Crunchy baked chicken tacos are on tap for dinner tonight!

crispy baked salsa chicken tacos

These little hand-held crispy bites of creamy salsa chicken are so delicious. Topped with a quick pico de gallo, some cotija cheese and pickled onions, they are definitely one of my favorite weeknight meals. You won’t believe how easily they come together!

shredded chicken with salsa, spices, sour cream

This is another one of those recipes that I was almost too embarrassed to share because it’s just so simple. The taco filling is so easy. You can prep the pickled onions and pico ahead of time. You can bake a big sheet pan of these so they are done for your family at once. 

Wins all around!

tortillas with salsa chicken filling

These baked chicken tacos are kind of a hybrid between my weeknight chicken tacos and crispy baked quesadillas. Those are two well-loved recipes here on the blog, so you may have even caught on. Plus, I just shared the Everyday Dinners Bonus Cookbook and there is a reeeeeally delish baked taquito recipe in there… hence the birth of crispy baked chicken tacos.

crispy baked salsa chicken tacos

The weeknight chicken tacos are so easy to throw together – you actually mix the spices in after you cook the chicken.

And the crispy baked quesadillas are so versatile, allowing you to use whatever fillings you have on hand, and baking until the outsides are crispy and crunchy.

For these tacos, I love to use a rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded chicken. They are perfect for that! A super quick weeknight meal that can come together seamlessly if you have a few things planned. Brush the baking sheet and tortillas with olive oil. That results in extra crunch.

Who can say no?

crispy baked salsa chicken tacos

Going the shredded chicken route, I like to add in spices for some extra oomph, along with salsa and sour cream (or plain greek yogurt!). You can use any kind of salsa you love – I suggest using your favorite that you dip chips in. And try not to get too much salsa “juice” – keep it mostly to the good, chunky stuff. 

The chicken mixture doesn’t look super appetizing. But! Mix it with some shredded cheddar (if you’re going the pre-shredded route, I only recommend tillamook! Otherwise grate your own – there is no comparison.) and the filing gets so melty and warm. When baked in the tortillas, it’s wonderful. I want to eat it with chips alone.

crispy baked salsa chicken tacos with pico de gallo

Of course, my favorite part of this whole thing is the bit of cheese that bubbles out of the tortillas and onto the sheet pan, creating that delicious, almost-burnt cheese crisp on the edge. Oh my word. It is so.freaking.good. It almost tastes like that part is purposely built into the recipe, that’s how good it is.

Just like making taquitos at home, you want to warm your tortillas for 30 to 60 seconds so they fold nicely and don’t tear. I usually warm mine for the full minute – I find that there is no tearing that way. And don’t overfill them. This helps keep them in their baked taco shell too! 

crispy baked salsa chicken tacos

Pretty sure I’ve died and gone to heaven with all that crunch.

crispy baked salsa chicken tacos

Baked Creamy Salsa Chicken Tacos

Baked Creamy Salsa Chicken Tacos

These baked chicken tacos are filled with a creamy salsa shredded chicken and cheddar. Top with pico de gallo and pickled onions! Delish.
5 from 13 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken, (from a rotisserie chicken, or leftover shredded chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons your favorite salsa
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 12 4-inch corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • pickled onions, for topping
  • cotija cheese, for topping
  • sour cream, for serving
  • cilantro, for serving
  • lime wedges, or serving

quick pico

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • kosher salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Brush or spray a baking sheet with olive oil so it’s coated for the tortillas.
  • In a bowl, combine the chicken, sour cream, salsa, cumin, paprika, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper until combined.
  • Slightly warm your tortillas so they don’t break. I do this either in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes, in the microwave for 45 to 60 seconds – you just want them more pliable so they roll. You can keep them in between damp paper towels, so they stay pliable without breaking. I warm about 4 at a time, and then build 4 tacos, then warm 4 more, and so on. Just try to move quickly and carefully so they don’t break!
  • Fill each tortilla with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the creamy salsa chicken. Top with the shredded cheddar. Fold over the tortilla and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and place them on the sheet. Spray or brush the outsides of the tortillas with olive oil.
  • Bake the tacos for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden brown.
  • Serve the tacos immediately with the quick pico, pickled onions, sour cream, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime wedges for spritzing.

quick pico

  • Stir together ingredients with a big pinch of salt and pepper until combined. You can make this a day ahead of time and store it in the fridge!
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crispy baked salsa chicken tacos

Texture lovers unite.