Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos

5 from 13 votes
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Tender, juicy, and full of flavor – these shredded chicken tacos loaded up with all your favorite toppings are the perfect crowd-pleasing meal for lazy weeknights and taco Tuesdays!

Shredded chicken taco

I have shared a beef birria tacos recipe – it’s fantastic but not quick. Now, meet the solution: speedy chicken tacos with juicy, crispy shredded chicken in under 30 minutes! Unlike traditional methods, these skip the slow cooker for a pan-fried twist, bringing authentic Mexican street food flavors to home. Imagine the tasty sear on the chicken, paired with crunchy lettuce, creamy guacamole, vibrant salsa, and tangy sour cream- all in a soft tortilla for a flavor-packed experience! And can be made ahead/makes excellent leftovers. What’s not to love?!

Shredded chicken tacos

The ingredients

Make this easy chicken tacos recipe with simple, inexpensive ingredients and pantry staples.

Ingredients for boneless chicken thighs for tacos
  • Chicken: I love using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The meat is darker and a little fattier. However, chicken breast also works well.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder (or cayenne), cumin powder, ground coriander seeds, salt, lemon pepper seasoning (or regular black pepper and a little lemon zest). Alternatively, you could use homemade taco seasoning.
  • Tortillas: You can use soft corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Street-size or taco shells work well too.
  • Toppings: I used a selection of my favorite taco toppings:
    • Guacamole (or avocado slices),
    • Shredded lettuce (or shredded cabbage or spinach),
    • Cilantro,
    • Lime juice,
    • Salsa (Pico de Gallo) – Use fresh homemade salsa or a jarred one,
    • Jalapeno slices (fresh or pickled; or other green chiles),
    • Sour cream (or another Mexican crema/Greek yogurt).
Toppings for shredded chicken tacos

How to make shredded chicken tacos

Season the chicken: First, dry the chicken with paper towels and transfer it to a large bowl/dish. Then, combine the oil and seasoning in a small bowl. Pour it over the chicken and use your hands to ensure the meat is evenly coated. For the best flavor, let it marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Steps for covering chicken thighs with taco spices

Pan-fry the Chicken: Heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a nonstick skillet over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken and allow it to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then flip it over and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165ºF/74ºC. The exact time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken.

Steps for cooking taco chicken thighs

Shred the chicken: Place the warm cooked chicken on a cutting board or a shallow bowl and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Then, finally, use two forks or meat claws to shred the chicken.

Shredded chicken for tacos

Heat tortillas(optional): Before assembling the chicken street tacos, you can optionally lightly heat the tortilla over an open flame (like a gas stove top) with tongs for a few seconds until lightly charred or in a skillet for 20-30 seconds per side. For large amounts, stack them up and microwave for 30-60 seconds. Or wrap them in foil, and bake at 350ºF/180º C for 15-20 minutes.

Assemble: Divide the shredded chicken evenly between warmed tortillas. Customize it to your liking – begin with a layer of chicken and lettuce, followed by salsa, guacamole, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of sour cream. Optionally, add a couple of slices of jalapeño. Enjoy!

Stacking toppings into tortilla to make chicken tacos

How to store

  • In the fridge: Allow chicken leftovers to cool to room temperature and then place it in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
  • In the freezer: For longer storage, freeze the shredded chicken in a freezer-safe container or bag, labeling it with the date. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to use it, let the frozen chicken thaw in the fridge overnight.

And here’s the fun part – you can use these leftovers to jazz up other meals! Sprinkle it over a burrito bowl, mix it into a salad, wrap it in a burrito, or throw it on some nachos. The possibilities are endless!

A serving of shredded chicken tacos

If you try this chicken taco recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos

5 from 13 votes
By: Samira
Tender, juicy, and full of flavor – these shredded chicken tacos loaded up with all your favorite toppings are the perfect crowd-pleasing meal for lazy weeknights and taco Tuesdays!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

For the Chicken

  • 30 oz chicken thighs skinless, boneless
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning or some black pepper and fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

For the Tacos, add as much as wanted of these or your favorite toppings

  • 10 tortillas corn or regular flour
  • 1 cup Guacamole
  • 1 cup pico de gallo or another red salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lettuce shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime cut in slices or wedges

Instructions 

  • Dry the chicken with paper towels and transfer it to a large bowl/dish. Combine the oil and seasoning. Pour them over the chicken and use your hands to ensure the meat is evenly coated.
  • For the best flavor, cover the dish with plastic wrap and transfer it to the fridge to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a nonstick skillet over medium heat with a small amount of oil.
  • Once hot, add the chicken and allow it to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then flip it over and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165ºF/74ºC. The exact time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken.
  • Place the warm cooked chicken on a cutting board or a shallow bowl and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Then, finally, use two forks or meat claws to shred the chicken.
    If you prefer more texture, you can thinly slice the chicken instead of shredding it.
  • Before assembling the chicken street tacos, you can optionally lightly heat the tortillas over an open flame (like a gas stove top) with tongs for a few seconds until lightly charred or in a skillet for 20-30 seconds per side.
    For large amounts, stack them up, wrap them in foil, and bake at 350ºF/180ºC for 15-20 minutes or microwave them for 30-60 seconds.
  • Spread the shredded chicken evenly between warmed tortillas. Customize it to your liking – begin with a layer of chicken and lettuce, followed by salsa, guacamole, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of sour cream. Optionally, add a couple of slices of jalapeño. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Make ahead: You can prepare the cooked shredded chicken up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also prepare other toppings like the salsa and shredded lettuce the day before.
Store: Enjoy the assembled tacos immediately, as they will become soggy. However, any leftover shredded chicken will last 3-4 days in the fridge, and the other toppings will last 2-3 (the guacamole is best within a few hours).
Freeze: You can freeze any leftover shredded chicken in a freezer-safe Ziplock bag or in a freezer-safe container labeled with the date. It can be kept for up to 2-3 months.
Reheat: If you have any leftover shredded chicken, reheat it over medium-low in a covered skilled with a splash of water or chicken broth (or some salsa) to stop it from drying out as it heats. Or thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex Mex
Freezer friendly: 2-3 Months
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Taco, Calories: 354kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 673mg, Potassium: 402mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 983IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 85mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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