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Types Of Tacos: A Full Guide

Most Popular Types Of Tacos

Table of Contents

Just a few decades ago, tacos weren’t broadly popular in the United States beyond. Today, tacos are so beloved that we even have a designated day for the meal: Taco Tuesday! Some people view tacos as the perfect food: spicy, savory, and endlessly satisfying.

Even if you don’t run a Mexican restaurant, adding tacos to your menu can be a good choice. A taco has become something like a standard dish in the U.S., like a burger and fries or a slice of pizza. Fortunately, there are tons of options when it comes to styles of tacos, from pescado (fish) tacos to carne asada tacos.

At Budget Branders, we know what it takes to run a successful small business. Our goal is to help independently owned and operated food service businesses get the promotional products (like wax deli paper to place tacos on or paper bags to put taco orders in) that they need at a fair price. All of our custom disposable items are also available in smaller quantities to suit your needs.

Beyond Basic Tacos

In the United States, many people grow up eating a specific type of taco, made of a hard or soft tortilla with spiced ground meat, a pile of lettuce and shredded cheese, and topped with sour cream and/or salsa. This taco has been dubbed a “White People Taco” in a viral song. While delicious, it is far from authentic.

Tacos originated in Mexico, and the country is still the undisputed taco champion. While Americans eat more than 4.5 billion tacos each year, tacos are still more popular in Mexico. It is often served as a street food in Mexico, for a quick, on-the-go meal.

Tacos are a great menu addition for many restaurants and food trucks. Because the ingredients can be bought and/or prepared in bulk, it is often a fairly quick meal to prepare and serve. Tacos often have a high-profit margin as well, given that you can often mark up the price of the dish.

If you are considering adding tacos to your menu, you can stick to the relatively basic ground meat option. You can also branch out to some more unusual styles of tacos that will be sure to attract foodies – and gain you a devoted following.

Types of Tacos

Now that you know why tacos are such a great choice, it’s time to figure out what type of tacos you’d like to add to your menu. Below, we have put together a list of 25 different types of tacos. While some may be reserved for more adventurous eaters, many would find themselves at home at any menu!

Al Pastor Tacos

Al Pastor

A taco al pastor is a “shepherd-style” taco made from pork. The meat is marinated and then slow-cooked over an open flame on a trompo (spit). The meat is then topped with pineapple for a delicious taco.

Tacos Árabes

Tacos Árabes

Taco árabes is a specific style of taco that is made from meat that is marinated and then cooked on a spit. Its name is a reference to the Middle East, given the preparation method and the fact that the tortilla used for these tacos is pita-like.

Barbacoa tacos


Barbacoa is a style of cooking that involves cooking meat over an open flame or in a hole dug in the ground. Traditionally, barbacoa is made from beef head or cheeks or goat, but it can be made with almost any fatty meat before being piled into tacos. 

Birria tacos


In Guadalajara, the birria taco reigns supreme. This taco is made from a spicy meat stew (often made from goat). Birria itself is a special occasion dish, but the meat is frequently used for tacos.


A buche taco is made from a pig stomach that has been stewed for hours with spices and chilis. It has a soft, chewy texture that is less spongy than tripe. 


While it may not be for everyone, the meat from the head (cabeza) of a cow is delicious. A cabeza taco may feature a specific type of meat, like the cheeks, or meat from the whole head.


A campechanos taco is a meat lover’s dream. It can be made of whatever leftover meats you have on hand, such as carne asada, cecina de res, chorizo, chicarrón, and/or longaniza. The combination of flavors and textures makes for an extra delicious treat.

Carne Asada

In Spanish, carne asada means “grilled meat.” When it comes to tacos, however, it refers to a specific type of steak that is marinated and then grilled. The meat is either thinly sliced or chopped into small bits for tacos.


Carnitas tacos are made using pork shoulder that has been braised or simmered for hours until the meat falls apart. The shredded bits of pork may also be crispy at the ends. This pork is then piled onto tortillas for a tasty treat.


