I would say that May should officially be named Taco Month, but let’s face it: that’s every month here in Austin. And it’s one of the reasons why I love this town since in my opinion there are few more delicious flavor combinations than grilled veggies or steak wrapped up in a warm corn tortilla with a dollop of guacamole. Mmmm… But before I get lost in my fantasies, I thought it would be fitting to prepare for May and the Cinco de Mayo festivities with a countdown of my 20 best taco recipes of all time.
These recipes are wide-ranging, from veggie versions to breakfast specialties to some that even ditch the tortilla (yes, really). But the consistency among them? (Aside from the fact that they’re all tacos, of course.) Each recipe is full of so much nuanced and layered flavor that you’re already dreaming about your next taco as soon as you dig into the first. Below, you’ll find a healthy dose of tangy pickled red onions, fresh and herby cilantro, and smoky vegetarian takes on classic filling combos that’ll leave you drooling (sorry, not sorry). In short, these 20 best taco recipes check all the Tex-Mex must-haves. The even better news? Wherever in the world you find yourself, you’re bound to fall hard for the deliciousness below.
So keep scrolling for all the recipes, and I’d love to hear your favorite taco recipe (or restaurant!) In the comments.
Feature image by Ashleigh Amoroso.
Roasted Cauliflower Tacos With Cilantro Pesto
Why We Love It: These roasted cauliflower tacos have become weeknight faves at our house, and they also happen to be vegan, gluten-free, and packed with all kinds of good-for-you ingredients. (Not that you’d notice as you devour another one.)
Hero Ingredient: Make extra cilantro pesto to use later in the week on salmon, in a bowl, or mixed with olive oil for an herby salad dressing. Trust me — once you try it, you’ll always want it on hand.
Get the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Tacos With Cilantro Pesto.
Tequila Lime Fish Tacos
Why We Love It: There’s no better way to beat the summer heat than with a bright, zesty serving of fish tacos. I start with a marinade using tequila and lime zest, grill the fish to flaky perfection, and then top the tacos with crunchy cabbage and tangy pickled red onions.
Hero Ingredient: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: pickled red onions. They strike the perfect balance between zesty, sharp, and sweet to perfectly finish everything they touch.
Get the recipe for Tequila Lime Fish Tacos.
Hoisin Chicken Cabbage Tacos
Why We Love It: This is a lightened-up and truly healthy version inspired by the flavors in classic Peking Duck. I’d never used cabbage as the “wrapper” for tacos before, and the result was even better than I’d imagined.
Hero Ingredient: Blanching the cabbage before assembly helps keep all those yummy toppings inside the taco and off your plate, (the goal of all handheld food, after all). And with toppings as delicious as these, you’ll be glad you did.
Get the recipe for Hoisin Chicken Cabbage Tacos.
Taco Salad Bites
Why We Love It: I love chips and queso as much as any other self-respecting Austinite, but sometimes I’m in the mood to set out appetizers that are a little more unexpected. Enter: these healthy taco salad bites.
Hero Ingredient: Kale may not be your taco salad go-to, but like these taco salad bites, it’s unexpected yet appreciated. You really can’t go wrong soaking anything in a spicy cilantro vinaigrette, but kale adds a nutritional boost that you won’t get from iceberg or romaine.
Get the recipe for Taco Salad Bites.
Roasted Veggie Tacos With Chipotle Mayo
Why We Love It: This is one of the most satisfying vegetarian dinners I make — meat-eaters won’t even notice. Thanks to a hearty veggie filling and smoky chipotle mayo, this dinner will earn a spot on your list of faves.
Hero Ingredient: Sweet potato never ceases to amaze me with its versatility, which is definitely the case here. It is the perfect complement to roasted chickpeas and sautéed zucchini and makes for an all-around delicious vegetarian taco.
Get the recipe for Roasted Veggie Tacos With Chipotle Mayo.
Pita Tostadas With Butternut Squash, Black Beans, & Avocado
Why We Love It: Okay, these aren’t technically tacos, but since they’re one of our most popular recipes of all time, I figured I better include them. The ingredients are unexpected, so trust me on this one and make them immediately.
Hero Ingredient: Where to begin? This tostada is loaded with creamy butternut squash, lime-y black beans, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and lots of chopped cilantro. Combine all of that with a drizzle of lime crema and you’re in business.
Get the recipe for Pita Tostadas With Butternut Squash, Black Beans, & Avocado.
Cucumber & Pineapple Shrimp Tacos
Why We Love It: All my favorite summer flavors rolled up into one delicious, charred-on-the-grill bite.
Hero Ingredient: Creamy avocado crema paired with charred shrimp? Sign me up.
Get the recipe for Cucumber & Pineapple Shrimp Tacos.
Pumpkin Spice Tacos
Why We Love It: ‘Cause pumpkin spice flavor is too good to only enjoy in the winter. The black bean and red onion filling is so good, you’ll want to double the batch and eat the leftovers all week long.
Hero Ingredient: It’s more of a method, but hear me out. Microwaving your pumpkin before peeling its tough exterior makes the task so much easier.
Get the recipe for Pumpkin Spice Tacos.
Simple Breakfast Tacos With Avocado
Why We Love It: It’s hard to imagine starting a Saturday morning without a breakfast taco. Born in Austin, these egg-filled tacos are the pride of the South, and rightfully so. Whether you’re a bacon-egg-cheese, potato-egg-cheese, or a good old-fashioned bean-and-cheese person, you can’t go wrong with a breakfast taco in one hand and coffee in the other. The combo guarantees a good day.
Hero Ingredient: Don’t forget hot sauce or salsa for topping (or dipping). With the right amount of avocado, any spice level is a fair game.
