Charred and Tender grilled chicken spiced with a special blend of homemade taco seasoning can be grilled or cooked on the stove-top. It’s delicious in tacos, burritos, on salads, or for meal-prep!
Perfectly charred and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, this really is the BEST Mexican spiced grilled chicken. It’s seasoned with my favorite blend of homemade taco seasoning. With the addition of garlic, lime, and olive oil, you’ve got yourself delicious chicken that’s great for tacos, burrito bowls, salads, wraps and just about anything else.
A batch of perfectly grilled chicken can go a long way. I like to season a few pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts and keep them in zip seal bags in the fridge and freezer. When needed, just pop a bag out of the fridge or freezer and grill on an outdoor grill or right in a pan on the stove top. Use it to make tacos, wraps, on a salad or rice.
Just like Chipotle, 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 this recipe but be sure not to over-cook them.
The Best Grilled Chicken For Tacos, Burritos, or Salads
- 1 pound Boneless, Skinless chicken thighs or breasts we prefer thighs
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon corn starch optional
- Add the chicken, garlic, olive oil, lime, spices, and cornstarch to a large bowl or zip-seal bag.
- Place in fridge and let marinate for at least 15-30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill or pan heated to medium-high heat. Let chicken cook until it is no longer pink on the inside, about 6-7 minutes per side (or until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).
- Serve chicken in tacos, burritos, on salads or rice.
I make this recipe all the time and our entire family loves it. I am having surgery soon and would like to prep a lot of meals. Can I put the marinade in this and freeze so that my family only has to cook? Or not because of the lime juice?
So easy and versatile. I use it in combination with this Salsa Con Queso mac and cheese recipe I found. It’s great! https://sarahscucinabella.com/2013/01/16/salsa-con-queso-macaroni-and-cheese/
I’m trying this now and noticed, my marinade is not very liquidity at all. How do I separate from the chicken as recipe asks? It’s all just stick to chicken.
We used the marinade for a burrito recipe on bone in, skin on thigh. Removed the skin after cooking, but honestly, removing the skin was silly(not for burrito) but next time I’d keep it on, as the flavour was unbelievable.
Juicy, gorgeous taste.
A new staple in my house.
This was unbelievably good. Definitely a keeper!
great combo of seasonings- great tip on the corn starch- I was rushed on prepping this recipe this time– we only marinated for 30 mins- everyone enjoyed the taste– def remake this over and over-
This is the best chicken taco. I wish I could give it 10 stars. If you are on the fence about trying this recipe get off it & get to cooking. You will not regret it
From Maggie S. I made this on June 4, 2022, and it was absolute perfection! I doubled the recipe and used bone-in chicken thighs because they have so much more flavor and don’t dry out like chicken breasts.. I marinated the thighs in this excellent “paste” for 8 hours, scraped it off, then put the thighs on a medium-high charcoal grill for 9 minutes on each side, while monitoring it carefully. Set it aside wrapped in tin foil. Chopped it up into smaller pieces when it cooled down. I HAD TO EAT AT LEAST ONE BECAUSE IT WAS SO DELICIOUS!
Separately, I made black beans with garlic, onions and herbs with a splash of white wine and a little sugar.
Separately, I sauteed fresh tomatoes — hell, use canned diced tomatoes — with a little garlic, fresh cilantro, cumin and a little olive oil.
Then, spoon the whole mix into giant tortillas, fold them up and fry them with cheese.
THANK YOU FOR THIS DIVINE RECIPE!!
I love this!! Can you cook it in the oven? I am cooking for 100 people so looking for easy
Cut the chicken in cubes before or after cooking?
J Collins says
So good!! Our family loved this!
I’ve used this recipe for chicken tacos several times, both on the grill and in cast iron on the stove, and they’re fantastic. Sometimes I’ll toss the cut up chicken in cilantro and extra lime juice. Pairing this chicken with homemade flour tortillas makes it even better.
Oops, I forgot to add a rating to that comment. Definitely 5 stars!
This is so tasty! Whether the chicken is grilled or cooked on the stovetop, this is my favorite for chicken tacos and salad.
Debra A Faulkner says
I haven’t tried this yet but I am so stocked to do so. I have a question though… Is there a similar tomato salsa (like the one in the Costco kit)? I have several taco salsas that we made, but those kits are like the perfect flavor meld and I’d surely love to replicate it. Yum!
Are you referring to the saucy salsa? I don’t have a recipe for it but we love this salsa with tacos: https://gimmedelicious.com/pico-de-gallo/
Joe Rice says
Great recipe. A hit with everyone!!!
I am so happy I found this recipe. So delicious and I like how it can be used in quesadillas for dinner or a salad the next for lunch. My husband adds some sumac to being out a more tangy flavor.
Happy to hear that!
I add this to a Mexican style Mac and cheese. It’s great!
Can I use ground chicken for this recipe?
