The History of Tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos? It’s the perfect snack for when you need a quick bite of something and it’s a delicious entree that’s perfectly paired with just about anything. I mean, we have a dedicated day for eating them! What more do you need to show how beloved this dish is to people around the world? But, where exactly did the taco begin and why has it become so popular?

Where Did the Taco Come From?

While the taco is a staple of Mexican cuisine, it may come as some surprise that it doesn’t have a very long history. There isn’t an exact date or place of its invention but there are a few ideas.

Jeffrey M. Pilcher, a professor of history at the University of Minnesota, has done extensive research into Mexican cuisine. He believes that these handheld bites started in Mexican silver mines in the 19th century. This theory comes from the fact that the first type of taco was “taco de minero,” which translates to mean miner’s tacos. 

As you can see, the taco isn’t some age-old cultural food, they’re relatively new. Which makes their popularity even more impressive!

When Did Tacos First Make an Appearance in the U.S.?

According to Pilcher, the first mention of the food he’s found is in a 1905 newspaper. Mexican migrants started migrating to the United States to work in our mines, railroads, and other laborious jobs. This resulted in many of their traditions and foods, including the taco, being introduced to the U.S. 

During this time, Mexican food was seen as street food and for the lower class. But, it would quickly win the hearts of Americans as Mexicans start to advance economically. As they gain civil rights and claim citizenship, Americans start to open their minds and mouths to the taco and other Mexican dishes.

Hard-Shell Tacos Were Created to Speed up the Production Process

You may be surprised to learn that hard-shell tacos weren’t really a thing. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1940s that Mexicans began creating the crunchy taco we all know and love. Previously, the taco was cooked to order and was just soft-shelled. The pre-made crunch taco was created to make it easier to mass-produce the taco in America. 

The Taco Today

Today, you can find a place that sells tacos practically everywhere. It’s not only just a part of Mexican culture but it’s become a huge part of American culture as well. Taco Tuesday is not just a joke someone made up, it’s an invitation to excite the dinner table with a dish that’s full of flavor and fun to eat.

Even though the taco wasn’t around during the time of the Aztecs, they have become a true staple to Mexican cuisine. 

The Original Grande Has Your Fix for Tacos

If this history lesson has got us hungry for a taco, we can only imagine what you’re craving. Why not stop by The Original Grande to fuel your inner fiesta and experience the most delicious tacos in the State of Kansas. We offer a variety of Mexican favorites including tacos, burritos, sanchos, enchiladas, and much more! Visit a location near you and see why people are saying “Viva Grande!”


Skip to content