Fun and tasty twist on taco night with my delicious crispy chicken tacos! Chicken and fajita vegetables are slow-cooked until tender, then stuffed into tortillas with lots of melty cheese. The tacos are pan-fried in more cheese creating a crispy cheese crust on the outside! You're going to love it! Serve with an easy yet delicious avocado crema that comes together in just 5 minutes. Instructions are also included for the Instant Pot.
Have you heard of birria tacos? Everyone's been obsessing over them for a while now. This recipe for my crispy chicken tacos was inspired by birria tacos, but simpler and made with chicken! Birria tacos are traditionally made with goat meat or beef that's slow-cooked in a seasoned broth. For this recipe, we follow a similar idea, but when we pan-fry the tacos, we do it in a layer of cheese adding extra layer and a bit of uniqueness.
This is an easy recipe making it perfect for weeknight dinner, but it's also a fun recipe to serve when hosting family and friends. Two pounds of chicken goes a long way in these tacos!
Don't forget to serve with the avocado crema!! It adds a bright and fresh flavor to the tacos and it's just so so good! Plus, it's easy to whip up in your food processor.
Why you'll love these crispy chicken tacos
- Super simple to make. The Crockpot or Instant Pot (instructions included for both) does most of the work! Just add the chicken, peppers, onions, and some seasoning then step away. Once the chicken and vegetables are tender, fry up your tacos with lots of cheese!
- Delicious flavor. The chicken is cooked with peppers, onion, salsa (use your favorite kind), and some simple seasoning. Stuffed the chicken fajita mixture into tortillas with lots of cheese and serve with the most delicious avocado crema that's whipped together in your food processor.
- Fun twist on the classic taco. We're taking tacos to another level of delicious with this recipe! Not only are the tacos filled with cheese, but the shells are dipped in broth and then cooked in cheese creating a crispy, golden exterior that's so dang good!!
- Chicken breasts and/or thighs
- Bell peppers
- Red onion
- Salsa, any kind
- Chipotle peppers in adobo (optional, makes it slightly spicy)
- Chicken broth or water
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Garlic powder
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded quesadilla cheese (or mozzarella)
- Sour cream or plain greek yogurt
How to make Crispy Chicken Tacos
These delicious cheesy chicken tacos are an easy recipe that your family will love! Here's how to do it.
- Cook the chicken. You can do this in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. The chicken is cooked with peppers, onions, salsa, and simple seasonings.
- Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is tender, shred with a fork and return to the broth.
- Make the avocado crema. Do not skip this! It has so much flavor and adds freshness to the tacos.
- Make the tacos. This is when things get fun and tasty! You'll sprinkle a little cheese into the skillet then top with a tortilla dipped in the broth. Add more cheese and the chicken fajita mixture. Cook until the cheese on the outside of the shell is golden brown and crispy and the cheese inside is hot and melty.
- Enjoy! Serve with avocado crema and your favorite toppings. I like to keep things simple for these tacos. But I definitely recommend stuffing with my Easy Quick Pickled Red Onions. You can prep these up to 1 hour before.
Frequently asked questions
Are crispy chicken tacos corn or flour?
I like the taste and texture of corn tortillas for this recipe, but flour tortillas will also work great! If using flour tortillas, you could even use a bigger size, if you prefer.
Do you prefer chicken breast or chicken thighs?
I actually like to use a combination of chicken breasts and thighs for this recipe. When it comes to chicken, I prefer white meat, but the thighs add a little bit of fat, keeping the meat juicy.
How do you keep crispy tacos crispy?
Keep your tacos warm and crispy in the oven! Set your oven to the lowest temperate (about 175-200 degrees), and place a sheet pan inside topped with a wire rack. As you cook the tacos lay in a single layer on the wire rack.
What are your favorite toppings?
I like to keep the toppings pretty simple for these tacos, but here's some inspiration!
- Avocado crema. This is a must! It's so delicious and adds a freshness to the tacos.
- Easy Quick Picked Red Onions. They add a zesty bite to the tacos and couldn't be easier to make! I like to open my tacos up and stuff the onions inside. You can prep the onions up to one hour ahead.
- Fresh or pickled jalapeños. You can use my same pickled red onion recipe to make pickled jalapeños or even make the two together in the same jar! This will infuse a little bit of spice into the onion, as well.
- Salsa. As always use your favorite. If I don't have any homemade salsa on hand, I've been loving Mateo's salsa. It comes in mild, medium, or hot and tastes homemade.
- Sour cream. You can never go wrong with cooling sour cream.
- Lime wedges. A squeeze of fresh lime always adds a little freshness to tacos. You can never go wrong.
This is such a great make-ahead recipe! Add all the chicken fajita ingredients to your crockpot in the morning, then assemble the tacos when you're ready to eat!
The chicken fajita mixture is also great served over rice as a taco bowl! Making it great for meal prep.
These tacos are best served freshly made, but I've also enjoyed them as leftovers and they're still amazing!
I recommend only cooking up as many tacos as you think you'll eat, then storing the remaining chicken fajita mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
If you do have leftover tacos, I recommend reheating them on the stove in a non-stick skillet, the same way you cooked them. Flip the tacos as needed to heat both sides.
Freeze the chicken fajita mixture in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove.
More recipes you'll love
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Slow Cooker Crispy Cheese Chicken Fajita Tacos
- 2 pounds chicken breast and/or thighs
- 3 bell peppers, sliced
- 1 large red onion, slided
- 1 cup salsa, any kind
- ½ cup chicken broth or water
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped (optional - adds a little spice)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- corn tortillas
- shredded quesadilla cheese (or mozzarella)
- 2 avocados
- ¼ cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
- 1 lime, juiced (3-4 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Place all the chicken fajita ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on the high setting for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours until the chicken is tender.
- Remove the chicken and shred, then return to the slow cooker.
- Make the avocado crema. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as needed.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Sprinkle a small amount of cheese in the skillet about the size of a tortilla. Dip a tortilla into the broth and place into the skillet over the cheese. Sprinkle more cheese over half the tortilla then top with the chicken fajita. Let cook for 1-2 minutes until the cheese under the tortilla browns and the cheese inside is melty, then fold the tortilla in half over the filling. I like to use a large skillet so I can make 2-3 tacos at a time. Keeping the tacos warm and crispy: Heat your oven to the lowest setting. Place a baking sheet inside topped with a wire rack. Lay the tacos on the rack in a single layer.
- Serve with avocado crema and your favorite toppings. I love stuffing the tacos with my easy quick pickled onions!
- Place all the chicken fajita ingredients into the Instant Pot. Lock the lid and flip the valve to the sealing position.
- Select the high-pressure setting, and set the cooking time to 15 minutes.
- When cooking time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes before releasing any residual steam.
- Carefully remove the lid after all steam has been released. Shred the chicken with two forks and return to the pot.