Homemade rolled chicken tacos are so much easier to make than you might think. In just a few easy steps, you’ll have golden, crispy delicious tacos that are so much better than fast food or frozen tacos. And healthier too. These are meant to remind you of the Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Tacos that you remember but are so hard to come by because of Taco Bell making them a special and short-term menu item.
2 Chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin on
Shredded Mexican Cheese
Corn Tortilla Shells
How To Make Rolled Chicken Tacos Filling
There are several ways the meat can be cooked for the rolled chicken tacos filling. However, for this post, we have chosen to grill the meat and take advantage of the beautiful spring day. It can be baked, pan fried, slow cooked in the crockpot, and the easiest way would be to just pick up a rotisserie chicken that is already prepared, at your local grocery store. Whatever cooking method you choose, we’ve included instructions for you below.
The same is true for the cut of chicken you choose to use for this recipe. Breast, thighs, legs, a whole chicken, each one will work. Some people don’t like to pick through bones and opt to use a breast and that’s fine. Our preference for this recipe is to use 2 thigh quarters, with skin on, because they include brown meat that is tasty and quite juicy, and they are so delicious when cooked on the grill.
Using a gas or charcoal grill, heat to about 400F and place the chicken directly on the grill rack. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, or until the edges appear to be getting done. Flip the chicken and allow it to cook for about 30 more minutes. Check the internal meat temperature at the thickest part with a meat thermometer; the meat is done when the internal temperature reaches 165F. The key with grilling meat is to flip it as little as possible. This will create a crispy golden crust on the outside and delicious juicy meat on the inside.
Using a crockpot is another good solution for cooking meat for this recipe. This allows the meat to maintain its moistness and a good flavor. And the thing about using a slow cooker is that it always feels like it’s effortless. Using a slow cooker, however, will not allow you to achieve the charred, crispy outside like the grill. If your meat is thawed, cook on low for about 4 hours, until well done; longer if frozen.
Using rotisserie chicken is also a nice option. Because why not just go to the local grocery store and pick up a whole chicken that is already cooked. They’re so moist and flavorful. If you can find ways to spend less time in the kitchen, why not! Go for it!
They key to baking chicken is to make sure that the pan you’re using is covered. You can use a lid or foil. Also, you might add a bit of moisture to the pan such as a tbsp of olive oil or 2 tbsp of water, to help keep the meat from drying out. That is the biggest challenge when baking meat in the oven. If using 2 leg quarters with skin on and bone in, cook in a covered pan for 1 hour at 400F, or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
Pan Fried Chicken
Pan frying chicken with a little olive oil is also an option. If using a chicken cut that can be cut into pieces, this will help it to cook more quickly. Cook well until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Once the cooking is completed, chicken should be pulled apart as shreds or diced as small pieces.
2 chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin on
2 pounds shredded Mexican cheese
30 corn tortilla shells, 6”
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp taco seasoning
sour cream, for dipping
salsa, for dipping
guacamole, for dipping Olive oil for cooking
1. Cook chicken completely, using one of the preferred methods above, until the internal temperature at the thickest part reaches 165F. For this recipe, we are using grilled chicken leg quarters.
2. Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes. Read our article about why resting meat is important.
3. Shred or dice meat, using a sharp knife, into small pieces. Discard bones.
4. Place meat in a mixing bowl and add 2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp taco season. Stir to mix well.
5. Place a corn tortilla on a smooth surface and on one side, add a spoon full of chicken, some shredded Mexican cheese. Gently roll the tortilla shell as tight as possible without ripping.
6. Heat frying pan, with a little olive oil in the bottom, on medium high heat. Place rolled tacos in the pan with seam side down.
7. Continue frying, turning them regularly so that they become golden brown on all sides.
8. Serve hot with sour cream, salsa or guacamole as dipping sauces.
9. And as always, enjoy!
Top Tips And Questions:
Can I Bake Rolled Chicken Tacos Instead Of Frying Them?
Yes. Rolled chicken tacos can certainly be baked instead of fried. You might choose to do this as a healthier option, or maybe you prefer to save those calories for dipping in sour cream instead. Whatever your reason, to proceed with baking, place them in 1 layer on a baking sheet and place in a 400F oven for about 10-15 minutes, until golden and crispy.
What Should You Serve With Rolled Chicken Tacos?
We like to serve rolled chicken tacos as a homemade Mexican dish. There is no right or wrong as far as what should be served, but here are a few of our favorites:
Diced fresh tomatoes
Can I Make Rolled Chicken Tacos Ahead?
Yes. You can make rolled chicken tacos ahead. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can prepare them thoroughly ahead of time as noted in the recipe above, or you can prepare them to the point of frying/baking the rolled tacos and save that last step so that they are fresher when serving, and fried/baked at that time.
How Do I Reheat Rolled Chicken Tacos?
If rolled chicken tacos have already been totally cooked, the best way to reheat them is to pop them back in the frying pan with a bit of olive oil. Or you can stick them in the oven for 5 minutes at 400F, until they are warmed through. Reheating them in the microwave just makes them soggy.
Can I Freeze Rolled Chicken Tacos?
Yes. You can freeze rolled chicken tacos for up to 4 months. The best to freeze them is to place them in a Ziploc freezer bag and smoosh out all the air, zipping them shut.
Have you made this recipe? Leave us a star review in the comments below. What is your favorite thing about rolled chicken tacos?
Share on Pinterest!
This is a recipe I came up with to replicate the real thing.