Taco Chicken

This grilled taco chicken is deceptively simple–a handful of ingredients you may already have, including spices you probably use all the time. And yet there’s something incredible about it that your family will gobble up on busy weeknights and that guests will go back again and again for if you serve these for a little (or big) fiesta. This chicken is perfect for meal prep bowls, is all sorts of healthy eating-friendly, and is something that definitely deserves a spot in your regular mealtime rotation, especially as we move into grilling season.

You’ll need some boneless skinless chicken breasts…

boneless skinless chicken breasts

as well as some garlic, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red wine vinegar.

grilled taco chicken ingredients

Place the chicken breasts in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and add garlic.

garlic and chicken breasts

Juice the limes over the chicken

juicing limes over the chicken

and add a splash of of red wine vinegar.

adding red wine vinegar

This will not completely cover the chicken; just turn it occasionally as needed. Marinate for at least 4 hours, no longer than 8.

Heat an outdoor grill (you can also use a grill pan inside. Or your broiler in your oven.) Combine salt, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Remove chicken from marinade and rub the spices all over the chicken.

marinated chicken rubbed in spices
Place on a lightly oiled grill over medium heat with the lid closed. Turn, close the lid, and cook for another 7 minutes. Remove from grill and lightly cover with foil; allow to stand for a few minutes.

grilled taco chicken our best bites

You can either eat the chicken as it is, maybe with our pineapple cilantro rice and refried beans or  Quick & Easy Black Beans, or use slice it up and serve it as the best chicken tacos ever!

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grilled taco chicken from our best bites

Taco Chicken


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Description

This grilled taco chicken is deceptively simple–no one will believe it’s as easy as it is because it’s so delicious!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs
  • A couple of juicy limes
  • A splash of red wine vinegar
  • 23 cloves garlic, pressed or coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Juice the limes and combine with a couple splashes of red wine vinegar. Add garlic. Pour over chicken. This will not completely cover the chicken; just turn it occasionally as needed. Marinate for at least 4 hours, no longer than 8.
  2. Heat an outdoor grill (you can also use a grill pan inside. Or your broiler in your oven.) Combine salt, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Remove chicken from marinade and rub the spices all over the chicken.
  3. Place chicken on lightly oiled grill over medium heat and close the lid. Cook for 7 minutes, then flip the chicken, close the lid, and cook for another 7 minutes.
  4. Remove from the grill, lightly cover with foil, and allow to stand a few minutes so it doesn’t lose its juiciness. You can either eat the chicken as it is, maybe with Mexican rice and beans, or use slice it up and use it as you would taco meat.

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Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I just stumbled across this chicken recipe from Pinterest, so glad I did! I was looking for something new and exciting, and I wanted to make big batches of chicken for freezing. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. This was great!!!! My one and three year old devoured an entire piece before it made it to the table! Delish!!!!

  3. Yum! Just made the taco chicken and the family loves it! Thank you for another great recipe!

  4. Awesome chicken! I cut it into cubes, added some mexican spice blend, and sauted it. My boyfriend (who’s puerto rican) loved it. Thanks for the recipe–I bet it would be even more awesome grilled!

  5. Have you ever tried freezing this? I do a lot of freezer meals and I wanted to do this, but I was unsure when you said don’t marinate it longer than 8 hours. I would love it if you would do a freezer meal section to your recipe index.

  6. Grilling up this chicken right now. We’re having it with cilantro lime rice and grilled vegetables. Can’t wait!

    1. Megan–Not with salmon, but I have with tilapia and it was to DIE for. I imagine it would be equally awesome with salmon.

  7. Paired with the cilantro-ranch dressing, this dish is so good I can’t stop craving it. While I’m eating it for dinner I’m already thinking of when I can make it next. It makes an awesome bed time snack and I can’t wait to eat it again for dinner tonight.

  8. We had this chicken last night with a yummy black bean and corn salsa, in corn tortillas. The chicken was a hit, and the whole dinner was delicious! We have loved everything we’ve made from your cookbook and website!

  9. A friend of mine just told me today she tried it in the crockpot and loved it. She just put all the ingredients in at the same time and cooked it all on low for 3-4 hours. She used this crockpot version for the Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos. I’m going to try it as well this week.

  10. Any suggestions on how to cook this chicken in the crockpot so that it’s super easy yet will shred for tacos??

  11. I am trying this recipe today, but I had extra chicken in need of being cooked and am going to try putting it in the dutch oven with all the same ingredients (including the spices) and letting it cook all day till it shreds easily. Then I will use it for your tortilla soup! Looking forward to trying both recipes, my family loves mexican so I hope they like these as well!

  12. Rachel, place your chicken on a broiler pan, or a foil-lined baking sheet. To avoid burning, I would set the broiler temp to medium (if you have that option) or move the chicken down a rack so it's not right below the heating element. Broil for 5-6 minutes on each side, although timing will depend on the thickness. You may find it easier to just heat up a skillet and saute the chicken that way- it works too.

  13. I'm going to try this one this week, with it being winter here and all in Kansas City. Can you give me the down low of how to cook the chicken with the broiler setting on the oven? I'm such a novice.

  14. I’m so excited to find your site! I just got married and became and instant mom to three great kids. Having been busy in my career (with companies like Costa V ida and R umbi) I haven’t spent a lot of time in the kitchen! Your recipe’s are so clear and easy to follow! Can’t wait to try the tortilla soup tonight with my family! (The recipe is not too far off from Costa’s!) Thanks again——Amy

  15. I made chicken tacos with this chicken. YUM! Everyone loved them. I made some cilantro lime rice, doctored up a can of black beans, added guacamole and other taco stuff and it was so yummy.

    If I had known it was so good I would have made more! We ran out and everyone was bummed.

    I also have some good recipes for you, if you ever go that direction.

    Thanks so much… I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  16. I made chicken tacos with this chicken. YUM! Everyone loved them. I made some cilantro lime rice, doctored up a can of black beans, added guacamole and other taco stuff and it was so yummy.

    If I had known it was so good I would have made more! We ran out and everyone was bummed.

    I also have some good recipes for you, if you ever go that direction.

    Thanks so much… I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  17. I made chicken tacos with this chicken. YUM! Everyone loved them. I made some cilantro lime rice, doctored up a can of black beans, added guacamole and other taco stuff and it was so yummy.

    If I had known it was so good I would have made more! We ran out and everyone was bummed.

    I also have some good recipes for you, if you ever go that direction.

    Thanks so much… I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  18. Hillary- we’ve been tossing around the idea of a reader recipe contest, so keep checking back and maybe you’ll find more info on that in the weeks to come!

  19. I thought the same thing you did at first, Sara! Kate is one perverted chickadee! 😛

    That chicken looks really good. We recently discovered how delish chicken thighs can be in place of breasts in some of our favorite recipes.

    Do you guys have a spot on here for submitting recipes? I’ve got some really fantastic ones!

  20. Man! I have never seen such artistic and beautiful pictures of frozen chicken and ingredients. I’m addicted to your blog. It’s so. . . yummy!

  21. “I can tell you right now that I’m a breast girl and Sara prefers thighs”

    Okay, am I the only one who laughed out loud at that comment? Sounds like something a guy would say, haha.

    (And I should clarify that my thigh preference only comes into play with specific recipes. Some just don’t turn out the same with one or the other!)