Grilled Chicken Tacos – Slender Kitchen

Grilled Chicken Tacos 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.

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. Then we use the leftovers in these easy Chicken Taco Bowls.

During winter months, these stovetop shredded chicken tacos and chicken street tacos are great options.

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 a delicious taco night where everyone will leave full and happy.

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 used as well. Add some olive oil as well if you like to balance out the acidity and help the chicken not stick to the grill.
  • 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 pico de gallo, 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 queso 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 adding their favorite taco toppings.

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.

Need a vegetarian option as well? Add these tasty Grilled Vegetable Tacos as well.

Grilled chicken on a chopping board for chicken tacos with salsa, cilantro, limes, and onion on the side.

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 grilled chicken, avocado, cilantro, diced onions, and avocado.

Leftover Ideas for Grilled Chicken Tacos

  • Make more tacos: Switch these up and use the leftover grilled chicken in these baked crispy 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 (or make your own!) 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. Burrito bowls are another tasty option with fajita veggies.
  • 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.

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