Try Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos for a simple meal that’s loaded with bold flavors and textures. This Mexican-inspired dish features shredded chicken, refried beans, veggies, and melty cheese all stuffed inside corn tortillas.
Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos are a quick and easy recipe that comes together in 30 minutes or less. It’s the ideal dinner for busy weeknights, last-minute game day plans, or Taco Tuesday fiestas! Plus, there is no better way to use up leftovers.
We like to think of these tacos as a crispy twist on Chicken Street Tacos or Chicken Tinga Tacos. The filling is creamy, lightly spiced, and gooey from the melted cheese, but the tortilla is perfectly crunchy.
Why You’ll Love Crispy Chicken Tacos
- Simple: What’s not to love about a meal that’s ready in 30 minutes or less? If you use store-bought rotisserie chicken, all you have to do is mix the ingredients, fill the tortillas, and bake them!
- Flavor-packed: The combination of melted cheese, tender chicken, golden-brown corn tortillas, and vibrant garnishes is enough to make anyone come back for seconds.
- Healthy: Compared to fried taquitos or tacos dorados, Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos are a much healthier option.
- Family-friendly: This recipe is made with mild spice and is easily customizable. Everyone can prepare them just how they prefer.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make these tasty baked chicken tacos.
- Chicken: You can poach or bake chicken breasts, then shred them. Or, save time by purchasing a rotisserie chicken! If you don’t have any of those options available, opt for some cooked lean ground chicken. Or if you are lucky enough to have leftover chicken tinga or chicken birria, use that.
- Refried beans: Any type of canned or homemade refried beans you prefer will do the trick. We love pinto or black beans for a mild and creamy flavor, but any refried beans are delicious as well!
- Shredded Mexican cheese: Use a store-bought shredded Mexican cheese blend or any meltable Mexican cheese. Our favorites are queso Oaxaca, Chihuahua, or Asadero.
- Bell peppers: Feel free to use red, orange, yellow, or green bell peppers! If you prefer extra spice, add jalapeños, serranos, or even habaneros!
- Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are our top choice here. They contain less liquid than other varieties, so they won’t water down your filling. You can also just swap in extra peppers.
- Taco seasoning: Store-bought or homemade taco seasoning both work well. The benefit of making your own is that you can adjust the heat and flavors to suit your taste.
- Greek yogurt: Adds a cool, refreshing element. If you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand, sour cream is a great replacement.
- Corn tortillas: Opt for high-quality store-bought corn tortillas, or try making your own for an extra tender texture and fresh flavors.
- Toppings: What is a taco without garnishes?! We love options like pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream, guacamole, pickled onions, salsa, and shredded lettuce.
How to Make Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos
1. Mix the filling
Start off by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. In the meantime, stir together the chicken, refried beans, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, taco seasoning, and Greek yogurt in a bowl.
2. Heat the tortillas
Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel, then microwave them for 45-60 seconds to soften. Alternatively, heat a cast-iron skillet or comal to medium-high. Heat the tortillas on each side for 30 seconds, then wrap them in a towel while you heat the others.
Both methods bring moisture back into the tortillas, preventing them from cracking. Usually, I heat 6 at a time to ensure they won’t crack, If they do crack, they need to be heated a bit longer.
3. Fill the tacos
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or brush it with olive oil. Scoop the filling onto one side of a tortilla. You should have enough filling for about 1-2 rounded tablespoons on each tortilla, depending on the size.
Fold the tortilla in half and press down to seal, then repeat with the remaining tortillas. Place them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray the tacos with cooking spray or brush them with more olive oil.
4. Bake the tacos
Bake the tacos for 16-20 minutes, flipping them after 8-10 minutes when the bottom side looks nicely browned and crispy.
Side Dish Ideas
Side dishes are where you can really make this recipe your own! Try some of these ideas to make a full spread:
- To up the protein, add a side of Quick Refried Beans, Black Bean and Corn Salad, or Slow Cooker Charro Beans.
- For a low-carb option, serve your tacos with Mexican Cauliflower Rice.
- If you’re looking for a vegetable-forward choice, try our Mexican Chopped Salad, Creamy Mexican Coleslaw, or Mexican Street Corn.
- For a heartier meal, pair your tacos with this skillet Mexican Brown Rice Casserole.
Storage and Reheating Leftovers
If you enjoy leftovers, check out our best tips for storing crispy chicken tacos:
- Fridge: Let the tacos cool completely, then transfer them to an airtight container. Refrigerate them for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: For longer storage periods, add the cooled tacos to a freezer-safe bag or container. They will last in the freezer for about 3 months.
- Reheating: When you’re ready for more chicken tacos, thaw them in the fridge overnight. You can warm them up in the microwave in 30-second bursts, but it’s best to heat them in the oven for the crispiest texture.
Variations and Recipe Ideas
It's so easy to customize this recipe and make it your own! Change up the protein, beans, veggies, or salsa for a totally new flavor combination.
- Change the protein: If chicken isn’t your thing, try pork (or leftover carnitas), beef, ground turkey, shrimp, or make it vegetarian with just beans. We also love it with leftover chicken from these chicken tinga tacos.
- Different tortillas: Although I’m on team corn, chicken tacos are great with flour tortillas.
- Other veggies: Experiment with different vegetables like jalapeños, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach.
- Spicy: If you’re looking to really increase the heat, try adding serranos, habaneros, or arbol chiles to your mix.
Tips For Crispy Chicken Tacos
Follow these tips and tricks to ensure crispy, crunchy tacos every time.
- Heat the tortillas: To prevent corn tortillas from cracking, you really need to heat them before folding them. Don’t skip this crucial step!
- Don’t overcrowd: Be careful not to overcrowd the baking pan when lining up the tacos. If they are overlapping too much, it will result in soft, soggy tacos.
- Go easy on the oil: This recipe is meant to be a healthier option compared to fried tacos, so try not to go overboard with oil. If you add too much, the tacos tend to turn out soggy as well.
- Serve with toppings: Mexican food (and tacos in particular) are all about the sauces and garnishes. Do yourself a favor and serve them with fresh toppings like avocado, cilantro, onion, and salsa.
Can I pan-fry these tacos instead of baking them?
Absolutely! If you want to pan-fry your tacos instead, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan. Fry each taco for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these chicken tacos.
Both chicken tacos and beef tacos can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, chicken is a leaner cut of meat and therefore contains less fat and calories.
Yes, these Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos are gluten-free since they’re made with corn tortillas. In fact, many Mexican taco recipes are made with corn tortillas, making them perfect for those with gluten sensitivities. Just double-check that the toppings you choose are also free of gluten.
Easy Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos
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- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (or 1 lb cooked lean ground chicken)
- 1 cup canned refried beans
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 1/2 cup bell peppers, diced
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 2 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream, optional)
- 8 corn tortillas (or 12 small, street-style tortillas)
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Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Scoop the filling into one side of the taco ( about 1-2 rounded tablespoons depending on the size of the tortilla) and press down to seal. Repeat with the remaining tacos, placing them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray the tacos with cooking spray or brush them with oil.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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