Chicken Street Tacos
on Jan 22, 2022, Updated Feb 05, 2024
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Chicken Street Tacos that are easy, delicious, and made at home. These combine flavorful chicken in corn tortillas, then topped with a mixture of red onion, cilantro, a pinch of jalapeño, and lime. I can almost taste in now!
Street tacos are all the rage and for good reason! They are tasty, can be made quickly, and are full of fresh flavors. I love that chicken street tacos are filling since they are full of protein, veggies, and healthy fats. Everyone gobbles them up!
Why Street Tacos Are Great
It was a beautiful occasion when street tacos were invented. Street tacos were originally considered a working man’s lunch because they could be transported easily and eaten quickly. Later, families brought taco carts to the city to feed workers. And the rest is yummy history.
Street tacos are a meal that can be prepped ahead of time and then you can finish the final touches when you are ready to eat. It makes for a quick, easy meal that tastes so great too.
One thing that sets street tacos apart are the size and how they are served. Street tacos are typically served on small corn tortillas. They are layered in a set of two as well. You want to find the smallest tortillas you can because you’ll want to eat a few!
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: don’t let the fact that this isn’t chicken breast scare you… thighs are so tender when cooked. If you are new to them, this is a great recipe to get you comfortable. That being said, feel free to use chicken breast if you’d like. The marinated chicken is good either way.
- Herbs and Spices: You’ll use spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder which adds so much flavor to your tacos.
- Lime Juice: you’ll use this with the chicken and the onion cilantro topping. It adds acid to round out the meal and the great lime flavor that makes street tacos perfect.
- Onion, Cilantro, and Jalapeno: these are mixed with lime juice and salt to make a quick fresh salsa like topping. The acid from the lime combined with the salt starts to pickle the vegetables just a bit and makes for one amazing addition to chicken tacos
- Small Corn Tortillas: this traditional mini sized tacos is the signature look of a street taco. You can use mini flour tortillas here if you’d like.
How to Make Street Tacos
- Mix: Add the spices, lime juice, and chicken to a large bowl, mix it well so that the chicken is coated.
- Marinade: the chicken for up to a half hour, the timing here is flexible so make it work with your schedule.
- Cook: up the chicken. I recommend cooking it on a skillet on the stove but you could also bake the chicken or preheat a grill to medium-high heat and grill it. Lots of options!
- Chop: your veggies – cilantro, onion, jalapeno, to make a simple topping for your tacos (it’s simple but so full of flavor)
- Assemble: give your chicken a chop, cook your tortillas, and then put everything together to make your tacos. Dinner is done in 30 minutes.
- Enjoy! And put these in your regular dinner rotation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Street tacos are usually served in a set of 2 to prevent rips and tears. One tortilla holds the ingredients and the other tortilla acts as a backup in case the first one breaks a little bit.
Street tacos are delicious on their own but if you are looking for ways to expand the meal you could add guacamole, pico de gallo, Spanish rice, or refried beans.
Street tacos are small in size, not in flavor. They can easily fit in your hand. Street tacos are typically served on 4-5 inch diameter mini tortillas.
Mexican street tacos are generally smaller in size and have simpler ingredients than a traditional taco (just meat + an onion cilantro topping). They are the perfect grab-and-go meal and are a common street food from small vendors.
This recipe doesn’t call for cheese but you can certainly add some crumbled Cotija cheese on top.
More Chicken Tacos Recipes
- Grilled Chicken Tacos
- Crispy Sheet Pan Baked Chicken Taco Meat
- Crunchy Baked Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken Taco Meat
If you’ve tried this Chicken Street Taco recipe or any other recipe on Bless this Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories AND add your photo to your comment so that other can see your creation.
Chicken Street Tacos
For the chicken:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
For the topping:
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red or sweet onion
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 finely chopped jalapeño
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, cut into 8 pieces
- 16 small corn tortillas for serving
- In a large zipper-topped plastic baggie or in shallow dish, add the chicken, all of the spices, lime juice, and oil. Close the bag and use your hands to mix everything together. If you are using a shallow dish, use tongs to work the spices evenly into the chicken. You can let this rest for up to a half-hour or work with it right away. I like to let it rest a minute to increase the flavor.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, remove chicken from the bag and add the chicken to the skillet. Cook for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes. If you have an extra-large chicken thigh, you’ll need to cook them longer, so turn down the heat to medium and cook them until no longer pink (could take up to 25 minutes or 12 minutes per side).
- While the chicken cooks, stir together the chicken taco topping by placing the chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and the juice of one lime in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
- While the chicken rests, wipe your skillet clean with a warm rag or paper towels, and place the skillet back on the heat over medium-high to high heat. Place two tortillas (still stacked together) on the skillet and cook until the underside starts to char. Flip over and cook the other side (so the middle of each tortilla won’t be cooked against the skillet but it will get warm all the way though). Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Chop the rested chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- To serve, place 1/8 of the chopped chicken in each set of tortillas (still two stacked together) and top with 1/8 of your onion mixture. Serve each taco with a wedge of lime to squeeze over the taco just before serving.
- The two tortillas aren’t a must, but it helps to keep everything in. When you just use one tortilla, they seem to break and fall apart.
- If you don’t want the topping too spicy, you can remove the seeds from the jalapeño or omit it all together.
- The lime for serving isn’t optional; it really makes the dish!
- You can also bake or grill the chicken for this recipe.
- If you have any chicken leftovers you can add the shredded chicken to salad the next day and it’s amazing.