My Go-To Grilled Chicken Tacos

published Aug 31, 2022
Grilled Chicken Tacos Recipe

A quick and easy weeknight grilled chicken taco recipe.

Serves4 to 6

Makes10 to 12 tacos

Prep20 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 15 minutes

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Plate of grilled chicken tacos.
Credit: Maria Do

When I am craving grilled chicken tacos on a weeknight, I rely on a quick and easy marinade that works its magic while I prep other ingredients. There’s barely any foresight required — let the chicken hang out in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, cumin, and chili powder for 10 minutes, 15 tops! (Go too long and the lime juice will break down the chicken.)

My favorite part about this recipe, though? Its street-taco vibes — achieved by chopping the chicken into small pieces and combining it with finely chopped cilantro and white onion. I like to serve mine with avocado, salsa verde, thinly sliced radishes, and sour cream. But you do you.

If You’re Going to Make Grilled Chicken Tacos, a Few Tips

  • Chicken breasts work, too. If you don’t want to use chicken thighs, breasts will work as well. You’ll just need to adjust the cook time.
  • Switch up the marinade. Instead of chili powder and cumin, try taco seasoning or your favorite spice blend.
  • Take it up a notch with homemade salsa. I call for store-bought salsa verde, but freshly made salsa verde would be amazing. Avocado crema would also be great.
Credit: Maria Do

Grilled Chicken Tacos Recipe

A quick and easy weeknight grilled chicken taco recipe.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 15 minutes

Makes 10 to 12 tacos

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 3 1/2 to 4

    medium limes

  • 2

    cloves garlic

  • 4 tablespoons

    vegetable oil, divided

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    chili powder

  • 2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1/2

    small red or white onion

  • 1/2

    small bunch fresh cilantro

  • 1

    small bunch radishes (5 to 6)

  • 1

    medium avocado

  • 10 to 12

    (5 to 6-inch) flour or corn tortillas

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream or crema

  • Store-bought or homemade salsa verde


  1. Juice 3 to 3 1/2 medium limes into a large bowl until you have 1/4 cup. Cut 1/2 medium lime into wedges for serving. Finely grate 2 garlic cloves into the bowl.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon chili powder, and stir to combine. Add 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and turn to coat. Let sit for at least 10 and no longer than 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, if using an outdoor grill, heat to direct, medium-high heat (about 400ºF).

  4. Finely chop 1/2 small red or white onion until you have 1/2 cup. Finely chop fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems until you have 1/2 cup. Place both in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  5. If cooking on the stovetop, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil onto the pan. Add the chicken thighs and let cook until golden-brown and charred in spots on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook browned on the second side and the internal temperature registers at least 165ºF, 4 to 5 minutes more.

  6. If cooking on an outdoor grill, remove the chicken from the marinade and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Scrape the grill grates clean if needed. Place the chicken on the grill, cover, and cook until charred in spots, cooked through, and golden brown all over, about 15 minutes total.

  7. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings.

  8. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice 1 bunch radishes (save the greens for another use). Halve, pit, and peel 1 medium avocado. Thinly slice the halves and cover with a damp paper towel if not using immediately.

  9. Warm 10 to 12 flour or corn tortillas one at a time by holding them directly over a medium flame on a gas stove or outdoor grill, or in a skillet over medium heat on an electric stove, flipping occasionally, until charred in spots and pliable. (Alternatively, wrap the stack of tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave until warm, 20 to 25 seconds.) Stack together and wrap in a clean kitchen towel or aluminum foil to keep warm.

  10. Coarsely chop the chicken into 1/2 to 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer to a bowl, add half of the onion and cilantro mixture, and toss to combine.

  11. Assemble the tacos one at a time: Top 1 of the tortillas with 1 scant tablespoon sour cream and 1 avocado slice. Add 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture and top with more of the cilantro and onion mixture if desired. Drizzle with salsa verde and top with a few radish slices. Serve with the lime wedges.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.