Grilled Chicken Tacos

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Grilled Chicken Tacos that are marinated in lime juice and homemade taco seasoning come out juicy and tender every time. These healthy chicken tacos pack a flavor punch and couldn't be easier to make.

260 CALORIES29g CARBS3g FAT28g PROTEIN
2 Comments

These easy Grilled Chicken Tacos are a staple in our house since we literally would be happy eating tacos every night. Lately, we have been rotating between this recipe, these simple Steak Tacos, and this yummy Taco Soup. It's healthy Mexican at its best and is sure to make the whole family happy.

Making these grilled chicken street tacos in the summer is something we do all the time whether it is for an easy family dinner or when we have friends over.

Not only is it really easy, but it's also super cost-effective. You won't need as much protein per person since everyone is stuffing the chicken into taco shells and loading it up with salsa and fixings. It's an easy way to feed a crowd. 

Served alongside some slow cooker pinto beans, Mexican street corn, or a Mexican chopped salad, it's a really great way to throw an affordable party and everyone will leave full and happy.

Grilled Chicken Tacos in corn tortillas with cilantro, onion, and red salsa.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here's everything you need for this tasty taco recipe.

  • Chicken: Chicken breast and chicken thighs are the easiest options for grilling. Skinless and boneless chicken has a cooking time of 8-10 minutes. If you opt for skin-on, bone-in chicken, it will take much longer on the grill and need to be shredded and removed from the bone.
  • Lime juice: Lime juice not only adds flavor to the chicken but also works to tenderize the chicken. The lime juice is the secret to ensuring the chicken is once and juicy.  Lemon juice can be sued as well. Add some olive oil as well if you like.
  • Taco seasoning: Making homemade taco seasoning is the best option since you can control the level of spice and smokiness. If you opt for store-bought, look for one without lots of added preservatives or sugar. 
  • Tortillas: Corn, flour, or alternative tortillas can all be used. Lettuce wraps are great for a lighter option.
  • Toppings: The best part of any taco is the toppings! Make sure to pile on the salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, shredded lettuce or cabbage, fresh cilantro, diced onion, and hot sauce. They are also delicious with this Creamy Mexican Slaw.

How to Serve Grilled Chicken Tacos - The Best Taco Bar

To serve these chicken tacos, I like to set things up buffet-style and let everyone build their own tacos, salads, nachos, burritos, or bowls. It may sound complicated, but it's actually quick and simple, especially if you let the grocery store help with some shortcuts.

Start with a couple of types of salsa, usually opting to have one mild, one medium, and one hot. For the mild, I almost always serve pico de gallo and then use a homemade or store-bought red and green salsa to round things out.

Offer a bunch of chopped veggies - cilantro, onion, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado.  Set out the corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or some backed crispy taco shells. Add some shredded cheese or questo cotija. Then add chips, rice, and beans. Normally I will make the rice and beans but there are some good store-bought options as well. Then just let everyone build their own.

It's easy, budget-friendly, and chicken tacos taste good at room temperature so you don't have to worry about keeping everything piping hot.

If I am doing this for a family dinner, I will just do a smaller version of what I included above based on the things we eat the most. I always make extra for leftovers. These keep great in the fridge and the leftovers work for so many different recipes - quesadillas, burritos, taco salads, and more.

Chicken breasts in chicken taco seasoning and lime juice in a metal bowl.

Homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning for chicken is something you can quickly make at home using spices you already have in your pantry. It can be used as a dry rub or combined with lime juice to make a marinade. You can adjust the heat level by adding cayenne or red pepper flakes to add more spice. This recipe makes enough for 1-1.5 lbs. of chicken.

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Directions: Mix together the spices to use as a dry rub. Add the juice of 2 limes or oil to use as a marinade. You can make a larger batch of the spice blend and store it for up to three months as well.

How much taco seasoning per pound?

Generally, you will want about two tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of meat. This could shift depending on the strength of the taco seasoning and the level of spiciness. Always start with less, since it is much easier to add more and impossible to remove it.

What kind of chicken is best for grilled chicken tacos?

The best option for grilled chicken tacos is to use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs and it is really a matter of personal preference. Chicken breasts are leaner and lower in fat, but they can dry out quickly if they are overcooked.

Chicken thighs have a higher fat content, which means they will stay more moist and tender. You don't have to worry about chicken thighs drying out as much, so for anyone new to grilling, they may be a safer option. If you are watching your budget, chicken thighs are usually about half the price of chicken breasts.

Chicken tacos with cilantro and avocado on a marble background.

Leftover Ideas for Grilled Chicken Tacos

  • Quesadillas: Grab canned black beans, canned corn, pico de gallo, cheese, and your leftover chicken for the best quesadilla filling. You can use traditional flour tortillas or a low carb option for a lighter meal.
  • Lettuce wraps: For a light and healthy lunch, wrap up your leftover grilled chicken in lettuce wraps with avocado, cheese, and salsa. Add canned black or pinto beans to make it more filling.
  • Taco salads: Everyone loves a good taco salad and this chicken works great as the protein. Top it with a spicy ranch by combining light ranch dressing with your favorite salsa.
  • Chicken tortilla soup: Grab a can of vegetarian tortilla soup in the store and top it with this grilled chicken, fresh avocado, and some cheese. 
  • Burritos: My kids love burritos so for an easy lunch I stuff whole grain tortillas with this chicken, beans, rice, and veggies. If we are having it for dinner, I will top the burritos with canned enchilada sauce and cheese to make wet burritos, one of our favorites.
  • Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches: We love spicy barbecue so tossing this slightly spicy chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce and stuffing it into sandwiches is a great way to create a whole new dinner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making these grilled chicken tacos.

The best way to prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill is to start with clean grill grates. Leftover residue from previous meals can stick to the chicken and make it difficult to flip. Many times chicken sticks to the grill because it isn't ready to flip. Let the outside char slightly and get grill marks before flipping it. Lastly if your grill tends to stick, then oil the grates before grilling. 

Chicken street tacos usually refer to chicken that is cooked on a grill or griddle and then chopped into small pieces and served simply with cilantro, onion, and salsa. They are made quickly on the street and are usually smaller in size than a traditional taco. Sometimes you will see street-style tortillas in the store that are smaller in size.

The Recipe
Grilled chicken tacos in a corn tortilla with cilantro and onion on top.

Grilled Chicken Tacos

PREP TIME: 30 Min
COOK TIME: 15 Min
TOTAL TIME: 45 Min
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 limes (juice)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas (or low carb/paleo tortillas)
  • 1/2 cup salsa (for serving)
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced (for serving)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (for serving)

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Prepare the chicken by making sure it is all about the same thickness. Usually I will cut the breast horizontally into two thinner breast pieces. This ensures they cook uniformly and also helps the marinade penetrate the chicken fully.

2

Combine the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, oregano, onion powder, and pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

3

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from marinade letting the excess drip off. Place directly on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. This may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. While the chicken rests, quickly heat the tortillas on the grill.

4

Chop the chicken and serve in warmed tortillas with salsa, cilantro, onion, and any other toppings you like.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 260
Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
4%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 56mg
18%
Sodium 577mg
25%
Total Carbohydrate 29g
10%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 2g
Protein 28g

* 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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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
2 Comments
On Grilled Chicken Tacos
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gloria colitte
June 28, 2018 - 12:31
how many pts. are the chicken tacos
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July 2, 2018 - 06:50
They are 3 points for two tacos :) The points are listed at the tops of all of the recipes.
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