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These delicious chopped chicken tacos are made with homemade taco seasoning, fresh herbs, and all your favorite taco toppings. Use chicken breast, thighs or both for flavorful, juicy tacos in under 30 minutes!

Chicken tacos with a chopped lime wedge.

With a chef-developed blend of herbs and spices, these tacos are as flavorful as they are quick to make. Serve them up with a variety of taco toppings, from the creamy guacamole on these shrimp avocado tostadas to homemade pico de gallo. They are an easy way to upgrade your weeknight dinner!

Mix up taco night with this easy taco bake recipe, ground chicken tacos or even these chipotle chorizo tacos! Margaritas and mango agua fresca optional!

Why you will love this chicken taco recipe

  • A quick and easy dinner. You can cook the chicken on the stovetop, in the oven or even in the slow cooker! You’ll have dinner on the table in just 30 minutes! .
  • They are chef-tested. Every component of this dish was created and tested by a professional chef, so you can expect depth of flavor and a perfectly cooked protein.
  • They are packed with flavor. From the lightly spicy, savory taco seasoning to the hint of char on the corn tortillas, every part of this dish is filled with flavorful ingredients.
Chicken tacos with a chopped fresh herb topping.
cheesy chicken being served from pot.
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Professional tips for making chicken tacos

  • Brown the chicken to lock in moisture. Brown both sides of the seasoned chicken before lowering the heat. Chicken is a protein that tends to dry out if overcooked. Keep a close eye as it cooks to ensure you remove it from the heat when it is done.
  • Choose a variety of toppings. These tacos are designed to be enjoyed with different toppings. I recommend picking a few from each category: something creamy, something crunchy, and something bright and fresh to round out the flavor of the dish.
  • Don’t forget the salt!. While my taco seasoning has the perfect blend of spices, it does not have salt. Be sure to sprinkle each side of the chicken breast or thighs with kosher salt to keep the chicken moist and flavorful!

Ingredients

homemade taco seasoning ingredients on white background.
  • Chili Powder: You will need one tablespoon of regular chili powder and one teaspoon of ancho or New Mexico chili powder. This combination of flavors will add smokiness and a hint of heat to the dish.
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne: This recipe calls for less than a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, so it is relatively mild. If you prefer a spicy blend, you can add more cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Sugar: I recommend using light brown sugar for this recipe. The molasses in brown sugar gives it a rich, caramel flavor that blends nicely with the other herbs and spices.
  • Canola Oil: I recommend using canola oil for cooking the chicken. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, making it an ideal choice of cooking over higher heat.
  • Chicken: I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. Boneless skinless chicken breasts will work as well. Save your chicken wings for some cumin and oregano dry rubbed baked chicken wings!
  • Kosher Salt
  • Tortillas: I like to use corn tortillas for this recipe, but small flour tortillas work equally well.
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream: You can replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt if you have it on hand. As you might have learned from my Healthy Beef Stroganoff post, it’s also a little healthier!
  • Queso Fresco: Take a break from cheddar and use some queso fresco! This is an excellent cheese for topping Mexican dishes. It is salty, savory, and crumbles well.
  • Limes: If you can’t find fresh limes, you can also use bottled lime juice. It is available at most grocery stores. You’ll also want a few limes, cut into wedges, to serve with the tacos. They add a bright, tangy flavor that cuts the richness of the other ingredients. You could also add a pineapple salsa!
  • Salsa: I recommend using pico de gallo for this recipe, but any salsa will work well. You can also make your own salsa at home.
  • Avocado
  • Radishes: I like to add chopped radishes to my tacos for a bit of extra color and texture. I store them in cold water after they are sliced so they don’t become dry.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Shredded Chicken Taco & Other Variations

  • Shredded Chicken: Rather than chopping the chicken for these tacos, you can shred the chicken with two forks. If you want to head in a ground chicken taco direction, I have you covered!
  • Rotisserie Chicken: If you are running short on time, you can also season a rotisserie chicken from the store with the spice blend used here. Omit the salt, however, as rotisserie chickens are already seasoned with it.
  • Taco Shells: If you’d like, you can use hard taco shells for this recipe in place of the corn or flour tortillas.

