Spicy Lamb Tongue Tacos (or Goat)

Looks for different ways to cook lamb or goat tongue? Tacos de lengua are a great place to start. As you can probably infer, tacos de lengua are tacos made out of tongue, and they’re a very traditional preparation all over South America.

Lamb tongue tacos on a plate garnished with cilantro and avocado next to a colorful Mexican napkin.
Lamb tongue tacos with sour cream, cilantro and avocado.

While you could find tacos de lengua in many places south of the American border, this mild version is inspired by the understated cooking of Costa Rica, where I my first version outside of America.

Grass fed lamb tongues on a cutting board.
Lamb and goat tongues may be smaller than beef, but they’re just as tasty.

Like plenty of other recipes, there’s a lot of different versions out there for how you might make tacos de lengua. Some recipes simply cook the tongues in liquid, then put them in a charred tortilla with salsas. This recipe is meant for beginners, and people who might be on the fence about eating tongue, so the lamb tongues are simmered in a simple, mildly spicy tomato sauce after they’re par-cooked and peeled.

A close up picture of cooked lamb tongue tacos in a spicy red sauce.
A simple tomato sauce makes a good vehicle for tongues.

After the tongues are cooked, all you have to do is choose some garnishes and make your own tacos however you like! In the pictures I’ve kept a bit of a purist feel, like I was served in Costa Rica (rice and beans were alongside) but you should feel free to add whatever garnishes you like. Here’s a few ideas:

What to serve with lamb tongue tacos

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Crumbled queso fresco cheese
  • Hot sauce
  • Sliced green onions or white onions
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado
  • Wedges of fresh lime
  • Sides like rice and beans
  • A simple cabbage slaw or curtido
Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo, The Forager Chef


This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef®. 

Looking to buy lamb and goat kidneys online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

Lamb tongue tacos on a plate garnished with cilantro and avocado next to a colorful Mexican napkin.

More Lamb and Goat Tongue Recipes

Lamb Tongue Salad

Sunday Gravy

Marinated Lamb Tongue Argentinian Style 

Lamb or goat tacos de lengua
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Spicy Lamb Tongue Tacos (or Goat)

Simple, mildly spicy tacos de lengua made with lamb or goat tongues.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Tongue Braising Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Lamb Tongue, Lengua, Tacos
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 277kcal
Cost: 10


  • 1 small braising pot


For cooking the tongues

  • 2 lb lamb or goat tongues approximately 8-10 tongues
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 large clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cooking fat like lamb tallow, or just cooking oil
  • 1 large jalapeno remove the seeds if you don’t like it spicy
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic grated or minced
  • 1 small onion finely chopped

For serving (pick and choose your favorites)

  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • Avocados
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Grated cheese like queso fresco
  • Sides like rice and beans refried beans, or cabbage slaw


  • Put the tongues in a saucepot that can accommodate them along with the remaining ingredients for cooking the tongues. Cover the tongues and vegetables with water by a inch, then bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook until easily pierced with a knife, about 1.5-2 hours.
  • Cool the tongues in their liquid until you can handle them, then peel each one, chill, and slice into ¼ inch thick slices.
  • For the tomato sauce, in a 3 qt or similar size sauce pan, heat the garlic in the oil until golden and light brown on medium-high heat, then add the onion, cumin and jalapeno and cook for a minute more.
  • Add the sliced tongue and tomato juice or puree, then simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, but still juicy, about 15 minutes.
  • Adjust the heat for salt, stir in some chopped fresh cilantro, and serve with garnishes and side dishes alongside.
  • Take corn tortillas and put them directly on a fire, heating only one side, until it has a few attractive spot of char. Wrap finished tortillas in a towel or dish cloth and pass at the table.


Lamb, goat, or venison tongues can be used in this recipe, or you could use beef tongue or pork tongue, which will take longer to cook. 


Serving: 2tacos | Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 281mg | Sodium: 1980mg | Potassium: 941mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 559IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 11mg