Ancho Chicken Tacos

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
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These Ancho Chicken Tacos are smoky, mildly spicy, juicy, and tender. The chicken breasts are seasoned with ancho chile powder, then grilled to perfection.

4 tacos with chicken breast seasoned with ancho chile.

We serve the chicken with flour tortilla with a dab of sour cream, romaine lettuce, hot sauce, and shredded Mexican cheese. These tacos are delicious, easy to make, and perfect for those weeknight dinners or a Cinco de mayo party.

What is Ancho Chile?

An ancho chile is a poblano chile that has been ripened to a deep red color, then is picked and dried. It has mild to moderate heat, is lightly smoky and sweet, and gives recipes a nice dark mahogany red color. Most recipes call for ancho chile when making salsa, moles, jams, marinades, or seasoning meats. We combine the ancho chili powder with other spices for our recipe to make a delicious spice mixture for these chicken tacos.

🌮 Ingredients

To make this ancho chicken recipe, you will need some staple taco ingredients and ancho seasoning, which can be easily found at any grocery store in the spice section. So let’s dive into what else you need to make this delicious taco recipe.

  • Boneless Chicken Breasts. Or you can substitute with chicken tenders or chicken thighs. Just be sure to salt the chicken for at least 30 minutes before adding the seasoning to help tenderize the chicken. We don’t recommend using leftover chicken for this recipe, as we want to sear the chicken with the seasoning. That’s how we enhance the flavor of this recipe.
  • Ancho Chile Powder. You could use Chili Powder, but we strongly recommend trying ancho chiles as they have different flavors.
  • Spices. The other spices we use in this recipe are Sweet Paprika, Oregano, Cumin, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder.
  • Salt. We don’t add salt to the spice mixture for this recipe because we want to “salt the chicken breast” first.
  • Olive Oil. We use about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Depending on your pan size, start with 1 tablespoon and add more as needed.
  • Lime Juice. We add about 2-4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice for about 1-2 minutes before removing the chicken breast from the pan. This helps break up any brown parts on the pan and gives the outside of the chicken a little glaze texture.
  • Taco Assembly. When we make these chicken tacos, we use flour tortillas and top them with sour cream, romaine lettuce, fresh cilantro, hot sauce, and shredded Mexican cheese. We love the flavor of the seasoned chicken here, so we let it shine in these tacos. However, use corn tortillas if you prefer them over flour ones. Another go-to topping would be a cabbage slaw to balance the spicy chicken with sweetness.

🥘 Instructions

These ancho chicken chili tacos are easy to make. The longest part is waiting to salt the chicken, but you can salt the night before to save time. We highly recommend salting chicken for at least 30 minutes to help tenderize the chicken and make it juicy.

Before anything, the first step is to Salt the Chicken. Generously season the boneless skinless chicken breasts with salt either the night before or for at least 30 minutes so the salt can diffuse throughout the chicken. Refrigerate the chicken if salting more than an hour in advance; otherwise, leave it on the counter while you prep the remaining ingredients. If you are making fresh salsa, make it now and let it marinate in the juices until it’s time to serve the tacos.

seasoning chicken breast with ancho chile.
  • Make Spice Blend. Add the ancho chile powder with the sweet paprika, oregano, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Then, season the chicken with ancho chili spice blend on both sides.
grilled ancho chicken breasts.
  • Cook Chicken. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) to coat the pan. Place chicken on the skillet, and sear the chicken for 4-7 minutes (check at the 4-minute mark to see if the skin is brown). Flip the chicken over and reduce heat to medium to continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F. Add 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, flipping the chicken to coat the crispy skin.
slicing grilled chicken breast with an ancho cile seasoning.
  • Assemble Taco & Enjoy. Remove the chicken from the pan, and either shred it or cut it into pieces. Heat a flour tortilla, add some sour cream and shredded romaine lettuce, and layer with chicken pieces, hot sauce, cilantro, and cheese before serving.

These Ancho Chicken Tacos are one of our favorite recipes for taco night. It has the perfect combo of sweet and spicy with some smokiness. It’s easy to make and delicious, and we hope you all love our recipe. Enjoy! ♡

ancho chicken tacos with cheese, hot sauce, and lettuce.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this recipe into a Taco Salad Bowl?


Yes! These ancho chicken breasts are perfect for a healthy taco salad made with romaine lettuce and crushed tortilla chips. Just don’t forget your favorite taco toppings!

Is Ancho Chicken Spicy?


Ancho chile powder has more of a smoky flavor and mild heat. If you substitute sweet paprika with smoked paprika, it will add more warmth to the chicken. Alternatively, add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to the spice mixture if you prefer spicy.

How long does chicken last when cooked?


Store leftover cooked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Then, reheat in the microwave until hot so it doesn’t dry out.

a taco with ancho chicken, lettuce, cheese, hot sauce, and cilantro.

Similar Taco Recipes

Did you try our Ancho Chicken Tacos recipe? Please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below. I love hearing from you! ♡

Ancho Chicken Tacos

5 from 4 votes
These Ancho Chicken Tacos are easy to make and have the perfect sweet and spicy combo with some smokiness. These are delicious tacos to make for taco night.
tacos with ancho flavored chicken and salsa.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Yields 2
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • pinch of salt to salt the chicken
  • 2 ½ tsp ancho chile seasoning
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan
  • juice of lime 1 large or 2 small (about 2-3 tbsp)
Tacos
  • flour or corn tortillas
  • sour cream
  • lettuce
  • hot sauce
  • cilantro
  • shredded Mexican cheese
Instructions
  • Salt the Chicken. Generously season the boneless skinless chicken breasts with salt either the night before or for at least 30 minutes so the salt can diffuse throughout the chicken.
    Refrigerate the chicken if salting more than an hour in advance; otherwise, leave it on the counter while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    If you are making fresh salsa, make it now and let it marinate in the juices until it’s time to serve the tacos.
    1 lb chicken breast, pinch of salt
  • Make Spice Blend. Add the ancho chile powder to a small bowl with the sweet paprika, oregano, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Toss to combine.
    2 1/2 tsp ancho chile seasoning, 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • Cook Chicken. Before you preheat the skillet, season the chicken with ancho chili spice blend on both sides.
    Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) to coat the pan.
    Place chicken on the skillet, and sear the chicken for 4-7 minutes (check at the 4-minute mark to see if the skin is brown). Flip the chicken over and reduce heat to medium to continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F.
    Add 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, flipping the chicken to coat the crispy skin. Remove from the pan, and either shred the chicken or cut it into pieces.
    2-3 tbsp olive oil, juice of lime
  • Assemble Taco & Enjoy. Heat a flour tortilla, add some sour cream and shredded romaine lettuce, and layer with chicken pieces, hot sauce, cilantro, and cheese before serving.
Course: Dinner, Entrees, Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired
Diet: Gluten Free
Nutrition Facts
Serving1gCalories225.04kcalCarbohydrates5.77gProtein25.19gFat10.88gSaturated Fat1.87gPolyunsaturated Fat1.5gMonounsaturated Fat6.22gTrans Fat0.01gCholesterol72.58mgSodium209.3mgPotassium484.6mgFiber1.04gSugar0.46gVitamin A536.26IUVitamin C1.54mgCalcium30.63mgIron1.45mg
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