Pollo asado tacos are a delicious Mexican dish made with marinated and grilled chicken. Pollo asado means grilled chicken in Spanish. They are the perfect addition to your taco night!
This is one of my family’s favorite dinners and I make it often because it is so easy to prepare!
To make the pollo asado you’ll first need to marinate the chicken in a combination of various seasonings or any chicken marinade you prefer. Then grill it on high heat until slightly charred and smokey.
The grilled chicken is then used to assemble pollo asado tacos with soft tortillas and classic toppings like creamy cilantro salsa, shredded cabbage or lettuce, and onions.
- Chicken: I am using bone in and skin on chicken thighs. Feel free to swap for chicken breast.
- Seasonings: I use a mixture of powdered spices such as garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. You can substitute it with taco seasoning or make my delicious chicken marinade too.
- Tortillas: Corn or flour tortillas, both work for making pollo asado tacos.
- Oil: I used olive oil.
For the salad topping
- Cabbage: I used a mix of regular cabbage and red cabbage, you can use only one type if you want.
- Onions: any type of onion you prefer, sliced.
- Corn: Used canned corn, but in summer you can also grill some corn in the cob and use that.
- Chilies: Jalapeño or serrano chilies, seeds removed.
- For dressing: I used a bit of lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
How to Make Pollo Asado Tacos
Before starting to grill your chicken, make the toppings and salsas you’d like to serve with your street tacos.
Step 1. Prep the chicken
Place chicken in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or any oil you prefer, then turn the chicken until coated with the spices.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Or overnight if you prefer a depth of flavor.
Step 2. Grill
Oil a grilled skillet and heat over high heat. Grill the chicken on all sides until cooked through. If you’re using bone-in pieces, you’ll need about 8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the thighs.
Note: For breast, it will be faster, so just make sure the chicken is cooked through (read my notes below).
Once done, place your grilled chicken in a bowl and cover with foil to prevent it from drying out. Allow the chicken to cool down a bit and then dice it into small bites.
Step 3. Make the salad
Chop and slice the vegetables and place them in a bowl along with the drained corn. Season with salt, lime juice, vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and set aside.
Step 4. Assemble
Heat your tortillas either using a non-stick pan or a Mexican comal if you have one. They should be heated over medium heat just until nicely pliable.
Place tortillas in a serving platter and add some diced chicken to each. Top with cabbage salad and drizzle with your favorite salsa. Enjoy the most delicious street tacos!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The internal temperature of the chicken thighs must reach 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. Use a meat thermometer if possible.
- If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut into the thickest part of the thigh; if it’s white with no pinkness and the juices are clear, it’s likely done, the meat should pull away easily from the bone too.
- Once heated, keep the tortillas wrapped in a kitchen towel to prevent them from getting cold and losing their softness.
Salsas and Other Toppings
As I said, this recipe can be customized to your preferences, so here’s a list of my favorite street taco toppings, feel free to use any of those recipes, all work perfectly for these pollo asado tacos!
Looking for sides? Check out my collection of delicious sides to serve with tacos!
How to Store
Pollo asado tacos are best eaten freshly made, so make sure you assemble only the ones you intend to eat.
However, you can store your pollo asado and make your tacos any time you want! That’s the beauty of this recipe, it makes the perfect prep meal for busy days. Here’s what I recommend for storing the chicken once is grilled and diced:
- Allow chicken to cool to room temperature and then place it in an airtight container.
- You can either store it whole or diced.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Once ready to enjoy again some pollo asado tacos, place diced chicken in a pan with a little bit of oil and reheat over medium-high heat while stirring from time to time.
More Tacos Recipes
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Pollo Asado Tacos
- 20 corn or flour tortillas
- 4 large chicken thighs (bone-in and skin on)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ Tablespoon oregano
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
For the cabbage salad
- 5 cups green cabbage (shredded)
- 3 cups red cabbage (shredded)
- 1 cup sweet corn (canned, drained)
- 2 jalapeño chiles (seeds and veins removed, diced)
- 1 medium white onion (sliced)
- ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 lime (juice)
- 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt (to taste)
- any salsa you prefer (read notes below)
- lime wedges
- Place chicken in a bowl and add all the spices. Drizzle with the olive oil and turn the chicken until coated on all sides.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to marinate.
- Oil a grilled skillet and heat over high heat. Grill the chicken on all sides until cooked through —about 8 minutes per side, depending on the on the thickness of the thighs.
- Once done, place your grilled chicken in a bowl and cover with foil to prevent it from drying out.
- Allow the chicken to lightly cool down and then dice it into small bites.
Make the salad topping
- Place all the vegetables and corn in a large bowl. Season with salt, lime juice, vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and set aside.
Make the tacos
- Heat the tortillas in a comal or a non-stick pan until soft and pliable. Wrap them in a kitchen towel to keep them warm as you assemble the tacos.
- Place tortillas in a serving platter and add some diced grilled chicken to each. Top with cabbage salad and drizzle with your favorite salsa. Enjoy.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.