Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe

Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe: Simple and Flavorful Fiesta Night Delight

Baked chicken tacos are an excellent choice for a delicious and easy weeknight meal. With their mouth-watering combination of tender chicken, zesty seasonings, and your choice of enticing toppings, this dish is sure to win over the hearts and taste buds of everyone at your dinner table. This recipe offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures, combining the crispiness of oven-baked taco shells with the juicy, spiced chicken filling.

Taco night has never been easier, thanks to this quick and straightforward recipe. By opting for baked chicken tacos, you’re choosing a dinner course that not only satisfies your cravings for classic cuisine but also simplifies your meal preparation. With minimal ingredients and less than 30 minutes of prep time, these chicken tacos offer an easy dinner option that doesn’t compromise on taste or quality.

This baked chicken tacos recipe can be adapted to suit your preferences and dietary needs. Whether you prefer using rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, or even ground beef for the filling, the end result is a flavorful and satisfying meal. So grab your favorite toppings and assemble your family for a memorable and scrumptious taco night extravaganza.

Ingredients Required

For a delicious Baked Chicken Tacos recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Shredded Chicken: You can use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken or cook and shred your own chicken breasts. About 2 cups of shredded chicken should be sufficient.
  • Taco Shells: 10-12 hard shell tacos will be handy for this recipe. You may also opt for flat-bottom taco shells that are stable and easier to fill.
  • Taco Seasoning: You will need one packet (about 3 tablespoons) of your favorite taco seasoning or a homemade mix of chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano.
  • Onion and Garlic: A finely diced white or yellow onion, along with minced garlic, will add a delicious depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Cheese: 2 cups of Mexican cheese blend or any shredded melting cheese, such as mozzarella or cheddar.
  • Vegetables: You’ll need diced tomatoes or salsa, shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, and any optional ingredients like diced green chiles, corn, diced avocado, or black beans.
  • Oil: 2 tablespoons of olive or canola oil for saut√©ing the chicken and onion mixture.
  • Lime: Freshly squeezed lime juice will add a refreshing burst of flavor to the mixture.
  • Toppings: Some of these are optional but enhance the flavor of your baked chicken tacos. Suggestions include sour cream, pico de gallo or extra salsa, and guacamole.

Before getting started, have all your ingredients organized and measured to ensure a smooth cooking experience. Prepare any additional toppings and set aside for when your tacos are ready to be served. This recipe offers flexibility for modifications. Feel free to make substitutions or additions such as shrimp or ground beef tacos, incorporating green onions instead of white, or even adding a sprinkle of queso to enhance the flavors. Happy cooking!

Preparation Steps

To prepare delicious baked chicken tacos, follow these steps:

  1. Gather your ingredients: Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients for this recipe. You’ll need chicken, taco shells, nonstick spray, a 9×13 baking dish, Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans, freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice, black pepper, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, and a variety of spices including cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, dried Mexican oregano, and onion powder. You may also want to reference a recipe card for specific measurements.

  2. Make the taco seasoning: Combine the spices (cumin, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, dried Mexican oregano, and onion powder) in a small bowl to create a homemade taco seasoning. Mix well and set aside.

  3. Prepare the chicken: Preheat your oven to 400¬∞F (204¬∞C) and coat your 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Cook the chicken in a large pan over medium heat, seasoned with half of the taco seasoning mix. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. Then, shred the chicken using two forks.

  4. Assemble the tacos: Fill the taco shells with the cooked, shredded chicken, and place them standing up in your baking dish. Top each taco with a generous helping of the Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans. Mix together the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese and sprinkle this blend over the top of your tacos.

  5. Bake: Place the baking dish in your preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

  6. Top and serve: Remove your baked chicken tacos from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Finish by adding a splash of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro to brighten and enhance the flavors of your tacos. Enjoy your delicious homemade baked chicken tacos!

Nutritional Information

Baked chicken tacos are a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional fried tacos. This dish provides a well-balanced combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional content in a typical serving of baked chicken tacos:

  • Calories: A serving of two baked chicken tacos provides approximately 350-450 calories, depending on the ingredients and portion sizes. This calorie count makes it a suitable choice for a filling and nutritious meal.
  • Protein: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. With about 20-25 grams of protein per serving, these tacos contribute to muscle growth, repair, and immune system function.
  • Carbohydrates: The carbohydrate content in baked chicken tacos comes mainly from the taco shells and any additional ingredients, such as beans or corn. A serving of two tacos provides approximately 20-30 grams of carbohydrates.

