These are the BEST Shredded Chicken Tacos. They’re quick, easy, so creamy, and pan frying the tortillas makes the outside ultra crispy!
The best part of this recipe? Any mildly seasoned leftover shredded chicken will work! Pressed for time? Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Oil – extra virgin olive oil is used to sauté the onions until tender. Another oil or even unsalted butter may be used as a substitution.
- Onion – diced yellow onion is called for, but white onion, red onion, or even shallots may be used instead. White onions are a bit sharper in flavor whereas red onion and shallots are sweeter and more mild.
- Chicken – any mildly seasoned cooked and shredded chicken will work. See How to Make Shredded Chicken for suggestions.
- Refried Beans – can be made with mashed pinto beans or black beans. Store-bought canned beans are used in this recipe, but feel free to use leftover homemade refried beans, if desired. Beans adds a great, creamy texture and is a cheap way to bulk up the tacos.
- Tomatoes – 1 (10 oz) can rotel with green chiles is drained, then stirred into the filling to provide a bright, tomatoey flavor to the chicken. Like spice? Try rotel with habanero for a kick or rotel with chipotle for smokiness!
- Sour Cream – adds a creamy texture and tangy flavor to balance out the richness of the refried beans. If you’d like to keep this dish dairy free, try a vegan sour cream or a squeeze of lime juice after cooking.
- Green Chiles – 1 (4 oz) can chopped mild green chiles is called for in the recipe. Like it spicy? Try canned jalapenos instead! Either way, drain the can before stirring the chiles into the filling.
- Taco Seasoning – use 1 (1 oz) packet store-bought taco seasoning to keep things simple or try my homemade taco seasoning if time allows! You may need additional seasonings if un-seasoned or rotisserie chicken is used.
- Tortillas – you can’t have tacos with tortillas! I use flour tortillas, but any tortilla will work. See Best Tortillas for Tacos for my suggestions.
How to make
These tacos couldn’t be quicker or easier to make! The perfect week-night meal that the whole family will enjoy.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add in onion and cook until tender.
- Stir in cooked and shredded chicken, refried beans, Rotel, sour cream, green chiles, and taco seasoning and heat through.
Optional (We love them this way) – Pan fry the tacos
- Drizzle oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet, then heat over medium heat until hot.
- Working with 1 tortilla at a time, sprinkle with cheese, then top with chicken filling. Fold in half, then place into the hot skillet. Cook on both sides until golden brown and crispy.
How to make shredded chicken
Shredded chicken can be made in the oven, on the stove, in the instant pot, in the slow cooker, and can even be bought at the grocery store! I cooked the chicken in the oven based on my Shredded Chicken recipe, but feel free to use the stovetop, crockpot, or instant pot method.
What is best way to shred chicken?
You can shred cooked chicken with two forks or a stand mixer.
- Two forks: hold one fork in each hand, then use them to pull the chicken apart. You can also hold the chicken down with one of the forks then use the other to pull shreds off.
- Stand mixer: Place chicken into your stand-mixer with the flat beater attachment. Turn the mixer on low for about 30 seconds, or until shredded.
Best tortillas for tacos
Flour tortillas, corn tortillas, or hard shell tacos are the best tortillas for these chicken tacos. “Fajita size” tortillas or smaller make the perfect taco size. Burrito size is too large. If using flour tortillas or corn tortillas, I highly recommend pan frying them in oil, because the crispy texture is a nice contrast to the creamy filling.
Toppings for shredded chicken tacos
Toppings make tacos so versatile, fresh, and extra delicious! The options are endless:
- Cilantro Lime Sauce (pictured)
- Pico de Gallo
- Pickled Red Onions
- Sour Cream
- Shredded or Crumbled Cheese
- Raw Onions
What to serve with shredded chicken tacos
- Use rotisserie chicken. For even easier prep, use store-bought cooked chicken! You may need additional taco seasoning to make the chicken more flavorful.
- Make it spicy. Sauté diced jalapenos with the onion for a kick.
- Make it dairy free. Use vegan sour cream, or omit, and stir in freshly squeezed lime juice before serving.
- Make in advance. Make the filling and store in the fridge until ready to assemble and serve.
- Pan fry the tortillas in oil. This produces a crispy tortilla which is a nice contrast to the creamy filling.
- Keep the cooked tacos warm. Place pan fried tacos on a silicone mat lined baking sheet and keep in a warm oven (lowest setting) until ready to serve.
How to store
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen, then heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm, then assemble tacos as directed. If reheating assembled tacos, thaw in the fridge, if frozen, then bake at 350 degrees F until the filling is hot and the outside is crispy.
Shredded Chicken Tacos
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for pan frying, if desired
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 pounds cooked, shredded chicken *
- 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
- 1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles drained
- 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
- 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles drained
- 1 (1 oz) packet taco seasoning **
- 15 fajita sized flour tortillas
- 3 3/4 cups shredded cheese if desired
- Cilantro lime sauce for serving, if desired
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add in onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender.
- Stir in cooked and shredded chicken, refried beans, Rotel, sour cream, green chiles, and taco seasoning and cook until the filling has thickened and is heated through, about 5-10 minutes.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary, then serve as desired.
To Pan Fry (Optional)
- Drizzle oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet, then heat over medium heat until hot.***
- Working with 1 tortilla at a time, sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, top with 1/3 cup chicken filling, then fold in half.
- Place into the hot skillet and heat on both sides until golden brown and crispy.
- Repeat with remaining tacos and serve with cilantro lime sauce or toppings of choice!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.