You will love this easy shredded chicken tacos recipe with tender chicken and a bright and creamy cilantro sauce. These easy chicken tacos can be made quickly and well in advance! Jump to the Shredded Chicken Tacos Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.
Making Quick and Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos
These shredded chicken tacos are a mix up of two favorite recipes on the blog. First, we make tender shredded chicken by gently simmering chicken with onion, garlic, cumin and a bay leaf (you can do this on the stove or use a slow cooker for the chicken — see notes below). Then we fill tortillas with the chicken and drizzle our creamy cilantro sauce on top. We use the same sauce to top our highly rated roasted veggie tacos.
These pulled chicken tacos are perfect for busy nights. You can even make the chicken and sauce in advance.
- The shredded chicken will keep in the fridge up to 3 days and in the freezer up to a month.
- The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a week and is delicious spooned onto salads, rice bowls, and eggs.
Since everything can be waiting for you in the fridge or freezer, you can get from hungry to dinner in no time. Both the chicken and sauce are also excellent when added to rice (try our cilantro lime rice) or veggie bowls.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
For more easy dinner recipes, take a look at these recipes:
- Easy Weeknight Taco Soup
- Vegetarian Chipotle Bean Chili
- Vegetarian Roasted Veggie Tacos (these have a similar cilantro sauce)
- Ultimate Fajitas with Chicken, Steak, and Shrimp
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, review it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #inspiredtaste on Instagram. Happy cooking!
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
These easy shredded chicken tacos are a mix up of two of our favorite recipes — tender shredded chicken and creamy cilantro sauce. You can make both the chicken and the sauce in advance. The chicken will keep in the fridge up to 3 days and in the freezer up to a month. The sauce keeps in the refrigerator for about a week and is delicious spooned onto salads, rice bowls, and eggs.
You Will NeedShredded Chicken
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs (or combination of thighs and breast)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
WaterCreamy Cilantro Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
Salt to tasteFor Tacos
1 medium tomato, chopped
Cheese such as queso fresco for serving
1 lime, cut into wedges
- Make Shredded Chicken
1Combine chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, cumin and pepper in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the chicken. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil then remove any foam or scum that floats to the top.
2Adjust the heat so that the water simmers very gently around the chicken. Cook until chicken is very tender, about 30 minutes.
3Transfer chicken to a cutting board, and then when it is cool enough to handle, use two forks or your fingers to shred the meat.
4After removing the chicken, boil the liquid remaining in the saucepan until it has reduced by one-third, or until its flavor has concentrated.
5Spoon about 1 cup of the concentrated cooking liquid over the shredded chicken and toss to coat. Use within 2 to 3 days or freeze.
- Make Cilantro Sauce
1Add sour cream, lime juice, jalapeño, cilantro, and a pinch of salt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste then add more lime juice or salt if needed. Refrigerate up to a week.
- Assemble Tacos
1Wrap tortillas, in two stacks, with aluminum foil. Place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warm.
2Fill each warmed tortilla with chicken and tomatoes. Top with cheese and a drizzle of the cilantro sauce. Serve with extra sauce and lime wedges on the side.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Double Batch of Chicken: To make a double batch, increase the chicken to 3 pounds then add more water to the pot. The onion, garlic, and spices do not need to change.
- Skin-On Chicken: We have made this recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and chicken thighs with skin still attached. Both work very well. If you use chicken with skin, just remove and discard the skin before you shred the chicken. You may also find that you need to skim some of the fat from the cooking broth before spooning it over the chicken.
- Leftover Cooking Liquid: You will have cooking liquid leftover. It is quite delicious on its own as a light soup. You can also use it as broth for other recipes. Or, if you’re keeping the chicken more than a day, add a spoonful or two to add a little moisture.
- Slow cooker shredded chicken: add all the ingredients to the slow cooker then cook on LOW until the chicken is cooked and tender, 3 to 4 hours. Shred the chicken and transfer the broth to a saucepan. Simmer the broth until reduced by a third then spoon over the chicken.
- Vegan Substitute for Sauce: Instead of the sour cream based sauce, try this Dreamy Tahini Sauce recipe. It has tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley. It would be delicious drizzled over the tacos.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.