In addition to the primary macronutrients, baked chicken tacos also offer essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamins: You will find good amounts of vitamins A, B, and C in baked chicken tacos. Vitamin A promotes good vision and a strong immune system, while B vitamins help your body convert food into energy. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, iron absorption, and healthy immune function.
  • Minerals: Baked chicken tacos also provide essential minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. Iron helps transport oxygen in your blood, calcium promotes strong bones and teeth, and potassium is crucial for healthy heart function and muscle movement.

Preparing and cooking baked chicken tacos doesn’t take much time. The total time to make this dish is approximately 20-30 minutes, including:

  1. Preparation: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line up the taco shells in a baking dish and bake them for 5 minutes to crisp them. Meanwhile, combine cooked chicken with diced green chiles, taco seasoning, and lime juice.
  2. Assembly: Fill the taco shells with the chicken mixture and add any desired toppings, such as cheese, beans, or vegetables.
  3. Baking: Bake the assembled tacos for 8-10 minutes or until they are hot and the cheese is melted.

Enjoy your baked chicken tacos, knowing they provide a nutritious and tasty meal option.

Perfect Pairings

When it comes to baked chicken tacos, the right combination of side dishes and accompaniments can elevate your meal to the next level. Here are some suggestions for what to serve with your baked chicken tacos to create a delicious and satisfying experience.

Refried Beans: A classic Mexican side dish, refried beans provide a rich and creamy texture that complements the flavors of your baked chicken tacos. Try pairing them with either ground beef or shredded chicken to add an extra layer of protein to your meal.

Mexican Rice: As a flavorful and colorful companion, Mexican rice infused with tomato, garlic, and onion brings balance to the spiciness of your baked chicken tacos. The rice also adds visual appeal to your plate, making your meal look as good as it tastes.

When it comes to tortillas, you have a couple of options:

  • Corn Tortillas: Made from cornmeal, these tortillas are lighter and have a distinct flavor that pairs well with the baked chicken filling. Corn tortillas are also gluten-free, making them a suitable choice for those with dietary restrictions.
  • Flour Tortillas: Providing a neutral canvas for your baked chicken tacos, flour tortillas are versatile and have a softer texture. These tortillas are great for those who prefer a milder taste and a more pliable option for wrapping their tacos.

Black Beans: A great alternative to refried beans, black beans offer a distinct, earthy flavor and texture. High in fiber and low in fat, they are a healthy addition to your meal. Simply heat up canned black beans or cook dry black beans with your choice of spices.

Combining your baked chicken tacos with these suggested pairings will result in a well-rounded meal that showcases the delicious flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine. Feel free to mix and match these options to create your perfect taco night.

Storing Leftovers

When it comes to storing leftover baked chicken tacos, proper storage techniques should be employed to maintain the taste and quality of your meal. By effectively storing the leftovers, you’ll be able to enjoy them later without compromising safety or flavor.

Firstly, allow the leftovers to cool down to near room temperature before preparing them for storage. This will help prevent condensation that can lead to spoilage. Make sure you don’t let them sit out longer than two hours to reduce the risk of bacterial growth.

There are two main options for storing baked chicken tacos: refrigeration or freezing.

To store the leftovers in the refrigerator, you can either:

  • Place the individual tacos in airtight containers, separating layers with parchment paper, or
  • Wrap the tacos tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or reusable airtight zipper bags.

This method will keep the tacos fresh for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to label the containers with the date for easy reference.

If you want to store your leftover baked chicken tacos for an extended period, freezing is the best option. To freeze, follow these steps:

  1. Allow the tacos to cool completely.
  2. Separate each taco with parchment paper or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together.
  3. Place the tacos in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  4. Label the containers or bags with the date and contents.

Frozen baked chicken tacos can last up to 3 months in the freezer. To reheat the tacos, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or, for a quicker option, use the microwave or oven. However, the oven is recommended for a crispier texture.

Frequently Used Tools

Cast Iron Skillet: This versatile cooking tool is often used for sautéing ingredients like onions, garlic, and spices before adding the cooked and seasoned chicken. A cast iron skillet provides even heating, making it perfect for cooking evenly and retaining heat while you mix the shredded chicken and seasoning together. To use a cast iron skillet in your baked chicken tacos recipe, simply heat it over medium heat, add a bit of oil, and sauté the ingredients before combining them with the chicken.

