Tired of the same old tacos? Look no further than these mouth-watering Chicken Ranchero Tacos that are sure to spice up your next party or dinner. This recipe is a Tex-Mex classic, full of savory chicken and rich flavor combinations that will leave your guests begging for seconds.
Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, this slow cooker dish is incredibly easy to prepare and yields a substantial amount of meat. The chicken is then shredded and mixed with a smoky ranchero sauce that packs just the right amount of heat for a bold flavor explosion.
Not a fan of overly spicy food? No problem! The ranchero sauce can be adjusted according to your preference, and substitutions for milder peppers can easily be made.
The texture is also just right: warm flour tortillas hold the tender chicken pieces with delicious toppings such as fresh pico de gallo, tangy lime wedges, creamy diced avocados, and melted jack cheese.
So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re hosting a fiesta or just looking for an easy weeknight meal, these Chicken Ranchero Tacos are sure to impress both family and friends alike. Grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Looking for a tasty meal that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next dinner party? Look no further than these delicious chicken ranchero tacos! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
So why will you love this recipe? Well, for starters, it’s incredibly easy to make. You can even use a slow cooker to prepare the ranchero chicken, which means you can set it and forget it while you focus on other things. Plus, the ingredient list is simple and straightforward, using staples like boneless skinless chicken thighs, pinto beans, and corn tortillas.
But the best part? The flavor. This chicken ranchero recipe packs a serious punch. With smoky ranchero sauce, chili powder, and other seasonings, you’ll get a depth of flavor that will leave your taste buds begging for more. And when you add toppings such as avocado, cheese, and pico de gallo… well, let’s just say that every bite is bursting with deliciousness.
Not only is this recipe easy and flavorful, but it’s also versatile. You can adapt it to suit your tastes by substituting different proteins or toppings. You can even swap out the corn tortillas for flour tortillas or taco bowls if you prefer.
Trust me: once you try these chicken ranchero tacos, they’ll become a staple in your recipe arsenal. So go ahead and give them a shot – your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs: This juicy and tender cut of chicken is perfect for slow-cooking in the ranchero sauce, which makes it flavorful throughout.
Ranchero Sauce: This smoky and robust sauce is the heart of the recipe. Made with diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili powder and a touch of heat from jalapenos, it gives the dish its mouth-watering flavor.
Pinto Beans: These versatile legumes are great source of protein and fiber, plus they add texture and a creamy finish to the tacos.
Jack cheese: This mild and nutty cheese can be shredded or sliced to add melty goodness to your tacos.
Corn Tortillas: They are a traditional Mexican staple that complement perfectly the dish’s flavors and ingredients. They can be warmed up on a skillet or in the oven.
Avocados: Sliced or mashed avocados provide a cool and creamy contrast to the warm and tangy flavors of the chicken ranchero.
Limes: Limes are needed for a fresh hit of acidity that balances the richness of the ranchero sauce.
You’ll also need garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and cilantro.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have taken a look into the ingredients and you’ve prepped everything, it’s time to start cooking. In this section, I’ll walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to make some delicious Chicken Ranchero Tacos. So, let’s get started.
Step One: Cook the Chicken
First things first, you’ve gotta cook your chicken! Begin by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Next, add the 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs to the pan and season both sides with 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook chicken for about 5-6 minutes until it’s browned on one side. Use tongs to flip chicken and cook for another 5-6 minutes until browned all over.
Once done, transfer your chicken to a cutting board and shred it into small bite-sized pieces.
Step Two: Make the “Ranchero” Sauce
Using the same pan where you cooked your chicken earlier, prepare the “Ranchero” sauce by adding 1 diced onion, 1 diced bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves. Stir occasionally until vegetables begin to soften.
Pour in 1 cup of salsa, then stir in an additional ½ cup or more of water (until desired thickness) and bring mixture to a simmer. Add back your shredded chicken pieces and mix well with the sauce.
Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes until all flavors have combined together.
Step Three: Assemble the Tacos
This part is easy-peasy! First, warm up your corn tortillas by placing them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 5-7 minutes.
Using tongs, fill each tortilla with ample amount of ranchero chicken mixture from the pan. Then top each taco with shredded cheese, diced avocado, pinto beans, fresh lime juice or wedges, and any other desired toppings you fancy!
Repeat with remaining tacos until all are assembled.
Serve immediately while they’re still warm, and enjoy every mouthful bite of these irresistible Chicken Ranchero Tacos.
Substitutions and Variations
One great thing about this chicken ranchero tacos recipe is that it is incredibly adaptable, which means you can put your own spin on it. Here are some of the adjustments and variations you could consider:
– Vegetarian or Vegan: For a meatless version, swap in pinto or black beans instead of the chicken. If you’re vegan, ditch the cheese, and use avocado slices or guacamole instead.
– Mixed Protein: While boneless skinless chicken thighs go well with ranchero sauce, feel free to use other types of cooked chicken such as breast, shredded or crispy. You can even swap it up and add in ground beef or turkey for some variety.
– Gluten-Free: Simply replace the flour tortillas with corn tortillas or lettuce cups.
– Spiciness Level: If you like heat, adjust the heat level by adding more chili powder, a dash of hot sauce or sliced jalapeños to your taste.
– Toppings: Customize your toppings by adding bell peppers, sliced onions, roasted corn or sour cream along with salsa and guacamole. Or switch out traditional tomato-based salsa for pineapple salsa or mango salsa.
– Serving Methods: Since these tacos are versatile in their serving options, switch it up and try them as taco bowls by removing the shells altogether and dishing out ingredients into a bowl.
