Recipe: How to make Easy Chipotle Chicken Tacos

13 May 2024

Chicken can make a delicious taco filling, but keep in mind that boneless, skinless chicken breasts can lack flavor bling. Poach the chicken breasts in a mixture augmented with minced chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce; it adds flavor and aroma. The chicken comes out tender and delicious.

Serve the filling with warm tortillas (two per taco), shredded cabbage (or lettuce), diced tomatoes, and avocado. Add cheese if you like; shredded pepper jack or crumbled queso fresco are favorites.

Small cans of chipotle chilies packed in adobo sauce are available in most supermarkets in the Latin American specialty sections. Most recipes call for one or two of the chilies, generally designating that the chilies remain coated with the adobo sauce. After using one or two chilies, I freeze the remaining contents of the can, both chilies and sauce, in a labeled zipper-style bag. When I need a chipotle or two, I cut off a block from the frozen jumble and nothing goes to waste.

Easy Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


3 tablespoons butter

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, about 2 teaspoons (or less if serving children)

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided use

1/2 cup orange juice

Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts, cut in half lengthwise, or 3 smaller breasts)

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

For serving: 14 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed; see cook’s notes

For serving: lime wedges, thinly sliced green cabbage, diced avocado and diced tomatoes, grated cheese

Cook’s notes: To warm tortillas, stack on microwave-safe plate. Cover with damp, clean dish towel. Microwave 60 to 90 seconds. Use potholders when removing from oven and open towel so that steam is directed away from you.


1. Melt butter in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chipotle; cook about 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro, orange juice, sugar if using, and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer. Nestle chicken into sauce. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until temperature registers 160 degrees, 12 to 16 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking. Transfer to plate and cover.

2. Increase heat to medium-high and cook liquid until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 3 to 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in mustard. Using two forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to skillet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, cabbage, avocado and tomatoes. If you like, top with grated cheese.Source: adapted from “America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best Mexican Recipes” from the Editors at American’s Test Kitchen

Award-winning food writer Cathy Thomas has written three cookbooks, including “50 Best Plants on the Planet.” Follow her at @CathyThomas

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