20 Different Types of Taco Meat

Different Types of Taco Meat
Photo by Tai’s Captures

Nowadays, there are so many different types of taco meat; dont assumes that we have a few different kinds of taco meat.

There are also plenty of exciting and delicious ways to make taco meat. That even the most seasoned of taco veterans might not have tried yet.

Please read about the different types of taco meat you didn’t know you were missing out on and how you can use them to make some extra-extraordinary tacos at home.

Tacos de Canasta

Like tacos al pastor, tacos de canasta are wrapped in serapes (blankets) instead of tortillas. These are often sold from large baskets that hold corn and flour tortillas in Mexico.

Also, Canasta refers to a basket used for carrying things—which makes sense. Tacos de Canasta; these different types of taco meat also come with plenty of extras: onions, cilantro, and salsa, As well as chile Arbol or guajillo peppers which give them a little kick.

Nopales Tacos

You’re probably more familiar with nopales as a garnish or salsa, but they’re also used in tacos. To make them, you can saute ́ or roast fresh nopales with different types of taco meat ingredients before adding them to a tortilla. 

In addition, the texture is similar to green beans. This gives these tacos a slightly crunchy taste and makes them stand out from your typical ground beef tacos.

Nopales are low in calories but high in fiber and vitamin C; keep that in mind when searching for different types of taco meat.

Cochinita Pibil

Pibil is cooked in an underground oven in Yucatec Maya, precisely how cochinita pibil is made. Achiote paste, a spice mix with bright red color and earthy flavor from annatto seeds, is rubbed into pork before marinating with citrus juices and other herbs. 

Then it’s wrapped in banana leaves before being cooked over hot stones underground. The meat comes out tender, flavorful, and slightly sweet more than other different types of taco meat.

Tacos de Papa

The next on our list of different types of taco meat is Tacos de papa. A staple taco is filling in many Latin American countries and Mexico is called tacos de papas (tacos with potatoes).

It can be made with chicken, beef, or pork and is typically seasoned with cumin. Also, Tacos de papas are often served topped with grated cheese.

If you’re looking for something spicy, these are your tacos! The traditional side dish for tacos de papas is guacamole. Use avocado as a substitute for sour cream to cut calories if desired.

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo–is another type of taco meat that can be sold dried or fresh and can be made from either pork or beef. The most common way to use chorizo is in tacos. But it also adds great flavor to rice, beans, and other Mexican dishes.

 In addition, To make authentic-tasting chorizo at home: Sauté 1 pound of ground pork with one diced onion (finely chopped), three cloves minced garlic, two teaspoons ground cumin, one teaspoon kosher salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper.

Also, Cook until lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in 1⁄2 cup dry red wine and 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder. Allow the meat mixture to cool before using it in tacos.


As its name implies, campechanos tacos are a blend of traditional pork carnitas and beef Asada. Campechanos is also one of the different types of taco meat.

It is usually served with salsa verde to give it some spice, chopped onions, and cilantro. Campechanos originated in Mexico City, but they have since spread throughout other areas in Mexico and across borders into Texas. 

In addition, these tacos are typically small and spicy so that people can enjoy them quickly—after all; you don’t want your fillings to get cold! They’re often sold at food trucks or street vendors.


Carnitas are seasoned, slow-cooked pork traditionally served in tacos or tortas. However, when you start making carnitas at home, you can use them for breakfast burritos, quesadillas, and even sandwiches. 

For example, once you cook a batch of carnitas, it only takes a few minutes to assemble a delicious taco bar that everyone in your family will love. In addition to carnitas meat being versatile enough to be used in multiple dishes, they’re super easy to make. 

Meanwhile, carnitas is one of the most famous of the different types of taco meat we have. Because the roasting process is simple (no special equipment is needed), and there are countless ways you can season your carnitas depending on what you have on hand. Let your imagination run wild!

Tacos Al Pastor

If you love Mexican food, you’ve had a taco or two in your life. The classic taco is made with either chicken or beef, folded into a warm tortilla, and topped with salsa and cilantro.

But there’s another type of taco that only experienced taco connoisseurs know about—Tacos Al Pastor. These tacos are also filled with beef or pork but have different flavors.

Topped with pineapple chunks, onion, and cilantro, these tacos are brought to life by a searingly spicy adobo-marinated pork (though you can use any meat here).

Some places will even slather their homemade hot sauce for an extra kick. What better way to experience authentic Mexican cuisine than with Tacos Al Pastor?

Tacos de Pescado

The flaky, white fish is often served battered and fried and then topped with shredded cabbage, chipotle mayo, and pico de gallo. In most places in Mexico, you’ll find that any taco with de Pescado is made using Tilapia. 

However, you can use whatever fresh or frozen white fish you have on hand at home for a similar experience.

Make tacos de once to impress dinner guests at your next get-together. Continue reading as we give you more and more different types of taco meat.


Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that features a whole lamb or goat cooked in an aromatic broth until tender.

Tacos de birria are not everywhere, and when they are, they’re often served on tacos with big chunks of meat. Also, they are topped with cilantro, onion, and slices of radish. 

Typically, Tacos de birria are spicy and carry a distinctly gamey flavor that may be off-putting to some. If you’re looking for different types of taco meat with something super unique, try these tacos out—but don’t expect it to become your new go-to taco filling.


This Mexican specialty is made with a whole lamb, goat, or sheep slowly cooked over a low fire and then wrapped in maguey leaves.

