While we love a classic charcuterie board layered with meat and cheese, sometimes we want to set out a spread that’s a little spicier, a lot saucier and perfect for any occasion, from a weeknight family dinner to a festive gathering. Enter the taco board.

Taco boards are a fun take on a build-your-own taco bar, with everything you need for the ultimate taco all on one platter. We loaded up our taco board with everything a hungry eater could want, like hard shells, soft shells, refried beans, shredded cheese, salsa and much more—but you can make your taco board as packed or as simple as you like. It’ll still be a hit!

How to Make a Taco Board

This taco board from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen is a delicious mix of homemade recipes and store-bought items. Senior Food Stylist Shannon Norris put it all together to create a mouth-watering—and eye-catching!—taco board.

What to Include on Your Taco Board

Shells: Include a few taco shell options on your taco “charcuterie” board, like hard shells, soft shells and Bibb lettuce cups. If you have extra time, here’s how to make homemade tortillas.
Protein: Our Test Kitchen opted for seasoned taco meat and slow-cooked carnitas, but this tasty tacos recipe would work just as well. Or go for grilled steak tacos, fish tacos, vegetarian bean tacos, or chili-lime mushroom tacos.
Toppings: Here’s the fun part! Get creative and dress up your board with shredded cheese, cojita cheese, shredded lettuce, red onion, black olives, chopped cilantro, sliced fresh jalapenos, lime wedges, sliced bell pepper, shredded red cabbage, radishes and sour cream.
Sauces and salsas: Now for the flavor boosters. Pour hot sauce and a variety of guacamoles and salsas into colorful dipping bowls. We used homemade guacamole, pico de gallo and this mild tomato salsa recipe for our spread.
Sides: And finally, a few sides to round out the meal. Refried beans and sauteed corn can be piled on the tacos or eaten separately.

Tool You’ll Need

How to Build Your Taco Board

1. Break out your tools

While you could use your prettiest cheese board for this taco “charcuterie” board, we suggest reaching for a baking sheet, or any rimmed tray that’ll keep your taco toppings from rolling off. Then pull out your taco board ingredients to start your assembly. Shannon suggests using two baking pans: one for hot foods and one for cold foods. Once assembled, push the items together to get the single board look.

2. Add your taco filling

Shannon recommends starting off with your main proteins because, well, they are the main event. Serve them in larger bowls so there’s enough for everyone. Arrange the bowls on opposite sides of your board to maintain visual balance.

3. Arrange your taco shells

Fan your taco shells around each large bowl. They’ll take up a bit of room, so you may only want to set out two taco shell options. You can place additional shells in baskets near your taco board for second helpings.

4. Find spots for the toppings and sauces

Fill up smaller bowls with your guacs, sauces and salsas and add decorative serving spoons to each. In the gaps on your board, add an array of colorful toppings, like cheese, jalapenos and sliced pepper. Extra toppings can be served in additional bowls or bright plates near your taco board.

Shannon’s tip: Not everything has to be homemade! A blend of made-from-scratch and store-bought items can be just as impressive and fun on your taco board.

5. Fill up your table

Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you may want to surround the taco board with other taco night recipes. Or go for a charcuterie board theme and add a baked potato board or one of these cheese board ideas.

Taco Board Tips

What drinks pair well with a taco board?

Sip on margaritas (hello, watermelon margarita!) or a Mexican soda or beer while you’re snacking on your board. Or put your tequila to use in a refreshing ranch water.

What salsa should I use for my taco board?

Use any salsa recipe your heart desires! You can’t go wrong with chunky salsa or roasted tomato salsa, or add a mango pineapple salsa to your spread.

Can I make my own homemade taco seasoning?

It’s easy to make your own homemade taco seasoning. Plus, making your own seasoning is cheaper than store-bought mixes, and will likely have half the sodium.

What other foods can I pair with my taco board?

Taco boards pair well with so many tasty appetizers like jalapeno poppers or a side of tortilla chips and grilled guacamole. These taco-inspired appetizers are crowd-pleasers, too.

The post How to Make a Build-Your-Own Taco Board Everyone Will Love appeared first on Taste of Home.