos in Mexico?
Two words: Chopped Onion & Cilantro. The most popular street-style tacos in Mexico are steak tacos, with the steak cooked either on a griddle or a charcoal grill, and those tacos are usually only topped with chopped onion and cilantro. Alongside the meat, some taco vendors will also sauté or grill some white or green onions, as well as jalapeño or serrano peppers. These are generally served beside the assembled tacos.
To those tacos, and to almost any other taco, we will also add our favorite salsa. I want to make it clear that not everyone will like their salsa to be spicy, or will even like adding a salsa at all (but that is very rare). I also have to mention that many people like to add a few drops of lime juice, and because of that, lime wedges are a popular ingredient that you will find at many taquerias.
Other tacos that are topped with chopped onion & cilantro include Tacos al Pastor, Chorizo Tacos, Beef Barbacoa Tacos, Birria Tacos, Carnitas Tacos, and other tacos that aren’t as popular outside of Mexico, such as tacos made with Cecina, Tripe, Mollejas, and Suadero, just to name a few. The tacos you will find will vary according to each region of the country.
Toppings for Crispy Tacos
Crispy taco toppings are a whole different universe compared to street-style tacos (which are served on a soft tortilla). The most common toppings that you will find for crispy tacos are shredded lettuce (romaine or iceberg), finely shredded cabbage, sliced or chopped tomatoes, and onions (white onion is more popular than red onion). After the lettuce, tomato, and onion, other toppings you can add include Crumbled Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese, a drizzle of Mexican Cream, and avocado (either sliced or diced).
But things don’t end there: in some Mexican homes and small family-run diners, the toppings can include pickled pork skins, pickled jalapeno (or serrano) peppers, and pickled carrots. Fried crispy tacos can end up with up to 10 different toppings on them.
What can be considered a fried taco?
Well, any taco that is deep-fried in oil. These could be Flautas, where the tortillas are stuffed and rolled, or the Crispy Tacos where the tortillas are folded in half, like a half-moon shape. Here on the blog, we have the beef flautas, Potato Crispy Tacos, Chorizo and Potato Crispy Tacos, and the Cod Fish Crispy Tacos.
What are the most common salsas for tacos?
Although almost every taqueria here in the States offers a salsa called “Salsa Taquera”, you will find a slightly different version of it in each taqueria. The traditional Salsa Taquera usually consists of a salsa made with a combination of tomatoes, tomatillos, and Arbol peppers. In addition to that, we also have the “Salsa Verde” which you made with cooked tomatillos, serrano (or jalapeno) peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro. And for those that love a spicy salsa, most taquerias will serve a spicy salsa made with Arbol pepper or Puya pepper.
Other unique and favorite salsas include the Creamy Avocado Salsa (made with avocado and jalapeño pepper), the hot Creamy Habanero salsa, and the Jalapeno salsa. In Mexico, there are too many salsas to count, but these are the most popular ones that we use to top our tacos. Each taco lover will have a favorite salsa to use according to what type of taco they’re eating. As far as the types of salsas, we have fresh (raw) salsas, roasted salsas, creamy salsas, and cooked salsas.
Raw Salsas for Tacos
The Pico de Gallo salsa, also known as Salsa Mexicana in some places, is perfect for fish or seafood tacos. It also makes a great topping for Carnitas Tacos. Raw Tomatillo Salsa is another great salsa for Carnitas Tacos. This Raw Tomatillo Salsa keeps well for up to 3 days in the fridge. The Xnipec Salsa, made with Habanero Peppers, is a good choice for topping Pork Pibil Tacos.
Roasted & Creamy Salsas
Roasted Salsas are a great choice for steak tacos, we prepare them on the grill sometimes while the meat for the tacos is cooking. You can make Red or Green Roasted Salsa. Creamy Salsas have become extremely trendy among taco lovers lately, and include the famous Creamy Avocado Salsa. This one is easy and quick to prepare, plus it keeps good in the fridge for up to 3 days. After the Creamy Avocado Salsa, we have the spicy Creamy Jalapeno Salsa, and the even hotter Creamy Habanero salsa.
What are some healthy taco toppings?
As you can see from all the offerings I have already mentioned, most if not all of the toppings are healthy toppings. Most of the common salsas have tomatoes and peppers. In addition to the salsas, we add lettuce, cabbage, onion, tomatoes, and even carrots and cucumbers to certain types of tacos. We do not load our tacos with cheese or sour cream, as many people falsely believe.
Extra Taco Toppings
In addition to salsas and fresh vegetables, we also enjoy a variety of pickled ingredients. In Mexico, we love to add pickled peppers, onions, and carrots, in some types of tacos (mostly crispy tacos). The most popular peppers to have pickled are Jalapeño Peppers. But we also have pickled Habaneros and even pickled Bird peppers in the northern part of Mexico. Also, Pickled Red Onions, which are very popular for Cochinita Pibil Tacos and other dishes from the Yucatan Peninsula.
Other things that you might sometimes find served alongside tacos are slices of cucumbers and radishes. We like to serve them more as a side dish than as a topping for the tacos. Additionally, we like these “Chiles Toreados”, peppers roasted and lightly seasoned with soy sauce. We enjoy chiles toreados with tacos and grilled steaks.
I hope you enjoy this article about the Best Taco Toppings. And, if you know of any extra toppings, please share them with us in the comment section.