Tacos are a beloved Mexican dish that have become popular worldwide. They typically consist of a corn or flour tortilla filled with protein, salsa, and various toppings and fillings. While the classic tacos fillings are meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, and other veggies, fruit can also make a tasty and fresh topping for tacos. The sweetness and acidity of fruit balances out the savory fillings and salsa perfectly. So what are the best fruits to serve with tacos? Here are some top options to consider.
Some of the best fruits to pair with tacos are fresh, bright fruits that provide a crunchy texture and pop of sweetness. These fruits include:
Jicama, sometimes known as Mexican yam bean, is a crunchy, juicy tuber vegetable with a mildly sweet taste. When sliced or cut into strips, it makes a great taco topping, adding crispness and balancing out the other flavors. Jicama has a high water content, so it stays nice and cool and crisp.
Pineapple is another fruit that goes really well with tacos. Its sweet and tart juice helps cut through the richness of meats like carnitas or chorizo. Pineapple pairs especially nicely with shrimp or mahi mahi tacos. For best results, use fresh, ripe pineapple diced into small chunks rather than canned. The crisp texture works better.
Diced mango is another refreshing option for tacos. Its tropical sweetness pairs well with spicy salsas and seasonings. Try mango with fish tacos topped with cabbage and a creamy sauce or salsa. Some people also like adding mango to chicken or steak tacos for a fruity twist.
Watermelon, like jicama and pineapple, has a very crisp, watery texture that contrasts nicely with tacos. The sweet juiciness balances out any greasiness from fillings like beef barbacoa or crispy carnitas. Cut watermelon into small cubes and mix it with cilantro and lime juice for a bright guacamole-style salsa topping.
Papaya has a similar texture to mango when ripe – soft, slippery slices full of sweet, sunny flavor. Shredded green papaya is crunchier and works well for slaws and toppings. Sprinkle some lime juice on diced papaya to prevent oxidation. Enjoy papaya’s tropical vibe with Baja fish tacos.
Dried or Grilled Fruits
In addition to fresh fruits, some dried and grilled fruits can also work well with different taco fillings. Try these options:
Grilled slices of pineapple are delicious in carne asada or shrimp tacos. The heat of the grillconcentrates pineapple’s natural sugars and intensifies its flavor. It also caramelizes the exterior while keeping the inside tender. Grilled pineapple teams up especially well with tangy citrus flavors.
Mango can be dried into chewy, sweet strips that add another texture to tacos. Dried mango has an intensely tropical, candied flavor. Its firmness stands up to heartier fillings like steak, chicken, or black beans. A bit of chili powder complements dried mango’s sweetness.
Like mango, dried apricots offer a very sweet, intense fruity flavor that goes well with richer meats. Their dense, chewy texture contrasts with softer taco fillings. Try dried apricots with shredded pork shoulder or chicken tinga tacos. They also pair nicely with spices like cumin and ancho chili powder.
Grilled or fried plantain slices have a caramelized sweetness that makes a nice taco topping. Green plantains are starchier and firmer, while ripe plantains are softer and sweeter after cooking. Plantains complement meat well, especially flavors like achiote, barbacoa, or coconut braised pork shoulder.
In addition to tropical and dried fruits, berries like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries can work well with lighter taco fillings. Their sweet tartness provides color and freshness.
Diced fresh strawberries taste delicious with creamy fillings like fish, shrimp, carnitas, or potato tacos. Pair them with cotija cheese and cilantro. Strawberries also go well with mole sauce. Roast or grill strawberries to concentrate their sweetness.
Blackberries have a more acidic taste than strawberries. Their little seeds provide texture against softer taco ingredients. They work with both meat and vegetarian tacos. Try them with goat cheese or feta for tangy flavor.
Like blackberries, fresh blueberries deliver a pleasing pop of juicy sweet-tart flavor. Their small size lets them mix with sauces and salsas. Blueberries pair especially well with lemon- or lime-seasoned fish like mahi mahi or salmon.
