Mexican Tacos vs. Tex-Mex Tacos: Do You Know the Differences?

Is Taco Tuesday your favorite day of the week? It's definitely mine - I could cook and eat tacos every day! I love the versatility of the taco, allowing you to transform everything from Asian to Indian food into a tasty package. There is something to be said for an authentic taco, though, and we're ready to learn all about it thanks to our friends over at

Fusion food aside, there's a huge difference between authentic Mexican tacos and the Tex-Mex tacos most of us have come to know and love. Tacos may have originated in Mexico, but most of us are more familiar with the Americanized versions. Let's take a peek at the few defining characteristics before we give you the infographic that explains it all.

What an Authentic Taco Looks Like

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First of all, you need to look at the tortilla. American tacos use flour tortillas or crispy, hard-shelled corn tortillas. You'll find that authentic Mexican tacos use soft corn tortillas as the wrapper.

Next comes the toppings. Tex-Mex tacos are filled with shredded cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Authentic tacos are only topped with fresh cilantro leaves and finely diced white onions.

Then comes the meat itself. You'll find Mexican tacos filled with marinated meat like flank steak. The marinade usually contains oregano, ground black pepper, cumin, paprika, lime juice, and chilies. The cooks cube the meat before stewing it, or they leave it whole and cook it over a high heat grill called an Asada. American tacos are usually spiced with store-bought taco seasoning (that's mostly chili powder) and involve shredded chicken, pork, or cooked ground beef.

Finally, most Mexican food isn't as spicy as the Tex-Mex counterparts. Americans use salsa as a hot sauce to add spice to the dish. Mexicans use the salsa as a "sauce" that coats the meat. You'll find all kinds of non-spicy salsa in authentic Mexican tacos, like fresh pico de gallo, avocado salsa, or green tomatillo salsa verde.

Let's Get Authentic

Here's the full breakdown on how to make authentic tacos. I don't know about you, but I'm going to celebrate my newfound knowledge by getting into the kitchen and whipping up a batch of carne asada tacos - served with a side of lime wedges, of course! I can't guarantee you that I'll skip the hot sauce (because I love spicy food). But, I will serve it with a side of beans to make up for my lack of authenticity.


Are you craving tacos yet? Just imagine a warm tortilla filled with your favorite toppings.


Watch: Get Ready for Taco Tuesday with These Recipes

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