Shredded Chicken Tacos

There are certain foods I can never tire of (and my family in on board with that). Pizza. Sushi (which I do not make). Popcorn. Tacos.

And of course tacos are actually a wide and broad category of food, so saying “I could eat tacos for the rest of my life” is hardly a limiting statement. If anything it feels expansive – not to mention highly appealing.

Saucy Chicken Tacos

This taco recipe is a bit different from others because it includes tomato sauce, which gives the filling depth, and piquancy and a nice kind of binder-ish heft.  I find them a terrific change of pace from meat that I’ve simply seasoned and pulled, or ground meat tacos.

I made these with soft flour tortillas, but you can use corn tortillas if you prefer.  You could also pile the filling into hard tacos.  There may some some rules to tacos that have claims to regional Mexican authenticity, but these are not those kind of tacos. (Also see How to Warm Tortillas!)

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Pure Chile Powder for Tacos

If you have a pure chile powder, such as ancho or pasilla or Hatch, then use that, but if all you have is a chili powder blend that should work fine.  In fact chili powder blends contain some other seasonings that are already at play in this recipe, like cumin, oregano, and garlic, so it will be right at home.  These aren’t particularly spicy.  If you are looking for more heat, bump up the amount of chile or chili powder.  

Shredded Chicken Tacos: The chicken taco filling is pulled together with a tomato sauce that has piquancy and depth.

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Shredded Chicken Tacos

Substitutions for Shredded Chicken Tacos

If you have crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce you can use that instread of the tomato puree.  Any color bell pepper will be great, and any color onion.  If you don’t have jalapeno, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

And if you have simply cooked leftover shredded pork, that would also be great.  I have a similar recipe with shrimp which I also love.  My family is hard-pressed to find a taco they don’t like.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

What to Serve with Chicken Tacos

I served these up with diced avocado, sour cream, and sime very thinly sliced red bell peppers.  You can also think about salsa or pico de gallo, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, chopped scallions or red onions, or fresh cilantro.

Serve Shredded Chicken Tacos with:

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Other Taco Recipes:

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Shredded Chicken Tacos

The chicken taco filling is pulled together with a tomato sauce that has piquancy and depth.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper (any color) stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon very finely minced garlic
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or use regular chili powder if that’s what you have)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

To Serve (pick and choose your toppings; feel free to sub in what you have)

  • 12 small (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa or pico de gallo or chopped tomatoes
  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Julienned bell pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until they start to soften, 2 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and sauté until you can smell the garlic, 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce, oregano, chili powder and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the chicken and parsley and cook until the chicken is heated through, another 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, warm the flour tortillas in a pan or use one of these other methods if you prefer. Heat a dry pan that is larger than the diameter of your tortillas over medium to medium high heat.   When the pan is hot, place each tortilla directly into the pan, and heat for 30 to 45 seconds, until the bottom is browned in spots.  Flip it over and warm the other side for 30 to 45 seconds.  Remove the tortilla to a plate or a clean surface, and repeat with the rest of the tortillas.   Stack the tortillas as they are heated.
  • Serve the chicken mixture with the warm tortillas and pass the desired toppings on the side.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 698mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1045IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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