These oven baked chicken tacos may be the only way I ever eat tacos again! If you love tacos as much as I do, you’re going to love these. Using rotisserie chicken (or even leftover turkey) these flavourful tacos are easy and incredibly delicious. Topped with melty cheese and a chipotle lime crema – these are a real crowd pleaser.
- Quick – 30 minutes to an easy dinner, loaded with flavour.
- Easy – Shred chicken, saute quickly, then load up those taco shells and bake.
- Bursting with flavour – from the homemade taco seasoning (though you can use store-bought) to the chipotle lime crema these tacos have some serious flavour going on.
- Customise – add all your favourite sides and let everyone create their own taco.
- Scalable – This recipe makes 12 but is very easy to scale up for larger crowds.
These crispy tacos make weeknight dinners an absolutely breeze but these are also totally acceptable for parties, as appetisers, are great game-day food and will be the most requested taco Tuesday dinner forevermore – well at least in my house.
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Tools you’ll need
- Frying pan or skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Casserole dish
Ingredients for baked chicken tacos
Nothing strange in this ingredients list, these baked chicken tacos have flavours you know and love, with a few sneaky tricks to make them the best tacos ever!
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Rotisserie chicken: Using leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken is a huge time-saver without compromising on taste.
- Taco shells: After testing both soft and hard taco shells, I find the hard taco shells work and actually taste the best (even though I’m a soft taco person through and through). While I definitely recommend the hard shells, use whichever you prefer.
- Taco seasoning: It takes 2 minutes to make taco seasoning from scratch and you can make a batch and store until you need it. You can use shop-bought if you don’t want to make your own though. You can also try my homemade fajita seasoning.
- Onion and garlic: A little added flavour from fresh onion and fresh garlic makes all the difference.
- Black beans: Black beans or even kidney beans adds some extra nutrition and increases the amount of filling too. You could also replace them with refried beans – just spread them into the taco shells before the meat mixture.
- Tomato paste: So these stay nice and crispy, I use tomato paste in the filling instead of tinned tomatoes.
- Shredded cheese: I use a combination of cheddar cheese and mozzarella (flavour and gooeyness) but you can use all cheddar or even use a Mexican cheese blend. Pick your favourite and load them up.
- Lime: I use the zest and juice of a whole lime in the chipotle lime crema but it’s always good to have lime wedges on the side too.
- Sour cream: Sour cream is the base for the chipotle lime crema. Feel free to use full fat or a light version.
- Chipotle in adobo: The final ingredient for the crema is chipotle in adobo. I used the chopped version (not the whole ones). It can be found in the Mexican section at your local grocery store. Feel free to swap this for another chilli sauce – sriracha, gochujang paste, chilli paste or even sweet chilli sauce. All will work but as they have varying heat intensities, add gradually to taste.
This recipe will work with other meats too. You could use some leftover roast beef or steak, and even pulled pork. You could fry up some ground meat / mince too – add it at the same time but cook until browned.
Try turkey tacos! You can also use your leftover turkey after Thanksgiving or Christmas and I promise, you’ll want to make these turkey tacos a tradition.
The homemade chicken taco seasoning
While you can use shop-bought, I highly encourage you to make your seasoning from scratch. It has the right combination of flavours but is richer and completely customisable. You can make a batch and keep it in the pantry in an air-tight jar.
All it takes is 7 spices and 2 minutes and it’s ready.
How to make chicken tacos
Oven baked chicken tacos are so easy to make, so let’s get to it.
Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Make the crema: Zest and juice a lime into a small bowl. Add sour cream and chipotle (photo 1) and mix together. Set aside.
- Bake the shells: Arrange the taco shells in a casserole dish (photo 2) and bake for 5 minutes – this helps keep them extra crispy.
- Combine chicken and seasoning in a bowl, mixing well (photo 3) to distribute everything.
- Saute the filling: Start by sauteing some onion in a frying pan or skillet until softened, add garlic and saute for another minute (photo 4) before adding the rest – chicken, beans, tomato paste and water (photo 5).
- Fill and bake: Fill the shells with the chicken taco filling and cheese (photo 6) and bake for 10 minutes.
Baked chicken tacos toppings
Taco toppings are almost as much fun as the filling. Pick your favourites, then set them out on a board so everyone can customise their very own tacos.
I top my tacos with;
- lightly mashed avocado
- chipotle lime crema
- jalapeno slices
- fresh cilantro / coriander
- finely chopped tomatoes
Other great options:
I can almost guarantee your whole family will go nuts over these baked chicken tacos. They taste amazing, are so quick to make, crunchy, cheesy and are completely scalable for a crowd.
These are best served fresh but you can certainly prep your ingredients ahead of time if you like – shred the chicken and mix it with the seasoning, chop the onion and grate your cheeses.
If you try this oven baked chicken tacos recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you and it helps other readers too!
Oven Baked Chicken Tacos
- 12 regular sized hard taco shells
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (notes 1)
- ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (or leftover turkey)
- 2 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning (click for homemade recipe) (notes 1)
- ¾ cup tinned black beans, drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (notes 1)
- ½ cup water
- 1 ¼ cups grated cheddar (125g / 4.4oz) (notes)
- ¾ cup grated mozzarella (75g / 2.7oz) (notes)
CHIPOTLE LIME CREMA
- 1 medium lime
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 3-4 teaspoons minced chipotle in adobo, to taste (other chilli can be used too like hot sauce or chilli paste)
- 1 avocado
- ¼ cup fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, finely sliced
- Lime wedges
- Tomato lettuce and / or capsicum (bell pepper), finely chopped
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.
- Arrange the taco shells in a 9×13 inch casserole dish, open side upwards. If you’re having trouble getting them to sit upright, use a few wedges of crumpled up aluminium foil to help.
- Bake the taco shells on their own for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5-6 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 extra minute, stirring often.
- In a bowl, combine the chicken and taco seasoning. Add it to the pan along with the black beans, tomato paste and water. Cook for 3-4 minutes until heated through and the water has evaporated.
- Fill each taco shell with the chicken mixture to about 2/3 full (all the mixture will do 12 shells). Press it down a little but make sure not to break the shells.
- Mix together the cheeses then distribute the cheese evenly among the taco shells.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.
- While they’re baking make the toppings.
- In a small bowl, zest the lime, then squeeze all the juice in. Add the sour cream and chipotle and mix well to combine. Set aside.
- Mash the avocado flesh and finely chopped coriander together. Set aside.
- Serve the tacos immediately with the chipotle lime crema, avocado mix, jalapeno, lime wedges and vegetables if using so everyone can add their own.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon – equal to 4 teaspoons.
- I use a combination of cheddar cheese and mozzarella (flavour and gooeyness) but you can use all cheddar or even use a Mexican cheese blend. Pick your favourite and load it up.
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