Best Taco Recipes
Texas Chile Short Rib Tacos
The sauce for these tender beef short ribs is intense. To round out the tang and heat from the tomatoes and chiles, cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee add a little semisweet chocolate. "It's mellow and sweet," says Ted. "The chocolate puts everything in balance."
Tacos al Pastor
This supersmart hack of the classic Mexican recipe gives you all the flavor without all the fuss. Rather than marinating pork shoulder for days and then spit-roasting, you marinate it overnight, then grill for less than five minutes.
Steak Tacos with Pineapple
A quick marinade of soy sauce, garlic and ginger flavors the skirt steak for these super easy tacos.
Barbacoa Beef Tacos with Two Sauces
While most meat is put on the grill raw, these intensely flavorful Mexican beef short ribs from chef Roberto Santibañez are first braised with chiles and spices until meltingly tender. The cooked meat is then crisped on the grill, shredded and served in corn tortillas with a sauce made from the braising liquid.
Fish Tacos with Tomatillo-Jalapeño Salsa
For her light and satisfying tacos, chef Deborah Schneider fills warm corn tortillas with meaty charred halibut and aguachiles, a brilliant, spicy, tart salsa.
L.A. Gas Station Tacos
Los Angeles's Kogi BBQ truck started the Korean-taco craze. Chef Roy Choi also loves the trashy ingredients (processed cheese! pork rinds!) sold at American gas stations.
Marinated Skirt Steak Tacos with Pecan-Chipotle Salsa
Scrambled Egg and Swiss Chard Tacos
These delicious vegetarian tacos are packed with scrambled eggs, sautéed Swiss chard and tomatoes, then topped with salsa verde and sour cream.
At New York City’s Dos Toros, brothers Leo and Oliver Kremer offer amazing San Francisco–style tacos, burritos and quesadillas—simple, fresh and sustainable.
Grilled Pork and Onion Tacos
Grilling pork quickly not only keeps it moist, but adds a charred, smoky flavor that is lovely in these tacos. Remember to grill the cutlets only until they’re just cooked through; leave them on the heat any longer and they can dry out.
Fish Tacos with Creamy Lime Guacamole and Cabbage Slaw
Fish tacos are a staple among California surfers but are often beer-battered and fried. Kerry Simon’s healthier, grilled version enriches the guacamole with low-fat sour cream.
Chile-Spiced Skirt Steak Tacos
In 2006, three brothers—Jesse, Brian and David Vendley—started hawking homemade tacos from a cart on the streets of Soho in Manhattan. In 2009, the trio opened restaurant Calexico in Brooklyn. The secret to their success: superfresh fillings like the pico de gallo in these carne asada (steak) tacos.
Tofu-and-Vegetable Tacos with Eggplant-Ancho Spread
Chef Alyssa Gorelick wraps grilled vegetables and tofu in tortillas with an eggplant-and-ancho-chile spread that gives the tacos a rich, smoky taste. The spread is also delicious as a dip with pita chips.
Fried Chicken Tacos
“Right in Tijuana’s red-light district sits Kentucky Fried Buches, where cooks fry chicken necks, skin on, to fill soft corn tortillas. I can’t stop eating them,”; says Andrew Zimmern. “At home, I fry skin-on chicken thighs until they’re supercrisp, then eat them with avocado-tomatillo salsa, my family’s favorite.”
Chipotle-Rubbed Salmon Tacos
These tacos are a great way to eat heart-healthy salmon; Deborah Schneider, a huge advocate of cooking with sustainable fish, prefers wild Alaskan salmon. She tops the fish with crunchy cabbage—a traditional taco garnish that has all kinds of vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A and C and calcium. The tangy apple-cucumber salsa is juicy, crisp and full of fiber.