Barbacoa is usually served on weekends because it takes so long to cook, but we say it’s worth it. As another bonus, barbacoa is often cooked in its fat instead of lard or oil, unlike other different types of taco meat.

When you order barbacoa tacos at your favorite taqueria, ask them how they prepare their meat—because traditional recipes may call for more than what you see on the menu.

Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp can sometimes be found in different meat, but it’s a more commonly used topping. Cooked shrimp is delicious on top of tacos made with soft tortillas and traditional taco toppings like shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Add a squeeze of lime juice and some spicy sauce for an extra kick.

Try pairing shrimp with a seafood-based taco filling like clam or fish for another unique seafood twist. This is among the different taco meat types typically served in corn tortillas topped with shredded cabbage.

Carne Asada

While carne asada translates to grilled meat, it’s typically seared over high heat or grilled quickly. Many restaurants feature an array of Mexican steaks, such as skirt steak and flank steak.

But these cuts are just as good for carne asada, which is essentially a slice of different types of taco meat seasoned with salt and pepper before being cooked.

In addition, Traditional carne asada recipes call for marinating your steak first in citrus juices or other seasonings, then cooking it until it’s browned on each side (the whole process takes about 15 minutes).

Carne Asada can be prepared on a stovetop or in a grill pan; if you have neither handy, pan-searing and oven roasting work well too. It also tastes excellent piled high atop a salad!


This particular variety uses cow’s head meat, which you might be surprised to learn has a milder flavor than you might think.

If you want to taste different types of taco meat or something a little more adventurous, Cabeza tacos are an excellent place to start. Learning how to make your tacos at home is a great way to control what goes into them. 

And again, it can help bring you closer with your friends and family over a delicious meal. Who knows? Maybe taco night will become your new favorite tradition. Feel free to spice things up even further by adding some bacon lardons and crispy potatoes!

Cecina Tacos

Like steak tartare, cecina is a popular taco filling found in Baja California and Michoacán. However, unlike steak tartare, cecina is made with beef or pork scraps (the beef version is particularly delicious).

They are among the different types of taco meat mixed with lime juice. Also, chile peppers and a blend of herbs and spices are called petitory. 

In both regions, it’s usually served atop handmade corn tortillas with diced onion and cilantro. It needs no cheese or tomatoes. It’s an acquired taste—my first bite was jarring.

 If you can get over that initial hurdle, you’ll be rewarded with some super flavorful tacos.

Mixiote Tacos

If you’re searching for a new taco filling for Cinco de Mayo or to spice up your taco Tuesday, give Mixiote Tacos a try. This class of different types of taco meat is wrapped in maguey leaves and steamed until tender.

So, what’s great about these tacos? They are filled with corn and potatoes as well. You are making them hearty and flavorful. If you want to make some authentic Mixiote Tacos at home, head to Traditional Mexican Cooking for their step-by-step recipe!

Suadero Tacos

Suadero translates to marbled beef in Spanish, which you’re getting with suadero tacos. Marbling results from fat throughout an otherwise lean cut of meat.

Suadero, like other different types of taco meat, is a tender cut. This is because it comes from under or around the cow’s kidney.

 Typically it is made into stewed or braised meat dishes in Mexico. You can also eat it as taco meat, which some chefs in Texas are doing. The trick is how you treat it.

 While that marbling means extra deliciousness when prepared right, brutal treatment will result in dry, stringy suadero tacos.

Bistec Tacos

Just like it sounds, these tacos are stuffed with beef and taste best with salsa. If you’re trying to limit your consumption of red meat, it might be wise to avoid bistec tacos altogether.

But bistec is a taco lover’s dream come true for beef lovers. It’s typically not as salty as many other taco types of meat and has a distinct yet smooth flavor.

 While eating such a filling taco can leave you feeling quite full afterward. It doesn’t contain a lot of extra greases that will keep you bloated or feel nauseous afterward.

Enjoying such a meal is likely to boost your energy levels to stay productive throughout your day without feeling tired by mid-afternoon.

Lechon Tacos

Lechon is a dish that consists of pork that has been roasted in a banana leaf. Typically, Lechon is made for special occasions such as weddings and holidays.

However, there are some areas where it is common to eat Lechon every day. If you visit Cuba or Puerto Rico, you will find many establishments serving dishes made with Lechon.

It has become a staple on almost every menu in these countries. Although Lechon is not widely consumed in Mexico, some restaurants will have it as an option for special orders.

There are different types of taco meat, and each one offers its distinct flavor. Chicken is to make these tacos if you prefer something lighter than traditional pork tacoⁿs.

Arrachera Tacos

Different types of taco meat include the Arrachera taco, also known as a steak taco. It is made with strips of beef skirt steak that have been marinated in an ancho chile-based sauce.

The meat is grilled and then chopped into bite-sized pieces, often served on their own or with some additional garnishes for presentation.

Also, It’s a pretty basic dish that does not require any additional add-ons beyond cilantro and onions. Tacos de arracheras are common across Mexico, and both red and dark meat versions can be found throughout all regions.


There are taco experts, and then there are taco amateurs. Some people would argue that tacos are nothing more than a vehicle for ground beef, melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. 

But there’s so much more to be said about what is perhaps Mexico’s most famous food. Today we want to get you up to speed on all of the different types of taco meat. You can make them at home and provide some recipes for each one. We hope it makes your next Taco Tuesday even better!

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