Planning your taco Tuesday or taco night? Find the perfect side dish for tacos and transform your dinner with simple ingredients.
Tacos are a wildly versatile dish.
Bursting with warmth and spice, tacos are the ultimate choice to satisfy absolutely anyone. You can offer up a range of fillings and let everyone at the table assemble their very own perfect taco.
But the question is, with such a delicious main dish on display, what on earth should you serve alongside them?
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What to Serve with Tacos?
If you think of the delicious taco as a canvas, your chosen side dishes are your paints of choice. Bring out your main dish’s smokiness, sweetness, or spiciness, depending on your sides.
The key is to make side dishes that add to the spread, not take away from it. Of course, you also want quick and easy solutions that won’t have you spending hours in the kitchen.
So, what do you serve with tacos?
From pickled appetizers to traditional Mexican side dishes, I’ve got thirty-one answers to this question that you’ll love.
Mexican Sides for Tacos
Let’s begin with the homeland and the origin of tacos, Mexico. Mexican cuisine is known for its warm spice profile and delicious use of corn, beans, and chilies.
Mexican cuisine will offer some of the best taco side dishes on the planet. Whether you’re a Mexican food virtuoso or trying something new, there’s a sensation waiting for you in these recipes.
Let’s kick this list off with a personal favorite: Instant Pot Mexican Rice.
The best part about this recipe is the Instant Pot. All you have to do is assemble the ingredients into the pot, set it, and forget it. Then you can focus on preparing the tacos!
This is a take on Mexican ‘rice’ that doesn’t actually use any rice, so it makes for a healthy side.
Instead, you’ll be using shredded cauliflower to mimic those fluffy grains of rice we all know and love. This lightly-spiced vegetable rice is perfect for stuffing in burritos, tacos, or eating on the side.
This Mexican chopped salad is perfect for the vegan or vegetarian among us.
I love the avocado dressing drizzled all over the salad. If you’re encouraging your kids to eat more vegetables, that creamy, tasty dressing will have them going back for more in no time.
With this tasty recipe, you’ll be stuffing poblano peppers with spiced beef, rice, and corn. Then, top them with cheese and roast away for a bubbling, melting treat.
If you’re serving these as a side dish, I recommend removing the meat from the recipe.
It’s also a great side dish for ribs.
Traditionally a super-green with a slightly bitter flavor, this Mexican take on a kale salad makes the leaf ultra-tasty.
This bright and beautiful salad is sprinkled with peppers, beans, corn, and a fantastic dressing to crank up the flavor factor. The best part? You’ll only need ten minutes to get it done.
Topped with mayonnaise, cojita cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, these corn cobs will blow your mind.
If you’re headed to an outdoor barbecue, you can grill the corn rather than roasting it in the oven. It adds a lovely char to the sweet corn cobs, which is to die for!
Whip up this super simple and super healthy Mexican coleslaw in five minutes or less.
Just like most coleslaw recipes, I’d recommend making this one in advance. Let it hang out in the fridge overnight to deepen the flavor for ultimate impact.
With all the flavor of charred elote, this salad is a healthy and hearty addition to your main taco dish.
If you like things a bit spicy, sprinkle a few jalapenos through the mix.
You could also serve this salad as a side dish for pork chops.
Sides for Fish Tacos
Fish tacos are in a class all their own. The lightness of fish meat means it takes on spice and flavor very well. So, it’s the perfect medium for a rich, warm, spicy taco!
That said, you’ll need to change up your strategy when it comes to side dishes. Some of the best sides for fish tacos should be light and fresh, bringing out the same freshness from the protein.
This is a quick and refreshing salsa that should bring out the sweetness in the fish.
Pro tip: use as much fresh fruit as you can! While canned fruit is easy to access, it’s usually full of syrup that can alter the refreshing taste of the fruit.
Cilantro and lime are two ingredients that are right at home in any Mexican dish.
This cilantro lime taco slaw shows these ingredients at their absolute best. The crunchy cabbage has just enough dressing to taste great without making it soggy.
Corn ribs are charred pieces of corn cut from the cob in large strips.
You only need a sheet pan to make them happen, so minimal clean-up and effort are required!
You can also enjoy these as a side with chicken wings.
For fish tacos, there’s nothing better than pineapple and coconut. The tart sweetness of the pineapple contrasts beautifully with mellow, creamy coconut.
This coleslaw is so quick and easy to pull together; you can do it five minutes before serving dinner.
The key to nailing this salad is sourcing fresh mangoes. If you make this dish while mango is in season, it will revolutionize the way you think of salads forever.
Whip this up five minutes before dinner is ready to serve to keep it fresh and crunchy.
The mellow, rounded sweetness of the peaches is a fantastic compliment to the creamy avocado. Not to mention, it’s the perfect way to bring out the sweetness of the protein in your fish tacos.
Make sure you dice the peaches nice and small so that they’re easy to scoop up.
Sides for Shrimp Tacos
Much like fish tacos, shrimp tacos benefit from tasty sides with a touch of sweetness and freshness. That said, some earthy root vegetables or beans are perfect to ground this lighter main dish.
Pico de gallo is a raw salsa side dish that perfectly suits a shrimp-filled main course. This particular recipe uses red bell peppers for extra crunch.
This also means the salsa is extra fresh and bright, with little touches of red onion throughout to add some kick.
This black bean salad is delightfully healthy, with enough protein and bite to balance your lighter tacos. You won’t need a lot of time to make it, and it won’t overwhelm your shrimp tacos either.
Believe it or not but this salad goes well with brisket.
If you’re already serving shrimp tacos as your main dish, a second fish on the table might be a little much.
