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Food

How to Make Chicken Tacos: Easy Chicken Taco Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 26, 2020 • 3 min read

There are countless ways to make chicken tacos, from shredded chicken tinga to slow cooker chicken mole. But if you're looking for a quick recipe, perhaps for a family taco Tuesday night, your best bet simple chicken tacos. Briefly marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a flavorful mix of lime juice and spices and then quickly cook them on the stovetop, giving you plenty of time to sort out a toppings bar of tasty garnishes.

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How to Make Easy Chicken Tacos in 5 Steps

Whether this is your first time making chicken tacos, or you're looking for a quick recipe for weeknight tacos, here's how to make them in five easy steps.

  1. Make the taco seasoning. Make your own taco seasoning by blending together ground cumin, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, dried Mexican oregano, and onion powder. If you have whole spices, you can toast and hand grind them for an even more intense flavor. If you make extra, you can save this seasoning blend for ground beef tacos.
  2. Marinate the chicken. Once you've made your taco spice blend, marinate the chicken breasts. (You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs; just keep in mind that they will take a little longer to cook.) In a small bowl, combine taco seasoning with lime juice, oil, and salt to form a marinade. Place the chicken breasts in a medium bowl or plastic bag and cover with marinade. Let sit at least 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the taco toppings. A great toppings bar is what turns good tacos into the best tacos. Chopped fresh cilantro (stems included), sour cream, fresh avocado slices or guacamole, hot sauce, lime wedges, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, pickled red onions, and cheeses like queso fresco or cotija are great options for your toppings bar.
  4. Cook the chicken. When the chicken is done marinating, heat a little olive oil or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown and slightly crispy on both sides. Slice cooked breasts into bite-size pieces, or shred with a fork.
  5. Warm tortillas. While the chicken is cooking, heat corn tortillas on a griddle or directly over a gas burner. Keep tortillas warm in a tortilla warmer or a clean, folded kitchen towel. Using fresh, warm tortillas will give you that street-tacos feeling at home. If you're extra ambitious, make your own tortillas with fresh masa. Leftover tortillas can be kept in the freezer for reheating.

Easy Chicken Tacos Recipe

Serves
4
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min

Ingredients

For the taco seasoning:

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

For the tacos:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 12 fresh corn or flour tortillas

Optional toppings:

  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped including stems
  • ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 limes, sliced into wedges
  • ½ cup cotija
  • ½ red onion, pickled
  1. Make the taco seasoning. Blend together ground cumin, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, dried Mexican oregano, and onion powder.
  2. Marinate the chicken. In a small bowl, combine taco seasoning with lime juice, oil, and salt to form a marinade. Place the chicken breasts in a medium bowl or plastic bag and cover with marinade. Let sit at room temperature 10–30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
  3. Cook the chicken. When the chicken is done marinating, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, golden brown, and slightly crispy, about 5–7 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken breasts and cook until the other side has browned, about 5 more minutes. Slice cooked breasts into bite-size pieces, or shred with a fork.
  4. Warm tortillas. While the chicken is cooking, heat corn tortillas on a griddle or directly over a gas burner. Keep tortillas warm in a tortilla warmer or a clean, folded kitchen towel.
  5. Put it together. Assemble tacos with toppings such as cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, and salsa.

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