Looking to switch up your regular taco night? These easy-to-make BBQ Chicken Tacos are made with a homemade BBQ sauce, sautéed onions, and queso fresco cheese.
(This recipe for BBQ Chicken Tacos was originally posted in December 2010, but was updated with new photos in 2019).
Tacos are on a hardcore dinner rotation around my house. I always keep all the ingredients in the pantry and ground turkey in the freezer for those nights when I just don't feel like cooking. I've made tacos so many times, I can do it with my eyes closed. I always know they're going to be delicious and I get no complaints from Chris whenever I whip them up. They were probably my #1 most-requested meal as a kid and I pride myself on the fact that I make them exactly like my mom now.
But sometimes it's good to switch things up a bit. And really, tacos are versatile that you could probably enjoy them every single night of the week and never get bored of them. The fillings you could use are endless. So, the other night, I decided to veer from my regular ground turkey tacos just a bit and make BBQ Chicken Tacos. Once I got the idea in my head, I couldn't get it out and I immediately wrote a grocery list (and stole some smoked paprika and Mexican oregano from my dad). If you don't have all these spices, don't worry! Just improvise with whatever you do have and you can certainly use regular oregano instead of Mexican or regular paprika instead of smoked. Go for it and invent your own rub and BBQ sauce! You could even buy a pre-made rub and BBQ sauce and I swear I won't tell anyone. But try this recipe, if you can.
BBQ CHICKEN TACOS RECIPE
The best thing about this BBQ Chicken Taco recipe is that it's ridiculously easy... As all good taco recipes should be. Basically, you'll start by covering the chicken breasts with a spice rub and then baking them for 20-25 minutes. Once the chicken cools a bit, you'll cut into small chunks, and place them in a large bowl.
While the chicken is cooking, you can get started on the BBQ sauce. Place ketchup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and espresso powder in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. And cook for 5-7 minutes, until it's thickened. And then toss the chicken with the BBQ sauce. Yum yum... try not to eat it all right out of the bowl.
Lastly, you'll just want to sauté up those red onions in a little bit of canola oil.
And then warm your tortillas and layer them up with BBQ chicken, red onions, and crumble queso fresco. Queso fresco isn't really my favorite cheese (I prefer a nice sharp, powerful cheese!), but it works really well on these tacos and mellows out the BBQ sauce a bit.
I love everything about these BBQ chicken tacos, but the best thing about them is definitely that glorious BBQ sauce. Next time I make these tacos, I'm making extra sauce so I can spoon it over the top (I've always been the "More BBQ sauce on the side" kinda girl)... And then bottle it up. And probably drink it.
This was a pretty awesome alternative to the typical taco night. The chicken was super tender and I absolutely love the taste of browned up onion strips! Another topping I might add in when I make these again? Avocado. I think they would give the perfect green touch and bring all the flavors together. Plus, what isn't avocado good on?
And if I kept some of that spice rub ready to go and some BBQ sauce in my fridge, I could easily whip this up on a busy weeknight. BBQ Chicken Tacos could become a regular in my kitchen!
And margaritas. This dish totally needs a margarita on the side.
Do you have a taco night at your house? What's your favorite kind?
If you're looking for more delicious taco recipes, be sure to check out my Winter Salmon Tacos or my Flank Steak Tacos with Strawberry Mint Salsa. I'm also absolutely loving these Cajun Shrimp Tacos from Honey, What's Cooking.
BBQ Chicken Tacos
- 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
- ½ Tbsp packed brown sugar
- ½ Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ½ cup apple cider
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp brown mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp ground espresso
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 large red onion, cut into strips
- 8 corn tortillas, warmed
- 6 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small dish, mix together ancho chile powder, oregano, brown sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt.
- Rub the chicken breasts evenly with the spice mix and place in a greased 13×9 inch pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until it’s cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
- Cool the chicken for about 10 minutes and then cut it into small chunks and place them in a large bowl.
- Place ketchup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and ground espresso in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until sauce is thickened.
- Mix the BBQ sauce with the chicken.
- Heat canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté onion strips for about 7 minutes, until tender.
- Warm tortillas either in microwave or in a frying pan. Place tortillas on plate and top with BBQ chicken, red onions, and crumbled queso fresco.