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adobo marinated chicken tacos on a colorful plate, with a platter of cubed chicken and a glass of strawberry drink to the side

Adobo-Marinated Chicken Tacos

There are countless ways to make chicken tacos, but these adobo tacos are flavorful and easy enough for a weeknight. You can make the marinade ahead of time, and even freeze it! Then just marinate your chicken in the adobo paste and cook until juicy. Delicious!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 16 to 20 tacos
Calories 122 kcal


  • 4 dried ancho chiles about 2 ounces, wiped clean, stemmed, and seeded
  • 4 dried guajillo chiles about 1 ounce, wiped clean, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1/2 cup water plus more for soaking the chiles
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more as needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders, cutlets, or boneless, skinless thighs
  • About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For serving

  • Warm corn or flour tortillas
  • Diced avocado optional
  • Salsa optional
  • Sour cream or Mexican crema optional
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves optional
  • Lime wedges optional
  • Finely chopped white onion optional


  • Combine the chiles in a large bowl and add enough water to cover them (I use hot but not boiling water). Soak the chiles until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water.
  • Place the drained chiles in a blender. Add the 1/2 cup water, ginger, salt, cumin, and pepper and blend until smooth, stopping and scraping down the pitcher with a rubber spatula as needed, about 1 minute. (The mixture will be thick—don’t add extra water.) You will yield about 1 cup of chile purée.
  • Put the chicken in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of the chile puree (the rest can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for a few months to make another batch of tacos in the future), and rub it onto the chicken until the meat is well coated. At this point you can cook the chicken right away, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat a grill, griddle, or large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to add a thin sheen to the grill grates or pan. Season the chile-slathered breasts with salt and cook, in batches if necessary, until they’re well browned on both sides and just cooked through, turning them over once, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, then slice or dice it for tacos, and serve with the tortillas and your choice of garnishes.

Notes & Nutrition

Adapted from Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales
Marinated, Cooked Chicken and Corn Tortillas Only (no other toppings): Servings 16.0 * calories 122 * Total Fat 3 g * Saturated Fat 7 g * Monounsaturated Fat 0 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 22 mg * Sodium 85 mg * Potassium 232 mg * Total Carbohydrate 13 g * Dietary Fiber 3 g * Sugars 2 g * Protein 10 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*