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How to make chicken tacos with lime crema

Grilled chicken tacos with lime crema are an easy and delicious dinner. Served with tangy slices of pickled radishes, they’ll be the hit of your summer BBQ’s. Chicken thighs, seasoned and grilled are tucked inside of corn tortillas and drizzled with cumin crema sauce.

Chicken tacos with cumin lime crema, pickled radishes and avocado on white platter with wood background.

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Grilled chicken tacos with lime crema

Taco Tuesdays just got a little tastier. These grilled chicken tacos are super simple and FAST. Perfect for any day of the week, a taco bar, Cinco de Mayo or just because everyone loves tacos.

When I’m craving a taco, these are my go-to. I’ve made them for big events, for parties and for dinner at least a few dozen times.

Tacos with lime crema, avocado, pickled radish and chicken on butcher paper.

A great low carb option, other than simply omitting the tortillas, would be to turn this into a chicken taco salad.

Cumin lime crema

Cumin crema is brightened up with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice. A handful of ingredients make up this quick and easy sauce – Mexican crema, or sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and cumin. I also add salt and pepper to my sauce, but those are always a given.

Cumin lime crema for chicken tacos in silver bowl.

Why this recipe works

The chicken is just slightly spicy and the cooling lime crema balances the heat. The sweet and tangy pickled radishes add an unexpected zing and bring it all together.

This simple recipe is perfect for cooks of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or someone who has been cooking for decades, this recipe for tacos is easy enough to handle on a busy work night.

Grilled tacos in corn tortillas with lime crema.

In my (many) years of cooking professionally, I can tell you that chicken thighs are much harder to overcook than chicken breasts. Having a summer BBQ or cooking for a crowd? You’ll want thigh meat. It holds up better and will stay juicier longer.

  • Chicken thighs are fattier than chicken breasts making them juicier. That bit of fat in dark meat also means that it has more flavor and it won’t dry out as easily.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are marinated in a simple mixture to give them a ton of flavor.
  • It can be prepped ahead of time, saving you precious time during the week.

Making a taco bar? Set out all of the components for these chicken tacos with lime crema along with pumpkin tacos for a delicious alternative to meat.

How to make chicken tacos

The first step is getting the chicken into a marinade. Normally, I use granulated onion and granulated garlic, but for these thighs, I went with their fresh counterparts. After the chicken has marinated, grill it until it is cooked through, then let it rest.

Marinating chicken thighs in stainless steel bowl.

Slice the chicken thinly after it has cooled slightly and pile it into corn tortillas that you’ve warmed on the grill. Trust me, they taste much better than warming them in the microwave.

Add the lime crema, sliced avocado, pickled radishes and serve.

Tips and tricks for success

First, make sure you have all of your ingredients ready to go. You don’t want to get everything cooked and then realize that you forgot tortillas. It might sound silly, but if it’s happened to you, you know.

Let the chicken rest when it comes off of the grill. If you cut into meat right off the heat, the juices will run out. We want juicy chicken, not dry chicken, right?

Lastly, slice the chicken thinly. It makes for a better eating experience than thick slices that fall out of the taco.

Tacos with grilled chicken and cumin crema on butcher paper with limes and beer in background.

Chicken tacos Q & A

Here are a few answers to some common questions that I’ve received from readers.

How long to grill chicken thighs?

For average-sized chicken thighs, grill them over a moderately hot grill for 4 – 5 minutes per side.

Can I make these tacos if I don’t have a grill?

Yes! You can cook the chicken thighs in a hot pan on the stove. I prefer a cast iron pan because it gets super hot and you’re able to get a nice sear on the chicken. It’s as close as you can get without a grill. If you have a grill pan, you can use that too! Just remember to open a window, or the smoke alarm may cheer you on.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes. You can make everything ahead of time, including the chicken. Gently warm the chicken, covered, in the oven to reheat it. The cumin lime crema can be made a day or two ahead and the pickled radishes can be made weeks ahead.

There you have it – an easy and delicious recipe for grilled chicken tacos that you can enjoy anytime.

Grilled tacos with chicken and lime crema on butcher paper with avocados and beer in the background.

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Yield: 4 servings

Chicken tacos with lime crema

Chicken tacos with lime crema

Grilled chicken tacos with lime crema are a delicious and easy weeknight dinner that will please the whole family.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle or ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

Cumin lime crema

  • 4 ounces sour cream, or crema Mexicana
  • 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Tacos

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients for chicken together in a medium bowl. Let it marinate at least 30 minutes, if possible or up to 24 hours if making the night before.
  2. Heat grill to 400°F / 200°C.
  3. Grill chicken 4 - 5 minutes per side, remove from heat and set aside to rest.
  4. When chicken is cool enough to handle, thinly slice into strips.
  5. Add 2 ounces of chicken to each tortilla and top with sliced avocado, pickled radishes, cumin lime crema and extra lime.

Notes

Cumin lime crema can be made ahead of time. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

If marinating chicken the day before, remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling to allow chicken to come to room temperature.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

2 tacos

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 538Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 1462mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂

Questions? Send me an email, I’m happy to help. I’d love to send you weekly tips and recipes, so you can get updates about what’s happening in the kitchen!

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Originally published 5/4/12.

2 Comments

  1. Cheryl, thank you for sharing this delicious dish! The grilled chicken tacos with lime crema are a flavor explosion in your mouth that you will never forget.

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