A Mexican Buffet is a Quick & Easy Dinner

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No need to wait in line at the local taco joint! Serve a Mexican Buffet, for supper for a quick and easy dinner idea that everyone will love. 

Serve a Mexican Buffet for Dinner | Good Cheap Eats

I’m a (southern) California girl, born and bred. This means that I have no qualms about serving or eating Mexican food morning, noon, and night — multiple days per week. My editor says my style is “Cal-Mex”, and I can’t really disagree. I love Mexican flavors.

One of the quickest ways for me to get dinner on the table is to pretend I’m Chipotle (without the high price tag) and make a Mexican Buffet. I lay out some inexpensive staples like beans, rice, and tortillas. I throw on some proteins like carnitas, shredded beef, carne asada, or shredded chicken.

Everyone loves the fun toppings like homemade salsa and guacamole. When I’m feeling a little extra fancy, I’ll pull out all the stops with tostadastamalesenchiladas, and homemade corn tortillas.

While not authentically Mexican, Lawnmower Taco is never rejected at my table.

By serving a Mexican buffet, I save time with service and meal assembly. Each member of my family gets to dish up what he or she wants — and I know everyone loves this flavor profile.

Serve a Mexican Buffet

Many, if not most, of the items featured in a Mexican Buffet take little hands on time. And thanks to modern manufacturing, you can even take some short cuts like buying shredded cheese and canned beans. There are some amazingly good jarred salsas on the market if you don’t have ten minutes to make it fresh.

Looking to make your next dinner a Mexican Buffet to write home about? Include these delicious components:

Serve a Mexican Buffet for Dinner


Serve a Mexican Buffet for Dinner | Good Cheap Eats


Serve a Mexican Buffet for Dinner

Topping for Tacos

Serve a Mexican Buffet for Dinner

Enchiladas/Casseroles/Specialty Items

Serve a Mexican Buffet for Dinner

Side Dishes and Salsas

This list is not exhaustive, nor is it something that I would ever prepare all at one time. Somedays we do just rice, beans, cheese, and salsa, and call it a day. It is, however, a great starting point to mix and match to make your Mexican buffet one that everyone will love.

What’s YOUR favorite thing to serve on a Mexican Buffet?

Be sure to check into my ongoing series, Quick Dinner Ideas, for more ways that you can eat real food without a lot of hassle or expense.


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. When can I come for dinner?

  2. Erica says

    Great minds think alike…this is pretty much what we had for dinner last night. I pulled out some leftover taco meat from the freezer, added some grilled chicken (also leftovers) and whatever odds and ends we had.

  3. Denise says

    I stumbled across your clean 30. I had actually pinned a while back, but past 3 weeks i have been trying a form of paleo lol. It is hard to plan every meal everyday, but i either complicated things or made them easier by putting my husband, 13yr old and 15yr old kids on diet with me. I have had more energy, out of panic to get up going with tastey meals for the boys or cleaner eating maybe. Huge bursts of shopping buying every oil, flour, sauce i can find gluten free, lactose free, dairy free. It’s been an adventure for sure. Both my boys have Asperger Syndrome, i have lupus and fibromyalgia. I have heard these diets are good for us so it’s worth the try. I was curious about your turnip stomach….Having worse gas , cramping nausea pains in my life past 2 days. Is it just time? Not sure. Wanted more details about your issue. Anxious to try some of your recipes. Thanks. D

    • I’m currently dealing with autoimmune-driven hyperthyroidism. Is that what you mean?

  4. Heather M says

    My fellow born-and-bred Southern California girl, you get me. I’m married to a New Yorker (mostly… though born in central america), and he’s been turned into a raging mexican food lover. We’ve raised our kids eating all variety of Mexican. My son’s favorite after school “second lunch” is a quesadilla (cheese, refried beans, and if he’s lucky shredded chicken and/or pepperoni-his latest addition). We routinely have taco bars, taco salad, my own version of chicken-black bean enchiladas (shredded cooked chicken tossed with black beans, green salsa, and a little cumin, rolled up in tortillas, all topped with traditional red enchilada sauce and cheese, in the oven until melty and delicious), mexican-influenced fish or steak or chicken (herbed, salsa’d, etc), and I even did a rice bowl bar last week. We don’t often do that, since Chipotle is right up the street and my kids go there on their own all too frequently. I also make a mean shrimp ceviche soft taco. I could go on forever and ever. Best food ever. And now I’m missing my favorite places in San Diego. Dang. Better get off here before I drool too much thinking about them.

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