Chicken Tacos

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First, congrats to Judi and a big thank you to all who participated in the Valentine’s Day Fondue Set contest. Your celebrity crushes had me laughing out loud. The best was Lisa, who answered Johnny Depp, dipped in fondue, while watching him in Chocolat. Or Susan, who wrote that she’s forewarned her husband that if Colin Firth ever comes knocking at her door, it’s “sayonara to him and hellooooooo Mr. Darcy!”

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Anyway, moving on…Last month, I told you about The Family Dinner Cookbook and how it inspired me to create new traditions to make dinnertime more special and fun for my family. Well, one idea from the book that I’ve already put into action is Taco Tuesdays. So far, it’s been a hit. The kids wake up on Tuesdays all “Yay, it’s taco night!” which of course makes it so much more fun for me to make it. We’ve kicked off the tradition with these family-friendly Chicken Tacos. They’re a healthier spin on traditional beef tacos and they’re just as good, if not better. My kids have actually designated it their new favorite dish.

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To make them, begin by chopping your vegetables. Normally, I don’t believe in hiding vegetables in kids’ food but in this case I dice them very small so my kids don’t notice them (or at least they can’t pick them out). I figure what they don’t know won’t hurt them, and one night where I’m not nagging them to eat their vegetables is good for all of us.

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Saute the vegetables in olive oil for 10-15 minutes until soft, then add garlic and cook a few minutes more.

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Add ground chicken and spices use a wooden spoon to break chicken into small pieces.

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Add tomato sauce…

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Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. Finish it off with a handful of chopped fresh cilantro.

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Heat the shells in the oven and then spoon the chicken inside. Serve with shredded lettuce and cheese.

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Chicken Tacos

Print Recipe
Servings: 12 tacos
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (not extra-lean all breast meat)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 12 hard taco shells
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce or purple cabbage, optional for topping
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, optional for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, red peppers and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and just starting to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.
  3. Add the ground chicken, paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt. Turn the heat to high; use a wooden spoon to stir and break the chicken into small clumps until the chicken is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, then turn the heat down to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking chicken into smaller clumps, for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the taco shells from the package and lay sideways on baking sheet. Pull the stack apart, overlapping the edges slightly. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until crisp. Spoon the chicken into the shells and serve with toppings.
  5. Note: To save time, you can chop the bell peppers and onions in a food processor; just be sure not to purée them.
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  • Laura

    Looks amazing! It must be fate. I have ground turkey defrosting for shepard’s pie, but I’ll be making this instead tonight. Taco’s are D’s favorite meal…

  • Looks delicious! I love all of the wonderful pictures.

  • I am loving your chicken tacos. I always use ground beef..dont know why..but I am going to have to switch things up a bit

  • Suzanne

    I just made these for dinner and they were a huge hit. Thanks also for all the tips on getting it right! I really love love love your blog; I’m not a natural and it gives me the motivation and confidence to get myself in the kitchen. Suzanne

  • Erica

    These are so yummy!! And I love that they’re so healthy. It makes a lot…we enjoyed the leftovers in a taco salad.

  • ieatdarkchocolateeveryday

    I particularly love the hint about putting the meat in the shells before warming the shells to soften the ‘hinge’! Thanks!

  • Natalie

    I had been wanting to make these tacos since the moment I read your post. Finally got around to it earlier today. They were amazing. Even my “would rather eat beef” boyfriend loved them, as did his mother. All around fantastic! Thank you!!

  • Judy K.

    This has become a new family favorite. Better than meat tacos! Thank you!

  • Robyn

    These were a big hit tonight and will be a family staple! My kids loved them! Thanks!

  • Kim

    Another terrific recipe from this site! I made it for my in-laws’ family, two of whom are Mexican, and they all loved it! It was so flavorful! I forgot to add in the garlic until the very end and forgot to add in the cilantro at all because I was in a time crunch (although I did have cilantro on the side for the tacos), it still turned out wonderfully. My son who normally loves beef said this was his favorite of the night. The ground chicken made it healthier without compromising the taste. I can’t wait to try more recipes from this site. Thank you!

  • I made these last night with turkey and they are very good.

  • Julie M.

    Because of your blog, we’ve also instituted a “taco Tuesday” in my household. Your chicken tacos are simply fabulous. I usually use turkey (our store doesn’t stock ground chicken) but the turkey makes them so yummy! I like that there are the chopped veggies in there too; my kids get a little extra boost! Thanks for all your fantastic recipes!

