I thought I knew about different types of Mexican tacos before I lived in Mexico but boy, was I wrong!
Depending on what region they come from, the types of taco you find in Mexico vary greatly.
All are fantastic food (although I do have my favorites). From fish tacos along Baja’s coastlines, to tacos al pastor, there is no shortage of variety here.
Flour or Corn Tortillas?
I’ve never understood the obsession with which tortilla is the best to wrap around a taco. It doesn’t make any difference!
If you visit Mexico’s border, Ensenada for example (though there are many other great places), you’ll find tacos wrapped in soft flour tortillas
And if you head across the country to Mexico City you’ll find all of their amazing corn-filled tacos tightly wound up like little presents inside plump yellow ones.
Neither tortilla is more Mexican than the other – they’re both delicious in different ways depending on where your stomach happens to be that day.
It doesn’t really matter what they’re made of, the important thing is to eat them fresh to order. There is nothing tastier than a fresh tortilla, super hot off the comal and filled with any sort of meat. The ultimate street food!
1. Suadero Tacos -Tacos de Suadero
These are some of the best types of tacos that you’ll see in most parts of Mexico.
Suadero tacos are a delicious and flavorful dish that can be found at some of the most authentic taco stands.
Suadero is made from beef, which comes from between the leg and belly joint on cows. It’s typically cooked slowly in animal fat with all other cuts of meat to give it an intense flavor profile before its served.
2. Carnita Taco – Taco de Carnita
Carnitas are a type of taco filling made from pork. Slow-roasting these little meats is the key to their deliciousness; they’re typically prepared with some parts that you might not be used to eating, such as the head and tail!
What are some ways to have carnitas? You can opt for maciza, which is all of the white meat parts. This includes loin chops and what’s called chamorro or shank. The cleanest type of tacos should definitely be topped with spicy salsa!
Another option is surtido– it’s a mixture that contains different cuts from pork like ribs, oxtail, cheek etc.
The surtido is a bit heavier and has more grease than a carnitas taco. But it is amazingly good, just make sure you add a lot of toppings like cilantro, onion, lime and salsa.
3. Pastor Tacos – Tacos al Pastor
If you want a unique Mexican dish that is the ultimate fusion of worldly flavors try pastor tacos or “tacos al pastor”.
These Lebanese-fusion types of tacos started in Mexico City and are now found all over the country. They’ve even made their way to America where they are enjoyed with either pork or chicken meat!
You know you’ve found a place with the best pastor tacos when its cooking outside on coal or on an orange “trompo.”
Tacos al pastor are made out of thin slices of marinated pork that are put onto skewers and usually eaten topped in cilantro, chopped onion, and pineapple.
4. Barbacoa Taco – Taco de Barbacoa
Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican style of cooking where typically goat or lamb is slow roasted in an open pit. Today, however, the term mostly refers to tacos that have been made with this method and are often served at big parties.
Barbacoa comes from the Spanish translation “barbecue.” The type of meat used varies depending on what animal it came from- traditionally sheep or goats but I’ve seen beef as well being used. These low calorie meals are popular for any dinner party!
In some parts of the country barbacoa is served especially on Sundays. It tends to be a weekend treat that is sought out by many at the end of the week.
5. Birria Taco – Taco de Birria
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that dates back to the 16th century. The name, “Birriarriba” in Spanish means “slowly roasted”. It’s traditionally made with goat meat but beef can be used depending on what part of Mexico you’re in.
This delicious slow-roasted stew usually includes garlic, onion and carrots placed over bay leaves or paprika for flavor and aroma while cooking by low heat until it falls apart into tender pieces (also known to many Mexicans as “cotton”).
Birria is typically served either in consomme or with cups of broth which are often provided complimentary alongside tacos so patrons enjoy some soup as well.
6. Bistec Taco – Taco de Bistec
Bistec tacos are a Mexican street vendor’s best friend. They’re usually made with thin slices of steak and cooked on the flat top, which means they take only seconds to prepare but offer all the flavor you crave!
These kinds of tacos can be found at every taco stand in town because it’s such an easy dish that everyone loves!
7. Arrachera Taco – Taco Arrachera
The arrachera taco is truly a delicacy in the world of Mexican cuisine. This cut is flank steak and on tacos it’s usually one of the more expensive cuts, if not the most expensive! What makes this so special?
Well for starters, its fried to perfection leaving you with an irresistible slightly pink inside that melts in your mouth like butter (or oil).
It then gets adorned with all sorts of toppings such as guacamole, lettuce, tomato- just go crazy really because there are no limits when it comes to putting eating something this mouth-watering!
8. Guisados – Carne Guisada
In Mexico, tacos come in different dishes. One popular dish includes a stew called guisado . This is usually served for breakfast and is easy to find at any early opening local market or street corner.
Guisados come in many different forms like red rice with hardboiled eggs, nopales (a type of green plant) cooked onions, scrambled eggs mixed into tomato sauce on tortillas along with slices of poblano chilos (poblanos).
