These juicy, tender Chicken Street Tacos are perfect for your next taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo party. Chicken is marinated in a garlicky, citrus marinade, then grilled to juicy perfection.
Serve these chicken street tacos with a pico de gallo and thinly shredded red cabbage slaw for vibrant colors and crunch, or pair with your favorite taco toppings, like Restaurant Style Salsa and Guacamole.
When it comes to summer appetizers, these chicken tacos are at the top of my list. They are so delicious, easy to customize, and the meat is so flavorful and juicy. I love serving them for big parties and get-togethers because they make a great snack but can be easily made into a meal.
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What Are Street Tacos?
Mexican street tacos are mini tacos, often sold off of street carts in Mexico. While they can include various toppings, the most common is a simple mixture of cilantro and onions, with a squeeze of lime juice.
When I make this Chicken Street Tacos recipe as appetizers at a party, I’ll often set out various toppings for guests to decide for themselves what to include in their chicken tacos.
Ingredients For Chicken Street Tacos
- Chicken Breast – I use the boneless, skinless kind for street tacos, but you can also use boneless chicken thighs. It will be marinated and grilled so it’s nice and juicy.
- Mexican Chicken Marinade – Cilantro, Garlic, Lime juice, Olive oil. You can also add other spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano.
- Pico de Gallo (for topping) – Roma tomatoes, cilantro, yellow onion, jalapeno (seeds and membranes removed), lime juice.
- Cabbage Slaw (for topping) – Red cabbage (shredded), sour cream, lime juice, cilantro.
- Guacamole – Already prepared; I usually find this in the produce section of the grocery store. Of course, you can make a quick guac with mashed avocado, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Corn Tortillas – I prefer the white corn tortillas for this taco recipe, because they are a little softer. You want the street taco size, although you can use any size you like. Flour tortillas can be used, but they don’t stay soft and are usually much larger.
How To Make Chicken Street Tacos
There are a few simple steps, but nothing complicated. You can prepare the toppings a few hours in advance, or shortly before serving.
Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.
- Marinate the chicken. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag and lightly pound them so they’re of even thickness. Add lime juice, oil, cilantro, and garlic to the bag and marinate in the fridge for 1-4 hours.
- Grill the chicken. If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan or cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Set out the chicken to come to room temperature while you preheat the grill to medium heat (350-400℉), then grill the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165℉.
- Cut up chicken and assemble tacos. Dice chicken into chunks and serve in warmed tortillas, topped with slaw and pico.
Street Taco Toppings
There is some debate as to what makes a good taco topping, especially when you’re talking about mini tacos like these. Traditionally, these include only meat, onions, and cilantro. But you can also include some other fun toppings.
- Pico de gallo: Dice tomatoes and onion, seed and dice jalapeno, roughly chop cilantro, and squeeze lime juice. Mix this all together in a medium bowl with some salt and pepper.
- Cabbage slaw: Combine shredded cabbage, sour cream, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Cheese: Shred some cheddar, jack, or crumble cotija cheese.
- Other toppings: Lettuce, sour cream, diced tomatoes, avocado.
Chicken tenderloins work really well too. Just trim away the white tendon with kitchen shears first. These should marinade for just one hour, and will cook in 6-9 minutes total. Chicken tenders are less expensive than breasts, and are more forgiving (if you accidentally overcook it a bit it’ll still be tender).
Want to make these street tacos into a complete meal? Serve them with Mexican rice, refried beans, or a yummy corn salad. They complement our Mexican Shrimp Cocktail really well.
To bake instead of grill – preheat the oven to 400, place chicken on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear.
Set out tacos on a platter with various toppings, like salsa and sour cream, or cilantro and onions. Guests can add their own desired toppings.
Create a taco bar – Set out tortillas, meat, pico, cabbage slaw, and other various toppings. Let guests or party-goers make their own tacos with all their favorite toppings.
- Store leftover chicken and pico de gallo in an airtight container or bag in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Chicken can easily be reheated in a pan on the stove. Add a small splash of water, put a lid on, and then heat on medium until warmed through.
- The cabbage slaw is best prepared and served same day.
- When choosing chicken breast, find the smallest, most pink chicken breasts you can. Typically these will be organic, and will not have any saline solution/broth injected into them.
- This chicken is very versatile and can be used for tacos, burritos, taco salads or as a main with a side of rice and veggies.
- Find limes that have a smoother skin and are slightly soft to the touch. These will produce more juice. Gently roll it around on the counter with a little pressure to break up the membranes inside the lime, giving you more available juice.
- I highly recommend charring your tortillas on the grill or on the stovetop.
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes
Grilled Chicken Street Tacos
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 limes juiced, divided
- 4 roma tomatoes seeded and finely diced
- ¼ cup yellow onion minced
- 1 jalapeno membrane and seeds removed, minced
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- Canola or vegetable oil for grilling and marinade
- Prepared guacamole for serving
- 24 street taco size white corn tortillas
- Place chicken breast in a gallon size zip top bag. Pound to ½” thin with the smooth side of a meat mallet, or heavy rolling pin.
- Roughly chop half of the cilantro. Very finely mince the other half. Set aside.
- Add to the bag with the chicken: juice of 1 lime, the garlic, all of the finely minced cilantro, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a splash of oil. Work marinade into chicken. Marinade in the fridge for 1-6 hours.
- Make the pico de gallo: Combine the tomatoes, half of the roughly chopped cilantro, juice of ½ the second lime, the yellow onion, jalapeno, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Make the slaw: Combine the shredded cabbage, sour cream, half of the roughly chopped cilantro, juice of ½ the second lime, a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Remove chicken from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. Preheat the grill (or indoor cast iron grill pan) to medium. Remove chicken from marinade and gently pat off excess moisture with clean paper towel. Grill for 3-5 min on the first side. Flip and grill for another 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through. An instant read thermometer should read 165℉. Remove chicken and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Once rested, chop chicken into small chunks, serve right away with slaw, pico de gallo, and guacamole.