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easy chicken tacos

Easy chicken tacos with chicken thighs marinated in a tasty blend of spices. Quick to cook making it a great mid week dinner, served with fresh tasting salsas.

Chicken tacos feature in some form or another quite regularly on my family’s dinner table. A mid week favourite, as very little is required in the way of either preparation and cooking.

A table setting for a taco party with chicken tacos on a blue platter, lime cordial drinks in the back along with salsa and guacamole and more limes.

I find that if I place any form of spiced, baked or grilled meat on the table, alongside some wraps and other accoutrements, my family eat without complaint. They love the informality of eating like this, adding what they want to each wrap. Food that is easy to prepare and set out, but allows everyone to eat and enjoy it their own way!

These chicken tacos use skinless and boneless chicken thighs in a very simply marinade. So simple, in fact, that my children can easily follow this easy chicken tacos recipe.

3 chicken tacos on a large blue platter from above and sides of guacamole, salsa and sour cream around the platter.

Once ready to cook, simply pop the chicken into a preheated oven and in no time at all you have deliciously tender, but mildly spiced chicken. Ready to add to a wheat or corn based wrap or taco. Fill the taco with any other ingredients that your family like to enjoy. I like to eat mine loaded with crispy lettuce, sour cream and fresh tasting salsas, like guacamole or a tomato salsa.

Recipe steps:

how to make chicken tacos step by step by Lost in Food

How long do I marinate the chicken thighs?

As with most dishes, the meat will always benefit from a longer marinating time. I have suggested 24 hours in the recipe as this allows time for the flavour to impart the meat. You will get better tasting chicken if you can marinate for longer.

However, if time is tight 2 hours will suffice. I’m a fan of any recipe that helps out busy parents. It takes only 10 minutes to prepare the night before, popping it into the fridge overnight. The chicken is ready to cook when you come in from work the following day.

Can I use a barbecue or grill instead?

We decided to bake these chicken thighs in the oven for ease of cooking mid week. However, when the sun is shining and the barbecue is lit, I’m quite happy to grill these thighs over charcoal. This elevates them to a new level, giving them a delicious smokiness.

Likewise, the chicken can also be cooked on a char-grill pan or indeed a non-stick frying pan. Just take care to ensure that the spices don’t burn, so don’t turn the pan up too hot.

3 chicken tacos on a large blue platter from above.

Why use garlic powder?

This recipe contains garlic powder rather than fresh, crushed garlic. I love using fresh garlic, however garlic burns really easily. In a marinade like this it is likely to burn before the chicken is cooked. This will leave the chicken with a bitter burnt taste. Instead I mix some garlic powder through along with the other spices.

Can I add chilli to chicken tacos?

There are a number of ways you can add chilli heat to your chicken tacos. Firstly, you can add 1/2tsp of ground chilli powder or dried chilli flakes to the marinade. You can also swap out the sweet smoked paprika for some hot smoked paprika instead.

However, I like to keep the chicken marinade free of chilli so that my kids will eat it. Instead, I place a bottle of my favourite chilli sauce on the table, along with a jar of pickled jalapenos (I add both as I love chilli). That way those who want chilli can add it to suit their own taste.

a vibrant table setting for a taco party including chicken tacos on a bright blue platter, salsa, guacamole and more shredded chicken.

What to serve with chicken tacos?

I like to serve the chicken in a warmed dish so that people can help themselves. I find everyone likes their tacos served differently, so I set the bowls of salad and salsa on the table so everyone can assemble their own wrap. Alongside the chicken, I like to add plenty crispy vegetables and fresh tasting salsas.

I usually serve: crispy lettuce; sour cream or greek yogurt; tomato salsa; our easy guacamole and lime wedges. You can also set out some chilli sauce for those who like adding some extra heat, and some grated cheese if you like. Make it as easy of simple as you like.

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2 images showing taco table setting with chicken tacos and all the sides and then a close up of the chicken tacos.

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For other great ideas on feeding the whole family, check out our Ultimate Guide to Family Dinners, full of recipes, helpful tips and suggestions.

3 chicken tacos on a large blue platter from above and sides of guacamole, salsa and sour cream around the platter.

Easy Chicken Tacos

Chicken tacos with chicken thighs marinated in a tasty blend of spices. Quick to cook making it a great mid week dinner, served with fresh tasting salsas.
5 from 10 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 30 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 329kcal


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 600 g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • smoked sea salt


  • In a large glass pyrex bowl, or similar type dish, place the olive oil, paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder and black pepper. Mix well to combine to a thick paste.
  • Trim any excess fat and sinew from the chicken thighs and place into the bowl with the marinade. Mix well to ensure the chicken is completely covered with the marinade. Cover with a lid a place in the fridge to marinate for ideally 24 hours to allow the spice flavour to get into the meat. However, if time is limited 2 hours will suffice.
  • When ready to bake, place the chicken with its marinade, on a non-stick oven proof tray. Sprinkle over some smoked sea salt. Place in the oven at 180CFan and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
  • Serve immediately with your choice of wheat or corn based tortillas. Alongside serve some crispy lettuce, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream and some lime wedges.


If you want to marinate the chicken in a spicier blend then add a 1/2 tsp of chilli powder or dried chilli flakes.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Chicken Tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 329 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 190mg63%
Sodium 180mg8%
Potassium 517mg15%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 376IU8%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Mexican
Keyword : Easy, Simple
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Recipe Rating

Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

Monday 4th of May 2020

Gotta love a nice easy peasy chicken taco recipe! I do mine traybake-style in the oven too! Makes them soooo much easier, doesn't it? I like to pop a few onions and peppers in the tray too to roast and add those into the tacos too - so good! Eb x


Tuesday 5th of May 2020

Thank you Eb, I love chicken done on the barbecue but mid week time just doesn't allow it, oven baking makes it so much easier! I love a quicker version, but great idea to pop some veggies on to roast at the same time, I like that. Lesley x

Jacqui – Recipes Made Easy:Only Crumbs Remain

Thursday 30th of April 2020

My Family are the same with love this sort of easy casual meals. Im adding this as one to try. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare.


Tuesday 5th of May 2020

Thank you Jacqui, yes I find that anything the comes wrapped in a flour tortilla is eaten without question! I hope you enjoy. Lesley x

Janice Pattie

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

This is one of our favourite meals, although I usually cheat and buy a packet of seasoning mix. I'll try your recipe next time and I'm sure it will go down just as well.


Tuesday 28th of April 2020

Thank you Janice, I make this a lot at home too. One of those meals everyone eats without questioning! Lesley x

Cat | Curly's Cooking

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

I absolutely love tacos and Mexican food in general. I also love cooking with chicken thighs. I'd add some chilli to mine and eat far too many of them! Yum!


Tuesday 28th of April 2020

Thank you Cat. I find that if I throw any food inside a soft taco shell my family will generally eat without question. I love chilli and the kids do but not quite at the same heat as I do. Which is why I always have a bottle of tabasco beside me! Lesley x