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Chipotle orange tacos on a cutting board with limes

Easy Chipotle Orange Chicken Tacos

Spicy and smoky chipotles balanced with the natural sweetness of orange juice make juicy and mouth-watering tacos!
Course Tacos
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 4 -6


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
  • cilantro
  • 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.