Stone fruits like peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines also bring a sweet addition to certain tacos. They work best with lighter fillings.
Diced fresh or grilled peaches lend their sweet juiciness to fish and veggie tacos. They taste delicious with hints of fresh basil or mint. Peaches also complement creamy fillings like avocado orRefried beans.
Plum season offers another fun chance to add fruit to tacos. Plums have a tart skin and sweet flesh. Grilling or broiling plums intensifies their sweet tanginess. Their firm texture stands up well to heartier ingredients. Try plums with pinto or black beans.
Fresh Bing or Rainier cherries pair nicely with sweeter, citrusy salsas. Their pop of juicy sweetness balances spicy seasonings. Dried cherries also work well, adding even more concentrated flavor. Try them with mild white fish or chicken tacos.
Like peaches, nectarines match well with lighter ingredients like vegetables, beans, chicken, or white fish. Their sweetness and aroma plays nicely with cilantro, mint, and lime juice. Grilled nectarines caramelize beautifully. Refrain from adding nectarines to heavier beef or pork tacos, where their delicate flavor can get lost.
Tangy citrus fruits add bright flavor and natural acidity to tacos. They work in fillings, salsas, and toppings.
No taco is complete without a squeeze of lime juice. The tart acidity cuts through the richness of the taco fillings and brings all the flavors together. Try seasoning pico de gallo, guacamole, or fruit salsa with a dash of lime. Wedges served on the side let people add more to taste.
Orange segments, juice, or zest all lend a sweet citrusy flavor to tacos. Orange juice pairs especially well with chicken or shrimp tacos seasoned with garlic, cumin, and chili powder. The natural acids in orange help tenderize meat. Some roasted chili-based salsas also include a touch of orange juice.
Like orange, grapefruit adds juicy citrus flavor to tacos, especially in salsas. The pink and red varieties tend to be sweeter, while white grapefruit has more tartness. Grapefruit complements avocado, shrimp, or white fish tacos seasoned with cayenne and cilantro.
Tropical Cocktail Fruits
For a fun fusion flavor, try using any of these tropical cocktail fruits as taco toppings:
Grilled pineapple rounds, skewers, or wedges lend sweetness to tacos of all kinds. The caramelization from grilling enhances pineapple’s already stellar flavor.
Diced fresh mango or mango salsa bring a tropical vibe to tacos. If you like piña coladas, you’ll love the mango-lime combo.
Thinly sliced kiwi adds color and a sweet-tart zing to tacos. Its tiny black seeds provide texture to contrast soft avocado or refried beans.
Sliced starfruit has a crisp, juicy texture with a lime-like flavors. Its fun shape looks cool atop veggie or fish tacos. Starfruit pairs well with mango- or peach-based salsas.
Spoonfuls of tangy-sweet passionfruit pulp or passionfruit sauce liven up shrimp or tilapia tacos. Mix some into guacamole too.
Melons like cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon have high water content. Their juicy sweetness tastes delicious with various taco flavors.
Diced or balled cantaloupe has a perfumey aroma that pairs well with mint or basil. The melon’s soft texture works nicely with refried pinto beans. For added interest, grill cantaloupe slices before dicing.
Honeydew melon has a clean, crisp sweetness. The smaller variety called Charentais offers more concentrated honeydew flavor. Try it with carnitas or crispy cod tacos.
Watermelon’s juicy crunch stands up well to heartier meats like steak or barbacoa. For tacos, use small diced watermelon, or cut into wedges to scoop salsa onto. Add some crumbled feta or cotija cheese for a delicious flavor pairing.
What about avocado?
Avocado is another fruit that works perfectly with tacos. While technically a fruit, avocado’s savory, creamy texture puts it in a class of its own. Rich, buttery avocado cools down spicy salsas and brings an amazing creaminess to tacos of all kinds. Some delicious ways to enjoy avocado:
– Chunks or slices in tacos
– Guacamole dip
– Mashed with Lime and cilantro
– Added to salads
– Paired with creamy corn salsa
– Whipped into avocado sauce
So while avocado fits more as a savory topping, it counts as an honorary fruit of tacos too!
