If you want dinner in a hurry but want something utterly delicious, try these easy chipotle orange chicken tacos that are oh so tasty and will be your new favorite way to spice up simple chicken thighs!
It’s amazing how two simple ingredients can transform boneless skinless chicken thighs…orange juice and chipotles in adobe sauce.
Why you should make these easy tacos
- The simple sauce creates a sweet, smoky, and spicy flavor that compliments the chicken tacos so well.
- It’s really affordable because chicken thighs cost less than chicken breasts
- The orange juice and chipotles are also super affordable
- This is an easy way to spice up traditional tacos
- You’re going to want to slather this sauce on everything
- It’s comes together in about 20 minutes
What are chipotles in adobe sauce?
Chipotles are simply smoked and dried jalapenos. They can often be purchased canned and preserved in smoky and spicy adobe sauce which is a delicious dark red sauce made of a combination of Mexican spices, vinegar, and herbs. They are so affordable and a great way to add incredible flavor to chicken.
The heat comes from the seeds inside the chipotles so if you want to it more spicy, add 1-2 extra whole chipotles. If you want it less spicy remove the seeds from the center and just add one chipotle.
Chipotles in adobo are available in every grocery store. Chipotles are smoky and spicy and they keep really well in the fridge even after opening the can because they are preserved in an adobo sauce.
What type of chicken do I use in this recipe?
Boneless skinless chicken thighs are perfect for these tacos because they cook quickly and stay really moist because dark meat has more fat in it than chicken breasts.
You can use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs but they will take longer to cook (25-30 minutes) and you will need to drain the extra fat from the pan so that the sauce thickens properly and doesn’t become overly oily.
By the way, try this other awesome chicken dish
Upside down cast iron roasted chicken is incredibly easy and amazingly delicious (I will never roast a chicken any other way).
Bon Appetit Ya’ll,
Easy Chipotle Orange Chicken Tacos
For the Chicken
- 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs see recipe notes for chicken substitutions
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 Tbsp chipotle plus 2 Tbsp adobo sauce (or two chipotles if you like it spicy)
- salt and pepper to taste
For the tacos
- corn or flour tortillas
- shredded monterey jack cheese
- lime wedges
- sour cream
- Heat a dutch oven or large deep skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the olive oil and chicken thighs and brown on each side. You may need to brown the chicken in two batches, depending on the size of your pan.
- Deglaze the pan with the orange juice and scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chipotle and adobo sauce and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and partially cover and cook the chicken until it's cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, grate the cheese, slice the limes, and tear cilantro leaves.
- If using flour tortillas, heat them on each side in a small skillet with a little bit of oil. You can also heat them in the microwave, but they won't crisp up that way.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. If the sauce is still runny, simmer it for 1-2 minutes until it's thickened and remove from the heat immediately. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes, then shred the chicken and place in a large bowl. Pour the sauce right over the chicken. Serve with extra sauce from the chicken and top with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and lime.
Options for chicken and chicken thighs
- Boneless chicken thighs have less fat on them so it makes the sauce faster less greasy.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs take longer to cook (about 25 minutes or so) and have more fat in them. If you use chicken thighs with the bone and skins on them, you'll need to drain the fat out of the pan before adding the orange juice and chipotles with the adobe sauce because the sauce can get a little too greasy and may not thicken as it should.
- You can use chicken breasts in this recipe but you may have to adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of the breasts.