9×13 Baking Dish: After preparing the chicken mixture, you’ll need a 9×13-inch baking dish for assembling and baking the tacos. This dish has the ideal dimensions to hold standard-sized taco shells, making it easy to line up and bake them all at once. To use this baking dish, start by preheating your oven and greasing the dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the taco shells in the dish and bake them for a short time to crisp them up before adding the chicken filling and cheese.

Some other useful tools and items you might want to have on hand when making baked chicken tacos include:

  • Tongs or a Fork: These help to easily shred the cooked chicken and mix it with the seasoning and other ingredients.

  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: Precise measurements of seasonings, lime juice, or any other liquids contribute to a consistent flavor profile for your tacos.

  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: Ideal for stirring and saut√©ing the ingredients in your skillet, ensuring they do not stick to the pan.

  • Cheese Grater: For freshly grated cheese, a grater allows you to easily shred the desired amount, enhancing the overall taste and texture of your tacos.

Using these tools, you can confidently and efficiently prepare delicious baked chicken tacos with ease. Remember to follow the recipe steps carefully and enjoy the process of creating a tasty and satisfying meal.

Tips for Success

When making Baked Chicken Tacos, following a few tips will ensure you achieve that perfect balance of flavor, crispy taco shells, and a delicious filling.

  1. Choose the right taco shells: Opt for hard taco shells that can withstand baking without becoming soggy. To further enhance the crispiness, pre-bake the taco shells in the oven for about 5 minutes before adding the filling.

  2. Pre-cook the filling: Cook the chicken thoroughly before assembling the tacos to ensure it’s evenly cooked and flavorful. To boost the filling’s flavor, consider adding spices such as chili powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, ground cumin, and a dash of lime juice.

  3. Even distribution of filling and toppings: To enjoy every bite, make sure to evenly distribute the chicken filling, cheese, and other toppings such as canned diced green chiles, refried beans, and diced tomatoes, across the entire shell.

  4. Baking the tacos: Place the assembled tacos on a sheet pan or oven-safe dish. Bake them at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until the shells are crispy and the cheese has melted. Baking the tacos enhances their flavor and ensures that your Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo dinner is a hit.

  5. Customize your toppings: Easy baked chicken tacos can be topped with lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and any of your other favorite toppings. Experiment with different combinations for a personalized taco experience.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’re sure to create delicious and easy baked chicken tacos that’ll impress your family and friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key ingredients for crispy baked chicken tacos?

To make crispy baked chicken tacos, you will need cooked and shredded chicken, taco seasoning, cheese, and taco shells. You can enhance the flavor by adding diced green chiles, lime juice, refried beans, and fresh cilantro. For an extra crispy taco shell, preheat your oven to 400°F and bake empty taco shells for 5 minutes before filling.

How to prepare oven baked tacos with corn tortillas?

To prepare oven baked tacos using corn tortillas, first, softening the tortillas by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and microwaving for 45-60 seconds. Then, fill the softened tortillas with the chicken mixture, fold them tightly, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 7-10 minutes, or until the tacos achieve the desired crispiness.

What are some tips for making an authentic Mexican chicken taco?

For an authentic Mexican chicken taco, opt for traditional ingredients like corn tortillas, cotija or queso fresco cheese, and a combination of fresh and dried chiles. Use tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions for a pico de gallo topping. Herbs and spices like cilantro, lime, and cumin will add a deeper flavor to the tacos. Finally, serve with fresh avocado or guacamole on the side for a true Mexican experience.

How can I make baked chicken taco meat?

To make baked chicken taco meat, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a baking dish, season with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning. You can also add diced onions, tomatoes, and black beans for added flavor. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove from the oven, shred the chicken, and use it as the primary taco filling.

How to bake tacos with flour tortillas?

To bake tacos with flour tortillas, preheat the oven to 425°F. Fill the tortillas with the chicken mixture, then fold them and place them seam-side down on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges become crispy and golden brown. If you prefer softer flour tacos, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil while baking.

What are some easy chicken taco recipes?

Some easy chicken taco recipes include Baked Chicken Tacos, Crispy Baked Chicken Tacos, and Easy Baked Crispy Chicken Tacos. These recipes generally require simple pantry ingredients like shredded chicken, taco shells or tortillas, taco seasoning, and cheese. Additional toppings can include diced green chiles, lime juice, refried beans, and fresh vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers. These recipes can be prepared in under an hour, making them perfect for busy weeknights.

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