Spicy Chicken Tacos are exactly what they sound like: spicy tacos, filled with chicken! There’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it. Keep reading for a breakdown, or scroll down to the bottom for the recipe.
Spicy Chicken Tacos Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Spicy Chicken Tacos recipe:
- Boneless skinless chicken: I like to use breasts, but thighs work here if that’s your preference. Increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
- Green chiles: Hatch Diced Hot Green Chiles are my go-to. Use your favorite.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: I change the cheese every time I make this, but we generally use a type of cheddar or Pepper Jack. Note that if you use orange/yellow cheese the final appearance will be of a reddish hue and if you use white cheese it’ll be a bit more green.
- Corn tortillas: Make your own or buy your favorite. Or stop by your favorite taqueria and buy some of theirs!
- Taco seasoning: The individual packet type of seasoning, specifically. If you’re using a homemade blend add a teaspoon or so of cornstarch to act as a thickener.
- Water: To help build the gravy that will coat our chicken.
- Pickled jalapenos: I use already diced pickled jalapenos, if you’re using whole or chopped make sure to dice them up small.
- Cilantro: You’ll use some cilantro leaves in the pot while cooking the chicken, and some minced cilantro to top the tacos if you’re into that.
- Salsa, crumbled cotija, sour cream: Or whatever toppings you want.
How to Make Spicy Chicken Tacos
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Spicy Chicken Tacos recipe:
- Cook the chicken. Place a saucepan or skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, taco seasoning, jalapenos, green chiles, cilantro, and water and stir together. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium, then cover with a lid and cook for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the cheese. Once the chicken is cooked through remove it from the pot. You can also remove the cilantro here if you like. Add the cheese to the pot and cover with the lid so the cheese can melt while you work on the chicken.
- Chop the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and chop or shred it into small pieces. I like to use a serrated vegetable chopper to do this. Alternatively, you can add the chicken to a bowl and shred it with a hand mixer.
- Combine. Add the chicken back to the pot. If the cheese is melted go ahead and stir everything together. If not, cover it with a lid and let it do its thing for another 3 minutes or so, then stir together. Once everything is combined remove the pan from the heat and let it rest while you start on the tacos.
- Start on the tacos. Grab a cast iron griddle or skillet and place it over medium heat. Add a small drizzle of oil – just enough to coat the surface – and let it heat for a minute or two. Lay down as many tortillas as can fit comfortably without overlapping too much. After 20 seconds add in a heaping tablespoon – or more, if you like – chicken to the center. Spread it out into a line as best you can.
- Fold and fry. When the tortilla seems to be curling lifting around the edges use a spatula to fold the tortilla over itself into a taco shape. You can use a spoon or second spatula to hold the filling inside if needed. Cook the taco for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown, then flip and repeat on the opposite side. Let the tacos rest on a wire rack above a baking sheet in the oven (set to warm, or the lowest temp possible) while making the remaining tacos.
- Dress ’em up. Top them how you like. My family had crumbled cojita, salsa, cilantro, and sour cream. Enjoy!
Switch Up Your Spicy Chicken Tacos
There are endless variations that you can make with this Spicy Chicken Tacos recipe, so please feel free to customize yours to taste! For example, you could…
- Spicy Chicken Taquitos. Instead of folding the tortillas, roll the filling up inside! Then spray them with olive oil and bake at 375°F for 12 minutes or fry them in about an inch of oil in a cast-iron pot. Pile the toppings on top of the plated taquitos, similar to nachos.
- Spicy Chicken Rice Bowls. This is my child’s leftover remix. She mixes corn and black beans with rice and serves that on a bed of lettuce, topped with the Spicy Chicken Taco filling, some queso fresco, and a drizzle of crema. I’ve tried it – it’s great!
- Chicken Tinga Tacos. Instead of using the filling here, swap it out for my Chicken Tinga recipe. Follow the steps for the tacos as written.
Here are some Pinterest graphics: