Quick & Easy Taco Fillings to Rock Taco Night

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Tacos are a good cheap eat that offer a tremendous amount of variety. Here are 8 favorite taco fillings that won’t break the bank.

Pictured: Pork Carnitas Tacos

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. What was once an exotic food is now daily fare in most parts of the country.

And for good reason!

Tacos are filling, fun, and full of great flavors. Plus, it’s not too expensive to rustle up some tortillas and easy taco fillings, making them a good cheap eat, for sure.

For our part, my family could eat tacos several times a week without complaint! They’re just so good, particularly when you find your favorite combinations.

How to Make Great Tacos & Taco Fillings

So, let’s consider how to build a better taco. You’re going to have three basic components:

  1. shells/wrappers 
  2. filling – we’ll get to this in a minute
  3. toppings

Let’s take a look at the different options:

Taco Shells

Taco shells can range from crunchy fried shells, soft tortillas (flour, corn, whole wheat), and even lettuce wraps. There are small and large tortillas. You can buy tortillas at the store or make your own corn tortillas or your own flour tortillas.

You can even fry your own taco shells – which I might add, are amazing and addicting and probably the best thing to happen to taco night EVER. But I digress…. 

Certain tools come in handy when making homemade tacos, like a tortilla press for making homemade corn tortillas and taco holders or taco baskets for serving tacos.

Once you’ve got your shell and you fill it with a meat (or meat and veg or veg) filling, you’re going to want some toppings.

taco shells, fillings, and toppings

Taco Toppings

Taco toppings can be pretty simple or fairly elaborate depending on your filling and how deluxe you want to get. Any combination of these taco toppings is delicious:

  • shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, baby spinach, or coleslaw
  • shredded cheese, such as Jack, cheddar, or a mix
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onions or scallions
  • chopped cilantro
  • salsa or hot sauce
  • sour cream or cream sauce
  • guacamole or diced avocado
  • sliced olives
  • lime wedges

Where shells and toppings are concerned, you can pretty much pick up a few commercially made items at the grocery store, but the filling is what really matters. Only homemade is gonna cut it. 

Check out these simple, economical, and delicious taco fillings:

Quick & Easy Taco Fillings

Make taco night extra special with one (or more!) of these homemade taco fillings.

These Easy Chicken Fajitas are a delicious quick fix meal. In under 30 minutes, you can be serving up this tasty mix of onions, peppers, and chicken seasoned with cumin, oregano, and garlic.

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Enjoy the smoky, savory goodness of homemade carne asada that you marinate yourself. With this carne asada recipe, you can avoid the unhealthy additives of commercial marinades and focus on real food flavor. […]

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Mix up your own spice mix and make this recipe for Best Ever Pulled Pork. It’s fabulous as a taco filling but it works beautifully in sandwiches, tamales, and wraps as well.

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When we moved to San Diego, I fell in love with fish tacos. I first tried to recreate them at home with this recipe for Grilled Fish and Shrimp Tacos. But, my Quick Fish Tacos (shown above) in my latest cookbook are pretty stellar with the panko breading and spiced sour cream. Either recipe is “Happiness on a Plate.”[…]

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This recipe for Turkey and Black Bean Tacos is really simple to make – so simple that my 8 year old niece loves to help make these for dinner. The taco filling is wonderful in crunchy tacos shells, but could also be used as a filling for burritos, chimichangas, or quesadillas.

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This Barbacoa Beef comes together quickly and easily in the slow cooker. The tangy, tender beef filling is perfect for tacos, lettuce wraps, bowls, and burritos. It’s that season again when you’ll start seeing chuck roasts and steaks go on sale. Do me a favor, and buy a few the next time you see a […]

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Many years ago, I discovered the beauty of Queso Fundido: spicy sausage covered in a layer of spicy pepper jack cheese. You can serve it as an appetizer, but we love it as a main dish with homemade corn tortillas. So good! This is for sure a top favorite taco filling at our house.

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Home fried taco shells make the best tacos. Ever. They’re a bit of work, but the flavor can’t be beat! You won’t stop at just one of these Paso Mom Tacos. Hubs and I both grew up enjoying home fried taco shells. Sure, they were a lot of work for our moms to make, but they […]

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Once you vary the wrapper (crunchy, soft, flour, corn, whole wheat, lettuce leaf), the filling, and the toppings, there’s really no end to the taco combinations you can create.

What’s your favorite taco filling?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. VanessaKC says

    Mushroom mince with lentils is fast, frugal and delicious.

  2. Sally says

    Brisket tacos with pepper jack cheese (from Homesick Texan). TBH, I think I like anything I can fold in a tortilla. We visited Fr Worth for 5 days in December and had tacos every day. We ate at Velvet Taco three times; they have very unusual tacos. My favorites were shrimp and grits tacos and cornmeal fried catfish tacos.

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