My family goes crazy for these grilled chicken tacos, and I love how EASY they are to make! Marinated chicken thighs are grilled to perfection and served with warmed corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and cilantro.

Two corn tortillas topped with grilled chicken and pico de gallo and surrounded by slices of lime.

The past two weeks we have been using our grill to make dinner almost every single night. We’re a little obsessed. Nothing says summer to me like kids playing in the sprinklers in the backyard while Jeff and I heat up the BBQ and cook an amazing dinner.

Chicken thighs being grilled and then chopped into pieces for grilled chicken street tacos.

I love all of the fresh foods of summer. We LOVE any type of kebabs on the grill (these Cajun Chicken and Sausage Kebabs are Jeff’s all-time favorite). A huge family favorite are these Hawaiian Chicken Teriyaki Bowls and we also love making grilled pizza or grilling steaks and hamburgers.

A platter of tacos with doubled corn tortillas topped with chopped grilled chicken and pico de gallo.

These chicken tacos are also at the top of our list of favorites. They are so incredibly flavorful and EASY to make. You can make the marinade several days in advance, if you want, and you could even marinate the chicken the night before.

What are street tacos?

Mexican street tacos are smaller tacos, typically served on corn tortillas.  They are small in size, making it easier for a “street traveler” to enjoy a quick meal. The filling is served on two small corn tortillas so that they don’t rip or tear when piled high with toppings.

Some tips for this recipe:
Grill with chicken thighs.

I like using chicken thighs because they’re a little more forgiving on the grill–they are super flavorful and don’t dry out as easily as chicken breasts. That said, you can definitely use chicken breasts for this recipe, just be careful not to cook them too long.

Let the meat rest.

Whatever cut of chicken you decide to use, let the meat REST for a few minutes before chopping it up. This is super important in allowing the meat to absorb all of the yummy juices before you cut into it. (The same goes for pretty much any other meat/steak you cook).

For the Tortillas:

Corn tortillas are the BEST to use for these chicken street tacos. I love these mini corn tortillas that are specifically intended for street tacos, but you can use regular corn tortillas instead. I usually heat my corn tortillas on a griddle or skillet for a few minutes on each side.

You could even throw them on the grill for a few seconds. The microwave is my least favorite way to warm corn tortillas because they stay soft and flimsy, allowing them to fall apart easier when you add all of your taco toppings.

Fresh pico de gallo is a must!

As with most tacos, the toppings are a key part of the awesomeness, and this homemade pico de gallo is the perfect accompaniment to these! It’s incredibly easy to make yourself, or you can even buy a small container from the grocery store (usually in the produce section).

As a last resort you can substitute regular salsa, but these really are soooo good with fresh pico.

Hope you enjoy these AMAZING grilled chicken street tacos as much as we do! We love them with a side of authentic Mexican rice (of course!), grilled corn on the cob and fresh watermelon. That’s a five star meal right there!

 

Consider serving with:

 

 

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Recipe

Grilled Chicken Street Tacos | tastesbetterfromscratch.com
Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 25 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 20-22 mini white corn tortillas , warmed on a skillet*
  • Pico de gallo
  • 1 /2 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
  • fresh lime juice
  • hot sauce , optional (our favorite for Mexican food is Valentina)
  • sour cream , optional

For the Marinade:

  • 4 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • Tablespoons ancho chili powder or chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Make chicken marinade by combining all marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add chicken thighs. 
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • Preheat grill over medium-hight heat. Oil the grill with canola oil or spray generously with cooking spray. Remove chicken with marinade and place on hot grill. 
  • Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, flipping once (thickest part of the chicken thigh should register about 165 degrees). 
  • Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for a few minutes before chopping into small pieces.
  • Layer two warmed mini corn tortillas together. Top with chopped chicken, pico de gallo, cilantro, hot sauce, and sour cream (optional). Spritz with a little bit of lime juice. Serve immediately.
  • Serve with a side of Mexican Rice or another Mexican side dish.

Notes

*you don’t have to double-up on the tortillas to serve them. If you choose not to, then you only need about 10-12.
 
Tips for making perfect street tacos are listed above in the post!

Nutrition

Serving: 3tacosCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 33gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 786mgPotassium: 562mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1475IUVitamin C: 10.9mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2.5mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing made this yesterday . I added smoked paprika as well and a touch of agave an olive oil to the marinade For a Smokey hint and to balance some of the acid without making it taste sweet.

  2. 5 stars
    This is by far the best recipe for chicken tacos ever. We make these tacos about once a month and it has become our go-to.

  3. 5 stars
    This is the recipe I’ve been looking for. Fast and packs a punch. I hope it tastes as good as it sounds.will make it tomorrow for 5/5

  4. Made this last night and really enjoyed it! A very easy recipe. I used 3/4 Tbs of smoked paprika in place of the chili powder and broiled in lieu of grilling. Plan to make again – hopefully on the grill. Thank you for sharing!

