5 Amazing Mexican Taco Recipes and Origins


Mexican tacos are more than recipes: they are a cultural experience.

An experience that starts with sizzling, juicy yet tender proteins mixed in various spices and garnishes, and wrapped in a soft or crunchy tortilla.

Yes, let’s give it up for tacos; a recipe that’s transformed the cultural and historical landscape of our society. Over the decades, the traditional Mexican dish has evolved to include various varieties, each with a signature mix of proteins, vegetables, and grains.

No doubt, there’s a taco for everyone irrespective of your dietary needs. However, not everyone is familiar with the rich culinary history and ingredients of these special delicacies.

With this article, therefore, we aim to demystify the secret of these mouth-watering delicacies via our list of top 5 Mexican tacos!


Carne Asada

Loosely translated as “grilled meat”, this dish is mainly about the crisp, lean and marinated meat. Most times, it’s served with tortillas, queso or cilantro, and a smattering of salsa on the side.

Best Meat for Carne Asada

To get that tender and perfectly grilled look, you need marinated skirt or flank steak. Both cuts are traditionally used due to their unique characteristics. For instance, the flank steak has an intense meaty flavor and has less fat content. In addition to this, the skirt steak has a more intense meaty flavor and tougher fibers.

How to Grill

A grill is a great choice for Carne Asada. After marinating, place the cut on a pre-heat gas, or charcoal grill. Mind you, a charcoal grill is preferable in order to get that smoky flavor. Over high heat, cook for 5 - 7 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can cook your Carne Asada on a stovetop if you don’t have an outdoor grill.

Getting the Best Ingredients for Carne Asada

Visit your nearest mall or meat market to get that premium flank or skirt steak. Mind you, always go for premium organic cuts, especially grass-fed beef.

Recipe for Carne Asada

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 jalapeno minced


  1. For the marinade, combine orange juice, jalapeño, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Mix it up by squeezing the bag.
  2. Place the flank or skirt steak into the resealable bag. Seal it up, and ensure every part of the meat is evenly coated. Refrigerate for more than 2 hours.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill to high temperature.
  4. Remove the flank steak from the marinade.
  5. Cook on the grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side.
  6. Remove from heat, let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with corn or any tortilla of your choice.

Servings: 6 servings.

Nutrient Value: Calories: 152kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 216mg, Potassium: 214mg.

Tacos-Tacos Al Pastor

Tacos Al Pastor

This is one simple yet flavorful taco recipe you would want to try out every day. The Taco Al Pastor is all about tender juicy marinated pork, a myriad of spices, and tortilla.

Best Meat to Use

Pork shoulder is the traditional meat for this recipe. In times past, the meat was marinated for days before grilling. However, overnight marination is enough to get the job done.

How to Grill

The secret to a great Taco Al Pastor lies in the marinade. More so, it depends on the cooking method. An outside charcoal or gas grill will help to trap in the flavor of the meat and marinade.

Getting the Best Ingredients

Visit the nearest store or meat market for organic pork shoulders. Also, ensure to get fresh ingredients for your marinades.

Recipe for Taco Al Pastor

Prep Time: 4 - 12 hours

Cook time: 10 minutes.


  • 2-3 pound of thinly sliced Pork Loin
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Paprika
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 4 boiled de-seeded Guajillo Chile
  • 1 Tablespoon of Pepper
  • 3/4 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oregano
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon of Thyme
  • 1 boiled de-seeded Ancho Chile
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cumin
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Salt


  1. For the marinade, blend the ingredients to form a smooth paste. Strain the mixture to remove excess liquid. Coat the pork shoulder in the marinade. Ensure every part of the pork cut is evenly covered.
  2. Repeat the process by further coating the meat with extra layers of the marinade.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and leave overnight in a refrigerator.
  4. Remove from the refrigerator and grill evenly on both sides.
  5. Remove from grill, and serve in thin slices on a corn tortilla.
  6. Serve with your favorite salsa topping!

Servings: 16 tacos.

Nutrient Value: Calorie: 171kCal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 511mg, Potassium: 431mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g.


Carne Adobada

Want all the spiciness and flavor in your taco? Then, Carne Adobada is the perfect taco dish for you. This traditional Mexican dish utilizes a myriad of chili and spices from guajillo to pasillas, and ancho to create a spicy marinade for the meat filling.

Best Meat for Carna Adobada

For this dish, you need meat that will remain juicy and tender during marination and grilling. For the best “adobada” experience, pork shoulders contain the right amount of fat to withstand the acidity of the marinade.

How to Grill

Cooking in a skillet over high heat is the best way to prepare this Mexican dish. Using a grill will dry out the moisture and make it tough and chewy, which is the opposite effect we’re gunning for.

