Baked Tacos

4.86 from 7 votes
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These tasty, crunchy Baked Tacos are perfect for a crowd. Deliciously seasoned shredded chicken is stuffed into hard taco shells with a flavorful sauce featuring black beans, green chilis, and fresh tomatoes. The tacos are then topped with shredded cheese and baked to a crisp.

If you’re looking to expand on your taco dishes, try my mahi mahi tacos for a fresh seafood twist or instant pot chicken carnitas tacos for a flavorful, tender option.

Overhead image of baked chicken tacos in a baking dish, and they are garnished with fresh cilantro and lime slices.


This baked tacos recipe is an easy way to get dinner on the table, and it’s why I keep coming back to this it week after week. Tender shredded chicken seasoned with a blend of cumin and smoked paprika is nestled inside crispy hard taco shells along with black beans, fresh diced tomatoes, green chilies, and salsa. The baked chicken tacos are topped with a generous portion of shredded cheese and baked until crunchy and melty.

Growing up, tacos were always a family favorite, and now they’re a staple in my household. I remember the excitement of taco nights and creating our own taco masterpieces. Those memories inspired me to make this baked version. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when I need to get dinner on the table fast without sacrificing flavor.

We’re also huge fans of my green chili chicken enchiladas, and sometimes, when we can’t decide between tacos or enchiladas, we end up making both! It’s a fun mix-and-match dinner.

Other times, for a tasty variation, I substitute the chicken with pulled pork to make pork tacos. The pork pairs just as well with the same seasonings and toppings, offering a tasty twist on the original recipe. Whether it’s tacos or enchiladas, we always have a delicious meal to enjoy.

Why I Love This Baked Tacos Recipe

  • Flavor. Juicy chicken, spicy chilis, taco seasoning, and fresh tomatoes make these tacos super tasty.
  • Texture. I love the juxtaposition of the crunchy shell and the tender, saucy chicken that you get with oven baked tacos.
  • Customizable. You can easily tailor the filling in this recipe to fit your needs and taste preferences. Swap out the shredded chicken for ground beef, turkey, or even a vegetarian option like black beans and corn. The possibilities are endless, making it a versatile addition to your taco dishes baked repertoire.
  • Great for a crowd. These baked tacos are also perfect for serving a crowd. You can double or triple this recipe with ease, making it an excellent choice for family gatherings, parties, or any time you need to feed a lot of hungry mouths.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To prepare these delicious baked chicken tacos, you’ll need a handful of simple ingredients. Grab all the essentials from the list below and get ready to enjoy a mouthwatering dinner!

  • Chicken thighs: Chicken breasts or chicken tenders would also do the trick.
  • Cumin: Adds a warm flavor with a hint of citrus.
  • Smoked paprika: Imparts a smoky aroma and rich color to the chicken.
  • Onion & Garlic: Add a sweet and savory depth to the ingredients.
  • Hard taco shells: Get these – they have a flat bottom so they stand upright in the pan.
  • Olive oil: Used for sautéing
  • Diced green chilis: Introduce a mild spicy kick and zesty flavor.
  • Tomatoes: You can also use drained canned tomatoes instead.
  • Chunky salsa: Select your salsa based on what you like.
  • Taco seasoning: You’ll need 1 (1-oz.) packet or 2 tablespoons.
  • Canned black beans drained: You could use homemade black beans if you would like.
  • Mexican-style shredded cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese or pepper Jack are okay to use.

How to Make Baked Tacos

To make oven baked tacos, follow the simple steps below. They’ll come out perfectly crispy and flavorful, and they’ll be a hit on taco night!

