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These moist and juicy grilled taco chicken skewers are the perfect way to enjoy your barbecue (or the broil function on your oven!). They’re perfectly tender and perfectly spicy – all thanks to one little trick!
It also matches my new coriander lime yogurt dipping sauce perfectly! The flavours are just so perfect together that there’s no need for ketchup or anything like that!
Personally, I love grilled chicken – it always seems to be the most tender way of cooking chicken, and this taco spiced chicken is no exception! Skewers are a perfect way to serve it too – easy to eat and easy to cook! After all, the chicken is infinitely more difficult to turn on the grill if it’s not on a stick! (and foods on a stick always taste better anyway; it’s science.)
I’m absolutely in love with this method of cooking chicken, and I must say that I think everyone should be using it more! It’s so moist, tender, juicy and just melt in the mouth!
The only real downside (apart from the fact that I never seem to make enough of it) is that the taco spice tends to get a little muted, so you do have to add a lot more than you would for ground meat or a dry-rub.
How do I keep the chicken juicy, tender and moist?
I do use one little trick to keep this Mexican grilled chicken tender and juicy: don’t just marinade, marinade in yogurt. It sounds a little bit nuts, but tandoori chicken is always perfect and that’s marinaded in yogurt, so it turns out you can just take the method of yogurt + acid and apply it to other flavouring bases.
The fact that it’s marinaded in yogurt also helps to keep it cheap when you pair it with this dipping sauce – you’ll only need one big tub of yogurt and a small pack of limes to make both! It’s always nice to cut down your shopping list – and therefore your costs!
The acid is important because it helps to tenderize the chicken, although it does also bring out the flavour of the chicken and the seasoning more as acidity is one way of seasoning food other than salt.
If your taco spice mix already includes salt then you don’t need to add any, but if it doesn’t then season well. After all, plenty of that marinade will be left in the bowl – it’s important to be generous with the marinade while the chicken’s in it, so it may look like there’s far too much but there really isn’t.
What do I use for the acid?
I used lime juice because it’s just delicious with taco spice chicken. However, any citrus juice works very well. Lime just happens to be most commonly used with Mexican food.
Plus, I was making this coriander-lime yogurt sauce to go with the chicken and I thought that adding lime to both would help the flavours to match better. I must say, I was right – they were just perfect! And that’s coming from someone who’s not a massive fan of coriander!
Why taco seasoning?
In this case, I decided to use this marinade method with taco seasoning. Mostly because taco spice chicken is delicious, but also because it’s versatile.
How long should I marinate it for?
Since this marinade contains acid as well as salt, it’s typically recommended that you only leave the chicken in the marinade for a maximum of 8-12 hours. Personally, though, I’ve found that it’s still alright if you leave it for up to 15 hours. After that, it can get slightly tougher due to the acidity so I wouldn’t recommend it.
How do I cook these taco chicken skewers?
Once it’s marinaded and you’ve threaded it onto skewers, you have 2 different options for cooking it: broiling or barbecuing. You could bake it, however, I haven’t actually tested that method yet and so am not 100% sure of the cooking time – sorry!
To barbecue your taco chicken skewers:
- preheat the grill as per usual, ideally with one hot side and one cooler side
- lightly oil the surface of your grill if necessary – you may need to do this in order to prevent the chicken from sticking
- place each skewer on the hot side of the grill to sear it on all sides, turning frequently as this should occur fast
- once seared, move the chicken to the cooler side to continue cooking until juices run clear, no pink is left in the centre and you are able to get the correct reading on a meat thermometer
Super easy! Really, it’s just the same as cooking any other chicken skewers so if your typical method is slightly different but works every time then it won’t be a problem.
How to broil your grilled taco spice chicken:
- place a wire rack in the oven under your broiler, ideally with a tray underneath to catch any drips of excess marinade (you may want to line it with parchment paper for easier cleanup)
- place the skewers on the rack and broil until lightly charred.
- Turn and repeat until lightly charred on all sides.
The taco chicken skewers should be perfectly cooked at this point (they certainly are every time for me), but it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to check if you are unsure to avoid any risk of food poisoning.
How should I serve this taco spice chicken?
In this case, I decided to just leave it on the skewers (and dip it in my coriander and lime yogurt dipping sauce), but you could also take it off and actually put it inside tacos.
