Baked chicken tacos are THE perfect taco night recipe. Quick and oh-so-easy, hard taco shells are stuffed with seasoned, shredded chicken, refried beans, tangy salsa, and shredded cheese, then baked until warm, melty, and deliciously crunchy.
🌮 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Baked chicken tacos are maybe the perfect taco night recipe. You’ve got a taco filling made of juicy shredded chicken mixed with refried beans, salsa, sauteed onions, and taco seasoning. That filling’s stuffed into crispy, crunchy hard taco shells and topped with zesty shredded cheese. The tacos then go into the oven for 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is nice and melty, and the taco shells are extra crunchy. The whole process is quick and easy, and in roughly half an hour you’ve got delicious tacos that everyone’ll be excited about!
- This recipe’s not spicy at all, but you can make it spicy if you want! In fact, you can customize your chicken tacos any way you like… even by replacing the chicken with ground beef or turkey! Add your favorite toppings. Use pepperjack instead of Mexican-style cheese. Black beans or pinto beans. Chunky salsa or pineapple salsa or salsa verde or roasted salsa. Anything goes!
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- As-written, this recipe delivers some pretty crunchy taco shells, if I do say so myself. You can make them even crunchier, though, if you want! Arrange the taco shells upright in the baking pan. Before you fill them with the chicken mixture, pop the empty taco shells in the oven for 2-3 minutes or so. After that, you can fill them and bake them as written below!
- You’re welcome to use any salsa you like, regardless of flavor, brand, heat level, etc. If you don’t want to chance soggy taco shells, I recommend using a chunkier salsa rather than one that’s really thin and liquidy. Some of the liquid will evaporate as you simmer the filling on the stove, though, so don’t worry about it too much!
- Baked chicken tacos are a great way to use up leftover chicken (especially if it was neutrally-seasoned) but honestly, I prefer using rotisserie chicken for something like this. You can buy it already completely cooked, so literally all you need to do is shred it. How easy is that?? If you’d rather cook chicken specifically for these tacos, that’s totally fine, too! Our sister site has a fantastic recipe and method for the best shredded chicken ever and it’s perfect for tacos!
🥘 More Baked Dishes We Love
- Mango Habanero Wings
- Salmon Tacos
- Seafood Baked Potato
- Whole30 Everything Bagel Chicken
- Oven-Baked Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
- Baked Ziti Pasta
For the Baked Chicken Tacos
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil avocado oil, olive oil, etc.
- ½ cup diced white onion
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken see Notes
- 8 ounces refried beans black or pinto; half of one can
- 1 cup salsa any variety
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning store-bought or make your own
- 10 hard taco shells
- 2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese blend
Suggested Toppings (All Optional)
- diced cilantro
- sliced avocado or guacamole
- sour cream
- Large skillet
- large wooden spoon or silicone spatula
- 9×13 baking pan
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Add 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil to large skillet and place skillet on stovetop over medium heat. Tilt and swirl skillet occasionally to distribute oil across entire surface, and continue heating skillet until oil is hot and shimmery.
- When oil is hot, add ½ cup diced white onion to skillet. Stir to incorporate, then sauté onions 3 minutes or until softened.
- Once onions have softened, add 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken, 8 ounces refried beans, 1 cup salsa, and 1 tablespoon taco seasoning to skillet. Stir ingredients together until well incorporated, with seasoning fully absorbed.
- Simmer taco filling mixture over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning, until mixture is warmed through. When filling is warm, reduce heat under skillet to very low.
- Arrange 10 hard taco shells upright in baking pan, positioning shells to remain upright during baking.
- Spoon equal amounts of filling mixture into each taco shell, being careful not to break or split shells.
- Divide 2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese blend evenly, then top each filled taco with cheese.
- Place baking pan in preheated oven. Bake tacos 6 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and edges of taco shells are golden brown.
- When tacos are ready, carefully remove pan from oven and set aside. Let tacos cool slightly, then add preferred toppings if desired and serve warm.
- Shredded Chicken: Rotisserie chicken works great here, or you can use any leftover chicken you have on hand (as long as the flavors work!). If you want to cook chicken specifically for these tacos, use this recipe and method for the best shredded chicken ever.
- Taco Shells: This recipe uses prepared crunchy taco shells. It won’t work with flat flour tortillas or flat corn tortillas. You can use regular hard taco shells or use the ones that are flat on the bottom so they stand up more easily.
- Make it Dairy Free: Replace the shredded cheese with a similar dairy-free cheese.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten-free crunchy taco shells and make sure your salsa, taco seasoning, beans, and cheese don’t contain any hidden gluten.
- Make it Vegetarian: Omit the chicken entirely or replace it with a vegan chicken substitute.
- Make it Vegan: Omit the chicken entirely or replace it with a vegan chicken substitute. Replace the shredded cheese with a similar dairy-free cheese.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.