  5. 4 stars
    This was overall a great recipe we will try again. I found the Pico de gallo had a better flavor after mixing and letting set for 24 hours in the refrigerator. One change though, we were not impressed with the cinnamon. That flavor lingered throughout and to us didn’t mix well in the flavor profile. We use mild sauce rather than hot, so maybe that is a difference maker where the heat of the hot sauce blends better with cinnamon, but to us the cinnamon was too strong. Next time we make this we will not use cinnamon at all and likely to add just a bit of heat with some cayenne pepper, and possibly some agave nectar.

  6. 5 stars
    I just made this for the family and they all loved it. My new go to for street tacos. My daughter has been living in Mexico for the past year and even shes says these were amazing.

  7. I made my tacos with this marinade, and it was OUTSTANDING!! Paired with my homemade tortillas and fresh Pico. Wow!! Made them for Cinco de Drinko and they were a huge hit. Didn’t even get any leftovers to take home. Gotta make more next time.

  8. 5 stars
    Just finished dinner. The chicken was amazing!!! So delicious. Will be our go to recipe now too. Going to give pork a try also with this marinade. Thank you!

  9. We’ve been having Taco Tuesdays for some time. This is by far the best tacos I’ve ever made. Our youngest son uses the chicken to make fajita nachos and OMG! Thee best! Thank you for sharing. It’s forever a winner in my house.

  10. 5 stars
    Great recipe. The little bit of cinnamon and apple cider vinegar really make this a winning marinade. I like my chicken pieces crispy in texture on all sides. So I grill it not quite 100%. Then cut it up and finished it in a very hot skillet with a little of the left over marinade. Absolutely wonderful.

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve seen (and eaten) a lot of tacos and these are the best tacos ever!! The flavors are spot on and I think I’ll take you up on the recommended margarita!

  12. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this! My husband and I made this 3 times in 2 weeks. We’re addicted now. It challenges the best pollo asado tacos we’ve had from any taco stand or restaurant. The lime. pico and cilantro are important additions. The chicken stands on its own, but those put it over the top.

  13. 5 stars
    Family staple and this is what I serve for my daughter’s high school volleyball team pre-game team meal. The kids all love it. Good balance of carbs and protein. I do also serve Cojita or Queso Fresco cheese with it – as another topping.

  14. 4 stars
    The flavor profile was very good, but it was definitely sweeter than I was aiming for. We’ll use this recipe again (we used smoked paprika and no chili ancho/chipotle — the kids can’t handle and heat!), but I’m still searching for the delicious flavor I can’t seem to identify. Btw…we used the leftover chicken and another batch of marinade (as dressing) to make chicken for “make-your-own” bowls. Chicken, rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocados, etc. Everyone ate and loved it!

  15. 5 stars
    It’s really great , but I could taste the cinnamon. Next time I’ll just use less. My family loved it, Ali s with the pick! It’s a keeper.

  16. 5 stars
    My family loves Grilled Chicken Street Tacos! The fresh Pico De Gallo is a must, it’s not hard, make it!

  17. I was wondering if I could make the marinade ahead of time and freeze it along with the chicken. How long ahead of time do you think I could make them. Were going on a houseboat trip and are having a fiesta night 2.

  18. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe. Your Pico de gallo is the highlight of this taco. I will say, I prefer New Mexico red chiles over chipotle, so I do some substitution on the chiles. But, your recipes are amazing and I highly recommend this recipe.

  19. 5 stars
    These are the best authentic tasting mexican tacos we have ever made at home. Thank you for a fantastic recipe we will use for the rest of our lives!

    1. I’d just cook it on the stove-top–if you have a grill pan or cast iron pan they would work best, but a regular skillet would be fine as well 🙂

  20. I plan on using this recipe for a large party and grilling the chicken the night before. What would be the best way to re heat the chicken?

    1. I Ashlee, You want to warm it without “cooking” too much. You could chop the chicken and add it to a crock pot on low heat to warm it (add some chicken broth to the pot as well).

  21. Hi,

    I was wondering if there is a substitute for apple cider vinegar! A friend of mine is allergic and I would not want them to miss out on such great meal!

  22. 3 stars
    This was way more heat then flavor. I followed the marinade recipe exactly and while we didn’t hate it, it was way too hot. I have half the recipe still and am hoping I can tone it down for dinner tomorrow. For reference I like heat. 1-5 I always order 2.5-3 spice.

  23. Hi Lauren,
    Just wondering if there would be a suitable substitute for the chipotle chili powder? We have a spice allergy and I usually just skip it in my regular taco seasoning, but I figure it’s pretty important in this marinade! Can’t wait to try it! Happy Taco Tuesday! ?

