Quick 20 minute grilled chicken tacos topped with pico de gallo and creamy cilantro sauce. These spicy tacos are perfect for weeknight dinners and are sure to please the entire family.
We have tacos at least once a week because of how easy they are to make and how flavorful they are. The spicy meat, fresh zesty toppings, and sauces make tacos the ultimate dinner. These spicy grilled chicken tacos with pico de gallo and creamy cilantro sauce are our absolute favorite tacos. The combo of flavors dances on the taste buds and will keep you coming back for more. The entire family loves them and they can be prepared and served or you can serve them as a taco bar and have everyone customize their own tacos.
All good tacos begin with a batch of freshly cooked chicken. These tacos are made with my favorite grilled taco chicken. I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs rather than breasts because they are always tender and won’t dry out. Chicken breasts will also work for the tacos but be sure not to over-cook them or they will dry out.
The secret to making tacos is simplicity. Traditional street tacos are served on corn tortillas and topped with just chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, salsa and a squeeze of fresh lime. No cheese, avocado, sour cream or any of that other stuff. But who are we kidding? I honestly NEED my favorite sour-cream cilantro sauce on my tacos. The creaminess of the sauce compliments the spicy chicken and zesty pico perfectly. You can top the tacos off with your favorite salsa, sour-cream or my quick creamy cilantro sauce (recipe in notes).
You can have these yummy tacos with just the pico and sour-cream or cilantro sauce, or you can load them up American style and add chopped romaine lettuce, avocado or guacamole, or cheese. Don’t forget a squeeze of fresh lime and enjoy these tasty grilled chicken tacos any way you like!
Easy 20 Minute Chicken Tacos
- 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless skinless or chicken breasts
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice optional
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika optional
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 small corn or flour tortillas
Pico de Gallo
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 finely chopped jalapeño deseeded
- 1 tsp lime juice
- pinch salt and pepper to taste
- Add the chicken, garlic, olive oil, lime, and spices, to a large bowl or zip-seal bag and stir or shake to combine.
- Heat a large pan to medium-high heat. Cook chicken 6-7 minutes per side or until it is no longer pink and the internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from heat and cool for at least 5 minutes. Slice or chop into small cubes.
- While the chicken is cooking, combine the chopped tomato, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl. Char tortillas on the stovetop over the flame until lightly charred (this step is optional).
- Assemble tacos by placing about 1/4 cup of chicken into each tortilla. Top with a few tablespoons of the onion-tomato mixture and a drizzle of cilantro sauce (*optional, see recipe in notes).
Love the recipe and I make it all the time. But now an ad is sitting on top of the ingredients and won’t close. I want to cry. I’m a busy tired mom and just need to make dinner and can’t.
Debbie S. says
Too much chili powder in this recipe.
We’ve made this probs my 10 times now. It is easily in our top favorite meals. It never disappoints. So so good!! You HAVE to make the crema to go with it, it’s what makes this taco!! Every time I post we’ve made this on my Instagram and Facebook I get people asking for the recipe and I always share!
Julia Weaver says
Yummy and easy!
Is this an American sight? In Australia, Chilli powder is straight Chilli. In America, they apparently mean something entirely different.
Yeah, it’s a blend like a curry. Something like: ⅛ cup sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon dried ground Ancho chiles, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin
There are two items called “chili powder” in the US. Grocery store chili powder is a blend as Brian describes above. In chili growing country, there is also chlli powder which is powdered dried peppers of a specific variety, such as Ancho or Arbol, or Guajillo, or even chipotle which isn’t a variety but is smoked Jalapeño chili.
In New Mexico where chilies are a major agricultural business, Hispanic cooks don’t use grocery store chili powder, they use different varieties of varietal chili powder as each has its own distinctive taste and heat. They also use dried chilies often utilizing two or three different varieties in the same dish.
In August the famous “Hatch” chilies are harvested in their green stage and then are roasted over open flame rotisserie chili roasters. people buy them by the bushel and stand watching as they are roasts. The chilies are then sacked up, hot, in plastic bags for “chili heads,” like me, to take home and freeze. By the time one gets home with them the skins are essentially steamed off of them and we pack them up in zip lock bags and pop them in the freezer. We have fresh roasted chili all winter to satisfy our need for chili.
We love it!