You sure can!
Hi! Just curious, what is the point of the cornstarch? It does say optional, but just want to know what it does for the recipe if added?
Thanks so much!!
Tony C says
Cornstarch will give the exterior a slight crust.
Oops. Forgot to leave 5 star rating
I was looking for the spices for a Mexican grilled chicken to match a dish I get from a local restaurant. This is the first recipe I tried and it is SPOT ON! No need to look any further. Thank you. 💕
Best recipe ever! I add half a white onion and a small handful of coriander (cilantro). I hate coriander, however with all the other flavours in this marinade, it works very well! I also blend it all to make like a paste, I think it gives it more of an even flavour.
I will never make chicken tacos any other way now.
Really delicious, always a hit with my 4 and 6 YOs. Thank you!
I am blown away at how good and simple this was! The chicken was seasoned PERFECTLY. The only thing I did was pound out the chicken breasts, so it grilled up evenly. It was absolutely delicious! Thank you.
Can the breasts/thighs be grilled, diced then frozen for a simple vacation meal?
Love the chicken but what is the nutritional facts on the chicken??
ANTHONY HUGHES says
Whatever it says on chicken packaging
Owen Hershey says
Absolutely scrumptious. My go-to for pollo asado tacos on barbecue days. I serve with fresh guacamole, chopped onion and cilantro, and lime juice squeezed on; in corn or flour otrtillas, warmed on the grill. SO GOOOOOD
Amazing!!! Absolutely delicious!!!
Julie Vanderwekken says
Great recipe! This will now be my go to recipe for chicken tacos. My 15 year old son, who has recently been chicken averse, even liked it. He ate his thigh with a quesadilla on night one and in a quesadilla on night two. About ready to grill up some thighs for the second time and going to try them in a salad tonight. Thanks so much for the recipe!!
this chicken was amazing you should try this homemade cracker recipe I made
You posted a dog food recipe instead of reviewing the chicken?
This recipe was pretty decent. Although, I have to say, I think the chicken would have been better had I eaten it after I cooked it, this resulted in a quite hard and slimly texture. Also the seasonings were quite scrumptious eaten on their own rather then added to the chicken it made for a very interesting dinner. I will definitley be making this again. And Joe69Mama420 I cannot wait to use your idea as inspiration to do a meal swap with my goldfish. HE’S GONNA LOVE THIS RECIPE!!!!!!!! and I am looking forward to enjoying his crunchy fish bites.
last night I wanted to try something different me and my dog had a food swap so I made the chicken for him and I ate some of his dog food it was one of those canned chicken ones and it tastes very good if you use this recipe. also figured out if you plant birdseed birds do not grow.
I think this is the best idea
i agree this should be a amazing meL
Jo please leave Joey alone he can say whatever he wants its 2021 and America is a free country
THIS. IS. THE. ONE! I’ve made this a couple times with chicken breast. The best way is thin- slicing/ butterflying the beast so it’s thinner (you could pound it out) before marinating. Make sure the grill is HOT, then just 5 minutes or so each side on med-high flame!
I’ve served it on a taco salad (greens, tomato, avocado slices, squirt of lime juice) and over salsa quinoa bowls. I just love those caramelized crispy edge pieces. Chili powder is one of my FAVORITE spice mixes! It’s my secret ingredient on so many grilled meats.
Anyway, thanks for this great recipe!
Excellent recipe!! The seasoning was perfect!
I used real chili powder not the grocery store version. The chili powder was a combination of New Mexican red and Chimayo, absolutely delicious!
Why use cornstarch?
It’s totally optional but I find it helps the spices stick to the chicken and form a nice crust.
Used new mexico chili powder and threw the marinade on already cooked, diced chicken breast. Made excellent burritos. Thanks for the recipe!
Awesome recipe!! However I have one question, when do I cut up/shred the chicken or thighs? Before or after marinating .. Or after I the thighs/breasts in the skillet?? Any insight here would be very helpful 🙂
You would cut them after they are cooked 🙂
The ratios are WAY off, far too much chili powder. Made a batch and it was inedibly hot.
What type of chili powder did you use? You may have used traditional “chili” powder which is more like cayenne pepper and is very spicy. The chili powder we use is the American blend which is more subtle.
John S says
Ben, I think your uterus is the issue
Cera B says
Sexist much, John S?
John S, I haven’t laughed so hard at a comment in a long time. I added cayenne pepper to give this more heat.
Katie R says
I have LOVED using this on chicken for tacos… but it’s also SUPER good on Shrimp!!! (I only marinate for about 1-2 hours and leave out the lime since it will begin to cook the shrimp). Thanks for this recipe 🙂
Yum! we love it on shrimp too 😀
This is probably my favorite recipe for grilled chicken, especially to use in tacos and taco bowls. It’s great as is, but I’ve also made it with a couple modifications:
– Pound the chicken out to 1/2″ for even cooking
– Smoked paprika instead of regular paprika
– Combination of Ancho chili powder/Chipotle chili powder/Hot Mexican chili powder (1/3 each). This gives it a bit more of a kick and a better flavor than just straight chili powder.
