Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)

Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (1)

By: Becky Hardin

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When I want to make an easy dinner for my family, I always turn to these Baked Chicken Tacos . It’s a favorite with my kids, and I love that its minimal clean up and super easy. Made in less than 30 minutes, the spicy shredded chicken filling bakes up in the crispy taco shells so fast. It’s the ultimate recipe for serving a crowd on game day, Cinco de Mayo, or taco night. Over 2400 home cooks have ranked this recipe a 5 star favorite. I’m so proud of this recipe!

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When I developed this recipe in 2015, I had no idea how many times I’d end up making it. We make it time and time again at our house, in about every flavor combination possible. I always end up coming back to this simple chicken filling, and its a favorite of my kid’s as well.

Table of Contents

What’s in This Baked Chicken Taco Recipe?

A deliciously spicy shredded chicken taco filling is whipped up and layered into crispy taco shells with beans, then baked in the oven until hot and tasty. Dinner will be ready in about 25 minutes, and the whole family will be happy! This is also the ultimate recipe for serving a crowd on game day, Cinco de Mayo, or taco night.

  • Shredded Chicken: Use fully cooked, shredded chicken for the taco filling. We often use rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy option, but you can also cook your own.
  • Taco Seasoning: This blend of spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic and onion powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes) is perfect for any taco recipe and adds so much flavor.
  • Taco Shells: Use hard taco shells since they bake up nice and crispy in the oven!
  • Cheese: We used Mexican blend shredded cheese, but you can use your favorite variety. Freshly grated cheese gets beautifully melty!
  • Green Chiles: Use a can of chopped green chiles for the chicken mixture. It adds a little bit of heat, and it’s really delicious. Just be sure to fully drain them.
  • Refried Beans: The creamy texture of refried beans adds a nice layer of texture and flavor beneath the chicken. Use about half a can.
  • Tomatoes: A can of diced tomatoes adds more texture to the mix. Again, be sure to fully drain these so you don’t end up with too much liquid in the chicken taco filling.
  • Onion: Adds more texture and some aromatics. White, sweet, or red onions all work.

Variations on Shredded Chicken Tacos

Between the taco seasoning, green chiles, and jalapenos (our favorite topping, though it’s completely optional), this baked chicken tacos recipe is relatively spicy, but not overwhelmingly hot.

When I want to make them less spicy, I skip the jalapeños on top. The green chiles can be quite mild, but if you or the kids are sensitive to spice, simply skip over them when making the chicken filling.

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How to Store and Reheat

I generally recommend storing these baked chicken tacos separately rather than as whole tacos. Store the individual components in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you have leftover tacos after baking everything together, wrap individual tacos in aluminum foil, and place them in a resealable bag. Keep in mind that the shells might get soggy if stored this way. To reheat, assemble tacos and bake as instructed in the recipe card, or until the chicken is fully heated through (165°F).

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Serving Suggestions

These easy chicken tacos make Taco Tuesday a snap. They’re quick to prep for a Cinco de Mayo party, and they also make delicious game-day food. Pair them with Mexican grilled corn, Mexican rice, or Esquites for a rounded meal. This is one of our family’s favorite meals to make on busy nights, or for a celebration. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Notes from the Test Kitchen

This is the most popular recipe on The Cookie Rookie. It has been viewed over 6 million times and pinned over 2 million times. It’s so simple and delicious, I just know you’ll love it! Here’s what some readers have had to say over the years. I make these chicken tacos every single game day, and often throughout the year for an easy weeknight meal.

5-Star Reviews

“I rarely leave reviews for recipes, but this was SO good and so simple, I had to say thank you! So thanks for the great recipe, it’s going in the regular rotation!” – Christy

“We have made these several tomes snd they’re well loved! Sure go fast! I couldn’t even get a photo of them all!!!” – Melissa

“I use the chicken filling for so many things other than this recipe!! It’s so good for taco salads, quesadillas, soft tacos, the list goes on. I make a double batch and eat the variations throughout the week!” – Catie

“This is a go-to in our household. It’s so quick, simple, and delicious- and since it’s just my husband and I, we have enough for two days! :)” – Brittany

Recipe

Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe

4.51 from 2431 votes

Author: Becky Hardin

Prep: 15 minutes minutes

Cook: 10 minutes minutes

Total: 25 minutes minutes

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Serves10

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How to make the best baked chicken tacos for a crowd! Lots of tacos made in one baking dish for family dinners, Cinco de Mayo, and more.