Fruit Salsas for Tacos
One of the easiest ways to incorporate fruit flavors into tacos is through fresh salsas. Here are some tasty fruit salsa recipes to try:
Diced pineapple, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, diced jalapeno, and a pinch of salt. Let sit 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Great with fish tacos.
Diced mango, jicama, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and chili powder.
Cubed watermelon, crumbled feta, sliced green onions, lime juice, olive oil, and fresh mint.
Diced peaches, tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, fresh oregano, and a dash of hot sauce if desired.
Blackberry Pico de Gallo
Blackberries, diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Pineapple wedges grilled until charred, then diced with red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and minced habanero pepper.
Seasonal Fruits for Tacos
Certain fruits pair best with tacos during their peak season when flavor and ripeness are at their prime. Here are some of the best fruits to use for tacos by season:
– Pomegranate arils
– Citrus fruits
– Mandarin oranges
– Dried fruits like mango, pineapple, apricots
Taco Fillings that Pair Well with Fruit
While fruit works nicely with many taco fillings, these combos are especially delicious:
– Fish or shrimp + mango, pineapple, papaya, berries
– Carnitas or crispy pork belly + jicama, watermelon
– Chicken tinga + dried apricots
– Carne asada + grilled pineapple, guava
– Chorizo + strawberries, kiwi
– Roasted veggie or mushroom + peaches, plums
– Refried or black beans + mango, cherry salsa
– Avocado or guacamole + berries, citrus fruits
The key is balancing out stronger meat flavors with bright, sweet fruits. Let the fruit cut through heavy, fatty, or salty flavors. Fruit’s texture also adds a nice contrast to soft taco ingredients.
Here are some tips for serving fruit with tacos:
– Dice fruit into small pieces so it mixes well with other taco ingredients
– Toss sliced fruit or salsa gently with lettuce or cabbage to mix into each bite
– Layer fruit salsa on the bottom of the taco below the other fillings
– Grill or broil firmer fruits like pineapple to caramelize natural sugars
– Sprinkle a little chili powder or minced chilies on diced fruit
– Combine sweet and savory flavors like mango-jalapeno or watermelon-feta
– Garnish tacos with lime, orange, or grapefruit wedges for squeezing over
– Match lighter fruits like berries with fish or veggie tacos
– Pair tropical fruits with chicken, shrimp, or white fish
– Add some crumbled cotija or feta cheese over fruit toppings
– Keep fruit chilled before adding to tacos to maximize freshness
Making Fruit Tacos
For the ultimate fruit taco experience, use fresh fruit as the taco shell itself! Think of it as a sweet taco dessert.
Some tasty fruit taco combinations:
– Grilled pineapple rounds filled with vanilla ice cream, shredded coconut, and drizzled honey
– Watermelon wedges with a scoop of cottage cheese, mint, and lime zest
– Banana “boats” with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips
– Apple slices with mascarpone, chopped nuts, and a drizzle of caramel or honey
– Grilled peach halves with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped basil
– Mango spears filled with a mixed berry salsa
Get creative with seasonal fruits as the shells and sweet toppings as the fillings. Kids and adults alike will love these playful fruit taco creations!
For a drink pairing, whip up some fruity margaritas! Blend fresh juice from citrus, pineapple, mango, berries, or other fruits with tequila, orange liqueur, and simple syrup. Serve the margaritas alongside your tacos for a tropical twist. Salud!
Tacos get a fun twist when you add fresh, seasonal fruit as toppings, fillings, or salsas. From tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, to berries, stone fruits, and citrus, fruit’s sweetness balances out the stronger flavors of the tacos. Crunchy fruits like jicama and watermelon provide textural contrast. And fruit salsas like mango pico or grilled pineapple salsa liven things up. So don’t be afraid to get creative and throw some fresh fruit into your next taco night! A squeeze of lime is just the beginning.