Chicken tacos are pretty common in my house. I’d say I cook them every couple weeks, usually during the week, because they don’t take too long to make after getting home from work, and of course, because they are pretty tasty. You can also vary up the spices and the toppings to keep things interesting with different versions.
Here’s my version of a pretty basic chicken soft taco. In it, I use chicken breasts, but I’ll frequently use thigh meat instead. Give it a try!!Ingredients for Chicken Soft Tacos
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Soft taco shells or tortillas
- Worcestershire sauce
- Onion powder - Teaspoon
- Garlic powder - Teaspoon
- Ground cumin - Tablespoon
- Chili powder - Teaspoon
- Dry oregano - Teaspoon
- Cheyenne pepper - Teaspoon
Recipe Overview & Keys to Success
Think through your toppings prior to making your taco’s, as they can really drive a ton of flavor. I generally like to get some salsa (bought or homemade), cheese, and sour cream on mine, but there’s lots of other choices. Sautéed onions and peppers, or guacamole are all awesome.
With respect to the chicken, you want to make sure you use enough spice, and give the spice enough time, to really work into the chicken and give it some flavor. You don’t need to be too concerned about the ratio of one spice to another, or if you don’t have a particular spice, you can leave it out. You can also add in others if you’d like.
You also need to make sure you get a good sear on the chicken. Whether you’re using a grill or a pan, make sure you’re using high heat, and let the chicken get good and crusty on the outside. That sear is going to provide great texture and flavor.
Finally, I think it’s really important to heat up the tortilla. It’s a simple but important step as the shells right out of the package are a bit inflexible, and have a raw taste. Taking a few minutes to heat them up takes care of both.
Get the chicken in a wet rub
- I like to use web rubs to get flavor into chicken quickly. It takes a few minutes to make the rub, and then you can just let the chicken marinate for 1 – 2 hours.
- Combine the spices and add a few tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of honey, and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to make a paste
- Coat the chicken in the web rub, and let marinate for 1 – 2 hours ideally; but 30 minutes will do
Cooking the chicken
- Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the wet rub (don’t wipe the spices off), and season it with salt and pepper
- In a very hot pan, or grill, cook the chicken through, making sure to get a good sear on both sides. You really only have to flip the chicken once – which will help get that sear on each side.
- Once cooked through, wrap the chicken in foil to rest, while you prepare the tortillas.
Prepare the tortillas
- Either directly on the burner (if you use this method use tongs to quickly move the tortilla on and off the flame) or on a hot pan, warm the tortillas until they start to turn light brown in a few places
- Once warmed through and flexible, remove them
Cut and serve the chicken
- I generally like to dice the chicken, but cutting it in strips works well too
- If you’d like, you can put the cut pieces back into the foil where the chicken rested, which should have collected some of the natural chicken juice, and coat the pieces with the juice
- Lay the chicken on your warmed tortillas, and garnish with your favorite toppings.
Here I’ve got a fresh tomato and corn salsa, sour cream, cheese and guacamole.