The Best Chicken Tacos Ever

4.96 from 42 votes

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Introducing the best chicken tacos ever – they taste like they just came off a food truck! Chicken thighs, plus a simple onion & cilantro topping make this is our all-time favorite easy chicken taco recipe.

chicken tacos in two tortillas in bowl with cilantro and lime wedges
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These tacos are super simple – made with some super delicious and full of flavor chicken meat and a simple onion and 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). They aren’t fussy but they are so full of flavor. You could add a bit of avocado or a sprinkle of cotija cheese, but they aren’t really needed. Keep it simple, friends!

lime wedges, cilantro, red onion, chicken and tortillas on white tray

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Flavorful: The chicken is marinated in a delicious blend of spices and lime juice.
  • Budget-Friendly: Using chicken thighs as the main protein makes this recipe affordable without compromising on taste.
  • Delicious Leftovers: Leftover chicken can be used in salads, quesadillas, or burrito bowls.

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cumin
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Limes
  • Olive Oil

For the topping

  • Red or Sweet Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeño
  • Lime
  • Salt and Pepper

For serving

  • Lime
  • Small Corn Tortillas
woman holding chicken taco made with two tortillas

How to Make the Best Chicken Tacos Ever

Step #1. In a large zip top bag or a shallow baking dish, combine the spices, lime juice, and oil. Add the chicken. Marinate 1-30 minutes.

Step #3. While the chicken cooks, combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Once the chicken is done, wipe out the skillet and use it to heat the tortillas.

Step #2. Heat a large skillet over med to med-hi heat. Add the chicken and cook turning once. Once it’s done, let it rest for 10 minutes.

Step #4. Chop up the chicken. Place some chicken in a tortilla and add some topping. Squeeze some lime juice over it just before eating.

Recipe FAQs

What is a good side dish for tacos?

So many options for taco side dishes. I like to serve cilantro lime rice, fresh pico de Gallo or refried beans. Quick, easy, and so delish!

How do I make perfect tacos?

Now, this is a great question. I firmly believe in the power of warming the tortillas in the skillet so they get a little toasty and maybe even a little crisp around the edges. It’s a MUST, and you have to try it out if you’ve never heated yours up. I also like to double layer my tortillas so it keeps all the toppings in better without tortilla breakage. Finally, a sprinkle of lime is absolutely necessary to bring everything together and really add a kick of freshness.

Can tacos be healthy?

Um, totally! You’ve usually got some sort of protein and veggie, and these tacos use corn tortillas, which are slightly healthier than flour. They’re packed with all sorts of wholesome goodness, so go ahead and add this to your “healthy meals” roster.

What do I put inside tacos?

You can literally put whatever you want inside tacos — that’s the beauty of these little customizable wraps! For this recipe, I kept things simple and added some chopped onion, cilantro, and jalapeno with a little lime juice, salt, and pepper. It was DIVINE! You can also add cheese, sour cream, and any other veggies you like.

How much chicken do I need for tacos?

This recipe makes 4 servings, and I get one pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Feel free to adjust the amount of chicken you purchase depending on how many people you’re serving (and if you have too much, it does make great leftovers!).

chicken tacos ingredients on white tray

Expert Tips

  • 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 to be too spicy, you can remove the seeds from the jalapeno or omit it all together.
  • The lime for serving isn’t optional; it really makes the dish!
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs are stay moist better than chicken breasts and they’re less expensive which is always a win. Here’s a hilarious article from Epicurious all about their love of them.
two chicken tacos, some lime wedges, and cilantro on a plate

What to Serve With the Best Chicken Tacos Ever

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.

More Chicken Recipes to Consider

two chicken tacos on a white and blue plate
4.96 from 42 votes

The Best Chicken Tacos Ever

Introducing the best chicken tacos ever. An easy chicken taco recipe made with chicken thighs, plus a simple onion & cilantro topping. This is our all-time favorite chicken taco recipe. They taste like they just came off a food truck!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

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 salt
  • 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 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 pieces
  • 16 small corn tortillas for serving
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Instructions 

  • 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 to medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and then add the chicken. 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 4 of 16 small tacos, Calories: 411kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 591mg, Potassium: 549mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 332IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 111mg, Iron: 3mg
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100 Comments

  1. Jenny says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! We actually served these at a wedding dinner. Thanks for the recipe!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Congratulations on the wedding!! That’s so exciting and such a compliment that you would choose this to serve. Thank you!!!

  2. Kathy L says:

    Could this be cooked in a crockpot?

  3. Jess says:

    Want to try this but am allergic to Jalapeños. Is there anything I could substitute for the jalapeños? This looks delish. Thanks!

    1. Melissa says:

      You could use another pepper like Anaheim or just skip them!

  4. Jennifer Ulrich says:

    5 stars
    Followed this recipe completely. Super easy and a great refreshing change to a packet of taco seasoning. I highly recommend making!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you! I have been using this recipe for years and still love it!

  5. Brittany says:

    5 stars
    My go to always!!

  6. Kellbell says:

    5 stars
    This really was the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. I am not a cilantro person but this combination was amazing. I made no changes to the recipe except I fried my shells in oil the second time I made it and for me that was the missing piece. But this is going on my rotation! Thank you for an EPIC recipe.

  7. Wendy says:

    I used the recipe for the chicken today. I thought I didn’t have chili powder so I added cajun seasoning then saw the chili powder and added that too. I only used the juice from half a lime as it was all I had. I also added maybe a 1/4 tsp of sugar to cut the lime. The marinade was delicious on the chicken. Thanks.

  8. Kathy says:

    I made this for my husband and me for dinner last night. Had more chicken than a pound, so just adjusted spices accordingly, and have some left over. Grilled it for about 10 minutes–love the extra flavor that grilling gives the chicken! Skipped the squeeze of lime at the end, since the topping was so juicy, but DON’T DO IT! I regretted it because I thought the taco was dry…so next taco I will definitely add the lime juice at the end. Truly the best chicken tacos I’ve ever made!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment Kathy!

  9. Patty says:

    I made these for Cinco de Mayo. I had a left over basil pesto chicken breast that I made the other night. I shredded it and added some taco seasoning. I warmed the chicken breast up and added some lime juice. I made the salsa and did the street tacos on my stove top grill. My husband loved them! I did too! And I don’t even like cilantro! Will make them again!!!!

    1. Roberto Marcello Pecchenino says:

      OMG YOU DON’T LIKE CILANTRO……………………..WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT CILANTRO,…….. CILANTRO IS A GIFT FROM THE GOD’S, LIKE BASIL. AS I AM ITALIAN / MEXICAN, I GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS……….OMG CILANTRO/ LIME AND TEQUILA FOREVER……………………..VIVA MEXICO! OH YA, AND I REALLY LIKE THIS RECIPE,SO ITS MEXICAN APPROVED !
      ¡LOS MEXICANOS MANDAN, LOS DEMAS BABEAN, SOLO HAY DOS CLASES DE PERSONAS EN ESTE MUNDO, LOS MEXICANOS Y LA GENTE QUE QUIERE SERLO !

  10. Berneice Garner says:

    Made the chicken last evening and want to re-heat tonight for a family gathering. Do you have suggestion on best method to re-heat?

    1. Melissa says:

      I just reheat it with a little water in the a skillet, when the water is evaporated it’s warmed up nicely without sticking or drying out.

    2. John says:

      Making this a week in advance for a surprise party. Can I freeze and reheat in a crockpot?

    3. Melissa says:

      Yes, it reheats very well! You might just want to add a little chicken broth or something to the slow cooker so it doesn’t dry it out.