The options are endless when it comes to personalizing this recipe to your tastes. Have fun experimenting and trying different combinations to make your perfect version of these flavorful ranchero tacos.
Serving and Pairing
These delicious Chicken Ranchero Tacos are perfect for any dinner party or casual weeknight meal. Serve them on a platter with a bowl of fresh salsa, sliced limes, and diced avocados to let your guests customize their tacos to their liking.
For a heartier meal, pair these tacos with some traditional Mexican sides like pinto beans and corn tortillas. You can also add some shredded cheese to the top of the tacos for an extra burst of flavor.
For a fun twist on this recipe, try making Ranchero Chicken Taco Bowls by serving the seasoned chicken over a bed of rice and topped with freshly chopped veggies. This is a great option for those who are gluten-free or looking for a lower-carb meal.
If you’re looking for a refreshing beverage to complement this dish, try serving up some ice-cold margaritas or beer. The smoky flavors of the Ranchero chicken are perfectly balanced by the tanginess of a margarita, while a crisp beer will cleanse your palate in between bites.
No matter what you choose to serve these tacos with, they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So go ahead and get creative with your sides and drinks and enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
If you’re throwing a party or preparing a meal for a large group of people, it’s always helpful to have some make-ahead options to save time and effort on the day of the event. And the good news is that this Chicken Ranchero Tacos recipe is perfect for prepping in advance.
To make ahead, follow the steps outlined in the recipe and store the shredded chicken and ranchero sauce separately in airtight containers in the fridge. The toppings, such as diced avocados, salsa, and lime wedges, can also be prepared ahead of time.
When it’s time to serve, simply reheat the chicken and ranchero sauce separately in a pan over medium heat until heated through. Then warm up the corn tortillas on a skillet or in the oven and let everyone assemble their own tacos with their choice of toppings.
But what if you have leftovers? No worries! This recipe is great for storing too. Store any leftover cooked chicken, sauce, tortillas or toppings already prepared in separate containers. You can enjoy them reheated for up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in an airtight container in the freezer.
When reheating from frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat according to your preference. In case you like things crispy, try reheating tortillas and chicken separately on a hot skillet to give them back their crispiness before assembling them into tacos.
So go ahead and get ready for your next party with this Chicken Ranchero Tacos recipe that will save you both time and effort!
Tips for Perfect Results
Before we delve into the tips for ensuring the perfect batch of Chicken Ranchero Tacos, let’s acknowledge that cooking a meal that meets both aesthetic and taste bud gratification can be an incredibly satisfying moment. But before you go all Gordon Ramsey, let me save you from stress induced migraines and share some tips to make your tacos as delicious as they would look on your Instagram feed.
Firstly, don’t skimp on marinating the chicken. The longer you let it marinate in those mouth-watering spices, the more flavorful it becomes. If you’re pressed for time, a minimum of two hours is enough time to infuse your chicken with some flavor, but overnight marination produces the tastiest results. When cooking Chicken Ranchero Tacos in a slow cooker or crockpot, always remember to thaw your chicken beforehand rather than cooking frozen meat straight away. It ensures even distribution of heat and eliminates the risk of undercooked or overcooked spots in your protein.
When adding heat to your dish, be cautious with chili powder as it can quickly overpower other flavors in your dish; start small and adjust accordingly. For that smoky flavor, try grilling your veggies rather than sautéing them. A cast-iron skillet or heavy griddle works like a charm as it handles high heat well without warping or making food stick to its surface.
Don’t underestimate the power of properly seasoning each component of this recipe – whether you’re making fresh salsa or guacamole – use lime juice generously. It lends bright acidity and adds depth to each bite.
Lastly, when serving up your Chicken Ranchero Tacos, feel free to mix things up! Swap corn tortillas for flour tortillas for added variety, sprinkle extra cheese on top if you like it extra cheesy or add some diced avocados for a creamy touch – this recipe is flexible enough for you to make it your own while still being absolutely delicious.
Follow these tips, and you’ll end up with the perfect batch of Chicken Ranchero Tacos that will have everyone asking for seconds!
In conclusion, the Chicken Ranchero Tacos Recipe is a must-try for any home chef. With its combination of smoky ranchero sauce and perfectly cooked chicken, this recipe provides an explosion of flavor in every bite. Additionally, the versatility of this recipe allows for various ingredient substitutions and pairings, making it perfect for any occasion.
Whether hosting a party or looking for a quick and delicious lunch option, the Chicken Ranchero Tacos Recipe is sure to impress. So head to your local grocery store and gather all of the ingredients needed for this delicious dish. Once you’ve taken your first bite, you’ll never want to go back to plain old tacos again.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your apron and get cooking – you won’t regret it!
Chicken Ranchero Tacos Recipe
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 10 -12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded jack cheese
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, heated, rinsed and drained
- 2 avocados, halved and sliced
- 2 limes, sliced into wedges
- cabbage salsa (see my recipe)
- garlic salt and pepper, to taste
- Season chicken thighs with the garlic salt and pepper, and cook on the grill until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes per side on medium heat with the lid closed. However, all grills are different, so check frequently). Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes, then dice into bite-sized chunks.
- Put the can of beans into a pot and cook until heated through. Drain and rinse beans; set aside.
- Heat a large griddle over medium heat. Place tortillas on the griddle (making sure not to overlap), and sprinkle with cheese, a spoonful of pinto beans, and some of the chicken pieces. When the tortilla is warmed through and the cheese has melted, remove from the griddle and top with an avocado slice, some cabbage salsa and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve immediately.
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Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!