There are also more meat-oriented options of guisado like potato and chorizo or picadillo, a ground beef with vegetables. Chicken Tinga is chicken cooked with chipotle and onions that is a popular option that may remind you of your mother’s home cooking.
Most Mexican moms know how to make these common dishes accompanied with warm tortillas!
9. Longaniza or Chorizo Sausages
Chorizo and longaniza are the two pork sausages commonly found in Mexico.
Chorizo is made of ground beef and longaniza uses minced meat. Minced meat is chopped up into very small pieces.
The differences between these products come down to how they’re cured – chorizos need longer curing times than most other types of sausage because their higher fat content makes them a bit more difficult to preserve without spoiling.
Meanwhile, no curing at all happens with some versions of longanizas!
Whatever you choose, make sure one type appears on your next taco dish so you don’t miss out on tasting this delicious Mexican delicacy!
10. Campechano – Campechano Taco
Campechano tacos are delicious, and they’re not just limited to street stands. Simply put, campechano tacos are tacos with two ingredients.
Taco restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon as well by labeling their specialty taco with two ingredients “campechano” in order for customers to choose between beef, pork or chicken so that you could have a campechano con bistec y pastor!
11. Cochinita Pibil
Tacos de Cochinita Pibil are the type of taco you’ll find all over Mexico but most specifically in Merida and Chichen Itza. They’re one of the country’s most famous types of tacos.
The dish originates from pork that is cooked underground and wrapped in banana leaves until succulent. Then a spicy red sauce is added before you eat this tasty dish.
Achiote chili paste, orange juice and spices like cloves and cinnamon are combined to create the sauce for this slow roasted pork dish. The final addition is pickled red onions on top of tortillas that have been topped with habanero salsa.
The perfect combination of sweet citrus flavors mixed together with spicy peppers make these tacos unforgettable!
12. Cabeza Tacos – Tacos de Cabeza
Yes, tacos de cabeza, or head tacos as they are more commonly known, consist of various parts from a cow’s head that is then steamed.
The most popular meats you can try in these Tacos’ include lengua (tongue), ojos (eyes) and mejilla (cheek).
This type of taco meat is not only incredibly tender but also one the most popular types to eat in Mexico.
Lechon is a delicious pork meat that has been enjoyed by Mexicans for centuries.
It can be found all over Mexico, but it’s especially popular in the Yucatan where people eat lechon as their morning meal before 11 am.
The perfect time to enjoy this dish is around 6:30 AM when you get up and head out, otherwise you probably won’t be able to find it if you wait until the afternoon.
Lechon is a delicious feast for the senses. Slow cooked, juicy pork that you can see cooking over an open fire. The smell wafts through the air before taking your first bite. It’s also served with crunchy pork skin on top.
Lechón is slow roasted to perfection so it stays incredibly moist and flavorful throughout – especially when cooked in its own fat! The crispy bits of meat sitting atop this perfect chunk of pig are called by many names: crackling or rock; morepork rinds; sideburns/side bacon, depending on what part they’re taken from…
But whatever you call them their crispiness will not disappoint.
14. Arabian Tacos – Tacos Arabes
Arab tacos are a fusion style Mexican taco that can be found all over the central region of Mexico.
The meat is cooked on a spit in front of coal, similar to how pastor meats are prepared; however it could also be pork, beef or lamb and flavored with herbs and spices before served on a bread resembling more like pita bread than traditional tortillas.
The only difference between Tacos Arabe and traditional tacos is that they are served in pan arabe (the pita bread-like tortilla).
15. Types of Tacos: Tacos Dorados
Tacos dorados are called the Mexican version of a hard shell taco. They can be filled with anything you please, but most commonly barbacoa or chicken on Sundays at markets and street stalls.
A taco dorado is a fried tortilla that can be filled with meat, cheese and vegetables.
Tacos Dorados are usually made by placing the filling in the middle of the soft cornmeal or flour dough before being folded over to create little pockets for stuffing things inside.
The Taco Dorados are then deep-fried until they’re nice and crispy on both sides. Absolutely delicious!
16. Canasta Tacos – Tacos de Canasta
A pretty underrated taco in Mexico is tacos de canasta or basket tacos.
These delicious, Mexican delicacies are made early in the morning and piled high inside a traditional woven basket lined with sturdy plastic bags to keep them warm.
Each type of filling has its own distinctive flavor- chicharron (pork cracklings), potato, or refried beans are common fillings for these scrumptious little gems.
These popular tacos of Mexico are a staple at sporting events, on street corners and in small restaurants. They’re usually soft from steaming all day and are long-packed with flavor and typically very cheap!
17. Fish Tacos – Tacos de pescado
Last, but certainly not least. is the humble fish taco, which can be found in many Mexican beach towns. You’ll also find tacos made with smoked marlin, shrimp and octopus!
You might have had fish tacos before, but you probably don’t know about all the variety of Baja-style tacos.
The traditional style is battered and fried. I usually prefer these myself since that’s what they serve in most restaurants. However, grilled seafood has become more popular as well!
You’ll find plenty of options like this one if you go to any Mexican beach towns like Mazunte, Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta.
So there you have it! What’s your favorite taco? Leave your comments below.