Whoever said chicken can’t be fun has never tasted Ground Chicken Tacos. The perfectly spiced, zesty ground chicken is perfect in taco shells, burritos, or tostadas. Tonight, char up some tortillas and put out your favorite crunchy things and salsas; every bite is a delicious little party.
Serve easy chicken tacos with Chipotle’s copycat recipes for Black Beans, Cilantro Lime Rice, and sweet Corn Salsa. Don’t forget the Valentina hot sauce! Maybe a pitcher of Agua de Horchata to cool things off.
Anything ground meat can do, chicken can do better--or at least just as well. This recipe takes that package of ground chicken in your refrigerator and turns it into something so completely fun and interesting, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it earlier.
Are these authentic, real Mexican tacos? No. Are they good? You bet your burrito they are.
Ground chicken taco meat is perfect to have around for meal prep during hectic weeknights, when you're more likely to choose carry-out or delivery over a healthy dinner. Now you can have something really delicious, supremely easy, and lightning fast--usually in about 15 minutes.
Making an extra-large batch of chicken tacos? Just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
The magic dust: Homemade Taco Seasoning
Those little El Paso taco seasoning packets at the grocery store are a thing of the past with this stuff. I make my own taco seasoning that tastes fantastic no matter what kind of ground meat I'm using. Okay, it's not really a secret. It's:
- Chili powder.
- Ground cumin.
- Ground coriander.
- Cayenne pepper.
- Corn starch.
The recipe here calls for exactly what you need for one batch, but you can triple or quadruple it for future tacos (always a good idea) and keep it in the pantry for ground beef emergencies.
Just mix together the chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, and ground coriander in a bowl. Add some salt and a little cornstarch, if you have it; it keeps the taco meat from getting too juicy and running down your wrist.
Of course, if you don't want to mess with it and you just happen to have a little packet of store-bought taco seasoning, go right ahead. Use one packet per pound of ground meat.
How to make Chicken Tacos:
No exact specifics are listed in this walkthrough, in case you're making a bigger batch, I don't want to confuse you. Just scroll down to the recipe card for the details.
- The chicken cooks fast on the stove! Grab a skillet and sauté the onion in olive oil until the onion softens. After that, add the garlic, oregano, and the taco seasoning. Stir it around for a few seconds until it gets nice and fragrant.
- Then add the ground chicken and cook until almost cooked through--just a couple minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar. Let the meat mixture come to a simmer and cook for another four minutes or so, until it thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
That's it! Then chow down in whatever way you see fit.
Crispy or soft tacos? Decisions, decisions...
That's all up to you and who likes what at your house.
- Soft tacos. Sometimes I'll buy a pack of flour tortillas and a pack of corn tortillas and heat them up right over the flames on the stove. It's the quickest way to char tortillas. Then everyone can pick their favorite.
- Crispy fried taco shells. If you're feeling a little extra, may I recommend homemade fried taco shells? I go in-depth in my how-to fry tortillas, including oven-baked taco shells and the authentic fried versions, if you want to check it out. They only take a few minutes.
The best chicken tacos= the best taco fixings
Serve chicken tacos with:
- Avocado slices or guacamole
- Pickled red onions or jalapeños
- Chopped onion and cilantro
- Diced tomatoes or Pico de Gallo
- Shredded lettuce or shredded cabbage
- Crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheese
- Hot sauce or one of my favorite salsas
- Sour cream or healthy Greek yogurt
Ground chicken tacos in the crockpot:
Game day, big parties, even a Friendsgiving--this recipe is perfect for a DIY taco bar! Get the recipe started on the stove up to step 2, then swing it over to the slow cooker with the tomato sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar to finish up.
- First, sauté the onions in a skillet on the stove. Add the taco seasoning, garlic, and dried oregano.
- Then add the ground chicken and cook until almost done.
- After that, move the chicken meat to the slow cooker and add the sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and tomato sauce.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or on LOW for 6-7 hours.
More fun taco meat ideas:
When it comes to this taco meat, if you can dream it, you can do it. When I know I have a busy week ahead of me, I'll whip up a big batch to keep in the fridge for last minute dinners and snacks. Some ideas....
- BYOBB (build your own burrito bowl)
- Quesadillas. Crisp up a folded-over flour tortilla with taco meat and cheese right in the skillet for a fast treat.
- Taco Salad. Shredded lettuce, cabbage, black beans, maybe a drizzle of Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing. Sounds like lunch!
- Tostadas. A crispy corn tortilla that acts like an edible plate, ready to accept all that you can pile onto it? Why not?
- Pizza topping. Make a Tex-Mex pizza with ground chicken, hot sauce, and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese. Once it's out of the oven, load up on the crunchy cilantro and onions and avocado slices.
- Paleo/Keto/Low-Carb tacos. Wrap the ground chicken in a lettuce or cabbage leaf!
- Super healthy chicken tacos. Mix in a little cooked quinoa to the meat for added texture and to make the meat feed more people.
Ground Chicken Tacos Recipe
For the taco seasoning (see notes):
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
For the tacos:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Corn tortillas or flour tortillas
To make the taco seasoning:
- In a small bowl, whisk together chlii powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon), Whisk in cornstarch if desired. (Or, substitute one packet store-bought taco seasoning).
To make the tacos:
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in taco seasoning, garlic, and oregano until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add ground chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked through but still slightly pink, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide filling evenly among tortillas and serve with healthy garnishes such as shredded lettuce, diced tomato and avocado, scallions, and cilantro leaves.