How to Build a Burrito Bar for Your Next Party

When hosting a gathering, it can be tough to plan a menu that will please everyone. For your next party, try a burrito bar with something for everyone.

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“Woohoo! Party time!”

That’s usually everyone’s first thought when they decide to throw a party. It’s quickly followed by, “What on earth am I going to feed all these people?”

Even the most seasoned event planners struggle with determining a menu that will satisfy a crowd. Lucky for you, we have the answer: a burrito bar. Just follow this simple guide and you’ll be ready to party!

Psst: Here’s how to fold a burrito so it doesn’t spill all over the place.

Everything You Need for a Burrito Bar

This build-your-own burrito setup is the perfect solution for your next shindig—big or small. What’s great about this style of menu is that it allows guests to customize their meal to suit their individual preferences, dietary restrictions and appetite. Your job as the host is to simply create a delicious spread of tantalizing ingredients, such as:

  • Tortillas
  • Rice
  • Proteins, like meat and beans
  • Vegetables
  • Mexican cheeses
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsas
  • Side dishes and snacks

How to Select Ingredients

When selecting burrito bar ingredients, just close your eyes and envision you’re standing at your favorite fast-casual burrito joint. You’ll want to set up your spread in a similar fashion to make the experience quick and easy for your guests. Be sure to label each item and note its spice level, when applicable.

Tortillas

Start with a couple tortilla options, such as flour and whole wheat. If you have guests who follow a gluten-free diet, then supply a few gluten-free tortillas, too. You could even offer bowls to hold burrito fillings since some guests may be watching their carbs and prefer to go without a tortilla.

Rice

What type of rice is used in burritos? Crowd-pleasing favorites like copycat Chipotle cilantro-lime rice and traditional Spanish rice are great options. You could also consider offering steamed brown rice or quinoa for your health-conscious guests.

Beans

Love them or hate them, beans are another burrito bar staple. Keep it classic with warm pinto beans, black beans or both.

Protein

Don’t settle for basic ground beef! There’s a wide variety of protein options for burritos. Choose two or three different meat options and make them in advance. When it’s party time, warm ’em up in slow cookers. Our favorite options? Shredded beef, like this green chili beef, shredded chicken, carne asada steak or pork al pastor. If you have vegan or vegetarian guests, you could also serve up some seasoned tofu, tempeh or other meat alternatives.

Vegetables

Veggie options for your burrito bar are only limited by your imagination (and budget). If you want to keep things simple, stick to traditional burrito fillings like lettuce, chopped tomato, diced onions, sliced jalapenos and cilantro. If you want to jazz things up, you can include ingredients like fresh corn kernels, pickled radishes, sauteed bell peppers or a crunchy, southwest cabbage slaw.

Cheese

Is it even a burrito if there isn’t a healthy sprinkling of cheese inside? Shredded Monterey jack, cheddar or pepper jack will please most guests. You can include a few authentic Mexican cheeses, like shredded asadero, grated cotija or crumbled queso fresco.

Sour Cream, Guac and Salsa

No burrito bar is complete without homemade guacamole, sour cream and assorted salsas to top everything off. Your bar should include, at minimum, a mild pico de gallo and a spicy salsa option to appease both sides of the heat spectrum. You could also offer something unique (like this strawberry corn salsa) for your adventurous guests.

Sides and Dessert

Extra rice and beans make great, easy side dish options. Serve them alongside extra bowls of salsa and guacamole with a few large bags of tortilla chips. Don’t forget about dessert! Have a batch of these tasty homemade churros ready for your guests with decadent chocolate sauce for dipping.

How to Set up the Bar

If you’re looking for some fun finishing touches, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few of our favorite serving pieces and fiesta-inspired decor items that will help ensure your burrito bar goes off without a hitch.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.