Try Ground Chicken Tacos for a healthier and equally delicious twist on traditional ground beef tacos. Made with homemade taco seasoning, the chicken is bursting with spice and flavor. This recipe is perfect for spicing up your usual weeknight dinner routine!
Ground Chicken Tacos are a variation of everyone’s favorite Tex-Mex meal, using ground chicken as a lighter alternative to ground beef or pork tacos. These tacos are savory and slightly spicy thanks to homemade chicken taco seasoning and a touch of tomato paste.
The ground chicken is perfectly juicy and tender, while the tortillas provide a soft, rustic taste. To make this dish, all you have to do is pan-fry the ground chicken and homemade chicken taco seasoning in a skillet, heat the tortillas, and assemble the tacos with classic toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. It’s that simple!
Why You'll Love Ground Chicken Tacos
- Healthier: Using ground chicken instead of beef or pork lowers the fat content of the meal without sacrificing flavor.
- Customizable: Choose your favorite toppings, like chipotle sauce, Mexican crema, pickled onions, salsa, guacamole, or queso fresco. You can make each taco unique!
- Easy to prepare: This simple recipe comes together quickly, making it perfect for busy weeknights when you don’t have time for an extravagant meal.
- Crowd-pleasing: Ground chicken tacos are always a hit with family and friends, no matter the crowd! Even the pickiest eaters enjoy them.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make these tasty chicken tacos.
- Olive oil: To cook the ground chicken. You can substitute olive oil with avocado or another neutral-tasting vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Ground chicken: The star of this dish! Ground chicken provides a juicy and tender texture, especially when cooked this way! Feel free to substitute it with ground turkey, beef, pork, or vegetarian crumbles depending on availability.
- Chicken taco seasoning: We love to use a homemade chicken taco seasoning blend for the most intense flavor, but you can use store-bought seasoning for more convenience. Our homemade taco seasoning uses chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, onion powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Tomato paste: Enhances the richness of the taco filling. You can omit the tomato paste or substitute it with tomato sauce.
- Water: Helps create a saucy consistency and keeps the chicken moist. Chicken broth also works for added flavor.
- Tortillas: Corn or small flour tortillas both work well. If you are sensitive to gluten or have allergies, stick with corn tortillas. Or swap in low-carb tortillas or lettuce wraps. For something crispy, use these homemade baked taco shells.
- Toppings: Play around with your favorite toppings, but we love lettuce, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese. You can also add avocado, guacamole, salsa, fresh lime juice, pico de gallo, or sour cream.
How to Make Ground Chicken Tacos
These tacos come together in just 15 minutes making them the perfect quick and easy dinner.
1. Cook the chicken
Cook the ground chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Since it’s already ground, cooking it until it’s no longer pink is essential. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes, more or less.
2. Season the chicken
When the chicken is no longer pink, add the water or chicken broth, tomato paste, and chicken taco seasoning to the skillet. Stir to evenly coat the chicken. At this point, you can turn the heat down so the sauce simmers. Keep cooking it for another few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
3. Assemble the tacos
Once the chicken is cooked, there isn’t much left to do! You can heat the tortillas in a dry skillet, then transfer them to a tortilla warmer or a tea towel to steam. Alternatively, wrap them in a towel and heat them in the microwave. Add some ground chicken to the warm tortillas, then top them with your favorite garnishes!
Side Dishes for Tacos
Ground chicken tacos are delicious enough on their own for any taco Tuesday night, but if you want to make them more filling, try serving them alongside some of our favorites like these:
- Cilantro-lime cauliflower rice
- Charro or borracho beans
- Grilled or roasted vegetables
- Fresh guacamole and tortilla chips
- Refried beans or slow cooker black beans
- Mexican street corn (elote)
Storage, Reheating, and Meap Prep
If you end up with leftover ground chicken tacos, keep these storage and reheating tips in mind:
- Fridge: Store leftover ground chicken taco filling in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer: Once completely cooled, you can freeze the ground chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Reheat the taco filling in a skillet over low until it’s warm. Alternatively, heat it in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between.
- Prep ahead: You can make the chicken taco seasoning in advance, then store it in your pantry for a quicker prep time when you want to make ground chicken tacos.
Variations and Serving Ideas
There are endless ways to serve this ground chicken taco meat recipe.
- Taco salad: Serve the ground chicken taco filling over a bed of lettuce, then top it with garnishes like tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cheese, and chipotle sauce.
- Lettuce wraps: Use lettuce boats instead of corn tortillas for a lower-carb option.
- Stuffed peppers: Hollow out bell peppers (or stuffed poblano peppers), then stuff them with the cooked taco filling and bake until tender. You can add other fillings like cheese and sautéed vegetables as well.
- Casserole: Layer the cooked taco filling, tortillas, and cheese in a baking dish, then bake until golden brown to make a healthy taco casserole.
- Taco soup: Add the cooked taco filling to a pot with broth, beans, and your favorite taco soup ingredients.
- Chicken taco bowls: Build your own taco bowls with rice or cauliflower rice, ground chicken, and all your favorite toppings.
- Taco pizza: Spread the chicken taco filling over pizza dough, top it with cheese, and add toppings, like bell peppers, pickled jalepeños, and corn.
Tips for Making Ground Chicken Tacos
Follow these tips to make sure your tacos turn out delicious every time.
- Use a non-stick skillet: Using a non-stick skillet prevents the chicken from sticking to the pan, which produces a better overall taste and texture.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: To properly cook the chicken, use a large enough skillet so that it doesn’t steam. If you need to, cook it in multiple batches rather than all at once.
- Cook thoroughly: Since the chicken is ground, it’s crucial to cook it until there is no pink left to reduce the risk of getting sick.
- Toppings: Tacos are all about fresh toppings! Don’t skimp on options like lettuce, tomatoes, diced onion, cilantro, and lime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these homemade ground chicken tacos.
Yes, you can use ground turkey instead of ground chicken in this recipe. Just note that the cooking time may vary slightly.
Yes, you can use store-bought taco seasoning for these ground chicken tacos. However, the homemade version allows for better control over flavor, sodium content, and spice level.
This recipe makes about 8 tacos, depending on the size of the tortillas and the amount of filling used. We always suggest under-filling as opposed to overfilling for the best eating experience.
Ground Chicken Tacos
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
- 2 tbsp water
- 8 corn tortillas (or small flour tortillas)
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* 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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