Cecina refers to a method of preparing beef or pork. The meat is sliced in large pieces and salted before being dried by smoke, the air, or the sun. The meat can then be folded into a tortilla.


If you’re into sustainability, then a taco made from chapulines – or grasshoppers – may be the way to go. Chapulines are typically dried and toasted before being flavored with lime juice and garlic to be used in various applications – including in tacos.


Chicharrones are fried pork skins that can be a great snack on their own. However, they’re also a great taco filling. The normally crispy treat is simmered in salsa verde, giving it a soft, chewy texture.


Chorizo is a Spanish-style sausage that is highly spiced, cured, and smoked. The Spanish brought chorizo to Mexico when they colonized the country, although there are some differences between Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo. For tacos, chorizo is removed from its casing and sauteed. 

Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita pibil is made from suckling pig that has been marinated in citric juice, seasoned with annatto seed, then wrapped in a banana leaf and slow roasted. The end result is a signature burnt orange hue and an incredibly tender meat for tacos.


Cueritos tacos are made by pickling thin strips of pig skin that are seasoned with chilis and spices. Unlike fried pig skin, this meat has a soft, chewy texture.

De Canasta

De canasta tacos also referred to as tacos al vapor or tacos sudados, are a style of taco made using a fried tortilla that is filled with various ingredients that can stay at room temperature for several hours. The finished taco is then steamed and sold by street vendors.


A Mexican specialty, huitlacoche tacos are made from a type of fungus that grows on organic corn. When it is cooked, this corn mushroom turns dark black and has a rich, earthy flavor. It is considered a delicacy in both Mexico and the United States.


Lengua is the Spanish word for tongue – specifically, beef tongue. This meat is cooked for hours before being chopped into small pieces and served in tacos.


Pescado, or fish, tacos are incredibly popular. They are usually made from a white fish that has either been grilled or fried. It is then topped with cabbage or lettuce, fresh pico de gallo, and sour cream or crema. Some pescado taco vendors use shrimp in place of fish.


Pollo tacos are any type of taco made from pollo, or chicken. It may be marinated and grilled before being cut into chunks, or cooked and shredded, tinga-style.  


Res means beef, so any type of taco that uses beef could be described as a “res” taco.  They are often served with a heap of raw onions and fresh cilantro.


Sesos tacos are tacos made from cow brains. It is made by boiling the head of the cow until the meat falls off of the bone, and then seasoning the meat and braising or grilling it. The result is an extra smooth, delicious texture.

Suadero de Res

Suadero de res tacos are made from a specific cut of beef, found between the belly and the leg of the cow. This meat is then stewed in lard before being fried, which results in an extra crispy texture.


A classic from the Mexican state of Puebla, tinga tacos are made by braising chicken thighs in a sauce made from tomatoes and chipotle peppers. This chicken is then shredded and piled into tortillas.


Tripas – or tripe – comes from the lining of a cow’s stomach or intestines. It requires a lengthy cooking process, from cleaning to boiling to cooking for a long period of time to avoid rubberiness. Tripas tacos are a traditional favorite, particularly in more rural communities.

Partner with Budget Branders

There truly is a taco for everyone – and for every appetite. Whether you want to offer a basic American-style taco to complement your menu or offer more complex and/or traditional Mexican tacos, it can be a tremendous boost to your restaurant or food truck’s bottom line. When it comes to serving your tacos, we can help with our line of high-quality disposable products.

Based in Michigan, Budget Branders works with food trucks, restaurants, and cafes across the United States. We offer high-quality disposable products, including custom coffee cups, custom plastic cups, custom coffee sleeves, custom plastic stadium cups, custom ripple cups, custom soup bowls, custom ice cream bowls, custom sandwich bags, and more. All of our products can be custom-printed with your business’ name and logo.

If you’re considering using branded disposable products in your restaurant, we can help. To learn more or to request a quote, contact us today by pressing the live chat button, or sending us a message online.

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