What Sauce Goes on Street Tacos? 10 Top Picks for Taco Lovers!

Street tacos are a popular Mexican street food consisting of small, soft corn or flour tortillas stuffed with meat, cilantro, onions, and your choice of sauces. While the fillings and garnishes play an important role, it’s often the sauces and salsas that take the tacos to the next level by adding delicious flavors, spice, and texture. With so many options to choose from, figuring out what sauce goes best on street tacos can be overwhelming.

This guide will explore 10 sauces that complement and enhance street tacos, helping you determine the right sauces to make your tacos pop.

Traditional Street Taco Sauces

1. Salsa

No taco is complete without salsa. This versatile tomato-based sauce adds a bright, fresh flavor and moderate spice level to street tacos. The classic salsa consists of chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, and lime juice. Popular variations include salsa verde made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes, mango salsa with a sweet tropical twist, pineapple salsa with fruity notes, and fiery habanero salsa for those who like the heat. Whichever salsa you choose, it’s an essential component when building your perfect street taco.

2. Guacamole

Cool and creamy guacamole perfectly balances the hot and spicy elements of street tacos. Made from ripe avocados, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and spices like garlic, guacamole provides a rich creaminess and touch of acidity. The avocado base also adds a dose of heart-healthy fats. Both chunky and smooth guacamole work well dolloped on top of street tacos, allowing its flavor to shine with each bite.

3. Sour Cream

Along with guacamole, sour cream is a cooling contrast to the hot meat and salsa in street tacos. Its subtle tang pairs nicely with the other ingredients while adding a smooth, creamy texture. Sour cream contains minimal seasoning, allowing the other components in the taco to be the star. It’s often drizzled or dolloped on top of street tacos, lending its signature mild flavor.

4. Salsa Taquera

For an authentic street taco experience, salsa taquera is a must-try. This salsa gets its smoky flavor from dried chiles like chipotle, morita, and guajillo. Onions, tomatoes, and garlic are charred before blending to create an incredibly rich, complex sauce. The smokiness is balanced by a bright acidity from the tomatoes and a slow, lingering heat. Salsa taquera takes simple street tacos to the next level.

5. Adobo Sauce

Adobo sauce offers an intensely concentrated flavor that enhances any street taco. Made by slowly reducing chiles, herbs, vinegar, garlic, salt, and oil, bottled adobo sauce provides smoky chili flavor with notes of tangy sweetness. It can be served on the side for dipping or drizzled over meats and garnishes. Just a spoonful of this complex sauce gives street tacos a flavor punch.

Creative Twists for Street Tacos

Once you’ve mastered the classics, explore creative fusion sauces that put a unique spin on traditional street tacos.

6. Chipotle Crema

For a creamy sauce with a kick, chipotle crema can’t be beaten. Combining smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, tangy lime juice, cooling sour cream or mayonnaise, and spices, it boasts complex flavors and just enough heat. The texture is richer than salsa but lighter than guacamole. Drizzle it generously over carne asada or carnitas tacos for ultimate satisfaction.

7. Mango Salsa

Introduce tropical sweetness to your tacos with mango salsa. Diced ripe mangoes are combined with red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice for a fruity salsa that balances sweet and spicy. The juicy mango chunks add great texture. This salsa brightens up any protein filling from chicken to fish.

8. Pineapple Salsa

Like mango salsa, pineapple salsa incorporates sweet, tangy fruit. Chunks of fresh, ripe pineapple are tossed with red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice for a unique, slightly sweet salsa. The tropical pineapple flavor paired with spicy jalapeño makes for an irresistible topper for tacos al pastor or shrimp.

9. Cilantro Lime Crema

For a fresh, herbal flair, cilantro lime crema is the way to go. Blending sour cream or Greek yogurt with lime juice, cilantro, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt yields a creamy, tangy sauce. Cooling and complex, it adds bright flavor to rich meats like chorizo and carnitas. Drizzle it over tacos for a tasty finishing touch.

