Easy chicken tacos with a delicious corn and avocado topping!
My love of Mexican street corn (elotes) is definitely not a secret here on the blog. I’ve used those flavors in a pasta salad, burrito bowls, and a healthier quinoa salad and now I’m sharing these street chicken tacos “Mexican street corn” style!
These easy chicken tacos are addicting! I’ve made them many times now and the whole family gives them a huge thumbs up. They’re simple to make, filling, healthier than most tacos, and best of all they’re packed with amazing flavors.
The tacos start with tortillas (corn or flour) and they’re filled with seasoned chicken, topped with a Mexican-street corn inspired salsa (corn, green onions, cilantro, spices), and garnished with cheese, fresh avocado, and fresh lime. The finishing touch? An easy chili-lime sauce. It might sound like a lot, but I promise these come together quickly and efficiently! Not to mention the effort is well worth the reward 🙂
Of course we’ve got the corn and avocado topping I’ve talked about a few times, but beyond that, there are lots of options to add! Our favorites: Cotija cheese, fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, and jalapenos. Some other ideas: cilantro-lime rice (or quinoa) (add right in the tacos), black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, etc. If you don’t like/don’t have Cotija cheese you could also use Queso Fresco.
As far as the corn topping for these tacos: there are a couple of options for the corn in this salad. One is going to authentic route and grilling the corn until lightly charred all over. If you have a grill and the extra time, I would highly recommend going this route — it is incredible what freshly grilled corn does for these tacos! The other options are easier and less time consuming which I know a lot of you are a fan of (including me 99% of the time!). Option #1: buy pre-roasted canned corn (near regular canned corn in the grocery store) and use 2 cans of that drained. Option #2: buy just regular canned corn and roast it for a few minutes on the stovetop. 🙂 Once the corn is grilled and cooled, you’ll toss it with fresh green onions and fresh cilantro, add some lime juice and cumin and then spoon it right over the sliced chicken. You can also add an avocado to this corn mixture which is what we love to do 🙂 If you aren’t a fan of avocado, feel free to leave it off entirely!
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Easy chicken tacos with a delicious corn and avocado topping!
- 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice + 1 teaspoon lime zest (1 large or 2 small limes)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 (15 ounces) can fire-roasted corn OR 2 large cobs of corn (fresh is best if available!)
- 1 large avocado, chopped
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
- 12 small (street-sized) Tortillas (flour or corn)
- Optional: Cotija or Queso Fresco Cheese, black beans, additional lime wedges/juice & cilantro
- 1/2 cup full fat regular mayo
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
Trim the chicken breasts of fat and pound them to even thickness to ensure even grilling. You can also slice them evenly in half widthwise for a quicker grill. Place the prepared chicken in a large ziplock bag and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, minced garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and salt + pepper (I use about a teaspoon of each). Once the mixture is well combined, remove 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture and reserve for later.
Add the rest of the marinade in the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag and then knead with your hands to ensure all of the chicken is well coated. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 45 minutes and preferably 2-3 hours. Don't marinate longer than 5 hours.
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F.) Generously oil the grill (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates. Don't skip this step.) Husk the corn and rub olive oil over the corn. Sprinkle the corn lightly with salt and pepper. Place the corn on one half of the grill.
Remove chicken from marinade and discard remaining marinade. Grill the chicken (on the other half of the grill) turning once halfway through grilling, about 4-6 minutes per side (until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F.). Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade as you grill and after flipping. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes so the juices can re-distribute. Thinly slice the breasts. As you baste the chicken, flip the corn too. Remove the corn when grilled to your liking (about 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes) (Alternative corn preparation: see note)
In the last 2 minutes of grilling, add the flour or corn tortillas to the grill. Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray, lightly sprinkle with salt, and then place on the grates for 30-45 seconds, flip and leave on for another 30-45 seconds. Remove and immediately fold into taco shape and set aside to slightly cool.
Allow grilled corn to cool and then slice it off the cob. Toss the grilled corn with the chopped avocado, thinly sliced green onions, finely chopped cilantro, and finely chopped jalapeno. Add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice (optional) and toss together. Set aside.
For the sauce: whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Taste and adjust to personal preference (additional salt, pepper, sriracha, etc.)
Fill up the grilled/warmed tortillas with thinly sliced cooked chicken, a generous spoonful of the corn-avocado mixture, and a good spoonful of the sauce. Additionally add extra lime juice, cilantro, and/or cotija cheese. Enjoy!
Alternative #1: use pre-roasted canned corn -- drain and allow to dry. Alternative #2: use regular canned corn: heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes or until very hot. Drain corn and place in a single layer and cook for about 5 minutes stirring once in between or until browned. Avoid stirring too often as this will keep the corn from getting a good roast.