    1. I really can’t think of a suitable substitute other than regular chili powder. It would just change the marinade flavor completely….Id suggest using a different marinade–a cilantro-lime type of marinade would taste great!

  24. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy to prepare. I used half chicken breasts to cut down on the fat, marinated overnight, and the meat came out tender and juicy

  25. 5 stars
    These tacos turned out delicious!! About to try the marinade out on whole chickens to smoke them instead of grill. I’m sure they’ll be great! Thanks for the recipe.

  26. 5 stars
    I typically don’t come back to website recipes to leave a review, but I HAD to after making these for a taco party last night. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for 24 hours and WOW it’s perfect! Will be making this again for sure.

  27. 5 stars
    Yes!! I was able to prep dinner while my kids were napping. This marinade is a WIN. I substituted the Pico de Gallo for a fresh chopped onion/cilantro mixture for a more authentic so-cal street taco. My (picky) husband approved and this will be added to our regular rotation!

  28. 5 stars
    Could I possibly fry the chicken thighs in a pan since I have no grill? But would it have the same taste and flavor because this seems amazing

    1. Hi Keitra,

      I would recommend using the broiler in your oven. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes and then flip them and cook on the other side. You won’t get quite the same taste as the grill but I think they will still taste great!

  29. 5 stars
    Outstanding! Thank you. This will be my go to chicken tacos. I used bone in breasts and roasted in a cast iron skillet over poblanos peppers. Those where then diced and mixed into the chicken. Excellent marinade.

  30. With the citrus, how does marinating the chicken over night taste? Does the lime juice cook it/make it rubbery?

    Thank you

  31. 5 stars
    This recipe really made some amazing tacos. But I also serve them on a plate paired with baked beans. Good either way! Thanks!

  32. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe. I actually septupled this recipe for an event at work and it turned out great. Everyone loved it and I know I will make it again, on a smaller level. 🙂

  33. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe!! I had my boyfriend over the other night and together we made the tacos, your pick de gallo, and Skinnytaste guacamole. It all went together so well! Will definitely be a go-to meal from now on!

  34. 5 stars
    Made these last week, and woke up craving them for breakfast! We are having a get together tmrw, and because of this recipe, we are doing a taco bar! We put the marinade on chicken breasts and used the infrared smoker to cook them
    Oooooohhhh mmmyyyyyyy chicken was it so good!!!! I refuse to share this recipe, it goes in my vault! Thank you!

  35. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! We love Mexican food and wanted something different to make with boneless chicken thighs! We loved it. Made no changes to it. But I did make some Chipotle Lime Crema to drizzle over top. Yummy! Thx for the recipe!

  36. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! As does the entire family. The marinade for the chicken thighs truly makes the flavor pop. Made last week and, by request, making again tonight for Taco Tuesday! Had my 15 yr old whip up the Pico de Gallo while I did the rest. So yummy.

    1. Thanks Maureen! I’m so glad to hear it was family approved (and I’m happy you got your teenager to help cook! 😉

  37. I’m looking for a recipe for a large party. Can I grill the chicken in the morning, cut it up in the afternoon before the party and heat up the meat in oven? Any suggestion on how to keep the chicken moist while heating it up?

    1. Hi there, I think if you use chicken thighs, that would work (breasts would dry out). Heat it in the oven at 325 degrees–spritz the chicken with a little water or extra marinade and cover with foil. I’d love to hear if you try it!

  38. 5 stars
    Was thinking of making this for a party as part of the taco bar. Any suggestions on making the chicken in advance ? What would be the best way to keep it warm without drying it out?

    Thanks!

    Looks dish looks fantastic !

    1. Hi Barbara, the best way is to prepare it in the marinade in advance, but cook it fresh. If you’d like to cook it in advance, it really depends on how far in advance you need? Will you need to reheat it completely? It would have to be refrigerated if not eaten very quickly after it’s cooked…

  39. 5 stars
    This was easy to make and delicious. The chicken thighs were so tender.. There were no leftovers. We’ll definitely make it again.

  40. 5 stars
    Used chicken breasts instead of thighs and a mixture of ancho + chipotle ground pepper. So delicious! I ate the leftovers for two more days! Making this again tonight but trying it with a skirt steak instead. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

    1. Sounds delicious–love the idea of using skirt steak. Thanks for sharing Linda, I’m so happy you enjoyed them!

  41. 5 stars
    OMG – this was outstanding! I followed the recipe exactly, added your Pico de gallo (with some crushed pineapple) and some crispy vegetable slaw, and it made the best homemade street tacos I’ve made. Thank you so much!

    1. That’s what I LOVE to hear! So happy you enjoyed them– and I love your topping ideas! Thanks for coming back to comment.

  42. 5 stars
    This was wonderful and a life saver. I was making dinner and ran out of beef for tacos so I needed to use up the chicken breast I had on hand. Without the lime (I didn’t have any) it was still delicious. Would definitely do again. Can’t wait to try with dark meat chicken. Thanks a billion!

