The Best Chicken Tacos Ever

Simple and quick chicken tacos made with chicken thighs, a simple onion and cilantro topping, and served on a corn tortilla. These are our all-time favorite taco recipe that taste like they just came off a food truck.

Taco Tuesday holds a strong place in my heart and in the hearts of my kids, but we have been in a major taco slump lately. The only thing I’ve been making is standard ground beef tacos and while those are fine, they just aren’t all that exciting after eating for them the the millionth time.

I decided to get a little creative in the taco department and go for some amazingly flavorful but simple food truck-style chicken taco recipes. You guys, they turned out amazing! It only took about 12 minutes to get the chicken cooked, a few more minutes to get the tortillas hot, and then we just threw them together.

These tacos are super simple in the fact that they are only made with some chicken meat (that is super delicious and full of flavor) and a simple onion/cilantro topping on corn tortillas. Give the whole thing a squeeze of lime before you eat them, and that’s a wrap! I feel like keeping them simple is what makes them taste like they are straight off of a food truck (you might also call them a street taco), because you’ll just pick them up and eat two. They aren’t fussy, they don’t have a lot of layers, and they are so full of flavor. You could add a bit of avocado or a sprinkle of cotija cheese, but those aren’t really needed. Keep it simple, friends!

Simple and quick chicken tacos made with chicken thighs, a simple onion and cilantro topping, and served on a corn tortilla. These are our all-time favorite taco recipe that taste like they just came off a food truck.

I’ve posted a few recipes using boneless skinless chicken thighs here on Bless this Mess, but I wanted to tell you a bit more about them and why I think that you should use them for this chicken tacos recipe.

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs are the moist and flavor-packed version of their chicken breast counterparts. They don’t dry out and I LOVE using them.
  • They tend to be a lot less expensive than chicken breasts, which is always a win.
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs do have a bit more fat on them, but you can trim any visible fat before using and they’ll still be moist when cooked.
  • Here’s a hilarious article from Epicurious about their love of all things chicken thigh, if you need further convincing.
  • Instant Pot Lovers: Here’s my favorite Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken Taco Meat recipe for you. SO good.

Have I convinced you yet to try them? Seriously, just get a pound (for a couple of bucks) to make this recipe, and that will be enough to get you on team chicken thigh. So easy to use and full of flavor!

Simple and quick chicken tacos made with chicken thighs, a simple onion and cilantro topping, and served on a corn tortilla.
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The Best Chicken Tacos Ever


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4

Description

Simple and quick chicken tacos made with chicken thighs, a simple onion and cilantro topping, and served on a corn tortilla. These are our all-time favorite taco recipe that taste like they just came off a food truck.


Ingredients

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 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 one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 pieces

16 small corn tortillas for serving


Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken. Cook for 12-14 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Chop the rested chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  6. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. If you don’t want the topping too spicy, you can remove the seeds from the jalapeño or omit it all together.
  3. The lime for serving isn’t optional, it really makes the dish!

 

Because these chicken tacos are so simple and easy to make, feel free to add a side of chips and salsa and guacamole plus some fun drinks (I recommend some fresh homemade lemonade for this recipe!). You’re going to feel like you are eating out while sitting in your own kitchen.

This chicken taco recipe hitting the spot? You might also like these chicken recipes:

I can’t wait for you to make these tacos, try boneless skinless chicken thighs (if you aren’t already using them), and to thank me after you make this awesome meal. Enjoy, from my kitchen to yours!

Best Chicken Tacos
38 Recipes for Busy Moms
34 Responses
  1. This looks great. Wrapping food in a tortilla is a great way to get kids trying new flavors! I also saw you have some new features on your home page. Looking good!

    1. Melissa

      Tortillas are magic with kids aren’t they. And yes, I just got a new design and site built and I’m really happy with it! You’ll have to check it out on a desk top, it looks so good 🙂

  2. Lindsey Reaves

    These tacos are awesome!
    Not quite as good as our favorite taco truck, but they definitely held their own!
    Only thing for me was that, I trippled the recipe (for 3 pounds of chicken) ; for me there was a bit much like juice incorporated… Although I did let the chicken marinate for the full 30 minutes, so maybe that’s why?
    Anyways! Great recipe none the less..
    ALSO if you’re a bit on the broke side , as am I .. try checking out the Hispanic is in your grocery store for spices! You can usually find bagged spices for as little as a dollar a pack, that’s what I always do (:
    Definitely a recipe worth tr

  3. Renee

    Seriously fabulous… Didn’t change a thing and loved every last bite. Thank you for adding a great recipe into our Taco Tuesday rotation!

  4. Michelle

    Wayyyyyy too much lime in this recipe. Ruined family taco
    Night. Lime, lime,lime. Over powers the whole thing. I would suggest no lime in the marinade or in the onion and cilantro mix. If you want lime just use a quartered lime at the end to flavor as needed. Gonna have to think of a way to season the rest of the chicken to cut the lime taste or else ill just toss it. Ill try another recipe next time.

  5. Jody

    This was freaking bomb! We added some Diced Roma tomato to the topping and left out the jalapeño. We also used warmed pita bread as it’s all we had. But I’m sure tortillas are just as good maybe better? I don’t know. The topping was fresh and it paired nicely with the warm chicken and the spices along with it. Delicious!!!

  6. Teresa O'Malley

    Love this recipe! Hubs is always going to local curbside taco stand for these authentic but simple taco, without all the other stuff he doesn’t want on his taco, thanks again.. Hubs says thanks too!!!

    1. Melissa

      So glad you liked them! That’s the perk of using really flavorful meat, you don’t have to cover it with much else for it to taste great!

  7. Meredith Dickenson

    These are the best. My 7-year-old great niece ate 6 in one sitting. Now when ever she visits. This is what she asks for. Thanks to this recipe, my taco prowess has spread to the rest of the family

  8. Meredith S.

    Loved this recipe! Never tried with chicken thighs before, and it truly made a difference for us in our quest to replicate our favorite tacos since moving away from Texas. I always find the corn tortillas we buy are always so dry (and too thick). Any brand recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Melissa

      I really like the Mission brand white organic tortillas. And thank you for a great review, I really appreciate that! How are you preparing your tortillas? I find that if I spray a little cooking spray on both sides and toss them in a skillet for 10-20 seconds per side they are really good.

  9. Tyler Olivieri

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can honestly not thank you enough for sharing this. I make these at least 2-3 times a month now. These are THE BEST tacos I’ve ever made and quite possibly the best tacos I’ve ever eaten in my life. It makes me feel like I just got tacos from a street cart in Mexico City. They are just perfection!👌🏼

    1. Tyler Olivieri

      And I do want to note, I just used chicken breasts and pounded them down thinner instead of using chicken thighs. A bit healthier for sure and no complaints on flavor!

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms
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