The grill should be well preheated on high to get a good char on the outside (the best part!)
kathy hughes says
Great spice mix – chicken turned out great!! Marinated two chicken breasts for two hours, grilled in a grill pan. Along with chicken, I served roasted veggies (sweet potato, zucchini, onion, bell pepper) tossed in cumin, chili powder and olive oil. Did a yogurt, lime, cilantro crema on side. Wonderful tacos!
michael carpenter says
I am making this tonight for chicken burritos. I will be pan frying it so shouls I add some olive oil to the pan or just spray with cooking spray?
You can’t go wrong either way but I would use a little olive oil.
I have not tried this recipe yet, but it sounds great! I might try some garlic infused olive oil as well.
This recipe is delicious!! We eat this at least once a week in my house, sometimes twice! I always use boneless skinless thighs, and I do not add the cornstarch, although I often add just a little (1 tsp) agave. I love to put it on the BBQ or on the stove top, and whenever I bring it to a group they love it. My 9-year-old loves this in quesadillas or soft tacos, but sometimes we just eat the plain chicken so fast after it’s cooked and it barely makes it to the plate! It’s safe to say we are obsessed! Thanks for providing a simple yet amazingly delicious new way to have chicken.
I don’t review a ton of recipes but this one deserves a lot of love! Amazing in every way! I followed The recipe exactly as written and pan seared the chicken in my cast iron skillet since it’s too chilly to grill and it tasted restaurant quality!
I have used this recipe several times while making chipotle bowls and Mexican stuffed peppers. This is truly a no-fail recipe. Comes out delicious everytime!
Excellent and simple! Made recipe with chicken thighs and made no modifications. Marinated for 6 hours and the chicken was so flavorful. Next time I might try using smoked paprika as the previous reviewer suggested.
I too am in love with the Costco chicken taco kit, and I was absolutely enthralled when I saw that they were selling the sauce by itself in the two-pack jars. I tried another chicken recipe which didn’t even come close. But this one nailed it. I could have eaten the chicken by itself, which I admit I did a little bit through some nibbling. But anyway the only changes I made were to mix regular paprika with smoked paprika to give it a little smoky flavor, I used avocado oil instead of olive and I added one tablespoon of it to the marinade in addition to what I used to grill the chicken. I had to add a little bit of water just to get it to pour into the bag but I cleaned up more than a tablespoon. I was running short on time and was afraid I would not get a good marinade, so I used my needler to poke holes in the chicken, not enough to really thin it or anything, I’ve just found that it really helps food absorb the marinade. This was the first time I used my cast iron indoor grilling pan. One side is flat and the other side has the grill lines, and it worked just as well as grilling outside which I am not a master of, and the girl is always kind of disgusting. The only problem was
that I did cook at a very high heat to get a nice char and it was a little smoky, so make sure you have your fan on and maybe a couple windows open. But anyway this was definitely a winner. Thank you
This was absolutely amazing chicken!! Next time I’m going to add a bit more lime juice but that’s just me.. seriously so good. We had chicken breasts with tortillas and homemade refried beans! Delish!!
Jodi Delbrocco says
I agree with more lime. Must be a Jodi thing
Do you have a picture of the jar from Costco. We love their street tacos also
I love this recipe. I share this with anyone who asks because its my go to for chicken street tacos, nachos, burritos, and anything else that calls for a Mexican style seasoned chicken. Thanks!
When do you dice up the chicken?
After it’s cooked.
I tried the recipe for dinner and everyone liked it. I thought it would be a problem because my brother didn’t like garlic, but he said he didn’t even taste it. You see, it tastes great. I’m thinking of trying this recipe when I’m going to make barbecued chicken, it’s absolutely awesome! Thank you so much for this excellent recipe.
Susan Westen says
I am making grilled chicken burritos for an event tomorrow. My chicken thighs are already marinating!
I understand how to make the taco seasoning, but what I don’t know, is how much to use/ lb and when is added? Before frying, before, during or after grilling? Is anything else used when grilling? Liquid of any kind? Thank you so much, I’m very excited to try this.
Taco seasoning is added at different times depending on the recipe. Some recipes require adding it before marinating and some while cooking. Are you cooking this chicken? or beef?
Do you use the Homemade Taco Seasoning on “The Best Grilled Chicken For Tacos, Burritos, or Salads” or do you have enough seasoning with the marinade? I don’t see in the instructions where you use the homemade taco seasoning in the recipe for “The Best Grilled Chicken for Tacos, Burritos, or Salads” even though it is listed with this recipe. Thank you.
For this specific recipe, I use the spices listed in the recipe which are very similar to my homemade taco seasoning recipe.