How to Throw A Super Bowl Taco Party

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People reaching for various things at a table set with taco fillings.

Do you know how many people watch the Super Bowl every year? According to the Associated Press, in 2015, the number of viewers hit 114.4 million, and for a variety of reasons (cough: Taylor Swift), 2024 may break all the records. That is a lot of people. A lot of excited people who certainly are going to need a bite or two to carry them through the game.

We host a Superbowl viewing party every year, and though our numbers fluctuate as well, suffice it to say the crowd is always ready to eat. I pick a menu that allows for the variances in appetites, the possibility for last-minute add-on guests, and the welcome possibility of leftovers for dinner later that week.

This year, the menu features tacos. A taco bar, to be specific. People can help themselves as they feel the call and customize their own tacos as they wish. Once I have all of the components laid out, I just have to glance over from time to time and see if the toppings need replenishing or the fillings need a quick warm-up in the microwave.

Here are some guidelines for planning a taco party of your own. If a nacho bar appeals, you can add that on as well. And do check out 43 other game-day-appropriate recipes for some add-ons!

People grabbing food from a table set with taco fillings and toppings.

How to Throw A Super Bowl Taco Party: A great way to entertain. People can help themselves as they feel the call, and customize their own tacos as they wish.

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The Taco Shells and Tortillas

Tortilla in a skillet on a stovetop.

Offer a combination of hard and soft shells for people to mix and match.

  • The soft tortillas can either be corn or flour or a mix. In advance of the party, you’ll want to heat the tortillas for 30 to 60 seconds on each side in a dry skillet until browned in spots, which really brings out their flavor.
  • Heat the hard shells in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes until they smell toasty.

The tortillas and shells don’t necessarily have to be hot when you serve them, though you can heat the soft tortillas in the microwave just before serving. The toasting brings out their flavor, even if they are served at room temp. If possible, heat the hard shells in the oven shortly before serving, put them in a bowl, and throw a clean dishtowel over to keep them warm.

The Taco Fillings

Person holding a Greek Fish Taco stuffed with ingredients such as feta and red onions.
Greek Fish Taco

Offering at least two fillings makes a taco bar feel special. You can go for one ground meat, like beef or turkey, and then maybe a shredded meat filling, like pulled chicken or pork.

I also highly recommend a pot of thick, vegetarian seasoned black or pinto beans and some rice. These are nice to add to a taco or spoon onto the side of the plate and can also be the protein in a vegetarian taco.

Make the fillings ahead of time and re-warm the fillings before serving. You can either serve them in a warming dish, give them a periodic reheat in the microwave, or have a backup dish of each filling and replenish them.

Taco Recipes

The Taco Toppings

This is where the fun starts. You’ll, of course, want the classics: salsa ranchera, salsa verde or pico de gallo, shredded crisp lettuce, avocado or guacamole, cilantro leaves, onions, sour cream, and cheese. You can offer more than one kind of cheese, such as shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or crumbed queso.

Toppings for Alaska Rockfish Tacos.
Alaska Rockfish Tacos

And then keep going! Sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled), sliced olives, slivered radishes, other kinds of salsas, sliced scallions, shredded kale, sautéed mushrooms, very thinly sliced cabbage, sautéed onions and peppers, fried shallots, fermented pickly things (there are lots of interesting choices in the refrigerated section of the supermarket).

Chef Ariel Fox, who is Concept Executive Chef at Dos Caminos New York, suggests adding some chopped cooked bacon to the guacamole for a smoky twist and blending charred jalapeño, pureed avocado, and lime juice into your sour cream for a sophisticated crema topping. You can also follow this recipe for avocado crema.

This is an easy place to have fun and be creative (and enlist the kids!).

How to Set up the Taco Bar

Starting from the left, line everything up according to how people would fill their plates. First, the plates themselves, then the shells, then the fillings, and then all of the toppings. Lastly, if you are serving any other sides, like a salad or rice, end the buffet with those dishes.

It’s a smart idea to put the napkins and forks at the end for your guests to grab as they head for their seats.

Game Day Seating

You may or may not have a television viewing situation that allows everyone to sit in an actual chair with a view of the game. Ahead of time, count up the number of guests and make sure there is a seat for everyone to plant themselves. You may want to pull a card table and some folding chairs into the equation. And some soft pillows for floor seating are also fine in a pinch.

Mary Giuliani, founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering and Events and co-host of Easy Entertaining on, also reminds us, “Use your coffee table. I’m a big fan of covering my coffee table with ‘Snactivities’ (foods that are fun and interactive) during any time of game watching.” Think about a graze board.


The most commonly associated drink with the Super Bowl is, of course, beer. So, if you have a beer crowd, stock up, mix some new choices in with the classics, and don’t be shy about telling your guests to bring a six-pack of their favorite brew.

But don’t forget to have plenty of nonalcoholic options, especially if you are sending folks home behind the wheel; you’ll want to let everyone stay hydrated and sharp. Choices like flavored seltzers, fun sodas, cold or mulled cider, hot cocoa, and, of course, plenty of regular old water should be available. If you have a house team you’re rooting for, feel free to make or create a pitcher mocktail and name it after the team.

Two glasses of Pomegranate Orange Mocktail with Mint.

Drink Recipes

Pre-Thinking About Clean Up

Many of us go for paper and plastic, and this is a fair time to consider this option. But if you are going to head that route, veer away from plastic and stick with paper (especially recycled paper products), bamboo, and other biodegradable materials.

Don’t skimp on the plate thickness, though — tacos can be messy, and plates can get soggy, so go for a sturdy plate. Make a waste basket visible for garbage. And you can never have too many napkins.

Finally, If you have a lot of people coming or a bunch of kids in the mix, consider rolling up those rugs. Salsa isn’t the most fun thing to scrub from a carpet.

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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