Beef tongue tacos | Tacos de lengua recipe

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Tacos de lengua with golden chile de arbol salsa taquera.
Taquerias all over Mexico sell beef tongue tacos

Lengua (tongue) is used in so many cuisines all over the world. In Mexico, it is a true delicacy and if cooked correctly, its melt in your mouth delicious. While growing up, eating beef tongue tacos was extremely normal and I LOVED the flavor and tender texture. The first time I saw my mother make this at home, I didn’t feel grossed out, I already knew what is tasted like and was more excited than anything. I understand there is going to be some of you who will pass and that’s fine but if you are feeling curious, I recommend you try it. 

How is it sold ?

There is no surprises here because the tongue looks just like its name, “tongue”. These are sold whole and with the membrane still attached. Depending on how clean it is, you may need to remove excess fat from the back because it turns chewy and serves no purpose. 

Tongue cooking in a flavorful broth on a gentle simmer.
What makes beef tongue so GREAT?

The tongue is hard as is because it is a very active muscle. It needs to be cooked slowly for several hours until it becomes super tender. You can cook it whole but to cut down on the cooking time, Im going to cut it into several medium size pieces. 

Add aromatics for a boost of flavor

Adding aromatics to the cooking broth is a great boost of additional flavor. Check the water level once in a while and if running low you can add more water. Keep the pot covered and on a low simmer.

Aromatics used in broth to impart flavor 
  • Onion: slightly sweet flavor 
  • Garlic: slightly spicy flavors 
  • Black peppercorns: earthy, woody and sharp flavor 
  • Bay leafs: herbal and floral tones
  • Hierba buena/mint: minty flavor 
  • Dry guajillos: light sweet smoky flavor
  • Dry oregano: peppery and subtle bitter flavor
  • Salt: Opens up flavor
Used homemade tortillas
What type of tortillas can you use for tacos?

Tacos are mainly accompanied by corn tortillas. You can use store bought but I suggest using 2 per taco; they will hold better. I’m using homemade because sometimes you just want that feeling of accomplishment when they puff up. Nothing beats it! Plus they taste way better. By the way, I make smaller ones when making tacos, that way you can have more, smart! If using homemade, use one per taco.

Can you use flour tortillas?

It’s not common to use flour tortillas on street tacos but you can, if desired.

Taco holder clickable link

Making a salsa taquera is crucial! A taco has to be accompanied by a salsa. Feel free to make my golden Chile de arbol Salsa Taquera which is displayed on this posts.

Other salsas: Authentic Mexican salsa in a molcajete and Salsa macha

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Beef tongue tacos | Tacos de lengua recipe

Recipe by Villa CocinaCourse: TacosCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time





Lengua (tongue) is used in so many cuisines all over the world. In Mexico, it is a true delicacy and if cooked correctly, its melt in your mouth delicious. While growing up eating beef tongue tacos was extremely normal and I LOVED the flavor and tender texture.


  • To cook the tongue
  • 2 1/2 lbs beef tongue

  • 1/2 white onion, large

  • 1 head, garlic 

  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, whole 

  • 4 bay leafs

  • 5 hierba buena/mint sprigs 

  • 4 dry chiles guajillos, small

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, kosher

  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano 

  • 8 cups of water

  • Brown the tongue
  • 1/2 tsp lard or oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt, kosher

  • Sautéed green onions (optional)
  • 8 green onions, pearl

  • 2 tsp lard or oil

  • To ensemble
  • Golden chile de arbol salsa taquera

  • 15 small corn tortillas

  • Chopped onion 

  • Chopped cilantro 

  • Limes 


  • To reduce the cooking time, cut the tongue in about 6 medium size pieces.
  • Transfer the tongue, onion, deveined & rinsed dry guajillos to a large pot. Cut the head of garlic in half and add it in along with the bay leaves, peppercorns, dry oregano, salt, hierba buena and up to 2 inches of water above the tongue, about 8 cups
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower to medium low for a gentle simmer. Cover and let it cook for about 1:30-2:00 hrs or until fork tender. 
  • When the tongue is fork tender remove from the broth and peel off the skin while still hot (see notes below). Take precautions, you can wear kitchen heat resistant gloves for this step. 
  • Dice the cooked muscle into small bite size pieces.
  • (Optional) Place a pan over medium high heat and add oil/lard. Once hot, slighlty cook and brown 8 green onions, cut in half (remove the top green part). 
  • With the large pan over medium high heat add lard/oil and brown the Lengua. Season with kosher salt and stir to combine. 
  • When ready remove from the heat. 
  • Heat the corn tortillas on a comal/griddle or over a small amount of lard for additional flavor. 
  • To serve, add the browned meat to the center of the tortilla and top with chopped onion, cilantro, salsa and a drizzle of lime juice. Lay the green onions on the side and Enjoy!
  • Feel free to check out the video tutorial below 👇🏻. If you enjoyed the video please SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube channel and don’t forget to click the bell icon so you get a notification every time we post a brand new video. Thank you!!

Recipe Video


  • The tongue is usually cooked whole but it does take longer. If you have the time, it is an option. 
  • Lengua is sold whole and with the membrane still attached. The membrane will be removed after cooked. 
  • Removing the membrane from tongue: It is easier to remove the membrane while the tongue is still hot. You can use heat resistant gloves, a pair of tongues or a fork to help you. Be sure to take precautions, no need to burn yourself. 

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  1. Muchas felicidades Rosana y a tu esposo me gustan mucho tus resetas comida mexicana mi nombre es JOSE y yo tambien soy de MICHOACAN . GOD BLESS YOU

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