When it comes to Taco Tuesday, I am religious about following the tradition.
I might be a wee bit obsessed with tacos, so I have actually been limited to Tuesdays by my husband…
Yes, I could totally eat tacos every single day of the week. Apparently that makes me a total weirdo, but I am sure there are some other taco-obsessed individuals out there, am I right?
There are just so many different styles of tacos to make, and these Cajun chicken tacos are the perfect example of that.
With this particular recipe, you are going to take a trip straight to Louisiana for a punch of flavor that you won’t soon forget.
Cajun spice is such a delightful combination. Our homemade mixture of garlic and dried herbs and spices is so much better than anything you will find in the store, since you can personalize it, and adjust it to your liking. And probably already have all of these components readily available in your spice rack.
I absolutely love recipes that are made with a homemade spice mixture. I honestly never buy pre-made spice mixtures anymore.
Why do that when you can make your own?
I recommend shopping in the bulk section if have one at your local grocery store, or you can go online. Buying in bulk is way cheaper and you can have a lot more what you need on hand, so when you make big batches of a variety of homemade spice mixes, you won’t use up all of one type immediately.
Once you get the hang of this recipe, you can start adjusting it if desired to your preferred tastes. Like something spicy? Add more cayenne pepper. Like something a little more rich in flavor? Add more garlic powder.
For me, it’s one of the easiest ways to tinker with a recipe without making things too hard on yourself.
Of course, keep in mind that spices don’t have a long shelf life, especially when they’re pre-ground. Buying whole spices that you can then toast and grind yourself when you’re ready to use them is your best bet, and a mortar and pestle or personal blender always comes in handy for this.
And remember – handcrafted spices mixes always make a wonderful gift, so you can share with the cooks in your life!
When you make this recipe, whip up a double batch of the spice mixture. It’s easy enough to make and you can store it in an airtight container for weeks to use on fish, vegetables, chicken, or even steak.
By cooking it in a hot cast iron skillet, you get a hint of that blackened flavor on the chicken that is unbelievably tasty. I love the combination and the layers of flavor that build in each mouthful, and it’s just the right amount of heat.
When you pair it with the peppers, onions, and tomatoes, you get a crunch and burst of fresh flavors to cool off the heat and give you some brightness.
It’s a whole new take on your normal taco routine, and it’s one that everyone is going to love. You can easily serve this up on any old weeknight, or double the batch and serve it up for a group.Print
Take a trip to Louisiana with juicy Cajun chicken tacos. With a homemade spice mixture and fresh vegetables, they explode with flavor.
- 1 ½ Tbsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 ½ tsp dried basil
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed, but you can also use olive, canola, or vegetable)
- 10 small corn tortillas
- Place the paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, and salt in a small bowl and stir together.
- Place the chicken strips in a large bowl. Add the Cajun spice mixture and rub it into the chicken pieces on all sides, until coated well.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet coated with oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes per side. You may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pan.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat up the tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds until they are warm and pliable.
- Place one chicken strip inside each tortilla. Top with diced peppers, red onion, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately, with lime wedges for garnish.
The optional garnishes are included in calculation of nutritional information below.
Keywords: tacos, Cajun, dinner, chicken, blackened
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Vegetables, Cut Chicken Into Strips, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Seed and dice the red and green bell pepper and tomatoes. Dice the red onion. Remove the stems and finely chop the parsley. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Trim if necessary, and cut the chicken breasts into thin strips. Chicken tenders are also the perfect size for this. You should have about 10 strips. Set aside.
Measure the remaining ingredients as listed.
Step 2 – Make Spice Mix
Add the paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, and salt to a small bowl. Stir to combine well.
Note: If you want to have some of this Cajun spice mix left over, be sure to double the recipe. It can be stored in an airtight container in your pantry so you can use it for a variety of recipes, from chicken to potatoes to fish, and more. It will stay fresh for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place.
Step 3 – Coat
Place chicken strips into a large bowl with the spices.
Use your hands to coat the chicken well on all sides.
Step 4 – Cook
Over medium-high heat, warm the oil in a large cast iron skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chicken strips.
Cook them until they are no longer pink inside, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.
Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to work in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.
Step 5 – Assemble
Warm tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds until they are warm and pliable.
Assemble the tacos by placing one chicken strip in each tortilla. Top with diced bell peppers, tomato, and onion. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley. Serve immediately with lime wedges.
A Homemade Spice Mix with So Many Uses
If you are going through the effort of making a homemade spice mix, you want to make sure you will actually use it for other things besides one particular recipe.
Well, I am here to tell you that you can use the Cajun spice mix from this recipe in a whole host of other dishes. No, I’m not just talking about Cajun recipes for chicken or fish.
Consider adding a teaspoon or so of the mixture to guacamole for extra spice. Add a couple of teaspoons to your hamburger mix next time you want to fire up the grill. You can even use it to rim glasses for Bloody Marys for brunch.
What would you use this Cajun spice mixture for (you know, after you make these fabulous tacos, of course)? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe once you try it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 2, 2013. Last updated: October 30, 2018 at 7:35 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.