These baked chicken tacos are healthy, but not lacking flavor. Ground chicken (or beef!) is mixed with spices and folded into tortillas, laid on a sheet pan to bake for about 20 minutes. They crisp up nicely in the oven for a quick and delicious dinner!
The Best Chicken Tacos
This is my favorite chicken taco recipe for a few reasons.
- It's fast! Ready in just 30 minutes, or less if you already have the meat cooked.
- It's super versatile - you can use chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey for these baked tacos.
- No crispy shells required. I usually always have flour or corn tortillas on hand, and this gives you crispy shells without having to actually buy them.
- This dinner is healthy! Nothing fried over here or using pre-packaged spices, eliminating MSG.
Ground Chicken - I prefer to use ground chicken thighs, which I can either find packaged at Whole Foods or ask the butcher to grind for me. They're more flavorful than ground chicken breast, but you could use either here. Ground beef or turkey will also work.
Tortillas - For this recipe, I used flour tortillas from Central Market, but Margarita's (Whole Foods) or TortillaLand (Target/Walmart) are also good opens. For gluten free, use corn tortillas.
Spices - For these baked chicken tacos I used a combination of smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano to flavor the meat.
Salsa Verde - I love serving salsa verde with chicken. The tanginess from the salsa pairs really nice with the chicken and spices. Don't love salsa? You could also pair this with guacamole (if not on a migraine diet) or the queso from my cookbook (pg 115).
How to Make Baked Tacos (Step by Step)
- Start by browning your ground chicken (beef or turkey) in pan. While this is cooking, prepare your spices. Once the meat is cooked through, drain any excess liquid and blot with a paper towel to dry.
- Stir spices into the meat until everything is fully coated.
- Spoon the spiced meat into a flour or corn tortilla and fold one section over.
- Place on a sheet pan, covered in parchment paper for easy clean up. Spray or brush both sides with oil. To get the tacos to stay closed, you can use another sheet pan, while you're preparing them, or you can bake it with a metal grate over it.
- You shouldn't need to flip them, but sometimes it helps get it crispy on both sides.
- Remove from the oven and top with your favorites - salsa, queso, and slaw are some of mine.
- Be sure to drain the meat fully so it's not wet. This will allow your tacos to crisp up better.
- Don't skip the oil step! Brushing or spraying the tortillas with oil also helps them brown nicely.
- Use a sheet pan or oven safe wire wrack to keep the tortillas folded while prepping and baking (although I find if I keep it on during prep, they typically stay closed).
- Shredded cheese is great added to one side of the tortilla before you add in the meat, however, these are dairy free without.
- Use corn tortillas for a gluten free taco option.
- You can make these baked chicken tacos in an air fryer, I just find space is limited. But it does cut the cooking time almost in half.
To store, simply put into the fridge and reheat in the oven, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. The taco shell should crisp back up.
For toppings, I suggest green onions, black beans, corn, slaw, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes...you name it!
Other Taco Recipes
For more recipes like these baked chicken tacos, check out these other favorites!
Baked Chicken Tacos
- 1 pound ground chicken (thighs preferred for flavor)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10-12 flour or corn tortillas
- olive oil or oil spray
Toppings/Fillings (all optional)
- shredded lettuce
- queso or oaxaca cheese
- salsa verde
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pan (use a tiny bit of oil in the pan if not using nonstick), brown ground chicken over medium heat, breaking into crumbles with a wood spoon. Once cooked through, drain any excess moisture (or blot with paper towel) and add chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Stir until the meat is fully coated in the spices and remove from heat.
- Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, place a tortilla on top and fill with about 3 tablespoons of the cooked ground chicken on the left side. If using cheese/queso, spread on one side before adding the chicken to the same side. Fold the right side in half and place a metal rack or additional sheet pan on top to hold it down. Continue filling the tortillas until you run out of ground chicken.
- Spray or brush the outside of the tortilla with oil. Usually my tortillas will stay folded just working with a sheet pan on top while I prepare them, however if they don't you can bake them with a wire rack on top (I wouldn't recommend using another sheet pan otherwise they will not brown as well). Bake for about 10 minutes, flip the tacos, and bake for another 7-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy. They will crisp up even more as they cool.
- Add favorite toppings - cilantro, lettuce, etc. and serve warm!
- Ground turkey or beef can be substituted for ground chicken. I prefer to use ground chicken thighs for flavor, but ground chicken breast will also work.
- For gluten free, use corn tortillas.