Marinated grilled chicken which gets nicely charred makes these street tacos a tasty and healthy option if you are craving some tacos.
Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow! Not that I ever need an excuse to eat some tasty Mexican food, but I never will miss an opportunity. For those interested, do you actually know what Cinco de Mayo is celebrating? It’s actually a holiday to celebrate the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victor over France at the Battle of Puebla. But in the US, it’s a day we celebrate Mexico’s culture. So why is that? It’s mainly related to marketing. Just like we celebrate Irish culture on St. Patrick’s Day, May 5th is for Mexico.
Ok now that we’ve got that little history lesson out of the way, let’s talk about these grilled chicken tacos. The star here is the chicken taco marinade that gives a ton of flavor and allows the chicken to char, whether you’re using a grill or skillet. With the addition of olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, garlic and some spices, you get a delicious chicken that’s great for street tacos, burritos, burrito bowls or salads.
The grilled chicken is so good and so versatile, I recommend even making more than the recipe below as you can store them in the freezer and use when ready. While this can be made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I recommend using chicken thighs as they are tender and won’t dry out if you overcook them a little bit, which let’s be honest you probably will as you want a good char. So if you’re looking to break out the grill and want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or are just craving some good tacos, these grilled chicken street tacos are a great option. Hope you enjoy!
What Ingredients are in this Grilled Chicken Taco Recipe?
- Chicken thighs
- Olive oil
- Orange juice
- Lime juice
- Produce – garlic, avocado, tomato, white onion, cilantro, jalapeño
- Spices – chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, black pepper
- Corn tortillas
How to Make Grilled Chicken Tacos
- In a ziploc bag or bowl, combine chicken, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper. Make sure chicken is coated and marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 425F – 450°F). Remove chicken from marinade and place on grill. Cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or until the chicken is slightly charred and the chicken reaches 165°F. Note – You can also use a skillet and heat to medium-high heat and cook the same amount of time if you don’t have a grill. Transfer the chicken to a dish and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes.
- Place some tortillas on the grill and cook for about 30 seconds per side or until lightly charred.
- Prepare pico de gallo, by combining the chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl.
- Dice the chicken and prepare your tacos by adding some chicken, avocado and pico de gallo over the warm tortillas. Use some cheese if desired.
Tips for Great Grilled Chicken
- Use chicken thighs: Yes I know thighs get a bad rap some time, but they have better flavor, get charred better and remain juicy even if you overcook.
- Be patient when it comes to the marinade: You want to marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour, but I recommend trying to marinate for the full 6 hours so the chicken can absorb the flavor.
- Hot grill: There is nothing worse than preparing chicken and then placing it on the grill and you don’t hear a sizzle. You want the grill hot so you can get that nice char. It needs to be at least 425°F.
- Let chicken rest: Yes even chicken should rest for a few minutes before you dice it up. If you chop into it immediately, the chicken will lose some of its juice.
How Do I Know When Chicken is Done?
Since this cooks so fast, you’ll know the chicken is done when it is no longer pink. If you have a thermometer it should be at 165°F.
Can I Bake the Chicken Instead?
You can bake the chicken instead of grilling although you won’t get the nice char marks that add to the flavor. Bake at 425ºF for 30 minutes on a sheet pan.
Street Taco Topping Ideas
- Pico de gallo or tomatoes and onion
- Shredded lettuce
- Avocado or guacamole
- Sour cream
- Sliced radishes
Other Taco Recipes
- Caribbean Shrimp Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
- Carne Asada Tacos
- Cider Beer Braised Pork
Grilled Chicken Tacos
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 avocado, cored and diced
- 12 corn or flour tortillas, warmed
- queso fresco or favorite cheese (optional)
Pico de Gallo
- 1 cup tomato, finely chopped
- 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- In large bowl or ziploc bag, add chicken, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, and spices. Rub marinade all over chicken and place in fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
- Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Preheat grill to 425-450°F or a pan to medium-high heat. Cook for 5-6 minutes per side.
- Transfer chicken to plate and cover with foil, letting rest for 5 minutes. Dice chicken into cubes.
- Grill some tortillas for about 30 seconds per side until charred and set aside.
- While chicken is resting, combine the chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and sea salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Serve chicken on warm tortillas with diced avocado, pico de gallo, and some cheese if desired.