  • Shannon

    These look fantastic! I have this recipe on next week’s menu. Can’t wait!

  • Beata Harnett

    This is one of my “go-to” meals on weeknights. Nice and quick and delicious! I usually use ground turkey though because we buy it in bulk.

  • Anne

    I’ve made these a couple times now. Super good and really easy to make!

  • Ellen

    Tastiest chicken tacos ever!

  • Kristen

    These chicken tacos are delicious and so easy! While chicken is a great alternative to the staple ground beef tacos, either meat works great with this recipe! I used to buy a seasoning packet, but after finding this recipe, I make my own taco seasoning and it is much healthier! I can control the amount of sodium in my tacos.

    A great recipe that can be used for a variety of “Taco Tuesdays” and a staple in my house now!

  • daphna


  • Katie

    This is one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes. The kids love it almost as much as we do. Given the outstanding flavor, it’s hard to believe how healthy it is. We include it in our weeknight rotation, but have also made it for company. We’ve paired it with your Black Bean Avocado Salad with the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette and margaritas. Delicious!

  • Daryl Ellen

    This recipe has become a family favorite! My kids insist on ‘taco tuesdays’ now every week. I found that you can throw in any kind of vegetable that you have on hand. I have diced up zucchini, carrots, different types of peppers (among other things) along with the onion and it tasted great. Nice, easy way to get the kids to eat lots of veggies.

  • erin

    Love different types of tacos! Will try this week!

  • Liz

    Just tried this last night and the tacos were delicious. Loved it! The seasoning was perfect, as I have come to expect from all your recipes! Thank you, Jenn!

  • Karen

    I made this recipe for the first time the other night and this one will replace all my other taco recipes. It was easy and delicious and had all the spices on hand already. I did saute my veggies separately and kept them separate including putting the cilantro in with the veggies as my son does not like many of the veggies. I also used a red onion for more color. This also means I can pile on more veggies! I used ground beef instead of the chicken too. It was good, easy and will definitely be a repeater…maybe not every Tuesday, but more often than I make it now. Thanks!

  • Mom and I made the chicken tacos last night. Never used paprika in it. They were good. For the non meat eaters, she used beans. I ate one of each. Thanks for the recipe! :)

  • Sheilda

    These were absolutely delicious & oh so healthy!. I like the chicken to have as few chunks as possible, so toward the end of cooking time I used a potato masher on them over & over. I will definitely make these again!

  • Sheryl Bender

    Soooooo delicious.

  • Sarahjones

    I have made these several times, love the addition of the extra veggies in them! Thanks!

  • Sheryl B

    I actually made this with super lean ground turkey, and it wasn’t dry at all! The flavor was still excellent, and of course, I looked like a cooking ninja to the boyfriend for making delicious tacos *with NO packet*! These tacos rock! (Plus, I really love that I can control the amount of sodium in them, unlike the packet…) Yay Tacos!

  • Sharyn

    Yummy! I accidentally used ground lean breast meat and it still came out moist and delicious. I didn’t have ancho chili powder so I ground dried ancho peppers and it worked great! Low fat, delicious and simple-a perfect trifecta!

  • Sheryl Bender

    I actually use the extra lean turkey when I make these, and they are not the least bit dry- still extremely tasty! I also substituted smoked paprika for the regular (because that’s what was in the cabinet and I wasn’t about to run to the store). The hint of smoke was actually a *really* nice addition! I’m about to make another batch for a “Taco Box” since my best friend just haad a baby. I always include the recipe when I do such a thing, because inevitably someone always asks for the recipe!!

  • This is my go-to Sunday night family dinner. I serve it with shredded Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce. It’s a little labor-intensive, but worth it!!!!

  • Is there a way of printing out the recipe without all the photos…other websites have a spot where you can hit “printable recipe”.

    • Jenn

      Hi James, Yes…for newer recipes, there is a “print recipe” button to the right of each recipe at the bottom of the post (alternatively, there is a pop-up box to the left of the screen with several options, including “print recipe.”) For my older recipes, there is a “printable recipe” option underneath the recipe title at the bottom of the post.

  • Amy Simonson

    These are SO good! Also, I love the spice mixture! I’ve begun making a big batch every time I make this dish. It’s great in chili too.

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