Taco bar on a wooden surface with multiple dishes of ingredients (logo overlay)

How to Create an Allergy-Friendly Taco Bar

A Taco Bar is the perfect way to serve food to a large group. It’s inexpensive, easy to put together, and allows customization for guests.

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Whenever we have friends over, I like to have a variety of options for food. Especially when it’s our Dinner Club because we have multiple dietary restrictions in our group. One is severely allergic to dairy, another is a vegetarian. And there are 4 kids ages 6 and under so that comes with its own challenges. Last month we decided to do a Taco Bar for dinner. 

It’s the best way to cover all bases when you have a lot of people for a few reasons:

  • The ingredients are pretty simple
  • It’s an inexpensive meal to put together
  • There isn’t a lot of cooking involved
  • Everyone can put their taco together and have exactly what they want
  • You can have options for almost every dietary restriction

To avoid dairy, we made sure the cheese was in its own bowl and the sour cream stayed in the container it came in. For fillings, we did both traditional ground beef and refried beans for our vegetarian friend (and I prefer beans, too). Also, if you need to avoid gluten, corn tortillas are usually a safe option over flour tortillas. The kids had simple tacos with very few fillings while the adults loaded theirs up. 

Top-down view of taco bar with each ingredient and topping in separate bowls

When we went to Missouri while I was pregnant with Tyler, Justin’s family threw us a surprise baby shower. His aunt wanted to do a Taco Bar for all of the reasons I listed, but his grandmother (who is one of the sweetest people I have ever met) disagreed. Her reasoning:

Does anyone really know how to eat a taco?

Justin’s grandmother when his aunt suggested a taco bar for the baby shower they had for us when I was pregnant with Tyler

When we heard that story, we were all laughing. His dad said they had tacos all the time growing up. She must have meant she wasn’t sure about a taco bar and what that meant and if people would want to have to put their own tacos together. But now, anytime we have tacos we have a laugh thinking about Grandma Lynch. 

Taco Night

​Taco Tuesday calls for the ultimate taco bar! There are so many ways you can dress up or down your taco bar party. If you want to get fancy and go all out with decorations, you can try a Cinco de Mayo theme or a Dia de los Muertos theme. While tacos are fun for a special occasion, though, they are also perfect for a family dinner. 

Taco Bars are perfect for:

  • Birthday party
  • Camping dinner
  • Bridal showers
  • Potluck dinner
  • Celebrations
  • and More

Additional Toppings

The best part about a taco bar is everyone gets to put together their own plate of food. While the items below are our favorites, you can add so many delicious ingredients and toppings to your taco party to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. 

  • Tortilla Chips
  • Chili Powder
  • Green Onions
  • Mild Salsa
  • Mexican Rice
  • Corn Salad or Corn Salsa
  • Sweet Corn
  • Fajita Veggies
  • Guacamole

Taco Bar Step by Step


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fajita seasoning (or 1 package)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese (shredded)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1 cup lettuce (shredded)
  • 2 avocados (sliced)
  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 10 flour tortilla shells


Prepare the taco meat. You can either use a packaged taco seasoning or make your own. I actually had extra of my fajita seasoning, so I used that in our taco meat. Brown the ground beef then drain. Add 2/3 cup of water and taco seasoning, stirring until the water has mostly evaporated.

Also, heat the refried beans on the stovetop so they are warm. Make sure to stir frequently so they don’t burn on the bottom. Chop all of the vegetables, shred the cheese, and prepare any other taco toppings.

Lay everything out in separate bowls or serving dishes. If you have one, use a chafing dish for the taco meat and beans to keep them warm.

Taco with all of the toppings on a wooden board with other toppings around it and a plate of shells in the background next to a bowl of taco meat


Originally Published On: May 2, 2019

Last Updated On: September 13, 2023

Taco bar on a wooden surface with multiple dishes of ingredients

Taco Bar

A Taco Bar is the perfect way to serve food to a large group. It’s inexpensive, easy to put together, and allows customization for guests.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Main Dish
ground beef
Servings: 10
5 from 8 votes


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fajita seasoning (or 1 package)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese (shredded)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1 cup lettuce (shredded)
  • 2 avocados (sliced)
  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 10 flour tortilla shells


  • In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat until it is cooked through
  • Drain the beef then place back in the pan, adding water and taco seasoning
  • Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the water has mostly evaporated, stirring occasionally
  • Meanwhile, cook the refried beans in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning
  • Chop and prepare all taco toppings
  • Place the toppings in individual dishes or serving platters
  • Keep the meat and beans warm either on low on the stovetop or in chafing dishes
  • Serve with corn tortillas, allowing everyone to prepare their own taco


All toppings are optional. These are only suggestions, but you can use any toppings you prefer.
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Nutrition Facts
Taco Bar
Amount Per Serving
Calories 463 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 11g55%
Cholesterol 65mg22%
Sodium 762mg32%
Potassium 558mg16%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 665IU13%
Vitamin C 8.5mg10%
Calcium 238mg24%
Iron 3.1mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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42 thoughts on “How to Create an Allergy-Friendly Taco Bar”

  1. This weekend, I have a few friends coming over, I was planning to make Chilis, after reading your post, I will make a taco bar. This the perfect recipe for my Saturday night in.

  2. 5 stars
    I think every mom needs to have this recipe on hand! It can be so challenging hosting parties for the kids because of all the different allergies we encounter with their friends.

    1. So true! My oldest son has been obsessed with tacos lately, I’m honestly surprised we aren’t having a taco party for his birthday. It would have been perfect since I don’t know if any of his friends have allergies.

  3. Neely Moldovan

    So perfect for cinco de mayo! We love a good taco bar and I love the idea of making it allergy friendly so everyone can enjoy!

  4. I love this! So glad you are talking about this too. I have a daughter with a life threatening food allergy, and we have become so conscious about what we serve now!

    1. I wasn’t aware of just how careful you have to be when dealing with allergies. I have learned a lot about cooking dairy-free since having our friend over at least once per month. Even things such as greasing the pan with butter vs oil has been something I consider every time I cook for her.

  5. 5 stars
    Great idea for a housewarming party we’ll have next month! The recipe looks healthy and delicious, Wouldn’t have tacos any other way. And I especially like the fact that it is high in protein. Gotta lose some weight before the summer but can’t stop eating good food. Haha

    1. This would be perfect for something like a housewarming party. Especially if you are doing a come-and-go party since it would always be warm and ready if you have a warming dish.

  6. 5 stars
    I have food allergies for seafood and preserved food. I like the taco ingredients so healthy and easy to make I would love to try this at home 🙂

  7. Ooooo phenomenal taco bar tips!!! So many people have food allergies these days, so it’s nice to know about options when hosting an event!!!

    1. I agree. Since we’ve been hosting a group here once a month, I’ve been trying to find ways to make something that everyone can eat and enjoy. It isn’t always easy!

  8. I have so many friends that love tacos but I never thought about doing a taco bar myself! You’re right that it is super easy to do and super affordable!

  9. I don’t have allergies at all but I would love to try this one to see if it would taste differently. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

    1. Well the recipe itself isn’t any different, we just made sure to keep everything separate so those with allergies didn’t have to worry about any cross-contamination.

  10. Such a great idea! Once we are able to see people again I would love to have friends over for a taco bar night!

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