Tacos are a go-to meal for my family, everyone loves them and they are easy to customize to everyone’s tastes (lots of hot sauce for my husband, lots of cheese for me!). And tacos you can make in a hurry? Even better!
These tacos are by no means authentic in any way, just my own creation. But they are a bit spicy, a bit sweet, a bit saucy, and so, so delicious. They are topped with a creamy chipotle lime sauce, all of which can be made in 30 minutes. What’s not to love?
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30 Minute Chipotle Chicken Taco Ingredients
Most of the ingredients are what you would expect: chicken thighs, onion (sweet onion is great here!), lime juice, a bit of salt, a bit of sugar (this is optional, to round out the heat), plus some oil to cook the chicken. For the creamy chipotle lime sauce: mayo, Greek yogurt (or sour cream if you prefer), more lime juice and salt. (I know Greek yogurt may sound kind of strange, but it provides a nice extra bit of tanginess that I really like!)
The real star of the show here is canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce! The ones I used here are La Costena brand, but I’ve tried several brands and they are all good! If you’ve never used these before, they are readily available in most grocery stores and have a great smoky, spicy flavor. They also give the chicken a beautiful reddish orange hue.
This recipe calls for ¼ cup of the chipotles for the chicken. I think provides a nice medium-level spice (a bit of a burn, but fades quickly). If you like more or less heat, feel free to add more or less.
The creamy chipotle lime sauce also uses the adobo sauce the chiles are packed in, and again, feel free to tailor this to your own tastes.
How to Make 30 Minute Chipotle Chicken Tacos
This recipe is fast, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “easy.” It’s not hard, but you will be busy during most of the 30 minutes! (That’s how to get it done so fast!)
Pre Step: Heat Tortillas in Oven (Optional)
If you want to use the oven to warm up your tortillas, I have directions in the recipe notes down below. But now is a good time to preheat your oven for that!
Step One: Brown the Chicken (Plus Onion Prep!)
Ok, on to the cooking! The first step is to brown the chicken in a skillet. If your chicken isn’t cooked through at this point don’t worry. It will cook more later!
In my 30 Minute Stovetop Chicken Enchiladas post, I talked about the importance of working ahead for getting meals done fast. So again here, while the chicken is cooking, use that time to chop your onion!
Step Two: Brown the Onion
Once browned, remove your chicken from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Add your chopped onion to the already hot pan. Cook the onion for a few minutes until it takes on some color and begins to soften up.
Step Three: Blend Chipotle Cooking Sauce
Here is where the magic happens! And again, a perfect opportunity to use your stick (immersion blender). Take your browned onions and place them in a tall glass container. A 2 cup measuring cup like this one from Pyrex works well, or even a wide-mouth jar! Add in the chipotle peppers, lime juice, salt, sugar, and water and blend! If you don’t have a stick blender, just use a food processor or blender, it will work the same. I just love using the stick blender because it’s less cleanup.
Step Four: Chop the Chicken and Simmer
Go back to your chicken on the cutting board and chop it into small pieces. Add it back to the pan with the chipotle cooking sauce you just made, and simmer for 10 minutes. In that time, the sauce will reduce and thicken, going from this:
Step Five: Make the Creamy Chipotle Lime Sauce
Again, you have ten whole minutes free while the chicken is simmering. (But still keep an eye on the chicken and stir it occasionally!) Use this time to whisk together your creamy chipotle lime sauce. This step is super easy, just throw all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together.
Step Six: Enjoy Your Delicious 30 Minute Chipotle Chicken Tacos!
Once the chicken is done simmering and your creamy chipotle lime sauce is made, you’re all done! Just gather up your favorite toppings (I like cilantro, black beans, cheese, and shredded cabbage) and have yourself a taco party!Print
30 Minute Chipotle Chicken Tacos are spicy, a bit sweet, saucy and topped with a creamy chipotle lime sauce.
For chipotle chicken:
- 1 tbsp. neutral oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc.)
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 onion (preferably sweet onion)
- ¼ c. canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (for medium level heat, can add more or less depending on your taste)
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp. sugar (optional)
- ¼ c. water
- juice of 1 – 2 limes (depending on your taste and how juicy your limes are)
- warm corn or flour tortillas (see notes 1 – 2)
For creamy chipotle lime sauce:
- ⅓ c. mayo
- ⅓ c. plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ½ tsp. salt
- juice of ½ – 1 lime (depending on your taste and how juicy your limes are)
- 2 ½ tsp. liquid from can of chipotle peppers (see note 2)
- 1 tbsp. water
- lime wedges
- shredded cabbage
- black beans
- shredded cheese
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. While the pan is heating up, trim excess fat from chicken thighs if necessary and sprinkle chicken with salt on both sides.
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs. Cook the chicken on the first side for 3 – 4 minutes or until lightly browned, flip and cook for another 2 -3 minutes or until browned. While the chicken is cooking, chop the onion into roughly ½ inch pieces. When the chicken has browned on both sides, remove onto a cutting board and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion to the hot pan and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 3 minutes, or until slightly browned on edges and softened. When done cooking, turn off the heat but keep the pan on the stove.
- If you have a stick (immersion) blender: remove onion and place into a small, straight sided heat proof container (like a 2 cup glass measuring cup or wide-mouth jar). Or, place the onion in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
- To the container with the onion, add the remaining chipotle chicken ingredients (except tortillas). Blend until mostly smooth (ok if there is some texture in the sauce, it doesn’t need to be completely smooth).
- Chop the chicken into small pieces.
- Heat the same pan over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken and sauce into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the excess liquid has absorbed from the sauce and the chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking, whisk all the chipotle cream sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Serve with warm tortillas and toppings of your choice.
- You can warm your tortillas in the oven or microwave. If you want to use the oven, wrap tortillas in foil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees right before starting to cook. When the oven is preheated, place tortillas in the oven while you finish making the recipe. They should be warm by the time the chicken is ready to eat.
- If you want to use the microwave to heat the tortillas, wrap a stack of 6 (or less) in wet paper towels, place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. If they need more time, microwave for another 15 seconds. Microwaving should be done right before you are ready to serve the tacos.
- If you want more heat in your sauce, you can mince ½ to 1 whole chipotle pepper and add it to the sauce along with the juice.
Keywords: tacos, chicken, chipotle, lime