Bursting with flavor cilantro lime chicken tacos, what better idea for a Taco Tuesday?
Chicken thighs in a spicy lime marinade, some added veggies and two choices of amazing taco sauces.
CHICKEN THIGH TACOS
OK, so I am overdoing it a little with that Taco Tuesday above! Truth is, I have never even heard of that until reading a little about tacos a few minutes ago…
I am not American, I have never been there, so there’s no way I could possibly know about that. But ever since being in this food blogging business, I got to learn a lot about the “American ways” so to say. 🙂
And about Mexican food, which is one of the best side effects of having a food blog. Mexican food is not particularly popular in Germany or Europe, not the way it is in the US.
So, except the tortillas filled with ground beef or the German version of chili con carne, I didn’t know much about Mexican food before.
Things changed, thank God! Mexican food is so amazing, I would hate missing it. So, from simple Mexican chicken soups to quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and so on, I have the feeling I am cooking one version or another of any Mexican recipe I happen to see lately.
For instance, we had these lime chicken thigh tacos yesterday evening and I’ve made quesadillas for lunch today. Children version with ham, cheese, green onions and tomatoes. Grown-up version with black lentils, avocado, leeks and cheese. So good, especially the second version!
And my family could not be happier, my son is the biggest fan! He always gets weird looks from other people when he talks about his favorite food: enchiladas! Most people I know have never even heard this word…
INGREDIENTS FOR LIME CHICKEN TACOS
Hard taco shells:
I’ve been making tortillas or tacos very often during the past years, but lately we have gotten into the habit of calling everything wrapped in soft tortillas – tortillas and whatever I serve in the hard shells – tacos.
So, when my son says that he would like to have tacos, I usually buy these hard taco shells.
Can I replace hard taco shells with tortillas?
Definitely, do use soft flour or corn tortillas instead, if you like. And if you are looking for a pretty amazing homemade tortilla recipe, follow the link. I’ve made those two weeks ago for my daughter’s birthday and they were a big hit!
I used chicken thighs for the cilantro lime chicken tacos, because when cooking chicken thighs I am sure that they will stay moist and juicy. And because I just happened to find some skinless, boneless chicken thighs to buy… That is not an easy task around here…
Can I use bone-in chicken thighs?
Sure, you can. Marinate the chicken as instructed and roast until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooking time will be longer.
Or you can check, by sticking a tooth pick in the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run clear, no pink allowed.
Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?
Of course, chicken breast is fine as well. But keep in mind that chicken breast will need a shorter time to cook, so don’t overdo it or the meat will be dry.
To go the safe way with chicken breast, use a kitchen thermometer, the internal temperature of the cooked chicken should be of 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
And, if you would like to cook the chicken breast on the stove, marinate the chicken in the same lime chicken marinade and cook it in the skillet as instructed in this recipe for Basic Skillet Chicken Breast. I can guarantee that chicken breast cooked that way will be juicy and delicious.
I needed 2 small limes for the lime chicken marinade. I usually try to buy organic limes (or lemons) when making a recipe where I need some of the citrus peel. Either way, make sure you wash the limes very well before zesting them.
I used an array of spices for the lime chicken tacos. And it is really worth it! The chicken was so flavorful and amazing!
So, to make the lime chicken marinade, you will need:
- olive oil
- limes (zest and juice)
- runny honey
- ground coriander
- sweet paprika powder
- cayenne pepper or red chili flakes to taste
- a touch of cinnamon
- some nutmeg
- fine sea salt
WHAT TO PUT IN TACOS?
- grated cheese – I use Gouda most of the times, but Cheddar or any other sort you like is fine.
- canned corn
- julienned carrots
- shredded lettuce
- fresh cilantro
- green onions
- preserved jalapenos – I can rarely find any fresh jalapenos and when I do, they are usually so excessively expensive, I let them be. However, if you happen to have fresh jalapenos, do use them.
What else to add to lime chicken tacos?
- raw or pickled red onions (leave out the green onions in this case)
- red bell pepper slices
- tomato slices
- red or green salsa
WHAT SAUCE FOR TACOS?
My regular sauce for these cilantro lime chicken tacos is a sour cream based sauce: sour cream + honey + garlic + pure ground chili/ cayenne pepper + lime juice + fine sea salt.
Alternatively, I make a Greek yogurt and tahini sauce, which – although less Mexican due to the use of tahini – is sooooo good and so fitting for the chicken thigh tacos.
To make the yogurt-tahini sauce, mix together: 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup Greek yogurt + 4 tablespoons tahini + 2 grated garlic cloves + fine sea salt. A dream of a sauce!
HOW TO MAKE LIME CHICKEN MARINADE?
- You can either mix the marinade and marinate the chicken thighs in a glass bowl or in a freezer bag.
- To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together and give the chicken to the bowl or freezer bag. Turn on all sides to coat and let marinade in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours.
- Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, to allow it to come to room temperature.
WHAT TO DO WITH TACO LEFTOVERS?
The simplest answer? A salad. Actually that will be my lunch today.
We had this lime chicken tacos again just yesterday (the pictures for this post were taken in June, but we had these chicken tacos about 6 times ever since) and there are some leftovers there.
No more chicken, but shredded lettuce, some corn, some red bell peppers and a few tablespoons of the sauce (the tahini sauce this time). I will mix all these ingredients in a bowl, add some onions and fresh tomatoes and half a can of beans. Perfect!
Instead of the beans, you can add chicken (if that is also leftover), some canned tuna or hard boiled eggs.
And if you also have some hard taco shells leftover (I have two), you can roughly crumble them over the salad.
PIN FOR LATER!
- Lime chicken marinade:
- 800 g/ 1.8 lb/ 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 limes
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or some chili flakes), to taste
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Sour cream sauce:
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 large garlic clove
- juice of ½ lime
- fine sea salt
- Yogurt tahini sauce:
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 2 garlic cloves
- fine sea salt
- Taco toppings:
- about 18 hard taco shells, more or less as needed (See note)
- 1 large carrot
- lettuce leaves
- corn from a can
- green onions
- jalapeno slices (from a jar or fresh)
- fresh cilantro leaves
- More toppings:
- tomatoes, red bell peppers, avocado, salsa, beans, guacamole, raw or pickled onions
Lime chicken marinade:
- Zest 1 lime and juice both limes. Grate the garlic. Give the lime zest and juice and the garlic to a bowl or to a freezer bag.
- Add the olive oil, honey, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano and salt. Stir well.
- Give the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal the freezer bag. Refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, so that the chicken can reach room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with baking paper or use a roasting tin.
- Give the contents of the bowl to the baking tray or roasting tin and roast for 25 – 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Either check the internal temperature, which should be of 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit or pierce the largest part of a chicken thigh, the juices should run clear.
In the meantime make one of the sauces and prepare the vegetables.
Sour cream sauce:
- Mix together the sour cream, honey, cayenne, grated garlic cloves, lime juice and salt.
- Mix together the Greek yogurt, well-stirred tahini, grated garlic clove and salt.
- Heat the hard taco shells in the oven or or the tortillas in a pan (according to packet's instructions). The hard taco shells usually need about 5 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Tortillas need about 30 seconds on each side in a pan, without oil.
- Shred the carrot.
- Shred the lettuce.
- Drain the corn.
- Finely slice the green onions.
- Finely chop the jalapenos.
- Finely chop the cilantro.
- Keep them separated in small serving bowls.
- Build the tacos and serve immediately.
Soft corn or flour tortillas can be used instead.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 3 tacos
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 581 Total Fat: 32g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 187mg Sodium: 564mg Carbohydrates: 39g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 37g