Do you have a favorite type of taco? In the delicious world of tacos, it may be impossible to pin down a single best taco recipe, and with so many options to choose from, you really don’t need to pick a favorite. So let’s introduce another tried-and-true taco recipe, one worthy of your weekly dinner rotation: fried chicken tacos.
You can prepare this easy recipe in just about 20 minutes, and with few ingredients needed. The chicken cooks up tender and moist with a crispy seasoned exterior and gets nestled inside warm tortillas with your favorite taco fixings. This is one simple and satisfying handheld meal.
Our recipe for fried chicken tacos makes the perfect amount for two servings. Double or triple the recipe if you’re cooking for a crowd. This would be a great choice for your next party’s taco board display.
Ingredients for Fried Chicken Tacos
- Chicken tenderloins: We use tenderloins in this recipe since they cook quickly and are a little juicier than chicken breasts (did you know that there is a difference between chicken tenderloins and breasts?). To substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts, slice the chicken into thin strips first so it cooks quickly and evenly.
- Egg: Egg helps the bread crumbs stick to the chicken, ensuring that the coating won’t fall off during cooking.
- Seasoned bread crumbs: Make sure you use seasoned bread crumbs, since they’ll be providing all the flavor for the chicken. If your store-bought bread crumbs taste a little bland, make your own seasoned bread crumbs with your favorite herbs and spices.
- Corn tortillas: The nutty, slightly sweet flavor of corn tortillas works great in this recipe. However, flour tortillas work just as well if that’s what you have on hand.
- Taco fixings: No taco would be complete without the toppings! Our favorite combination for chicken tacos is cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce and fresh cilantro.
Step 1: Bread the chicken
Lightly beat an egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the seasoned bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken tenderloins in the egg, then roll them in the bread crumb mixture.
Step 2: Fry the chicken
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, and cook for four to five minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Editor’s Tip: To make the best fried chicken, avoid overcrowding the skillet. Overcrowding can cause the chicken to steam instead of crisp up. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to cook the chicken in batches.
Step 3: Assemble the tacos
Arrange the chicken on warmed tortillas. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and desired toppings like salsa, sour cream, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and fresh cilantro leaves.
- Add seasonings: To give the chicken a flavor boost, dust the pieces with blackening seasoning or Cajun spice mix before dipping them in the egg.
- Use store-bought chicken tenders: If you don’t have time to prepare the chicken fingers from scratch, swap in pre-breaded frozen chicken tenders.
- Give it a Buffalo-chicken spin: To turn the chicken fingers into Buffalo chicken tenders, toss them in Buffalo sauce after cooking. Then, drizzle the tacos with blue cheese or ranch dressing instead of sour cream.
- Use fish instead: Swap out the chicken for fish in this recipe. Some of the best fish to fry are cod, halibut, rockfish, catfish and walleye.
How to Store Fried Chicken Tacos
These tacos taste best the day you make them, but you can store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Keep the fried chicken separate from the tortillas and toppings. Cooked chicken lasts in the fridge for three to four days. Reheat the fried chicken in the oven, air fryer or toaster oven. (The microwave also works, but it can make the fried chicken a little soggy.) Then, assemble the tacos.
Fried Chicken Tacos Tips
Can you use other types of breading for fried chicken tacos?
We use seasoned bread crumbs for fried chicken tacos, but you have several breading options. For extra-crispy fried chicken, use panko bread crumbs. This Japanese-style bread crumb is ground into coarser flakes, giving fried foods a crispier exterior. You could also make this recipe gluten-free or keto by using almond flour and Parmesan cheese for breading (as we do with our keto chicken nuggets).
Can you make fried chicken tacos in an air fryer?
Yes, you can make fried chicken tacos in the air fryer—as we do with our air-fryer chicken tenders. After breading the chicken pieces, give them a quick spritz with cooking spray. Cook in a 400° air fryer until the coating is golden brown and the chicken is no longer pink, seven to eight minutes on each side.
What can you serve with fried chicken tacos?
Serve fried chicken tacos with your favorite toppings like pickled jalapenos, homemade salsa, cilantro lime slaw, avocado wedges or homemade guacamole. So many great Tex-Mex or Mexican side dishes go well with tacos, too. Whip up a side of refried beans, cilantro-lime rice or Mexican street corn.