    1. Nothing makes me happier to hear! So happy it worked into your meal so well. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  43. 5 stars
    We made these last night as the second course of our ‘tacos + tequila pairing dinner’ for about 16 friends- everyone RAVED about them!! As one of the previous commenters suggested, I used the juice from a can of pineapple in the marinade (which I did for at least 24 hours) and used the crushed pineapple in the pico recipe. It made a TON of pico, but it was gone in no time! I was asked repeatedly for both of these recipes, so I’ll be sending the link to this recipe out shortly!

    Rather than grilling the chicken, I dumped the thighs with the marinade into a baking dish and threw it in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes or so. I was frantically trying to keep up making margaritas, so I didn’t have time to grill anything- turned out phenomenal. Will absolutely make these again!

    1. What a fun dinner idea–I’m so thrilled they were a hit at your party! Thank you for sharing. Also, thanks for the tip about baking them, and I love your idea of adding pineapple juice and crushed pineapple to the pico. YUM!
      Next time you should totally try the carne asada ones on my site. I make them “street taco” style to, and they’re amazing! https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/carne-asada-tacos/

  44. 5 stars
    These tacos are so good!! I have been looking for a recipe for Mexican marinated chicken like the chicken my daughter buys at a Mexican market in the central valley. This was so good the only thing I changed was I added 1/4 of a cup of canola oil. We had it with mango, avocado, cilantro and red onion. Big hit!! Next time we will try it with radishes, onion and cilantro. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

    1. Thank you so much JoAnne! I love your topping ideas–fantastic. I’m happy you found me, and I hope you get to try some more recipes soon!

  45. Hi Lauren! I’ve chosen this recipe as part of a tequila pairing dinner we’re having with some friends next weekend. I’m wondering how much adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo) you think would be adequate to swap out for the chipotle powder in the marinade. I don’t want to overdo it…

    Looking forward to hearing back & trying out the recipe!

    1. Hi Kristin, I would try about 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce. Sounds like fun–I’d love to hear how you like them!

  46. 5 stars
    Best tacos ever. The marinade is so flavorful! We added avocados, cilantro, feta cheese, pico de gallo, a little organic salsa and sprinkled the top with just a touch of lime juice. I could literally eat this EVERY DAY. Thank you! Bookmarking this recipe for life.

  47. 5 stars
    First time ever making chicken tacos. These were great! Even my very finicky eater son enjoyed them.
    Thanks for the recipe!
    Have just started following you. Love what I see so far.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m happy you found me–hope you get to try some more recipes soon! 🙂

  48. 5 stars
    Made these tonight, very very good. Love the cinnamon flavor that sneaks up at times. I would put less chipotle chilli powder next time tho, I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy ?

  49. I’m craving these, but alas, it’s winter and not really grilling season. Could I cook the chicken on the stove top? What’s the best way?

    1. Hi Stephanie, Absolutely! I would recommend using a grill pan. (If you don’t have one, they are AMAZING and not very expensive). You could also broil them in the oven on the top rack (for 5 minutes or so on both sides) and I think they would turn out great. I would love to hear how it goes!

  50. Can’t wait to dig the grill out from the snow, it’s so cold in OHIO right now!
    Did you use Mexican oregano in the marinade or the Mediterranean variety? I have a bottle that I’ve never used, it’s not similar to Mediterranean at all and it wasn’t what I wanted for Italian food. Please let me know!

  51. I am SO making these! I had some chicken tacos from a street truck the other day and I came across your recipe while searching for one so I could make my own. -They were so good! I am excited to try your recipe as this is all I could find that looked like they would be about the same! Thanks for sharing. =)

  52. 5 stars
    This chicken marinade is the best I have used so far for street tacos!! Disclaimer that I did not have orange juice so I used a half a can of pineapple juice and pineapples, then threw the other half of the can of chopped pineapple into my salsa. It was LIGHTS. OUT.

    1. Thank you for sharing! I love your substitution of pineapple juice, and how you added it to your salsa. YUM! (And if you liked this recipe, you should totally try the Carne Asada Tacos https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/carne-asada-tacos/ –those and these chicken street tacos are two of my all time favorites!) Thanks again for sharing Natasha, and for following TBFS!

  53. 5 stars
    These were DELICIOUS!!! Your homemade pico de gallo put them over the top. So good and so easy!!

  54. 5 stars
    New family favorite. A fun twist on tacos and packed with flavor! We added some hot sauce to kick up the heat.

  55. 5 stars
    These tacos are AMAZING!! So glad I decided to make them, they’ll be a “go to” for my husband and I for sure!!

    1. Thanks SO much Kristina! I’m so glad you and your husband liked them, and thanks for commenting 🙂