Step-by-step photos can be seen below the recipe card.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound shredded cooked chicken We used Rotisserie chicken
  • 1 ounce taco seasoning (click for recipe!)
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes fully drained (1 can)
  • 4.5 ounces diced green chiles fully drained (1 can)
  • 10 hard taco shells We used Old El Paso Stand 'N Stuff
  • 8 ounces refried beans (½ can)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

Optional Toppings

  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet.

    1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Add onion to skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and fragrant.

    ½ cup diced onion

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  • Stir in the chicken, taco seasoning, tomatoes (fully drained), and green chiles (fully drained). Stir to combine fully. Reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes.

    ½ pound shredded cooked chicken, 1 ounce taco seasoning, 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, 4.5 ounces diced green chiles

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  • Place the taco shells in the baking dish, standing up. We were able to fit 10 taco shells in the dish by adding 2 on each side.

    10 hard taco shells

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  • Bake the taco shells for 5 minutes by themselves to allow them to crisp up. Remove from the oven.

  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of beans into the bottom of each taco shell. Top with the chicken mixture, almost to the top of each shell.

    8 ounces refried beans

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  • Sprinkle each shell generously with shredded cheese, the more the better!

    2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

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  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted and the edges of the shells are browned.

  • Remove from the oven and top with your favorite items such as jalapenos, sour cream, shredded lettuce, cilantro, and salsa.

    Sliced jalapeños, Sour cream, Salsa, Chopped fresh cilantro, Shredded lettuce

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Last step! Don’t forget to show me a pic of what you made! Upload an image or tag me @thecookierookie on Instagram!

Becky’s tips

  • Be sure to drain the tomatoes completely, this will help the taco shells to not get soggy while baking!
  • If you prefer your tacos not spicy, just omit the green chilis. Just as delicious!
  • Nutritional information does not include optional ingredients

Storage:Store baked chicken tacos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1taco Calories: 226kcal (11%) Carbohydrates: 16g (5%) Protein: 13g (26%) Fat: 12g (18%) Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0.03g Cholesterol: 38mg (13%) Sodium: 607mg (26%) Potassium: 224mg (6%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 803IU (16%) Vitamin C: 12mg (15%) Calcium: 181mg (18%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Did You Make This?I want to see! Be sure to upload an image below & tag @thecookierookie on social media!

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How to Make Chicken Tacos Step by Step

Sauté the Onion: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add ½ cup of diced onion to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and fragrant.

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Simmer the Filling: Stir in ½ pound of shredded cooked chicken, 1 ounce of taco seasoning, 14.5 ounces (1 can) of diced tomatoes (fully drained), and 4.5 ounces (1 can) of diced green chiles (fully drained). Stir to combine fully. Reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes.

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Bake the Taco Shells: Place 10 hard taco shells in the baking dish, standing up. We were able to fit 10 taco shells in the dish by adding 2 on each side. Bake the taco shells for 5 minutes by themselves to allow them to crisp up. Remove from the oven.

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Fill the Tacos: Spoon 1 tablespoon of refried beans into the bottom of each taco shell. Top with the chicken mixture, filling almost to the top of each shell.

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Top with Cheese: Sprinkle each shell generously with 2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese, the more the better!

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Bake and Serve: Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and the edges of the shells are browned. Remove from the oven and top with your favorite items such as jalapenos, sour cream, shredded lettuce, cilantro, and salsa.

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How do you keep taco shells crispy in the oven?

There are a few things we do to make sure the shells don’t get soggy. 1.) Fully drain all canned ingredients so that there isn’t extra liquid in the filling. 2.) Bake the shells by themselves for about 5 minutes before filling them. 3.) Layer the refried beans on the bottom, and place the chicken taco meat on top. This helps them hold up better.

How can I keep chicken tacos warm for serving?

If you’re making these for a crowd or a party, you can keep them warm in the oven as you serve. We usually turn the oven down to about 250°F, and keep them in a baking dish covered with foil.

More Taco Recipes To Try

  • Birria Tacos
  • Quesabirria Tacos
  • Crockpot Beef Tacos
  • Baked Beef Tacos
  • Crockpot Honey BBQ Chicken Tacos
  • …See all of our Taco Recipes!
Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)

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