10. Pesto Sauce

Though not traditional, pesto can be an excellent addition to gourmet street tacos. Made with basil, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, and garlic, pesto provides herbaceous flavor and richness that enhances meats and vegetables. Try it on tacos with grilled shrimp, sauteed squash, or chicken. The basil and garlic notes in pesto marry nicely with Mexican ingredients.

Matching Sauces to Tacos Fillings

With so many sauce options available, how do you choose what pairs best with each taco filling? Use the handy table below as a guide:

FillingRecommended Sauces
Carne Asada (Grilled Steak)Salsa, Guacamole, Salsa Taquera, Adobo
Al Pastor (Marinated Pork)Pineapple Salsa, Chipotle Crema, Adobo
Carnitas (Braised Pork)Salsa Verde, Guacamole, Cilantro Lime Crema
ChickenMango Salsa, Chipotle Crema, Cilantro Lime Crema
Chorizo (Spicy Sausage)Pico de Gallo, Chipotle Crema, Avocado Sauce
FishMango Salsa, Chipotle Crema, Cilantro Lime Crema
ShrimpPineapple Salsa, Chipotle Crema, Pesto
VegetablesGuacamole, Salsa, Cilantro Lime Crema

This table provides sauce recommendations for common street taco fillings. However, don’t be afraid to mix and match different sauces and fillings. The beauty of street tacos lies in customizing with your favorite ingredients.

How to Make Your Own Street Taco Sauces

Want to whip up your own homemade sauces? Here are recipes for three crowd-pleasing sauces ideal for street tacos:

Easy Tomatillo Salsa Verde

  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • Leaves from 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat broiler on high. Place tomatillos and jalapenos on a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Broil until charred.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the charred tomatillos, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt until a chunky salsa forms.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt, lime juice or jalapeno if desired.

Quick Chipotle Crema

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or sour cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, adobo sauce, lime juice and salt.
  2. Adjust chipotle adobo sauce to reach desired spice level.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Easy Cilantro Lime Crema

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a bowl, stir together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.
  3. Adjust lime juice and salt to taste.

With these simple recipes, you can quickly make authentic, flavor-packed salsas and cremas from scratch to take your street tacos to the next level. Homemade sauces make all the difference!

Tips for Serving Street Taco Sauces

  • Place salsas and thinner sauces in small ramekins for dipping or drizzling. Offer a spoon for scooping.
  • Dollop thicker sauces like guacamole, sour cream, and crema onto tacos with a spoon. Let diners spread themselves.
  • Salsa bars allow people to customize and mix and match salsas. Provide an array of complementary options.
  • For easy drizzling, transfer thinner sauces to squeeze bottles. Shake before use.
  • Allow guacamole to contact air to prevent browning by transferring to a wide, shallow bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface.
  • Garnish tacos with fresh chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedges for squeezing over filling and sauces.
  • Serve sauces chilled alongside freshly warmed tortillas and hot fillings. The contrast is delicious!

Storing Leftover Street Taco Sauces

Many sauces for street tacos keep for 5 to 7 days refrigerated, allowing you to make them in advance. Follow these storage tips:

  • Transfer salsas to airtight containers, removing as much air as possible before sealing to minimize oxidation.
  • Place guacamole directly in an airtight container, ensuring it makes contact with as little air as possible.
  • Cover the surface of prepared cremas and sour cream with plastic wrap before sealing in a container.
  • Most homemade sauces freeze well for 1 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
  • Refrigerate store-bought salsa and sauces after opening. Use within the recommended timeframe.

By properly storing sauces, you can prep taco toppings in bulk for quick weeknight meals or party appetizers. Just give them a stir before serving to recombine.


What are the most traditional sauces served with street tacos?

The most common traditional sauces for street tacos are salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Street taco salsa often contains tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, and lime. Guacamole provides creaminess and richness from avocados. Sour cream lends a cooling tanginess.

What is salsa taquera?

Salsa taquera is an authentic salsa made specifically for tacos. It gets its deep, smoky flavor from grilled tomatoes, onions, garlic, and dried chiles like chipotle and guajillo. The charred vegetables and spices create an incredibly rich, complex salsa.

What ingredients are in chipotle crema?

