Authentic Mexican Tacos de Lengua Recipe

Authentic Mexican Tacos de Lengua Recipe

Master the art of creating mouthwatering tacos de lengua with this ultimate recipe. The secret? Patience and a sizzling hot skillet.

Tacos de lengua, or beef tongue tacos, are a true Mexican street food gem. While the idea of eating tongue might seem unusual to some, when prepared correctly, it transforms into a tender, flavorful delicacy that will have you coming back for more.

The key to perfect tacos de lengua lies in the preparation. First, the tongue is gently simmered for hours until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. Then, it’s crisped up on a hot griddle, creating a delightful contrast of textures that elevates this dish to new heights.

Don’t settle for subpar tongue tacos where the meat is merely warmed through. The magic happens when you take the time to achieve that perfect crispy exterior. It’s this attention to detail that transforms a good taco into an unforgettable culinary experience.

Ready to embark on your tacos de lengua adventure? Let’s dive into this authentic recipe that will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of Mexico.

Tacos de Lengua: Crispy Beef Tongue Tacos


  • 1.5 pounds (24 ounces) cow or veal tongue (see notes)
  • 1 medium onion, split in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 stems cilantro
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 quart low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat, pork fat, or canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 to 24 corn tortillas (warmed)

Optional Garnishes:

  • Fresh salsa, such as pico de gallo
  • Queso fresco or feta
  • Chopped onions and cilantro
  • Wedges of lime
  • Tomatillo salsa
  • Guacamole


  1. Start by placing the tongue, onion, bay leaves, cilantro stems, carrot, and garlic in a saucepan just big enough to hold them. Pour in enough chicken broth to mostly cover the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let it cook until the tongue is completely tender, which typically takes 4 to 6 hours depending on the size. Remember to add extra water as needed to keep the tongue mostly submerged.
  2. Once the tongue is tender, carefully remove it from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Strain the cooking liquid and set it aside for future use. Now, peel off the outer membrane of the tongue and discard it. Roughly chop the tongue into 1/2-inch pieces. If you’re planning ahead, you can prepare the tongue up to this point up to 5 days in advance. Just store it in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag in the refrigerator.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, heat your chosen fat in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering. Add the chopped tongue pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re well-browned on all sides. This should take about 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. To assemble your tacos, wrap a spoonful or two of the crispy tongue in a double layer of warm corn tortillas. Top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy the explosion of flavors!


Feel free to experiment with different types of tongue. Pork or lamb’s tongue can be used as delicious alternatives to beef.

Make-Ahead and Storage

For convenient meal prep, you can braise and trim the tongue up to 5 days in advance. Simply refrigerate it in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag until you’re ready to crisp it up and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
528 Calories
32g Fat
34g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 528
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 150mg 50%
Sodium 361mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 404mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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