BBQ Chicken Tacos

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BBQ Chicken Tacos with charred tortillas are filled with tangy sauced chicken, a black bean-veggie mix, and the best creamy cilantro sauce.

Pair these tacos with an easy salad like this panzanella salad or this fruit salad recipe.

 

Up-close view of BBQ Chicken Tacos.

BBQ Chicken Tacos

BBQ Chicken tacos are loaded with flavor and texture. They’ve got a flavor-packed creamy cilantro sauce that serves dual purposes. First, it coats the cabbage base and then it gets drizzled over the finished tacos.

While it might seem like a lot of components go into these tacos, they’re surprisingly easy and quick to make. We rely on rotisserie chicken and packaged BBQ sauce. The veggie topping only requires chopping up two veggies (tomatoes and red onion). They get tossed with canned black beans and frozen corn (so quick!). And finally, the sauce takes a few minutes to assemble, but is fairly mindless — everything gets added to a blender and pulsed until smooth. The sauce can be made ahead of time and the veggies can be prepped in advance as well.

These tacos are also a great meal prep; store everything separately and assemble the tacos each day for lunch!

Overhead view of making the sauce for BBQ Chicken Tacos: put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

So, let’s break down the four main components to these tacos, starting with the tortillas.

Tortillas

I like corn tortillas best, but flour tortillas work well, too. When it comes to corn tortillas, I like Mission Extra Thin Yellow Corn Tortillas® best for these tacos (not sponsored).

And as far as flour tortillas go, the unbaked ones by TortillaLand® (or similar brands; not sponsored) are our favorite. You’ll find them in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, near the cheeses.

Whatever tortillas you chose to use, I recommend charring them. It does so much for the flavor and texture of the taco as a whole.

Here’s how I quick-char the tortillas: Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred and soft. Immediately fold the tortilla in half, so it will fold into a taco nicely later. Set aside.

Cilantro-lime sauce and cabbage

The sauce is the same on these shrimp tacos, which have been one of the most popular recipes on this website! I knew it would pair well with the veggies and BBQ chicken and was blown away by how good the combo is!

I also felt that with the shredded chicken and tender black beans, these tacos needed a bit of crunch. Enter: the cabbage! We love the green cabbage tossed in the sauce, but you can also use a broccoli slaw or kale slaw. Even a finely shredded romaine lettuce will work well on these BBQ chicken tacos.

Process shots: mix BBQ sauce and rotisserie chicken; assemble black beans, corn, tomatoes and onions; toss to combine.

BBQ Chicken

There are so many ways to prepare the BBQ chicken for these tacos, but I like using rotisserie chicken to keep these tacos on the easy, week-night-dinner side. 

Alternatively, I’d recommend grilling chicken breasts or thighs. To do this, add 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs to a large freezer bag with 1/3 cup BBQ sauce. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 4 hours. Grill the chicken (4-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness) until the chicken registers 160 degrees F (carryover heat will bring it to 165 degrees F). Let rest, thinly slice against the grain, and brush chicken pieces with more BBQ sauce (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup more).

As far as BBQ sauce goes, you can of course make your own, but again, I pick it up at the store, to keep these tacos simple. Use your favorite BBQ sauce; I love Stubb’s BBQ® or Baby Ray’s®.

Toppings

  • Avocado: We like a few thin slices of ripe avocado in each taco. If you’d prefer, make a quick guacamole by mashing the avocado with some salt, pepper, and lime juice. Spread this on before adding in the cabbage. Don’t love avocado or guac? Just leave it out!
  • Veggie salad: A can of drained and rinsed black beans, some frozen (and thawed) corn, chopped cherry tomatoes, and diced red onion make up this blend. If you have fresh corn on the cob, use that (simply cut it off the cob and add it in raw or grill it first). If you aren’t a fan of any of those ingredients, swap them out for a diced red bell pepper.
  • Cilantro: We love fresh cilantro and it pairs so well with the other flavors. You can finely chop some to top tacos with or leave it out if you aren’t a fan.
  • More sauce: Drizzle leftover cilantro-lime sauce over the BBQ chicken tacos and they’re ready to devour!

Close-up view of BBQ Chicken Tacos, with a bowl of barbecue sauce nearby.

QUICK TIP

If you have time, make the creamy cilantro-lime sauce in advance; it gets more and more flavorful as it sits! Plus with the sauce done, dinner assembly is a breeze!

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BBQ Chicken Tacos

5 from 1 vote
These BBQ Chicken Tacos with charred tortillas are filled with BBQ-sauced chicken, a black bean veggie mix, and the best creamy cilantro-lime sauce.
Print Recipe

BBQ Chicken Tacos

5 from 1 vote
These BBQ Chicken Tacos with charred tortillas are filled with BBQ-sauced chicken, a black bean veggie mix, and the best creamy cilantro-lime sauce.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq chicken tacos
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 -15 tacos
Calories 234kcal
Cost $7.81

Ingredients

Tacos

  • 2 cups (217g) rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup (118g) BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup (153g) chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup (39g) diced red onion
  • 1 can (15 oz.; 425g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (131g) frozen (and thawed) corn (or corn cut from a cob)
  • 12-15 small corn or flour tortillas
  • 3 cups (170g) shredded green cabbage
  • Optional: fresh cilantro, fresh limes, and 1 large avocado for serving
  • Optional: olive oil cooking spray

Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • 1 large lime (or 2 smaller ones) (3 tablespoons juice + 1/2 teaspoon zest)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a large bunch of cilantro (~1 loosely packed cup)
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper (~1 heaping tablespoon) (or use 1 full jalapeño for a spicier dressing)
  • 1/2 cup (111g) regular full-fat mayo
  • 1/2 cup (117g) sour cream (I use fat-free)

Instructions

  • SAUCE: Zest and juice 1 lime to get 3 tablespoons juice and 1/2 teaspoon zest. Add the juice and zest to a blender or mini food processor along with the minced garlic, cilantro, 1/2 of the seeded jalapeño (add more of the jalapeño for a spicier sauce; add slowly if you're worried about the heat), mayo and sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste and blend or pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • BBQ CHICKEN: Pull the chicken from the bones and shred or chop. Add the BBQ sauce and mix to combine. If the chicken is cold, warm it through in a skillet over low heat.
  • VEGGIES: In a large bowl, add in the chopped cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, drained and rinsed black beans, and corn. Toss to combine.
  • CABBAGE: Remove 1/2 a cup of the cilantro-lime sauce, and toss it with the shredded green cabbage to combine. Set aside.
  • TORTILLAS: Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and "grill" tortillas on stovetop over the open flame until slightly charred. Alternatively warm (covered with a damp paper towel) in the microwave. After tortillas have been warmed or charred, quickly fold them in half so they will fold easily when assembled.
  • ASSEMBLE: To the tortilla, add the dressed cabbage, a few spoonfuls of BBQ chicken, and a few spoonfuls of the veggies. If desired, add avocado and fresh cilantro to each taco. Drizzle with extra cilantro-lime sauce and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1taco | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 10.2g | Fat: 9.7g | Cholesterol: 19.8mg | Sodium: 497.8mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5.5g

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