Loaded with smoky, savory flavor, these blackened chicken tacos are a weeknight win! Your family will love the combination of juicy chicken and homemade salsa, and you’ll love how easy it is to get this dinner on the table.
Blackened seasoning is a great way to bring out the savory flavor of chicken. While there are other seasoning blends that tend to overpower anything you add them to, blackened seasoning simply adds depth, which is why I love using it for these blackened chicken tacos.
Basically, it takes your standard chicken taco recipe and makes it next-level delicious.
The other critical component of this recipe is a restaurant-style salsa roja. Making your own gives these blackened chicken tacos so much fresh flavor, and the acidity and sweetness in the tomatoes really brighten everything up.
Just add a watermelon margarita and you’ve got yourself the perfect patio dinner.
Why You’ll Love Blackened Chicken Tacos
Here's why you'll want to make these blackened chicken tacos again and again:
- So much flavor. Chicken is a weeknight dinner staple, but it’s not exactly the most flavorful protein on its own. The addition of blackened seasoning makes it something special!
- Quick and easy. These tacos come together in no time, making them perfect for busy weeknights or when dinner needs to be on the table fast. (You can get dinner on the table even faster by making the salsa a day or two ahead of time!)
- Versatile. I think part of the appeal of tacos is that everyone can customize their own, and that’s definitely true with these blackened chicken tacos. Offer a variety of topping options and let your family or guests put their own spin on the recipe!
What You’ll Need
Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need to make blackened chicken tacos. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact quantities for each ingredient.
For the Salsa Roja
- Ripe Roma tomatoes – Roma tomatoes have less liquid than other varieties, which means your salsa will be thicker.
- Jalapeño – You can adjust the amount according to your tastes.
- Cilantro – Not a cilantro fan? You can omit it.
- Lime juice
- Olive oil
- Cumin – Cumin adds a nice, earthy flavor.
- Smoked paprika – Using smoked paprika makes this salsa taste like it’s made with fire-roasted tomatoes.
For the Chicken
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – Using thighs instead of breasts keeps your chicken nice and juicy.
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper – This gives our blackened seasoning a little bit of a kick. Freshly ground pepper is best.
- Garlic powder – Garlic powder adds pungent garlic flavor without having to mince a bunch of garlic cloves.
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika – Your chicken will have a smoky flavor without grilling thanks to the smoked paprika.
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano – Thyme or basil are options too, but with the Tex-Mex flavors in this recipe, I’ve opted for oregano.
- Corn tortillas – Warm these up so they’re pliable.
How to Make Blackened Chicken Tacos
Here’s how simple it is to make blackened chicken tacos for dinner:
- Make the salsa. Blend the Roma tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice, then simmer on the stovetop with the remaining salsa ingredients for about 10 minutes. Chill while you make the chicken.
- Prepare. Preheat your oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Season the chicken. Place the chicken in a large bowl, then toss it with the olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano.
- Bake. Once the chicken is well-coated, arrange it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside and its juices run clear when you slice into it or pierce it with a fork.
- Slice or shred. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice or shred it for the tacos.
- Serve. Divide the chicken among the corn tortillas, then top each with salsa, avocado, and fresh cilantro.
Tips for Success
These tips will help you make sure your blackened chicken tacos turn out perfect!
- Use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are preferred because they’re more tender and juicier than chicken breasts when baked.
- Make sure the tortillas are warm. You can warm them on the griddle, in the microwave under a damp paper towel, or stack them and wrap them in foil and place them in the oven for a few minutes. Either way, you want the tortillas to be warm and pliable so they don’t fall apart when you eat your tacos.
- Adjust as needed. You can add more heat to both the salsa and the blackened chicken if you’d like, or you can go in the opposite direction and make them milder. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, it’s best to start with a little heat because you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once you add it!
You can also serve this blackened chicken in other ways, like over a taco salad or stuffed into burritos with green Mexican quinoa. Serve it with a side of rice and refried beans or roasted vegetables for a complete meal, or add it to quesadillas, pizza, enchiladas and more.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover blackened chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the microwave, a skillet, or covered in a 350ºF oven with a splash of broth to keep it moist.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Freeze cooked blackened chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before warming it according to the instructions above.
More Healthy Taco Recipes
- Pan-Seared Crispy Fish Tacos
- Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Cilantro Lime Black Bean Tacos with Quinoa
- Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower + Quinoa Tacos
Blackened Chicken Tacos with Salsa Roja
For the salsa Roja
For the chicken
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 avocados sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
For the Salsa (make the salsa first so it has a chance to chill)
- Blend. Add the Roma tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice to a blender or a food processor. Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. This is up to you. Some prefer smooth salsa. Some prefer a chunkier rendition.
- Simmer. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salsa along with the cumin, smoked paprika, and sea salt. Give everything a stir and bring the mixture to a strong simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes
- Chill in the refrigerator. This salsa is best served cold.
For the Chicken
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Season the chicken. Add the chicken, olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano to a large mixing bowl. Toss everything together until the chicken is thoroughly coated in olive oil and seasoning.
- Bake. Arrange the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside and its juices run clear.
- Slice or shred. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cutting board and slicing or shredding.
- Serve. Divide the chicken between the tortillas, top with sliced salsa, avocado, and fresh cilantro, and serve.