These amazing Grilled Chicken Tacos are loaded with avocado cream sauce, salsa, cotija, and fresh herbs for a flavorful dinner everyone will love.
Grilling Chicken for Tacos
Versatile tacos are great because you can make them out of anything convenient… But GRILLED Chicken Tacos?! These are not great, they are amazing. The marinade and grilling process adds such a fantastic flavor, you won’t ever want to go back to your seasoning-packet-in-a-skillet tacos ever again.
In addition to the delicious marinade, this recipe includes a creamy avocado sauce to really push it to first place! The spicy seasoning, acidic salsa, cool avocado cream, and tangy cotija cheese all come together to create beautifully complex flavors you’ll love. Fresh herbs and shredded cabbage give you the aromatic finish and crunchy texture, too.
Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Tacos
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe. For exact measurements, keep scrolling down to the printable recipe card below.
- Chicken thighs – These should be boneless and skinless for the easiest, quickest cook. Replacing with breast may result in longer cooking times and chicken that is more dry.
- Marinade – Oil (olive, avocado, or your favorite), honey, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, lime juice and zest. The honey could be replaced with a sugar-free maple syrup if you’re low-carb.
- Avocado cream – Avocados, sour cream, fresh cilantro, garlic powder, lime juice, and salt.
- Small corn tortillas – You can use flour tortillas if you prefer, but we love the flavor of the corn tortillas with the spices and avocado cream.
- Toppings: These are optional, but we love having shredded cabbage, salsa, fresh cilantro, and crumbled cotija cheese
How to Make Grilled Chicken Tacos
This simple recipe packs a ton of flavor into a simple, quick meal. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making these smokey, juicy grilled tacos.
Mix together marinade ingredients in a large bowl or bag, then add chicken. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours (but no more than 18-24 as the texture can get a bit iffy).
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from your bowl or bag and discard the marinade. Cook chicken on the grill for 10 minutes, then flip and grill another 5 minutes or so. Once the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees, remove from the grill. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes, then slice.
Make avocado cream sauce
While chicken is cooking, place all avocado cream sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and set aside. If you’d like to make this a little healthier, you could swap out the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt.
Assemble & serve
Place the tortillas on the grill or in a pan until warm and easily pliable. Assemble tacos by piling the chicken, cabbage, salsa, cilantro, cotija cheese, and avocado cream sauce.
These tacos are best served fresh or at least nice and warm. If serving potluck style, you could place grilled chicken in a slow cooker and allow guests to build tacos themselves. Additional toppings like red onions, taco or enchilada sauce, pepper jack cheese, black beans, smoked queso, or corn would be fantastic, too.
More sides for chicken tacos:
- Easy Corn Fritters
- Sweet Corn Salsa
- Fajita Veggies
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Homemade Pineapple Salsa
STORAGE & REHEATING
- FRIDGE – Grilled chicken can be stored in the fridge up to 3-4 days. The avocado cream will stay fresh for 2 days in the fridge, but after that it begins to turn brown. All components should be kept in airtight containers separately, then tacos should be assembled when ready to eat.
- FREEZER – You can freeze cooked chicken up to 6 months. If possible, leave thighs whole when freezing–This will help them stay moist during reheating. The avocado cream sauce will not retain its flavor or texture, so it’s best to make this fresh.
- REHEAT – Chicken can be microwaved (preferably 50% power, 45-second bursts) for the quickest results. For a crowd, reheat on 350 degrees F covered until warmed through. To keep thighs as juicy as possible, add a tablespoon or so of water or broth to the pan when reheating.
Tips for the BEST Grilled Chicken
- While marinating isn’t absolutely necessary, I do highly (highly!) recommend it. Grilling over the open flames may cause meat to dry out quicker, so marinating ensures that the chicken comes out as juicy as possible.
- If you don’t have long to marinate the chicken, consider brushing the chicken with the marinade mixture occasionally while it’s cooking on the grill. This won’t be as affective as marinating, but it will add additional flavor!
- Chicken thighs are best cooked on medium high, and this generally is considered between 375 and 450 degrees F. I grilled my chicken on 400 degrees F on my Traeger. This helps get a great char on the outside while also cooking the thigh all the way through.
If you love these chicken tacos, you’ll love these delicious Mexican food recipes
- Chicken Quesadilla – This is a Taco Bell copycat recipe that’s even better because you can load it up with tons of filling! This jalapeno cream sauce is amazing.
- Green Chili Chicken – This is an easy low-effort meal prep recipe that is great for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and more. (It makes an amazing Chicken Taco Crescent Ring, too!)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup – SO easy, and using canned goods means you don’t even have to spend time chopping for prep work!
- Chicken Fajitas – These flavorful fajitas are amazing with the tender peppers and juicy chicken! The leftovers make great lunches or breakfast omelets, too.
- Keto Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas – This is such a great comfort food recipe! You can skip the tortillas completely by wrapping the filling with deli chicken instead!
Grilled Chicken Tacos
- 1 ½ lbs chicken thighs boneless/skinless
- 8 small corn tortillas
- Shredded cabbage
- Crumbled cojita cheese
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp honey or sugar-free maple syrup for low-carb
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 lime juiced and zested
Avocado Cream Sauce:
- 2 large avocados
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup cilantro loosely packed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 lime juiced
- ½ tsp salt
- Place chicken and marinade ingredients in a large bowl or zip-lock bag and toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 8 hours.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill. Cook chicken for 10 minutes, then flip and grill another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for about 5 minutes, then slice.
- Meanwhile, place the avocado cream sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and set aside.
- Warm the corn tortillas in a pan or on the grill.
- Assemble tacos with the warmed tortillas, chicken, shredded cabbage, salsa, cilantro, cojita cheese, and avocado cream sauce.
- You can sub in plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a healthier avocado cream sauce.
- Marinading isn’t essential but provides a lot more flavor for the chicken.
- I grilled the chicken on my Traeger at 400 degrees.
- Store the cream sauce for up to 2 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. After that, it starts to turn brown. Store sliced chicken for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Other great toppings: lettuce, avocado, Mexican cheese, hot sauce, red onion, refried beans, black beans, etc.