Family Style Taco Bar

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It's Monday. We spent the weekend grilling all sorts of things and that means tonight I'm putting it all to good use for a Family Style Taco Bar! Family Style Taco Bar from (@whatsgabycookin)

A few weeks back in my secret Facebook group there was a bit of discussion about what makes the perfect taco bar menu. Obviously I have a lot of thoughts that go into that question. You see, back in my private chef days, I did a lot of family style taco bars. In my opinion, it's the easiest way to feed a crowd. Why you ask? Here's the deal.

1 - it doesn't cost a lot of money so you can size it up with 5, 10, 15, 20+ people without breaking the bank

2 - who doesn't love tacos? You can literally feed everyone with taco night. Vegetarians, just stick with the veggies. Meat loves, go to town on the protein. Gluten free? Skip the flour tortillas and opt for corn, or do a taco salad situation. Dairy intolerant, don't add cheese. You get the idea.

3 - You can get craft with the proteins. Chicken, shrimp, steak, carnitas, ground beef... skies the limit. And a lot of these can be made ahead of time! Days ahead of time even.

4 - Go wild with the toppings so everyone can really live their best life and craft their perfect taco. And feel free to take a short cut from the store. You can snag some of my What's Gaby Cooking salsas for OPTIMUM results too!

Family Style Taco Bar from (@whatsgabycookin)


So, without further ado... everything you need to make the best Family Style Taco Night ever!

Family Style Taco Night

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 1 vote
A Family Style Taco Night is the easiest way to feed a crowd. Pick a couple proteins and go wild with the toppings so everyone can really live their best life and craft their perfect taco. 
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings


For the Grilled Shrimp

  • 2 lbs medium shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 teaspoons Gaby's Go To Seasoning

For the Grilled Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Gaby's Go To Seasoning
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

For the Grilled Steak

  • 1 lb Flank Steak
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Gaby's All Things Meat Seasoning

For the Toppings

  • 1 recipe Gaby's Famous Guacamole best if made the day of
  • 1 recipe Chipotle Salsa can be made a day or two ahead of time
  • 1 recipe Tomatillo Salsa can be made a day or two ahead of time
  • Pickled Red Onions
  • Freshly Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • 1 recipe Pico de Gallo can be made a day or two ahead of time
  • Charred Corn frozen from trader joes cause it’s easy, just thaw it out
  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Chopped Chives
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Charred Corn Tortillas
  • Charred Flour Tortillas


For the Grilled Shrimp

  • Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, lime juice and seasoning. Prepare your gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat. Place the shrimp on the grill over medium high heat and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the shrimp are fully pink. Remove the shrimp from the grill and set aside. Place on platter for taco night.

For the Grilled Chicken

  • Combine the vegetable oil, chopped chipotle pepper in adobo and seasoning in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  • Place the chicken in a large zip top plastic bag and add the marinade. Zip the bag and mix the chicken into the marinade. Place it into the fridge and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat an indoor or outdoor grill to about 400 degrees F (medium high heat). Place the chicken onto the grill and grill 5 to 6 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Chop the chicken into small bite sized pieces and place on the platter for taco night.

For the Grilled Steak

  • Combine the ingredients for the flank steak marinade. Add the steak and let marinate for 2 hours.
  • Heat a grill over medium high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and generously season with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill and grill for 4-6 minutes on each side, turning 90 degrees halfway through to get criss-cross grill marks. Cook until medium, or medium, depending on your preference, and then remove to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the flank steak against the grain and place on platter for taco night.

To Arrange

  • Arrange the toppings in various small bowls and DIY your own adventure!


I find a spread like this helps kids find new flavors they enjoy. When they get to pick and choose and assemble their own plates, you might be surprised at what they gravitate towards.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 217mg | Sodium: 382mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!


  1. Hi, how many people is this recipe for? We are having 27 people over on Saturday and wanted to do something like this. Not sure how much meat to get.


  2. Funny, we just had a Tortilla night too...I have a Hispanic store near me where I get freshly made flour tortillas...can't buy the store bought ones...I fry them up in a little ghee & olive oil...I used my left over flat iron steak that I marinated in your recipe...really good! thanks Gaby..for the recipes and inspiration!

  3. Hi Gaby!! If I cant make it to WS to get the seasoning, what would you recommend?
    I love your recipes!

    1. you can use your fav seasonings you have stocked at home!! or salt / pepper and garlic powder for sure

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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