Savory shredded chicken tacos are an easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will have fun making and eating together! Chicken is cooked until fall-apart tender and coated with tasty chicken taco seasoning and tangy salsa roja, then it’s ready to serve with your favorite toppings!
Shredded chicken tacos filled with melt-in-your-mouth, tender, and perfectly seasoned chicken!
Tacos are always one of my go-to favorites! I can never resist a warm, soft tortilla full of delicious, spiced meat and topped with all my favorite toppings. It’s a tasty, filling, and fun way to make dinner.
These shredded chicken tacos use tender poached chicken that’s then coated in an amazing, flavor-packed sauce of salsa roja, sautéed onions and garlic, and savory homemade chicken taco seasoning. The sauce is so amazing, you’ll be licking it off your plate!
My favorite part about tacos is how versatile and customizable they are. Lay out all your family and friends’ favorite taco toppings and let everybody mix and match to create their perfect taco!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Taco Night! Who doesn’t love a good taco night? It’s always delicious and a great way to get everyone around the table!
A Healthy Alternative! Shredded chicken tacos are a delicious and healthy alternative to the usual beef tacos!
Done in Under 30 Minutes! This dinner is ready in just 25 minutes! It’s an effortless meal, but it doesn’t taste like it!
The tender shredded chicken goes well with all of your favorite taco toppings. Set out milder toppings like cheese and sour cream for kids, then put out more adventurous toppings for the adults.
- 3 large Chicken Breasts – Use approximately 1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe!
- ½ tablespoon Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is perfect for sautéing the onion and garlic for this recipe.
- ½ cup Yellow Onion – Mince the onion for these tacos so it melds well with the sauce and shredded chicken! You can also use white onion if preferred.
- 1 teaspoon minced Garlic – I recommend mincing fresh garlic, but you can use pre-minced garlic in a pinch!
- 1 tablespoon Chicken Taco Seasoning – Use my easy recipe, or use your favorite store-bought brand, like Penzeys!
- ½ cup Salsa Roja – This intensely flavorful salsa is full of roasted tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeños, onion, and garlic. I recommend making my recipe, but you can use your favorite store-bought brand too!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
Every taco needs its toppings! Here are some of my favorite toppings for these shredded chicken tacos:
Cheese – Stick with good old shredded Mexican blend cheese, or switch it up and use Queso Fresco, Cotija, or Queso Oaxaca!
Guacamole – A must for chicken tacos, in my opinion! Make my super simple recipe or make your own!
Salsa/Hot Sauce – Top the tacos with more salsa roja, pico de gallo, salsa verde, or your favorite salsa! If you like it spicy, add a few dashes of your favorite Mexican hot sauce, like Cholula or Tapatío!
Herbs & Veggies – Add some color to your chicken tacos with shredded green lettuce or cabbage, sliced radishes, chopped white onion, and/or chopped fresh cilantro!
Sour Cream/Mexican Crema – Finish off my tacos with a dollop of sour cream or a drizzle of Mexican crema! It’s that classic, creamy-cool contrast to the spicy meat that makes the tacos so amazing!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
We’ll use a large pot to poach the chicken breasts before shredding! I love poaching chicken because it makes the meat so moist and tender. You’ll never have a dry chicken breast!
- Boil the chicken breasts. Start by placing 3 large chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds of chicken breasts) in a large pot and add enough water to fully cover it. Then, bring the pot to a boil and reduce the heat. After you’ve reduced the heat in the pot, let it simmer until the chicken is fall-apart tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Shred chicken breasts. Before you shred the chicken, make sure it reaches 165°F (74°C) so it’s fully cooked. Then, remove the chicken onto a plate or cutting board using a slotted spoon and allow it to cool, then use two forks to pull the chicken meat into shreds. Once the chicken is fully shredded, set aside for later (*see note).
- Sauté onions and garlic. In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauté ½ cup of minced yellow onion until tender, fragrant, and translucent, or about 4 to 5 minutes. Then, add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of chicken taco seasoning, mix, and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.
- Make sauce. Next, mix in ½ cup of salsa roja (or your favorite brand of salsa) until warmed through. Then, stir in the shredded chicken until evenly coated and cook on low for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve. Once the chicken has been warmed through, serve immediately with warmed tortillas, taco shells, and your favorite toppings.
These incredible shredded chicken tacos are one of my all-time dinner favorites! Serve with my fluffy, flavorful cilantro lime rice and a side of refried beans for a filling dinner, or serve over greens with your favorite toppings for a great taco salad! Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Use the Instant Pot to shred the chicken! Skip step 1 by using my easy Instant Pot shredded chicken. It’s the perfect way to quickly make shredded chicken for tacos, salads, and more!
- You can use frozen chicken for this recipe, if preferred! Frozen chicken breasts will need to simmer a bit longer, so be sure to use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F (74°C).
- Make the shredded chicken ahead of time! You can poach and shred the chicken, then keep it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days in advance.
- I recommend making the chicken taco seasoning & salsa roja from scratch! When you make your own seasonings and sauces, you can also control the amount of sodium or spice, so your meals always taste exactly how you want!
- Season the poaching liquid, if desired! You can add stock veggies, spices, and/or herbs to the poaching liquid for the chicken to add extra flavor. You can also use the leftover liquid as chicken broth for other recipes!
- Warm tortillas before using! Heat your tortillas or taco shells in your oven or microwave before serving with the chicken for the best flavor!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Leftover cooled shredded chicken will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days when stored properly!
Freeze the shredded chicken for up to 3 months! The chicken should be kept in an airtight, freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer storage bag.
Defrost in your fridge overnight before using.
Reheating Shredded Chicken
Reheat the shredded chicken leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat until fully warmed through. *I recommend adding a splash of chicken stock or extra salsa to keep the chicken from drying out when reheating.
🌮 More Mexican Inspired Recipes!
- Mexican Cornbread Casserole
- Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
- Mexican Steet Corn (Elotes)
- Picadillo Mexicano
- Ground Beef Mexican Casserole
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Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Place the chicken in a large pot (cut big pieces into manageable sizes that will cook quickly) and add enough water to fully cover it. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the chicken is fall-apart tender, about 10-15 minutes. Chicken should be 165°F (74°C) before shredding.3 large chicken breasts
- Remove the chicken using a slotted spoon and allow it to cool, then use two forks and pull the chicken meat into shreds.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the yellow onion until tender, fragrant, and translucent, or about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and chicken taco seasoning, mix, and saute for an additional 30 seconds.½ tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup yellow onion, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 tablespoon chicken taco seasoning
- Mix in the ½ cup salsa roja (or your favorite brand of salsa) until warmed through. Stir in the shredded chicken until evenly coated, then cook on low for 2-3 more minutes.½ cup salsa roja
- Serve immediately with warmed tortillas or taco shells and your favorite toppings.
- Skip step 1 by using my Instant Pot shredded chicken, the perfect easy way to make tacos!
- You can use frozen chicken for this recipe. It will need to simmer for longer, so be sure to check the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F (74°C) before you shred it.
- Leftover shredded chicken should be kept in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 3 months. Reheat leftovers over medium heat on the stovetop with a splash of chicken stock or extra salsa to keep it from drying out.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!