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.
Easy Baked Tacos Recipe With Chicken
My oven baked tacos are such an easy way to get dinner on the table and it’s why I keep coming back to this recipe 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 tacos are topped with a generous portion of Mexican blend shredded cheese and baked until crunchy and melty. Topped with some guacamole and served with your favorite margarita, these goodies are worth making again and again.
Why You’ll Love This Taco Recipe
- Flavor. With juicy chicken, spicy chilis, taco seasoning, and fresh tomatoes, every bite of these tacos is super tasty.
- Texture. I love the juxtaposition of the crunchy shell and the tender, saucy chicken.
- Customizable. You can easily tailor the filling in this recipe to fit your needs and taste preferences.
- Great for a crowd. You can double or triple this recipe to serve a crowd.
Ingredients For Baked Tacos
- 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
- 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.
- Bake the shells. Preheat the oven to 400˚F and bake the shells for 4 minutes in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- 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.
- Fill the taco shells. Divide the filling evenly between the taco shells and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake. Bake for 10 minutes. Garnish with guacamole, sour cream, some sliced jalapenos, and serve.
Recipe Tips & Variations
- Bake the chicken. No Instant Pot? Use my recipe for stove top 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 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.
What to Serve with These Tacos
- Mexican rice. You could serve classic Mexican rice or this delicious, colorful Fiesta Rice Recipe.
- Chips and salsa. Really embrace taco night by serving crunchy tacos with my Avocado Tomatillo Salsa or this Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa.
- Margaritas. Whip up these Strawberry Beer Margaritas or this Very Berry Margarita Spritzer.
- Refrigerator. 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
- Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos
- Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
- Quick Pork Carnitas Tacos
- 10 hard taco shells, flat bottomed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 ounces canned diced green chilis
- 2 medium fresh vine tomatoes, diced, or use 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup mild chunky Salsa
- 1 ounce taco seasoning, or 2 tablespoons
- 15 ounces canned black beans, well rinsed and drained
- 6 to 8 ounces Mexican-style shredded cheese
- 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.
- 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 stove top 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!
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.