10 Tips to Make Sure Your Tacos Are Out of This World

photograph of a colorful table full of fresh ingredients and 2 tacos ready to eat

Are tacos part of your weekly dinner rotation, but they're getting a little boring? The beauty of tacos is their versatility, which makes evolving your taco game easy for even the non-cooks amongst us. Some of these tips to go from blah to boom may feel obvious, but trust us, they’re often overlooked. Read on for your guide to becoming a taco connoseur.

Everyone knows fresh is always best

A plate full of tacos with fresh and colorful ingredientsPhoto by Krisztian Tabori on Unsplash

When it comes to taco ingredients, always make sure they’re as fresh as possible. Crisp onions, juicy tomatoes, and vibrant cilantro can elevate your tacos from ordinary to extraordinary. Don’t even get us started on the tortillas! Whether you’re going for corn or flour, if the tortillas aren't fresh, they’ll be underwhelming. Look for brands that are locally made or that aren't pre-cooked. Cooking them on any flat pan or skillet is a breeze.

Mix up your proteins

A woman cooking meat in a frying pan

Don't limit yourself to just one type of protein, that’s boring! Instead, experiment with different options. If you usually have your tacos with ground beef, why not switch to chicken, grilled veggies, or pork every once in a while? To expand the vegetarian twist, substitute the meat with tofu or mushrooms. Or you can always go for seafood like fish or shrimp. There are virtually hundreds of different things you can put inside a tortilla to make your taco.

Learn to marinate like no one’s business

pieces of meat marinating with herbs and spices

A very simple way to elevate whatever protein you choose for your tacos is learning the art of marinating. An easy marinade that can work with chicken, pork, and beef consists of oil, lime juice, and spices like ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Don’t be afraid to try other marinades, like adobo sauce and other Mexican staples to make your protein more flavorful.

Add a little heat to it

red and yellow chili peppersPhoto by L'Odyssée Belle on Unsplash

A taco without a kick of heat will always feel like something is missing. It’s okay if you can’t handle your spice, you don’t have to use ghost peppers, but adding a little something spicy will elevate the tacos. So consider adding some chopped jalapeños, a drizzle of hot sauce, or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes to give your tacos that extra fiery punch. If you can handle your spice, have as much fun as you’d like!

Go the extra mile and make homemade salsa

vegetable grind in mortar and pestlePhoto by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

​While it’s easier to get store-bought salsa and call it a day, homemade goodness is unbeatable. There are many different kinds of salsa you can make at home with simple ingredients, but the classic one will always do well. You just need tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and some jalapeños. Chop them all up, squeeze some lime on them, and just like that, you have homemade pico de Gallo. You’ll find that the fresh salsa will add even more flavor and make the tacos a little refreshing.

Go all out with the toppings

cooked tacos with toppingsPhoto by Chad Montano on Unsplash

Think outside the box when it comes to taco toppings and switch them up every time. The options are quite varied, so you can keep a nice rotation going. Consider options like fresh guacamole, avocado slices, crunchy radishes, pickled onions, different kinds of salsa, and so much more. The possibilities are endless, so it’s an easy way to keep taco night interesting.

Warm the tortillas just right

woman in white and pink floral tank top cookingPhoto by Menú Acapulco on Unsplash

There's nothing worse than biting into a taco with a cold, stiff tortilla. Warm your tortillas just enough to make them soft and pliable, either by heating them in a skillet or wrapping them in foil and popping them in the oven. If you’re working with hard taco shells, just make sure they’re fresh so they provide the ultimate crunch (but let us remind you that a hard taco shell is very much not considered a traditional taco staple - but if you must, do you boo).

Layer your taco well

tacos on white ceramic platePhoto by Daniel Arriola on Unsplash

​Building the perfect taco is all about the layers. Start with your beans, though they’re optional; follow it up with your protein, add your toppings, and finish off with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese and a dollop of salsa. Every layer will add a dimension of flavor, so make sure you have all the fixings to make your tacos the best they can be.

Maintain a good balance

person holding a tacoPhoto by Israel Albornoz on Unsplash

When it comes to flavors, strive for balance. One element of the taco shouldn’t overpower the rest; they should all work together to deliver the symphony of flavors tacos are known for. Keep this in mind when you’re seasoning all the different fixings and you’ll be able to enjoy delicious tacos every single time.

Have a little something on the side

a table topped with a plate of food next to a bowl of guacamolePhoto by Hybrid Storytellers on Unsplash

Tacos are great on their own, but having a little something on the side can elevate the experience a lot more. For example, why not have some chicharrones to munch on in between tacos? What about tortilla chips with a different salsa from the one you’re putting on the tacos? It’s all about introducing a little variety, remember?

There you have it—10 tips to ensure your tacos are truly out of this world. So grab your apron and get ready to impress everyone’s taste buds on every taco night.

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