Shrimp Tacos with Pickled-Red-Onion Salad
After chef Dean Fearing made these spicy shrimp tacos with pickled onions for the BubbleQ, he served them at his Dallas restaurant, Fearing’s. They are now the signature dish. “To me, anything wrapped in a flour tortilla is absolutely delicious,” he says.
Fried-Fish Reuben Tacos
“I’m crazy about fish tacos,” says chef Amanda Hallowell. “And my sister Jessie is a sauerkraut fanatic. She made a fish Reuben sandwich one day, and we said, ’Let’s combine the Reuben and the fish taco.’ ” At Nebo Lodge, that means fried flounder wrapped in a homemade flour tortilla with Jarlsberg cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing.
Chicken and Cabbage Tacos with Cilantro Cream
Except for its Velveeta-y chile con queso, San Francisco’s Tacolicious prizes local ingredients—both at its Ferry Plaza stand and at its restaurant.
Chicken & Poblano Tacos with Crema
This is a variation on the chorizo tacos that Justin Large makes at Big Star. You can replace the chicken strips with chorizo; for a vegetarian taco, Large recommends subbing in crumbled spiced tofu.
Chicken Tinga Tacos
“The chicken is braised in the oven, but you can make it in a slow cooker or completely on the stove, in a casserole,” says Jenn Louis. There are many versions of tinga—the smoky Mexican tomato sauce—and this one is especially easy, calling for only a few simple ingredients.
Crunchy Tofu Tacos
From his Pepto-pink truck, Joe Kim of the Flying Pig sells French-Asian tacos and sliders all around L.A., playfully combining ingredients like the fried tofu and peanuts here.
Duck Confit Tacos
“If Mexico hadn’t shared its chiles with China, would we have spicy Chinese food?” asks chef José Andrés. His Vegas spot, China Poblano, with dishes like these Asian duck tacos, shows how more and more chefs are combining seemingly unrelated cuisines.
Tacos al Pastor
“Tacos, whiskey, hillbilly music”—that’s the promise of Chicago’s Big Star, famed chef Paul Kahan’s new project with Donnie Madia and mixologist Michael Rubel of Violet Hour. Though they call the place a dive (it’s not), the classic tacos—like the exceptional grilled-pork one here—are impressively fresh. And there’s a take-out window.
Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos
Skinless turkey thighs and drumsticks are packed with flavor; they’re also low in fat and high in protein and essential minerals like selenium. Deborah Schneider braises the meat in beer until ultratender, then shreds it for tacos. “It’s also fabulous in a sandwich,” she says.
Spiced Crab Tacos
Chef Michael Psilakis’s bright, fresh crab tacos incorporate traditional Latin ingredients and a hit of Asian chile sauce. Cooked shrimp would be great here as well.
Soft Pork Tacos with Spicy Black Beans
Black beans are rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber and loaded with protein, as is pork tenderloin, a very lean cut. Chiles give the beans a spicy kick.
Falafel Tacos with Spiced Citrus Crema
In this fun Middle Eastern–meets–Mexican gluten-free dish, Silvana Nardone serves falafel in corn tortillas with sour cream that she doctors with citrus juices as well as cumin and fennel.
Green-Market Tacos with Corn Crema
Food & Wine's Kay Chun tosses sweet summer corn and raw green and yellow wax beans in a creamy, tangy mix of yogurt, feta, olive oil and cilantro to use as the filling for tortillas. It's a great vegetarian meal on a hot day because there's no cooking involved. For carnivores, it can easily be embellished with sliced roast beef, ham or shredded chicken. Just be sure to get the freshest corn and beans you can find.
For his take on breakfast tacos, F&W’s Justin Chapple fills warm corn tortillas with scrambled eggs, crisp bacon and Monterey Jack cheese.
Just about everything served in a tortilla is better—even carrots! Here, small (not baby!) carrots are roasted with fragrant cumin seeds, then served in warm homemade tortillas with juicy, meaty skirt steak. For a vegetarian version, swap out the steak for roasted mixed mushrooms.