Recipe: Tacos de Lengua (Cow Tongue Tacos)

Tacos de Lengua Recipe

One of my favorite cut of meats is the cow's tongue. It's commonly used in Mexican cuisine, often in "tacos de lengua". The meat is extremely tender after simmering it for a few hours. The taste of tongue itself is mildly beefy, so it can pack in a lot of flavor from the seasonings it's cooked with. 

I love going out for tacos, but making my own tacos de lengua is just so much more satisfying. I can cook it to my preferred tenderness, season it the way I like, and eat as much as I want. This is one of our favorite meals that I've made countless times. It's truly worth the effort to make at home.

Tacos de Lengua

Makes about 18 small tacos



  • 1 3-4 lb beef tongue
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped into quarters
  • 1 head of garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 6-7 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt


  • 1 Tbsp lard
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 lime, juiced


Ingredients below are optional for serving

  • Tortillas
  • Queso Fresco
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Radishes
  • Avocados
  • Corn
  • Salsa (Salsa Verde or Tatemada)


  1. Thoroughly wash the tongue.
  2. In a large stock pot (12 quart), add in all the simmering ingredients - the beef tongue, onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 hours or until the tongue is soft and can easily be pierced with a fork without resistance.  
  3. Remove the tongue from the pot (do not discard the stock, you'll need some of it later) and let cool for about 15 minutes or until easy to handle. Remove the tough, light colored outer membrane from the tongue by making a small incision at the tip of the tongue and peeling it off, discard. You want to be sure to do this while the tongue is still hot but easy to handle so it's easier to peel. 
  4. Roughly chop the tongue in 1/2" pieces. Heat oil or lard in a large non-stick over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until onions are translucent, then add in minced garlic and cook for about a minute until soft. Add tongue pieces and some of the reserved broth (I add enough broth to barely cover the meat). Add oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt. Cook and stir the tongue until the broth reduces and thickens, add the lime juice, taste and season as needed. 
  5. Top warm tortillas as desired and enjoy.



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