These crispy pan-fried chicken tacos will become your go-to Taco Tuesday recipe! Quick, delicious and versatile, you’ll never make chicken tacos any other way after trying this easy recipe! Use roast chicken or leftovers!
I’m really excited about this post.
I’m so in love with crispy tacos. Not the crispy tacos made from the shells you buy at the store, but from corn tortillas.
In a nutshell, you fry the tacos (with the filling already inside) in a little oil until they’re crispy. If you’re a Pioneer Woman fan, you may have noticed the chicken taco recipe she recently posted to her cooking site. These ones are similar but much easier, I think.
I made tacos for the first time like this a couple years ago when I discovered the Crispy Black Bean Tacos from a Bon Appetit mag, but never played around with fillings. That vegetarian version has graced our table many, many times.
There’s another reason why I’m excited for this post. This first variation was actually a collaboration between myself and a real-life friend (Mindy) who lives 600 miles away. Mindy, who runs the book review blog Reading for Sanity, emailed me one day and told me that she’d used my taco seasoning to make some pretty wicked chicken tacos. . .
Since I had planned on roasting a chicken in the next week or two, I tucked away the idea until I had some leftovers. Because I love to add my own spin on things, I added a variation of Southwestern Cabbage Slaw (which tops pretty much every taco I make), used cotija cheese (that’s what I had), and fried them in a little oil.
Uh yeah… any other recipe I find that calls for leftover shredded chicken better have a lot of potential because if not, that chicken will turn into a taco every time.
Crispy Taco Ingredients
- Cooked, shredded chicken (Leftovers or roast chicken)
- Taco Seasoning – The ALL time favorite or Smoky Chipotle Taco Seasoning
- Fresh cilantro
- Corn tortillas – If you have time to make your own, they will taste even better!
- Oil for frying
How to make homemade crispy tacos
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the chicken, taco seasoning, and 1/4 cup of water.
- Bring to a simmer and let it cook until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
- In another large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat.
- Add a couple of tortillas to the oil. Wait 10-15 seconds, then flip them over.
- Place some of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortillas. Using tongs, fold the tortillas in half and press for a few seconds. The tortilla should start to hold its shape.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip them over to the other side to cook. Both sides should have golden brown spots and the tortilla should be somewhat crisp.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
- If you can get your hands on a tortilla press, making your own tortillas will be worth the effort! You can make them without the press, but they will have the “handmade” thickness and shape to them.
- If you don’t have taco seasoning, you can always use salsa! (Just omit the water as salsas are more watery already)
Southwestern Cabbage Slaw – This tops almost every taco I make
If you make one of my recipes, be sure to post it on social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (about half of a 4 lb roast chicken)
- 2-3 Tablespoons taco seasoning, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 20-24 corn tortillas
- about 1/4 cup oil, for frying + more if necessary
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the chicken, taco seasoning, and 1/4 cup of water.
- Bring to a simmer and let it cook until the sauce thickens and the mixture isn't so watery, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
- Place a few paper towels on a plate and set it next to the stove. In another large skillet, heat the oil medium-high heat. It should "shimmer" and bubble quite a bit if you stick a wooden spoon in it.
- Add a couple of corn tortillas the oil. Wait 10-15 seconds, then flip them over. Place some of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortillas (about 2-3 T, depending on the size of your tortillas). Using tongs, fold the tortillas in half and press for a few seconds. The tortilla should start to hold its shape. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip them over to the other side to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Both sides should have golden brown spots and the tortilla should be somewhat crisp.
- Transfer to the plate lined with paper towels. Cover or place in a warm oven to keep them warm.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling, adding more oil if the tortillas start to stick or scorch. Serve with desired garnishes.
Salsa Verde Variation: Omit the taco seasoning and water. Add 1/2 cup homemade or purchased salsa verde when the instructions say to add the taco seasoning.
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