This shredded chicken tacos recipe is nutritious and super delicious! Both the chicken and salsa are easily cooked on the stove and ready in 30 minutes! Plus this recipe has a secret trick using the leftover chicken juice so that nothing goes to waste!
Shredded chicken tacos are one of the easiest tacos to make! If you’re just starting to cook and want to make your own tacos, this is a good first choice. For those cooks more seasoned, the green salsa or “tomatillo” salsa will be the perfect accompaniment to your tacos.
When I first started making my own salsa, I used to struggle with the measurements! Either my salsa had too much liquid or it was too chunky. Not good! This recipe is truly a family recipe, tested many times, with measurements that are so easy to follow.
In just 30 minutes, you will now have authentic Mexican shredded chicken tacos perfect for family and friends that is way healthier than store bought tacos and salsa.
This post will go over everything you need to know to create this shredded chicken tacos recipe.
Recipe difficulty: Beginner to moderate (but don’t worry, the measurements provided will totally steer you through this cooking journey)
These stovetop shredded chicken tacos are packed with so much flavor with just basic ingredients! Topping these tacos with the homemade green salsa really takes it up a notch, and will have cooks learning the art of salsa to make in their own kitchen.
Sam’s Pro Tips for this Shredded Chicken Tacos Recipe
How to Cook the Chicken
- Why do you boil the chicken? So in this recipe we boil the chicken in water, onion, garlic, and salt for 30 minutes while we are making the salsa. This is super easy to do, and honestly provides a time frame to complete your salsa in. By boiling the chicken in the herbed water, the chicken stays moist and juicy. Dry chicken is the worst! I really like this option as there is no need to add chicken broth (you’re literally creating the broth in the pot) and is very simple to do.
- Can I use my instant pot or crock pot to shred my chicken? Yes! This is also an option, but make sure you follow the directions for your own appliances. For example, for my instant pot, it says to pressure cook on high for 12 minutes one pound of frozen chicken breasts with 2 cups water or chicken broth. If following my recipe below, be sure to add the onion, garlic, and salt to flavor the water. Store bought chicken broth has so much salt that I always prefer to use herbed water when cooking chicken.
- Remember, tomatillos release water when cooked. When you’re adding the ingredients to the pot for the salsa, you may be thinking is this really all the water I need? Yes! When tomatillos cook, all the juice inside starts to be released. One cup of water is all you need to get the perfect consistency for your salsa.
- Cut the stems off the jalapenos and tomatillos after its boiled. This is a trick I learned after I remember complaining to my family that the peppers really burned my hands and made my nose runny. Geez I felt like such a baby! A trick I learned is to cut the stems off the peppers after its boiled, before transferring to the blender. Totally makes sense! If you think about it, it’s advised to leave the root on when cutting an onion to avoid crying. It’s the same concept with the jalapenos and the tomatillos!
- Bonus Tip- Save the leftover chicken juice after boiled! A good cook leaves nothing to waste! Once the chicken is done boiling, remove the chicken with some of the garlic to shred. That leftover juice in the pan is perfect for cooking your rice if you would like some on the side. All you do is sauté the rice with olive oil in a non-stick pan and pour the juice from the pot used to boil the chicken into the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes or less. So flavorful!
Key Ingredients – Shredded Chicken Tacos Recipe
Below are some key ingredients for this recipe:
- Chicken breast: Literally, all I use is 1 pound chicken breast! Nothing fancy or gourmet so any type will work!
- Tomatillos: This is what helps create your spicy shredded chicken tacos because of your salsa. Don’t worry, the spice level can be adjusted depending on how many jalapenos are used. In the stores, I have seen them called green tomatoes. Don’t get confused, tomatillos don’t taste like a tomato. These babies are the main ingredient to your salsa, and is a common item in Mexican dishes.
- Jalapenos: I only used 2 big jalapenos in this recipe. That was plenty to add spice to this salsa! We also didn’t remove the seeds when we blended the jalapenos together with the other ingredients, which also increases the spice level.
- Onion and garlic: Each are used in both the salsa and the shredded chicken. Its used when both pots are boiling and will flavor the water. The chicken is shredded with the garlic for added flavor. In the Pro Tips section above, I also shared a trick for using the leftover chicken juice with the onion and garlic to cook your rice on the side.
- Cilantro: Herbs are delicate! The cilantro doesn’t get boiled in with the other ingredients for your salsa. Once the ingredients for the salsa is done boiling, it will be transferred to the blender where the cilantro can be added. Don’t worry about chopping the cilantro as it will get mixed right in. This really adds a level of freshness to the salsa and adds to the vibrant green color.
- Tortillas: Traditionally, corn tortillas are used when making tacos. When heating your tortillas on the griddle, you can add a drizzle of olive oil for added flavor or heat as is. We like the Trader Joe’s corn tortillas made from stone ground corn.
More Variations to this Recipe
There are a few ways you can variate this shredded chicken tacos recipe. Here’s how:
- Add different toppings to your tacos: I like to keep my tacos really simple as there is already a lot of flavor in the chicken and salsa. We like to top our tacos with diced onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and avocado. That’s it! Of course, you can add some Oaxaca cheese or even sour cream. However, the simple tacos are really the best! Make sure when plating to add some of these toppings and the salsa on the side for friends that might want extra.
- What can I pair with this dish? You have so many options with these easy shredded chicken tacos. Flavored rice is a good option, see the Pro Tips section above, or black beans on the side. You can even keep it simple with tortilla chips to dip in your tomatillo salsa. If you would like some vegetables, try our Spiced Honey Glazed Carrots Recipe with Pecans, as the sweetness of the carrots will be a nice pairing to the salsa.
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If you loved this salsa recipe, don’t miss our Quick and Easy Authentic Chile Verde Recipe That is So Tender for your next go-to meal!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to make a shredded chicken tacos recipe without a crockpot?
You can boil the chicken for 30 minutes with water, onion, garlic, and salt. After boiling, shred the chicken with the garlic.
Can you buy shredded chicken?
You can buy shredded chicken as a time save. However, by boiling the chicken with the onion and garlic beforehand, the chicken will get some additional flavor.
What’s green salsa made of?
Tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, garlic, cilantro, and salt are used to make green salsa.
Is green salsa more spicy?
The spice level of a salsa varies, but will depend on the amount of peppers put in.