We love everything Mexican and Tex-Mex. At least once a week, we have some kind of burrito bowl, fajitas, or enchiladas. I know my kids will eat those things without any complaint, and most of the recipes are fairly quick and easy to prepare. When I make burritos or burrito bowls, I usually throw chicken or pork in the crockpot early in the day or brown up some beef for taco meat. Lately, I’ve been making this Easy Skillet Chicken Taco Meat, and it’s a big hit! I love it. Because even if I forget to get dinner going, I almost always have chicken breasts in the freezer, and I can whip this up in about 20 minutes.
Basically, this is just sautéed bite-size pieces of chicken covered in all the spices you love in Tex-Mex cuisine–cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, salt, and pepper. I like to add two little things at the end that make it extra perfect: A little bit of lemon or lime juice and a little bit of sugar to help get that browning just how you want it. Yum! This simple Skillet Chicken Taco Meat is going to be a new favorite! We’ve started having it once a week as a burrito bowl with quinoa instead of rice. SOOOOO GOOOOOD!
More Mexican-Food-Inspired Favorites
- Honey Lime Chicken Bowls with Rotisserie Chicken
- Easy Mexican Shredded Beef
- Creamy Chicken Green Chili Enchiladas
- Sheet Pan Fajitas
- Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch Dressing
- Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice
Step-by-step pictures for how to make Easy Skillet Chicken Taco Meat
Frequently Asked Questions about how to make Easy Skillet Chicken Taco Meat
Can I use chicken thighs in place of Chicken Breasts?
Yes, absolutely. We prefer chicken breasts, but this recipe will work great with boneless chicken thighs.
Can I use a Taco Packet in place of the spices in this recipe?
Yes. The spices used in this recipe are very similar to what you will find in a taco packet from the store. Store-bought packets usually have a thickening agent and call for water, so read the back to see if you need to add water. The one spice that will not be in that packet is smoked paprika, so if you like the hint of smokiness, add some smoked paprika.
How many people will this recipe serve?
This recipe serves 4-6 adults. This, of course, depends on how much meat people put in their burrito bowl, on their taco, or in their burrito. We are a family of seven and this feeds everyone, but there are never leftovers.
Is this Skillet Chicken Taco MEat Gluten-Free?
As written, yes, this recipe is gluten-free. If you choose to use a taco packet, you will need to make sure it is a gluten-free taco packet.
Can I use imitation lemon or lime juice, or does it need to be fresh?
Yes. I use imitation lemon juice when I make this or I shake on a little True Lime. I never bother cutting into a whole lemon or lime. For this recipe, you don’t notice if it is imitation or fresh. It just brings out the flavors of the spices.
Do I have to add the Lemon or lime juice and the sugar?
No. You can definitely leave both of them out, but I recommend trying it once. It does enhance the flavors.
- 3 large chicken breasts, cut into thin, bite-size pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp granulate sugar
- ½-1 tsp lemon or lime juice
- In a large skillet, heat oil and add chicken pieces.
- Add the salt and ground black pepper, and saute over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink.
- Next, add the cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and dried oregano. Stir well and continue to saute for another 5 minutes or until meat is completely cooked.
- As the last step, add the sugar and lemon or lime juice. Saute until the chicken has a nice, slight browning to it.
- Remove from heat and serve for tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, or whatever you want.
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