Chipotle crema combines smoky chipotles in adobo sauce with lime juice and sour cream or mayonnaise. Some variations also include cilantro, garlic, cumin, and salt. The chipotles provide a mild heat along with deep flavor.

Can I make my own versions of classic street taco sauces?

Absolutely! Many sauces for street tacos can be easily made at home with basic ingredients. You can find recipes for salsas, guacamole, cremas and more by searching online or in Mexican cookbooks. Homemade allows you to customize spice levels and flavors.

What are some creative fusion sauces I can try on street tacos?

Some popular creative sauces include mango salsa, pineapple salsa, cilantro lime crema, avocado sauce, chimichurri, jalapeno crema, and pesto. Fusion sauces put a unique spin on traditional street tacos.

What’s the best way to top my street tacos with sauces?

Spoon guacamole, crema and thicker sauces directly onto the center of tacos. Drizzle or dollop salsa and thinner sauces. Provide lime wedges for squeezing over tacos. Have a salsa bar for customizing.

How should I store leftover taco sauces?

Refrigerate sauces in airtight containers up to 5 days. Salsas and guacamole should contact as little air as possible. Cover the surface of cremas with plastic wrap before sealing. Most sauces freeze well for 1 to 3 months.

What sauce goes best with my chosen street taco filling?

Use classic salsas, guacamole and crema for versatility with any filling. For specifics, salsa taquera, pineapple salsa, and chipotle crema pair well with al pastor. Cilantro lime crema complements chicken or veggies. Adobo sauce enhances carne asada.

Can I use store-bought sauces instead of homemade?

Absolutely. High-quality pre-made salsas, cremas and more allow you to quickly replicate classic street taco sauces. Just check the ingredients and nutritional info when purchasing.


Street tacos are all about the delicious contrast of hot, juicy fillings with cool, bright sauces and salsas. Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are classic choices, while creative options like mango salsa, chipotle crema, and pesto offer fun new dimensions of flavor. Whatever sauces you choose to top your tacos, following pairing tips can ensure a winning combination.

With homemade or store-bought sauces on hand, you can build truly crave-worthy street tacos any night of the week. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different proteins and multiple sauces for handheld bites packed with texture, spice, and vibrancy. Your tastebuds will thank you!

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What Sauce Goes on Street Tacos?

The article provides a comprehensive guide to 10 delicious sauces for street tacos, including traditional choices like salsa and guacamole, as well as creative twists like chipotle crema and pesto. It also offers tips for storing and serving the sauces.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1


  • Salsa traditional tomato-based sauce
  • Guacamole cool and creamy avocado-based sauce
  • Sour Cream subtle and creamy sauce
  • Salsa Taquera authentic smoky salsa with dried chiles
  • Adobo Sauce intensely flavored chili sauce
  • Chipotle Crema creamy sauce with smoky chipotle peppers
  • Mango Salsa fruity salsa with diced ripe mangoes
  • Pineapple Salsa sweet and tangy salsa with fresh pineapple
  • Cilantro Lime Crema fresh and tangy creamy sauce with cilantro and lime
  • Pesto Sauce herbaceous sauce with basil, pine nuts, and garlic


  • Gather your desired street taco fillings (carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, etc.) along with corn or flour tortillas.
  • Make or prepare your choice of sauces like salsa, guacamole, and crema. Refer to sauce recipes for prep details.
  • Warm the tortillas on a hot skillet or griddle for about 30 seconds per side. Stack in a tortilla warmer to keep pliable.
  • Cook fillings according to recipe directions until hot and ready to assemble.
  • To assemble the tacos, take a warm tortilla and fill with your desired amount of cooked filling.
  • Top with salsa, guacamole, crema, or other sauces of your choosing. Feel free to mix and match!
  • Add any other desired taco garnishes like cilantro, diced onion, queso fresco.
  • Fold or roll the taco and serve immediately while hot.
  • Let guests add extra sauces like salsa and guacamole from serving bowls on the side if desired.
  • Enjoy your saucy, flavor-packed street tacos!
Keyword What Sauce Goes on Street Tacos?

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