  1. Make the shredded chicken. Season the chicken thighs and transfer them to the Instant Pot. Stir in the garlic, onion, water, and olive oil and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, followed by a 10-minute natural release. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred it.
  2. Bake the shells. Preheat the oven to 400˚F and bake the shells for 4 minutes in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  3. Make the filling. Heat the olive oil and saute the onions. Add the garlic; stir in the green chilis, tomatoes, salsa, and taco seasoning. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes; stir in the black beans and shredded chicken.
  4. Fill the taco shells. Divide the filling evenly between the taco shells and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Bake. Bake for 10 minutes. Garnish with guacamole, sour cream, some sliced jalapenos, and serve.
Overhead image of baked chicken tacos arranged in a white baking dish.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Bake the chicken. If you don’t want to use a pressure cooker, cook the chicken using my recipe for stovetop chicken thighs.
  • Pre-bake the taco shells. If you want crunchy tacos, don’t skip pre-baking the taco shells.
  • Avoid soggy tacos. When filling the baked chicken tacos, leave excess moisture in the pan.
  • Spice or not. For less heat, use fewer green chilis and mild salsa. Spice lovers, amp it up with hot salsa, extra green chilis, jalapeños, or more taco seasoning.
  • Change of protein. Substitute the chicken with ground or shredded beef. You could even try shrimp.

Serving Suggestions

These baked tacos are perfect with classic Mexican rice or my colorful fiesta rice recipe. To really embrace taco night, serve these crunchy tacos with my avocado tomatillo salsa or homemade restaurant style salsa. And for the adults, whip up some strawberry beer margaritas to complete the meal. This baked tacos recipe, along with these delicious pairings, makes for an unforgettable taco night.

Three baked tacos served on a dinner plate with lie slices on the side.


Once the tacos have cooled to room temperature, seal them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat, arrange the tacos in a baking dish, cover them with aluminum foil, and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until heated through.

More Taco Recipes To Try

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4.86 from 7 votes

Baked Tacos

These delicious Baked Tacos brim with a hearty mix of shredded chicken, black beans, green chilis, fresh tomatoes, and salsa. A generous sprinkle of cheese tops them off before they’re baked to a crunchy perfection.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5 servings


For the chicken

For the tacos

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For the chicken

  • Load the instant pot. Season the chicken thighs with salt, cumin, and paprika, and transfer it to the instant pot. Add the garlic, onion, water, and olive oil. Give everything a stir.
  • Cook. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before releasing manually.
  • Shred. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Shred the chicken and set aside. Discard the remaining contents of the instant pot.

For the tacos

  • Prep. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F and line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • Pre-bake the shells. While the chicken is cooking, arrange the taco shells open side up in a single layer in the baking dish and bake for 4 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set aside, leaving the taco shells in the baking pan.
  • Sauté the veggies. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the onions, season with salt, and sauté for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 15 seconds.
  • Make the filling. Add the chopped green chilis, tomatoes, salsa, and taco seasoning to the pan. Stir the sauce and bring it to a light boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and the chicken and remove from the heat.
  • Fill the taco shells. Divide the filling evenly between the taco shells. They will be full to the brim. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tacos.
  • Bake. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve. Remove from oven, garnish with your favorite taco toppings, and serve.


  • Chicken Option: No Instant Pot on hand? You can bake the chicken using my simple recipe for chicken thighs.
  • Crunch Factor: Pre-bake those taco shells if you want that perfect crunch.
  • Keep it Crisp: Drain extra moisture before stuffing your tacos to dodge that dreaded sogginess.
  • Heat Control: Keep the filling mild and use less green chilis and mild salsa, or turn up the heat with a fiery salsa, more chilis, jalapeños, and/or an extra dash of taco seasoning.
  • Protein Swap: Feeling beefy? Switch out the chicken for cooked ground or shredded beef, or even take a seafood route with sauteed shrimp!


Serving: 2tacos | Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 2583mg | Potassium: 869mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1396IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 334mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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4.86 from 7 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. Maria says:

    Made this recipe today, increíble. Juicy and soft meat and the crispy taco shells made a difference. So good, I will repeat it no matter is not Tuesday!. It’s a hit!

    1. Katerina says:

      That’s fantastic! It sounds like you nailed it. Juicy meat and crispy taco shells are a winning combination. Who says tacos are just for Tuesdays? Enjoy your delicious creation anytime! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Marylander says:

    fell apart, would not recommend

  3. Tisha says:

    Love these tacos so much! It takes taco night to another level

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I am very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Catalina says:

    OMG! This is a must make dinner for my family! I love these baked tacos!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you and your family enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  5. Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert says:

    Looks so delish! It’s a surely hit on our table!

  6. Beth says:

    Ooh, I have to try this. I love baked tacos, and these look so cheesy and delicious!