How to make easy bacon chicken tacos with cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Jump to the Easy Bacon Chicken Tacos Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.
We make tacos at least once a week and these smoky chicken tacos with bacon and spices are one of our favorites.
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Add Bacon for the Best Chicken Tacos
We’ve been making a variation of these chicken tacos for quite some time. Adding bacon is never a bad thing, but it’s perfect in these tacos.
We cook the bacon first and render all the fat. Then, instead of cooking the chicken in oil or butter, we use the bacon fat.
After that, we toast lots of spices and garlic then add the chicken back into the pan with a little stock. The stock helps lift any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Everything stuck to the pan is pure gold. By adding some stock, you can use a wooden spoon to scrape it all up — making the tacos extra flavorful and delicious.
After a few minutes, the chicken will be browned and the pan clean. Add a squeeze of fresh lime and you’re ready for taco assembly.
Our taco topping ritual:
- Thinly sliced raw onions that have sat in warm water for 10 minutes (which makes them less pungent) OR pickled onions — see our pickled red onions recipe. Love them so much.
- Sour cream or, if you can find it, “crema.” Think thinner than sour cream, more flavorful and what a Mexican creme fraiche would taste like. It’s completely awesome.
- Avocado slices or guacamole — see our see our guacamole recipe
- Shredded cabbage, lettuce and/or Cilantro – it’s bright, fresh and green.
- Lime or lemon is a good idea.
- Adam likes adding hot sauce or salsa. His favorite is salsa verde — see our salsa verde recipe. It’s made with tomatillos and green peppers.
- He’s also partial to pickled jalapeños. We buy them jarred at the store.
- And, since we used the bacon fat for cooking the chicken, you’ll have 3 crispy bacon strips leftover. They are absolutely perfect crumbled on top of the tacos.
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Recipe updated, originally posted September 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Easy Bacon Chicken Tacos Recipe
Serve these smoky tacos topped with your favorite toppings. We love something bright and fresh like lime, onion, and cilantro. We’ve given a list of suggested toppings, but add what you love.
You Will Need
3 slices bacon
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, see our homemade chili powder recipe
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/4 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or water, see our homemade stock recipe
Juice of half a lime
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning as necessary until fat has rendered and bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside for later. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot pot. Add chicken to the skillet with bacon fat and cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Turn heat to low then transfer chicken to a cutting board and cut into small pieces. (It may not be fully cooked).
Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, and garlic to the pan. Cook, while stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the chopped chicken back to the pan. Pour stock over chicken then use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until stock has thickened and coated the chicken. Stir in lime juice.
Serve chicken next to warm tortillas and your favorite taco toppings. Don’t forget to crumble the bacon from earlier and add to the tops of the tacos.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Smoked paprika, sometimes labeled hot Pimentón or hot Pimentón de La Vera, is not the same as sweet paprika. It is a little spicy and very smoky. Look for it in the spice aisle or online.