Getting the Best Ingredients

Since this dish centers more on the chili, it’s important to get all the right chili varieties. Always do for fresh or properly dried guajillo, pasillas, and ancho chili in your nearest store. You can also try homegrown chili.

Recipe for Carne Adobada

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 3 fresh or dried ancho chiles
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh bay leaf
  • 5 dried or fresh guajillo chiles
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, divided 1 tablespoon tap water
  • 1 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder


  1. Toast the ancho and guajillo chiles in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Toast until it becomes blistered and fragrant. Put in the toasted chiles and bay leaf in a bowl and add boiling water to soften it.
  2. Toast the cloves until charred and peel off the outer layer. Blend with the drained chiles, soy sauce, thyme, oregano, honey, salt, vinegar, and cumin. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth.
  3. Coat the pork shoulders with the mixture and chill for 4 hours.
  4. Remove excess marinade from pork by pressing between two paper towels.
  5. Heat oil in an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated pork and sprinkle the teaspoon of salt.
  6. Stir continuously for about 6 minutes until it’s lightly charred.
  7. Add to your preferred tortilla and toppings!

Nutrient value: Calorie: 482.5kCal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 211mg, Potassium: 431mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g



Here’s a perfect combination of chicken, beef, and vegetables that have become a popular filling for tacos in different parts of the US. Originally from Chile, this dish has undergone different fusion to become the dish we all love today!

Best Meat for Cazuela

Cazuela is best prepared with a variety of meat. From chicken to beef to lamb, pork or turkey, there’s no end to the variety you can add to this dish.

How to Prepare

Since this is a soup mixture, cooking is the best way to tenderize and harmonize the ingredients in this dish. Use a casserole dish to prepare this delicacy.

Getting the Best Ingredients

A visit to the nearest store or grocer will supply you with all the ingredients for this dish. Always go for organic and fresh produce when preparing cazuela.

Recipe for Cazuela

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes


  • Small chunks of squash
  • 5 pieces of fresh corn
  • 1 onion, cut into thin slices
  • 5 small peeled potatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 5 to 10 chicken thigh or drumsticks
  • Small chunks of carrot
  • ½ cup of Rice
  • Pepper to taste
  • Roughly chopped coriander


  1. Place a medium-size casserole dish on medium heat. Add oil and fry the chicken until golden brown.
  2. Add the chopped onions and squash and fry with the chicken for a while.
  3. Add 1.5 liters of water and cover until it boils.
  4. Add carrots, corn, squash, potatoes, rice, and pepper and cover until it’s boiling again.
  5. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add to your favorite tortilla.

Serving: 5 servings

Nutrient value: Calories: 514.9kcal, Carbohydrates: 26.3g, Protein: 35.4g, Fat: 30.7g, Saturated Fat: 9.3g, Cholesterol: 98.3mg, Sodium: 201.9mg, Fiber: 5.6g, Sugar: 0.9g.


Taco Al Carbon

The “Al Carbon” loosely translates to taco fillings made over charcoal. No doubt, this dish is reminiscent of the days when food was prepared on wood charcoal. Today, you don’t have to play by the rules, since you can prepare this elegant and delicious taco filling indoors.

Best Meat for Al Carbon

Just like Cazuela, there’s no restriction when choosing meat for this recipe. Although most people prefer flank steak or chicken breast due to its low-fat content and chewy consistency.

How to Prepare

As mentioned earlier, you can sautée this dish over a stovetop, and still retain that specific appeal that we all love about the Al carbon.

Getting the Best Ingredients

Just like the previous taco fillings on this list, you can get all the right ingredients from your neighborhood grocery store.

Recipe for Taco Al Carbon

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups of thinly sliced medium red bell pepper
  • 1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of a thinly sliced medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Coat the grill pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat, and add bell pepper. Cook for 4 minutes. Add onions and saute for 10 minutes. Place the mixture in a bowl and cover.
  2. Now, add beef to the pan and cook until tender. Add the pepper mixture, chili powder, salt, juice, and oil. Toss the mixture to evenly coat the meat.
  3. Spoon the mixture to your preferred taco and serve.

Servings: 4 servings

Nutritional Value: Calories 371kcal, Fat 13.1g, Saturated fat 3.8g, Monosaturated fat 5.7g, Polyunsaturated fat 1.7g, Protein 29g, Carbohydrate 36g, Fiber 4g, Cholesterol 49mg, Iron 2.9mg, Sodium 608mg, Calcium 164mg.


Buen provecho!

No doubt, you can’t wait to try out these recipes. In fact, you’re already taking an inventory of your groceries to see if you can pull it off. Well, there are more Mexican dishes that you can try out. Popular dishes like the Calabaza en Tacha, Caramel Flan, and Red Pozole.

You hold the secret to some of the most popular Mexican foods. Now, you know the secret to make those streetside tacos that you love so much. So, take note of each taco filling variety and explore to your heart’s content.