These Grilled Chicken Tacos are the best! Perfectly marinated chicken nestled in warm corn tortillas, along with simple toppings that compliment the chicken without overpowering.
Give these quick, easy and budget friendly chicken tacos a try on your busy weeknights, and get ready for rave reviews!
Why this Recipe Works
- The Marinade: The citrus juices tenderize the chicken, while the garlic and seasonings create an exquisite depth of flavor.
- Versatility: This dish is perfect for weeknight dinners, but also special enough for entertaining guests.
- Freshness: The combination of fresh onion, tomato, and cilantro brings a vibrant, refreshing edge to each bite.
- It’s Easy on the Wallet: With simple ingredients, you don’t need to break the bank for this recipe.
This is a very straightforward recipe, but a few tips can take your grilled chicken tacos to the next level!
- Longer Marination: Aim for overnight marination to allow the spices and juices to fully penetrate the chicken.
- Grill Temperature: Use a grill thermometer to ensure your grill stays between 425-450°F for even cooking.
- Internal Temp Check: Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the chicken thighs reach 180°F internally (or 165°F if using breasts) .
- Rest Time: Letting the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting helps redistribute juices, making for a moister, more flavorful meat.
- Tortilla Warmth: Use a dry skillet or even the grill for a few seconds to warm your tortillas. It makes a world of difference in texture.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
For full ingredient list with amounts, along with step-by-step instructions, please see the recipe card. Here are some specific notes:
- Chicken Thighs – You can substitute with boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you prefer. Note that we cook the thighs to 180°F, but if you are using breast aim for 165°F so they don’t dry out.
- Orange Juice – For a tropical twist, replace the OJ with pineapple juice.
- Olive Oil – Avocado oil or canola oil can be used as a neutral-flavored alternative.
- Lime Juice – Lemon juice can easily step in if lime isn’t available.
- Achiote Powder – If you can’t find achiote, a mix of paprika and turmeric can mimic the color and flavor.
- Oregano – Fresh oregano can be used in place of dried, but you’ll need to triple the amount.
- Spices – If you’re not a fan of heat, you can omit the red chili flakes, or use a milder spice like paprika.
- Corn Tortillas – Flour tortillas can be used as a substitute. As they are a little bigger, reduce the amount to 8 (2 per serving).
- Fresh Cilantro – For those who find cilantro soapy, fresh parsley or chives can offer a different but still delicious flavor.
What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Tacos
For more inspiration, check out our roundup of top Mexican Side Dishes!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
To Refrigerate: You can refrigerate the leftover chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
To Freeze: It also freezes well. Place cooled chicken in a freezer safe bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze 2-3 months, and thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
To Reheat: Reheat the chicken in the microwave, or on stovetop in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat.
More Great Taco Recipes
You can check out our collection of favorite Taco Recipes for tons of taco options. Some top picks:
We’re here to help! If anything in this recipe need clarifying, or if you have any questions about the ingredients, just drop your question in the comment section below the recipe card. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
Make it a Mexican night to remember with these easy Grilled Chicken Tacos. One bite, and we bet you’ll be hooked.
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Grilled Chicken Tacos, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
For the Chicken
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (see note 1)
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ Tbsp achiote powder
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano (see note 2)
- ½ Tbsp paprika
- ½ Tbsp cumin
- ½ Tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- 12 5 inch corn tortillas (see note 3)
- ½ small red onion, diced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- ¼ fresh cilantro, chopped
- Mix together olive oil, citrus juice, garlic and spices. Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish, then pour in the marinade and mix well. Cover with cling wrap, then refrigerate. Marinate your chicken at least 2 hours, to overnight.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minute prior to cooking.
- Preheat grill over medium high heat to 425-450°F.
- Grill the chicken 8-10 minute per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips.
- While the chicken is resting, quickly heat the tortillas in an ungreased skillet over medium high heat for a few seconds per side.
- Divide chicken among warmed tortillas and garnish with onion, tomato and cilantro.
- Serve immediately.
- If you would prefer to use chicken breast, adjust the target internal temperature from 180°F to 165°F.
- You can use fresh oregano if it is available, simply increase the amount to 3 Tbsp.
- If using flour tortillas in place of corn, reduce the amount to 8 (2 per serving)
- Leftover chicken can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container, or frozen in a freezer safe zip top bag for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight before using.
- Reheat leftover chicken in the microwave or on stovetop in a lightly greased skillet over medium heat.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 3 tacos
Amount Per Serving Calories 499Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 208mgSodium 920mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 6gSugar 3gProtein 46g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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