Homemade tacos are not just a delicious dinner to have occasionally, or even once a week on Taco Tuesday.
They are a necessity.
I love tacos. I’m about as obsessed as anyone can be with them.
And honestly, what’s not to love about tacos? There are so many possibilities when it comes to making the perfect one.
You can choose from corn or flour tortillas, crispy or soft. For proteins, you can have anything from beef to poultry to pork, fish or shrimp. And vegetarians and vegans can enjoy them as well, filled with everything from cauliflower to jackfruit.
When it comes to the toppings, there are dozens upon dozens of options. Salsas, hot sauces, vegetables, fruits, and cheeses are just the tip of the iceberg.
I love tacos because the amount of fun and creativity you can have with them feels infinite.
Of course, no matter how creative I get with my adventures, I tend to gravitate back to one recipe in particular:
The classic shredded chicken taco.
There’s something about this version that always satisfies my craving. The juicy, flavorful poultry goes with any kind of tortilla or shell, and you can top it with practically anything your heart desires.
For me, when I think classic, I think roasted salsa verde. The tomatillos in green salsa recipe below bring a bright tartness to the spicy salsa that elevates whatever type of tortilla you put it on.
These are also delicious in a cocktail – if you haven’t tried it yet, check our our recipe for a tomatillo-jito. It’s a must-make!
With the sultry chicken, it is an amazing complement to an otherwise slightly heavy, savory taco.
Of course, I use the term “heavy” because I definitely load up my tortillas with a ton of meat.
But I digress…
The magic of this particular recipe is that the star of the dish, the shredded chicken, is the easiest version you will ever prepare. You can make it in a slow cooker or, if you prefer not to wait hours for it, in the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is one of those magical machines that I use as often as I can in my kitchen. The miracle of being able to easily cook anything I want in a fraction of the time conventional cooking methods take is always a big selling point, especially on hectic weeknights.
All you have to do is add your chicken, a homemade seasoning blend, and some stock to your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Then, simply set it and forget it.
By the time it is done cooking, you will have succulent meat that is falling apart because it’s so tender. Shredding has never been so easy, trust me. You will barely have to put in any effort to make this chicken into a pile of pulled meat that’s heaven on earth in a tortilla wrapper.
Load it up with all of the suggested accompaniments, and you’ll see why this is a meal I keep coming back to, time after time.
Simple, flavorful, and easy to make – this is what the humble taco is all about. Recipes don’t get much better than that, now do they?Print
Homemade shredded chicken tacos are an easy dinner the entire family will love. Served with roasted tomatillo salsa verde, it’s a classic.
For the Chicken:
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 1 to 1 ½ lbs)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
For the Tacos:
- Homemade salsa verde
- 12 corn tortillas
- Your favorite toppings
- Stir together cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, ground cumin, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
- Add chicken to an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Sprinkle over the homemade taco seasoning. Pour over chicken broth.
- For the Instant Pot, cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Allow to release pressure naturally. For the slow cooker, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
- Remove chicken from Instant Pot or slow cooker to a cutting board. Shred with two forks. Set aside and keep warm.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the roasted salsa verde. You can find the recipe here.
- Warm the tortillas. Top with chicken and roasted salsa verde. If you like, add pico de gallo, queso fresco, and cilantro, or your choice of toppings. Serve with hot sauce and lime wedges.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Tacos
- Method: Slow Cooker, Broil
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keywords: tacos, chicken, tomatillo, salsa verde
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Vegetables, and Measure Ingredients
Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them well.
Chop jalapeno and onion for the roasted salsa verde.
Measure the remaining ingredients, and group them together according to the different parts of the recipe – chicken, salsa, and taco assembly.
Step 2 – Make Homemade Taco Seasoning
In a small bowl, stir together the cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir to make sure the spice mixture is well combined.
This is a great spice mixture to have on hand in your spice rack, so feel free to double or triple the recipe so you’ll be well stocked for the next time you need it. Seasonings can also be adjusted to your personal taste, in terms of heat level and salt content.
Step 3 – Cook the Chicken
Add chicken breasts to either a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Top with chicken broth and the homemade taco seasoning. No need to stir to combine!
Place the lid on top and cook.
For a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Check halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary. You will know the chicken is done when it is cooked through, and starting to fall apart.
For an Instant Pot, cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Allow to release pressure naturally. For more tips on how to make shredded chicken in the electric pressure cooker, check out our tutorial.
Step 4 – Shred Chicken
Remove chicken from the slow cooker or Instant Pot, making sure to drain off any excess liquid.
Place the chicken on a cutting board, and shred well with two forks. Keep warm by covering with aluminum foil and setting aside.
(We don’t want to take away from this amazing recipe, but we can’t help but to tell you this shredded chicken would also be perfect in our chilaquiles!)
Step 5 – Make the Salsa Verde
You can get the recipe here.
We love using salsa verde in a variety of recipes than just as a topping! Use it as the sauce base to make our baked salsa verde chicken, which would be an awesome sub for the chicken in this recipe!
Step 6 – Assemble Tacos
To assemble the tacos, start by warming the corn tortillas for about 15 seconds in the microwave, between damp paper towels.
Evenly distribute the chicken between the tortillas.
Add a couple of teaspoons of the roasted salsa verde on top, along with your choice of pico de gallo, queso fresco, and freshly chopped cilantro.
Serve immediately with hot sauce and lime wedges.
Homemade Taco Bar, Any Night of the Week
One of my favorite ways to serve up tacos is to build a taco bar. It doesn’t matter if it’s a party or a typical weeknight meal, taco bars always liven up the party.
Here’s what you’ll need for a simple taco bar setup:
- Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or taco shells
- Homemade shredded chicken
- Roasted salsa verde
- Homemade pico de gallo
- Queso fresco (or your choice of shredded or crumbled cheese)
- Crema or sour cream
- Chopped cilantro
- Hot sauce
- Lime wedges
- Anything else you love on your tacos
Simple, am I right?
Alongside your favorite cocktails or cold beers and a bowl of homemade tortilla chips, with a few scoops of a refreshing fruit sorbet or sherbet for dessert, your fiesta is ready to go!
Here are a few more of our suggestions, for delicious pairings:
- Watermelon Daiquiris
- Bloody Marys with Pepper-Infused Vodka
- Classic Mojitos with a Twist
- Blackberry Lemon Cocktails
- Sparkling Pomegranate Lemonade
- Mango Tequila Sorbet
- Cucumber Elderflower Sorbet
- Orange Sherbet
No matter how you serve up these tacos, rest assured that you will be guaranteed a delicious meal that everyone will love. It’ll be a classic recipe in your own home before you know it.
Tell us what you would add to your own custom taco bar in the comments below, and don’t forget to rate the recipe when you try it.
Don’t forget to Pin It!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 30, 2011. Last updated: August 22, 2021 at 9:57 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.