Get the recipe for Simple Breakfast Tacos With Avocado.
Fish Tacos With Avocado Crema
Why We Love It: A few fresh veggies, three-ingredient avocado crema, plus an affordable fish like tilapia and you’ve got one of my all-time favorite summertime dinners on the planet.
Hero Ingredient: Floral, earthy, and citrusy, cumin and coriander come together to give that tilapia a flavor worth writing about. Oh, and don’t forget the perfect crust that delivers a salty surprise.
Get the recipe for Fish Tacos With Avocado Crema.
Chimichurri Fish Tacos
Why We Love It: A trip to Cabo San Lucas inspired the best taco recipe I’ve ever had. This is the perfect combination of just-cooked fish, cooling cabbage, creamy aioli, and lots of heat wrapped up in a warm corn tortilla. It still makes me drool.
Hero Ingredient: It’s hard to beat chimichurri. It is full of fresh flavor that elevates everything it touches with herby, acidic goodness.
Get the recipe for Chimichurri Fish Tacos.
Lime-y Chicken Tacos With Jicama, Avocado, & Mint
Why We Love It: Inspired by the famous rotisserie agave-lime chicken taco at Fresa’s, this delicious taco recipe is the perfect combination of fresh corn tortilla, avocado, jicama, carrot, and jalapeño, paired with a cooling chipotle aioli and fresh mint. Yum!
Hero Ingredient: A round of applause for tacos that strike that balance between spicy and palatable. This El Santo-inspired taco keeps things spicy enough to be interesting, but cool enough to let you savor all of its hard-earned flavors.
Get the recipe for Lime-y Chicken Tacos With Jicama, Avocado, & Mint.
Chili-Rubbed Salmon Tacos With Cashew-Broccoli Slaw
Why We Love It: In Austin, tacos are a way of life. They can be dressed up or down and are perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Comfort food? Health food? Somewhere in between? Exempt from the rules, tacos are one of those rare foods that can be both stress-free and nutritious, with no fork and knife required.
Hero Ingredient: This salmon taco is a prime example of how simple ingredients can be elevated when enveloped in a warm, corn tortilla.
Get the recipe for Chili-Rubbed Salmon Tacos With Cashew-Broccoli Slaw.
Spicy Peanut Brussels Sprout Tacos
Why We Love It: Growing tired of tacos is hard, I’ll admit, but this recipe is perfect to make when you’re craving something unique but familiar. It combines brussels sprouts, radishes, and mashed avocados for a vegetarian taco that every eater will love.
Hero Ingredient: Spicy peanut sauce brings all kinds of unique flavor to this taco that makes it feel different than your average taco night.
Get the recipe for Spicy Peanut Brussels Sprout Tacos.
Ultimate Tacos Al Pastor
Why We Love It: Ultimate is an understatement. These tacos al pastor combine the essence of authenticity that you’d get from a Mexican restaurant with the accessibility of cooking them at home. This recipe is as close to perfection as you can get without spit-grilling your pork, making them perfect for outdoor gatherings and weeknight dinners alike.
Hero Ingredient: The taste of pineapple is a total treat.
Get the recipe for Ultimate Tacos Al Pastor.
Black Bean Tacos With Mango and Radish Salsa
Why We Love It: Mango, black beans, and lots of veggies come together to make a simple yet flavorful vegetarian taco dish that even meat-eaters will love.
Hero Ingredient: The mango and radish salsa practically screams summer, so feel free to make extra to use throughout the week. It would be great on pretty much anything grilled, and even better when enjoyed with good weather and company.
Get the recipe for Black Bean Tacos With Mango and Radish Salsa.
Fried Fish Tacos
Why We Love It: Mild white fish is a perfect canvas for toppings, which is definitely the case with these fried fish tacos. The fish is lightly fried for a not-too-indulgent base for mango salsa, red cabbage slaw, sliced avocado, or whatever you like on your tacos. Set out your tortillas, fish, and toppings so everyone can assemble to their liking.
Hero Ingredient: The toppings are optional, but lime juice and cilantro are * strongly * encouraged. You just can’t beat the acidity and floral flavor that lime and cilantro bring to the table.
Get the recipe for Fried Fish Tacos.
Roasted Beet Tostada With Avocado Crema, Goat Cheese & Pepitas
Why We Love It: First thing’s first, these loaded tostadas are made on your trusty sheet pan, which is so easy for busy weeknights or weekdays. Using earthy beets, avocado crema, goat cheese, and pepitas, this recipe boasts all kinds of flavor and nutrients that everyone, including the pickiest eaters, will love.
Hero Ingredient: Can you ever have too much goat cheese?
Get the recipe for Roasted Beet Tostada With Avocado Crema, Goat Cheese & Pepitas.
Why We Love It: Ground beef, potatoes, and golden raisins are the main ingredients in these show-stopping tacos. Not only are they easy to make, but these tacos bolster an authentic Latin flavor profile that’s truly special.
Hero Ingredient: Don’t knock the golden raisins! They bring a subtle sweetness that beautifully complements the beef.
Get the recipe for Picadillo Tacos.
Black Bean and Pineapple Salsa Lettuce Boats
Why We Love It: These not-quite-tacos are the perfect pick for a filling, low-carb meal. With pineapple, black beans, bell pepper, and cilantro, you really can’t go wrong here by making these for lunch, dinner, a midday snack, or all the above.
Hero Ingredient: Adobo chipotle sauce gives your veggies (and fruit) a complex, smoky profile.
Get the recipe for Black Bean and Pineapple Salsa Lettuce Boats.
This post was originally published on May 1, 2019, and has since been updated.