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5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar + Free Download

Taco bout a party! Tacos are all the rage right now and planning your own taco bar can be simple and fun! I’m pretty sure that we have new taco restaurants popping up every week here.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Mention the word taco and all of your friends will be rushing over for your taco party.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Let’s taco bout love. On to the tips!

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Tip One – Plan Your Menu

Your menu can be as fancy or as easy as you want it to be. For this party, I created three signature tacos along with a build your own taco bar. The three tacos I created were tacos al pastor, barbacoa beef and green chile chicken.

Tacos al pastor – pork, pineapple, onion, cilantro
Barbacoa beef – beef, chopped onions, cheddar cheese, pico, cilantro, avocado
Green chile chicken – green chile chicken, diced red onion, cotija, cilantro, avocado

For this party, I wanted to be extra and an overachiever and do three meats, but typically I like to choose one or two meats for a taco party. I made shredded pork, green chile chicken and shredded beef. The recipe for these three meats can be found here. You can really do any combination and it can be as simple as ground beef or ground turkey with taco meat seasoning.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Toppings! Tacos must have toppings – it’s required by law. It can range from a few simple staples such as cheese, tomatoes and salsa to a range of guacamole, limes, pineapple, baja sauce, sliced avocado and so much more! For this party, I used pico, pineapple, jalapeños, red onion, sliced avocado, cotija cheese, shredded mexican cheese, guacamole, sliced limes and shredded lettuce with sour cream and baja sauce.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Now that you have your menu planned and know what toppings you’ll be having, it’s time to create your grocery shopping list and shop! I like to shop two days before your party but could be done the day before.


Tip Two – Prep Everything Ahead of Time!

Any by everything, I mean just about everything! One of the best parts of a taco bar is almost all of the prep can be done the night before. The only thing I wouldn’t prep ahead of time is guacamole or avocados since they brown so easy.

Put your sour cream and baja sauce in squeeze bottles for easy use. They are typically a stiffer food and harder to get off of a spoon for tacos and this will allow your guests to manage this so much easier. I get these squeeze bottles from Bed Bath and Beyond and are cheap.

An optional step, but oh so worth it – toast your tortillas!


Tip Three – Use Labels for Food items

It’s never a good feeling to go up to a food table and wonder what something is (especially if you end up taking it and not liking what it was). Label foods that aren’t super obvious. You don’t want to overload the table with food tents but it’s good to label items that your guests may not know exactly what it is.

For my taco bar, I labeled the three different meats, the tortillas, pineapple, pico de gallo, jalapeños, cotija cheese and limes.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Tip Four – Have Fun With Decorations

Decorations are the second best part of the table scape (minus the food!). Have some fun with these.

I feel like every party design needs some kind of banner, balloons, plants (fake or real) and something fun. I like to color coordinate everything so it all feels cohesive and on brand for the taco party.

Who doesn’t love a good saying? Our ‘Taco Bout a Party!’ banner was the perfect addition for this party. I printed this banner on card stock and strung it on dark grey string and hung it on the wall. I sandwiched a colorful sombrero right in-between the banner for an added pop of color and interest. You can find this banner and have the ability to make any banner saying you want in our shop here.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

An element that I knew I wanted to showcase was the signature taco idea from my menu planning. I wanted guests to have a few ideas for tacos they could build or know they could create their own. I designed this menu and printed it out on vinyl with my Cricut and adhered it to glass from a picture frame that I took the backing out of.

The design is 23.5” wide x 8.5” tall and I used a white picture frame from Target that I painted the yellow and green corners on. You can download the design for this menu for free here!

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

This balloon cactus. Heart. This isn’t an original idea, but it super cute and very taco themed. A project that’s super simple: blow up various sizes of green balloons, write little v’s with a black sharpie and either glue or tape the balloons together. I placed mine in a terra cotta pot, but any pot will work.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

And balloons. You can’t have a party without balloons! My motto is always the more balloons the better.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

Tip Five – How To Display Your Taco Bar

Great tablescapes include various items on different levels to give items height and interest.

This is how I like to build my table:

  1. I start with the blank table where I’m having the taco party.
  2. I add in my height boxes. For the taco party, I know I want my three meat selections higher than the other food. Your height boxes can really be anything, I’m using bricks and a board, it could be books or a small tub – just make sure it’s steady and won’t move or fall over.
  3. I start adding in the decorations on the wall I’ll be using to judge the height and placement of everything.
  4. Add the tablecloth you’ll be using. You can add a table runner or since this a very informal taco party, I added a cheap piece of kraft paper to give the table some interest.
  5. Start to place a few dishes to get a feel for how everything will fit. I like to add paper plates on the far left and then the natural progression of how your guest’s will build their tacos – tortillas, meats, toppings.
  6. Try to leave some extra space on the front of the table so guests can put down their plate if they need to for adding an item.
  7. Add in napkins and silverware (if using) at the end. This will free up guests hands while going through the taco bar since they won’t need the silverware or napkins yet.
  8. Finally, add in any more decorations and touches. This could include flowers, plants, cactus balloon, etc.

I’ve created this gif of how I created my taco party tablescape:

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

And there you have it! Five tips for planning your next epic taco bar party.

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

If you have your own taco party, please share it on social media! Tag us using @helloinvites and the hashtag #helloinvitesparties so we can see it!

Get more taco party decorations here.

Have a great party!

5 Tips to Plan an Epic Taco Bar | Hello Invites

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