These juicy Chicken Tacos are ready in under 30 minutes! This perfectly spiced chicken is so versatile — stuff it into tortillas, throw it on a salad, put it in enchiladas, you name it!
These are the best chicken tacos ever. Seriously. Perfectly moist, ridiculously flavorful, healthy, and so quick and easy to make! This is the perfect dinner for all your busy week nights!
My secret ingredients to perfectly moist chicken? Water and salt.
- Water and Salt – form a brine for the chicken which helps the chicken absorb water for extra moisture.
- Chicken – use boneless and skinless breasts or thighs.
- Taco Seasoning – use store-bought or homemade taco seasoning. I’ve done both and they’re equally delicious.
- Olive Oil – used to cook the chicken to keep these juicy on the inside and promotes browning on the outside.
- Salt and Pepper – enhances other flavors.
How to make
This recipe could not be any easier. Just 30 minutes from start to finish and dinner is served!
- Mix 1/4 cup salt and 4 cups water in a large bowl. Add the chicken and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken then cube it into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss the cubed chicken with taco seasoning until fully coated.
- Heat oil in a skillet, add chicken, and cook for about 5-10 minutes then serve with all your favorite taco fix-ins and enjoy!
Do you need to soak the chicken?
Yes! This step only adds an additional 15 minutes of non-active prep time and I promise, it’s worth it. Soaking the chicken in salt water allows the meat to absorb both extra liquid and salt. The end result is more moist AND more flavorful chicken.
What cut of chicken to use
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs will work in this chicken tacos recipe. I always have chicken breasts on hand, because I love them as my healthy protein, but chicken thighs are often more flavorful and cheaper!
How to season chicken for tacos
Use store-bought or homemade taco seasoning to season chicken for tacos. If you’re making a homemade version, you’ll need these spices:
- chili powder
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- smoked paprika
Are chicken tacos healthy?
This recipe for chicken tacos is absolutely healthy. Chicken breast is a great source of lean protein and spices have been found to have added health benefits. Bonus: load up your tacos with good for you toppings like guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo, etc for added nutrition.
1 serving (1/3 of the filling) contains about 350 calories, 15 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 48 grams of protein!
- Use a different protein. Try cubed pork to mix it up. Or try my beef tacos or healthy turkey tacos.
- Add veggies. Corn, bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, or even sweet potatoes would be delicious.
- Make it fruity. Try adding a spoonful of pineapple salsa.
- Spice it up. Heat it up with red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Brine the chicken. This adds tons of moisture and flavor.
- Warm the tortillas. You can warm your tortillas in the microwave, oven, on the stove, or char them over an open flame. To keep them warm, stack them on a plate and cover them with a damp paper towel or kitchen towel.
- Make a double batch. The chicken in these chicken tacos freezes beautifully. Feel free to make extra to use for meal prep!
What to serve with chicken tacos
If you’re looking to fill out the meal even more with a few side dishes, here are some of my favorites!
I also love to enjoy a fresh margarita with my tacos…but who doesn’t, right? 😉
How to store
Store any leftover chicken (separately from tortillas and toppings) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months!
How to freeze
This chicken freezes really well so I love to make a double batch and keep it around for easy dinners later on!
To freeze, cool at room temperature then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To reheat, defrost in the fridge overnight then reheat in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave. If the chicken is a little dry, stir in a little salsa to add moisture!
Equipment for this recipe
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4-6 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 2 (1 oz) packets store-bought taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Tortillas, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, etc. for serving
- Fill a large bowl with 4 cups of warm water.
- Pour in 1/4 cup salt and stir until most of the salt has absorbed.
- Stir in the chicken breasts.
- Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature to brine.*
- Remove the chicken breasts from brine, then rinse them with cold water.**
- Cube chicken into bite sized pieces, place into a clean bowl, and toss with taco seasoning until each chicken cube is fully coated.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add in cubed chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5-10 minutes.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary.
- Serve with all of your favorite taco fixins!
**This removes excess salt.
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.