How to make chicken tacos

Use these instructions to make the perfect tacos every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below!

Step 1: Make the taco seasoning by whisking all the spices and sugar in a small bowl. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and then season chicken on both sides with salt and taco seasoning.

Step 2: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil until hot.  Add the chicken and sear until browned, flipping once. You can add more oil if needed. 

Step 3: Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Step 4: Turn off the heat, transfer the chicken to a large cutting board, and chop. Put the chicken back in the pan, squeeze the lime juice over the chicken, and toss well to coat with residual juices and lime.

Allow the chicken to rest for about 5 minutes before you chop it. This keeps it juicy!

Step 5: If you have a gas stovetop, char your tortillas directly on the grates. This can also be done in a cast iron skillet or on a griddle. Store the charred tortillas in a tea towel until ready to use.

You could also store them in a damp paper towel and place them in the oven at a really low heat, think 200°F, to keep them from drying out! 

Step 6: Assemble your tacos and serve.

I like to set out a little taco bar so everyone can choose the toppings they like.

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

Be sure to use enough oil when cooking your chicken. The oil helps bloom the spices, which will make the chicken more flavorful. It also helps keep the spices from burning.

Frequently Asked Questions about Taco Recipes

How do you store tacos?

Store the components for these tacos separately. The meat, tortillas, and toppings can all be stored in their own separate, airtight container. The taco ingredients should last between 2-4 days. Store in the refrigerator, I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

How do I cook chicken without drying it out?

Use plenty of oil when cooking chicken and remove it from the pan when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent it from becoming dry.

What goes well with chicken tacos?

I recommend topping these tacos with salsa, avocado, sour cream, cotija cheese, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. You can also try these side dishes: Mexican rice or cheesy Mexican couscous casserole, vegan chili, or healthy creamy coleslaw

Can I use chicken breast for this recipe?

You can use chicken breast in place of chicken thighs in this recipe. Be sure to sear the chicken well on both sides, allow it to cook to an internal temperature of 165°F, and slice or cube the chicken before adding it to your tacos. I often use a mix of both breasts and thighs.

If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!

Chicken tacos with chopped chicken.
5 from 1 ratings

Chicken Tacos

These easy chicken tacos are a delicious weeknight meal. Made with homemade taco seasoning, you'll love this chef-tested recipe.
Prep: 12 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 32 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients  

For the Taco Seasoning:

For the tacos:

For serving:

Instructions 

  • Make the taco seasoning by whisking all the spices and sugar in a small bowl. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and then season chicken on both sides with salt and taco seasoning.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil until hot. Add the chicken and sear until browned, flipping once. You can add more oil if needed.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Turn off the heat, transfer the chicken to a large cutting board, and chop. Put the chicken back in the pan, squeeze the lime juice over the chicken, and toss well to coat with residual juices and lime.
  • If you have a gas stovetop, char your tortillas directly on the grates. This can also be done in a cast iron skillet or on a griddle. Store the charred tortillas in a tea towel until ready to use.
  • Assemble your tacos and serve.

Notes

Note – Taco Seasoning Mix: Use the full recipe above. It is enough to season a pound of chicken.
Technique – Be sure to use enough oil when cooking your chicken. The oil helps bloom the spices, which will make the chicken more flavorful. It also helps keep the spices from burning. 
Variations Rotisserie Chicken: If you are running short on time, you can also season a rotisserie chicken from the store with the spice blend used here. Omit the salt, however, as rotisserie chickens are already seasoned.
Storage – Store the components for these tacos separately. The meat, tortillas, and toppings can all be stored in separate, airtight containers. The taco ingredients should last between 2-4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 602kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 1151mg | Potassium: 1026mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1907IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 244mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Calories: 602
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef-tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed chicken recipes!

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My friend & I made these last night and they were better than the restaurant around the corner! Love it!

    1. Hi Lisabel! I’m so happy to hear you loved these! Thanks for taking the time to rate and comment!