That’s where this vegan cauliflower ceviche comes in. Dressed to the nines with lime juice and chillis, this side dish is full of brightness and crunch.
Fresh and zingy, with that delightful sweetness we all know and love, this corn salsa is to die for.
If you want the best results, make this salsa with fresh corn from the cob instead of frozen corn out of a bag.
While the recipe only features four ingredients, I’d recommend experimenting a little bit. Dust the cabbage with some smoked paprika, roast it along with some corn, or add some jalapeno.
The earthy and satisfying taste will ground your shrimp tacos, and you can bake a whole bunch at once to get them on the table.
Sides for Chicken Tacos
Chicken is another fantastic protein to make tacos with because the meat takes on so much flavor as it’s cooking. Whether you’re shredding or slicing it, chicken tacos are guaranteed to satisfy.
If you want to pick a good side dish for chicken tacos, your best bet is to stick with the classics.
Smoky and sweet flavors characteristic of Mexican cuisine will spotlight your juicy chicken main dish.
You can’t go wrong with a good coleslaw.
I love this dish for its ease and delicious taste. Best of all, the chipotle adobo sauce adds a depth of smokiness that anchors this dish. It enriches the light and juicy chicken in the tacos.
Pico de gallo is a salsa known for its freshness. With a strong streak of garlic flavor, it’s a lovely and fragrant topping.
It’s better to make it in advance and let the flavors mingle for a few hours in the fridge. Opt for ultra-fresh ingredients, and you won’t be disappointed.
I love how filling this recipe is, thanks to the rice comprising its base. You can make a large batch and use it in two ways. Once as a dinner side, and once as lunch the next day!
Feel free to also use this recipe as a side dish for steak.
Are you looking for a spicy and sweet kick to elevate those chicken tacos?
Aside from being pretty spicy, habaneros have a fresh yet smoky flavor that contrasts beautifully with the mango’s sweetness. Whip up a large batch of this ahead of time and store it in the fridge!
The traditional street corn recipe already comes with a mayonnaise and sour cream combo, but this takes it even further.
Dress your beautifully-charred corn with melted cheese, red onion, and jalapenos for a truly tasty treat.
The juicy chicken meat just takes so wonderfully to the scrumptious street corn salad.
A standard salsa recipe doesn’t typically feature cabbage. Adding cabbage makes it more filling, more healthy, and adds an element of delicious crunch.
Aside from the crunch factor, adding cabbage also counteracts the tomato’s sweetness with a very slight bitterness. This makes the salsa feel nice and rounded, perfect for chicken tacos!
Easy Sides for Tacos
Finally, we turn our gaze to the quickest and most straightforward section of our taco side dish list. Tacos can be a production to make, so we want our side dishes to be straightforward and delicious.
Luckily, there are many different recipes out there that fit the bill. Whether serving a large gathering or just sorting out family dinner, all of these recipes will suit your needs perfectly.
This Mexican bean salad is a personal favorite of mine!
It’s high in protein and fiber but takes almost no time to make. So, you’re getting the maximum nutritional payoff with minimal effort.
Experiment with the vegetables you include to make this salad your own.
This one-pan wonder requires minimal effort, but it can take some time to cook down all the way. So, make sure you start making it early enough in the day.
This is stunningly good either on your tacos or served next to them. Plus, it’s a definite people pleaser.
This recipe tastes very similar to Chipotle restaurant’s cilantro rice, but it’s also so easy!
Throw all four of the required ingredients into an Instant Pot, twist on the lid, and away you go. The minimal hassle with maximum flavor, so you can’t lose.
Chile con queso is a classic taco side dish for a reason. It packs a punch in terms of flavor, but it’s also effortless to whip up.
Best of all, you can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to four days.
With chipotle peppers and lime seasoning on every bite, you won’t be able to stop taking spoonfuls.
As an addition to tacos, you can’t ask for anything better. It’s simple, it’s rich in flavor, and it will accent any protein you decide to fill your tacos with.
Our final item on the list is a light and refreshing salsa that combines everything we love about Mexican food: sweetness, spiciness, and tang interplay in this stunning taco accompaniment.
As always, spring for the freshest ingredients you can and let the salsa sit for a while to add flavor.
31 Best Sides for Tacos for Taco Tuesday
- 1. Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- 2. Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- 3. Vegan Mexico Chopped Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 4. Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- 5. Mexican Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 6. Mexican Street Corn
- 7. Mexican Coleslaw
- 8. Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 9. Pineapple Mango Salsa
- 10. Cilantro Lime Taco Slaw
- 11. Mexican Corn Ribs
- 12. Tropical Pineapple Coconut Coleslaw
- 13. Mango Avocado Salad
- 14. Peach Guacamole
- 15. Fresh Mango Pico De Gallo
- 16. Healthy Mango Black Bean Salad
- 17. Vegan Cauliflower Ceviche
- 18. Chipotle Corn Salsa
- 19. Roasted Red Cabbage
- 20. Chipotle Coleslaw with Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 21. Pico De Gallo
- 22. Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad with Rice
- 23. Mango Habanero Salsa
- 24. Loaded Street Corn Salad
- 25. Mexican Cabbage Salsa
- 26. Mexican Bean Salad
- 27. Slow Cooker Cheesy Jalapeno Corn
- 28. Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice
- 29. Chile Con Queso
- 30. Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 31. Easy Mango Salsa
- Scroll up to get a bunch of easy, yummy, and delicious side dishes. Don't be afraid to get creative with the ingredients, you might discover a flavor you didn't know you liked.
- Get your shopping list going and make sure you've got all the ingredients.
- Get cooking and make your next Side for Tacos!