If you do, then you may also want to serve your grilled taco chicken with:
- tortillas, of course! Here’s a recipe if you’d like to make your own.
- homemade guacamole – always better than store-bought! This one can be made in the food processor and is naturally gluten-free to match this chicken as well!
- homemade salsa – or store-bought, but it’s super quick and simple so I promise you won’t regret it! However, this one is made in the blender, so it really couldn’t be easier and more stress-free.
- a lovely taco salad. By coincidence, this just so happens to be vegan, so it’ll work well to give your guests options if you’re making this chicken for a BBQ!
- homemade refried beans – again, why bother buying them?
- a nice, simple pico de gallo
- sour cream
- sliced avocado
- coriander-lime yogurt sauce
Of course, you can just buy all of that but it’s always nice to make some of it yourself. It’s often cheaper that way too!
Chicken thigh works instead of the breast for grilled chicken! Most people say thigh is juicier anyways, but with this method, you don’t have to worry about it being juicy and moist.
Or, you could turn it into taco spice grilled pork or beef skewers if you like! Personally, I’d say don’t as the yogurt and taco marinade will overwhelm the flavour of the meat, but it’s up to you as it’s your meal.
You could even try it with tofu if that’s your jam!
Note: if you use a different type of meat then the cooking time may also vary. I also have not tested this type of yogurt marinade on anything other than chicken.
You could try it with vegan yogurt, although I’m not sure how well it would work.
However, Greek and 0% fat yogurt should work just as well providing they’re plain, natural yogurt.
Taco Spice & Lime Juice
You can play around with the seasonings to taste! Some other great combos are:
- tandoori spice paste and lemon juice
- orange and ginger
- fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice
- lime juice and chilli powder (or chilli con Carne seasoning mix – even better!)
Really, there are unlimited combos so do just play around! Remember to keep the flavours strong though as the yogurt tends to dull the spices. Whatever spices you think you’ll need to add, you’ll likely end up doubling the quantity of!
Both spice pastes and powders work just as well, too so Thai curry paste absolutely isn’t off-limits and neither is anything else!
What equipment do I need to cook this taco grilled chicken?
Nothing complex! Really, it’s just a couple of things:
- measuring spoons for your marinade ingredients
- a chef’s knife or decent knife set for your chicken – plus a cutting board, of course
- a bowl to marinade the chicken in
- a zester (or microplane) and juicer for the lime
- some bamboo or metal skewers to thread the chicken onto
- a sheet pan with a wire rack – a silicone baking mat can help a lot with the cleanup, too!
If you’re in the UK, then try these products – they’re the same or very similar to all of the ones that I personally use!
What should I cook next?
Personally, I’d recommend this coriander & lime yogurt dipping sauce for with the skewers, but if you’re looking for more Mexican recipes then you might like these:
Or, if you’re looking for more chicken skewers, then my spicy chicken skewers and turmeric rice are the perfect recipe for you!
If you’d like a dessert to go with this taco spice chicken then this single-serving chocolate brownie in a jar is perfect! You could even add a little spice to make it a chilli chocolate brownie!
- 5 tbsp plain, natural yogurt
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- salt and pepper, to taste (see note)
- Mix together the yogurt, taco seasoning, 1 tsp lime zest and 1 tbsp lime juice as well as salt if needed (see note).
- Add in the diced chicken and gently fold it in until all pieces have a thick coating of marinade on all sides. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 2-8 hours.
- Thread the diced chicken onto wooden or metal skewers, leaving plenty of marinade coating it, and preheat your grill/broiler if required.
- Grill the chicken, turning once lightly charred on each side, until fully cooked through (see note). If using a broiler, place pieces on a wire rack over a sheet tray and do the same.
- Serve immediately.
I find that no extra salt is needed if it's already included in the taco seasoning, but I do like to add a little extra black pepper as I prefer it.
Chicken is always fully cooked for me once it's lightly charred on all sides. However, it's always best to be safe, so I recommend using a meat thermometer just to be sure.
Leaving the chicken in the marinade for longer than 8 hours won't do much harm unless it's longer than around 16 hours as by then it begins to become tough. Personally, I find 2-8 hours to be best, but if it doesn't fit in with your schedule then don't worry about it.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1/2 batch
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 252Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 878mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 40g
Nutrition information is an estimate and may not always be accurate.