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Crisp Chicken Tacos (Tacos de Pollo)

Photo: James Carriere; Styling: Karen Shinto
Total time 1 hr
Yield Makes 16 tacos; 8 servings
No need to use stale store-bought shells to make crispy tacos. Our easy method turns fresh corn tortillas into crunchy pockets filled with a simple, savory filling.


  • 3 cups packed shredded cooked chicken meat (see Notes)
  • 2 cups (1/2 lb.) shredded jack cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • About 2 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • 16 corn tortillas (5 to 6 in.)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Tomato-Cucumber Salsa

Nutrition Information

  • calories 238
  • caloriesfromfat 53 %
  • protein 14 g
  • fat 14 g
  • satfat 4.1 g
  • carbohydrate 14 g
  • fiber 1.7 g
  • sodium 147 mg
  • cholesterol 43 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 200°. In a bowl, mix chicken with cheese and season to taste with salt.

  2. Pour 3 tbsp. oil into a medium frying pan over high heat. When hot, add tortillas, 1 at a time, heating just enough to soften but not crisp, about 10 seconds per side. As heated, stack on paper towels, cover with a kitchen towel, and keep warm in oven. Add more oil to pan as needed.

  3. Mix cilantro with chicken filling. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, distribute about 1/4 cup packed chicken filling down center. Fold tortilla in half over filling and thread 1 toothpick through top edges to seal. If assembling ahead, arrange filled tacos on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and chill up to 4 hours.

  4. Pour at least 1/2 in. oil into same pan and set on high heat. When hot, add 4 to 6 tacos (depending on pan size; do not overcrowd). Tacos should sizzle when they hit oil. Turn as needed until shells are crisp and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Lift tacos from pan with a slotted spoon, draining oil back into pan. Lay tacos in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining tacos the same way, adding more oil as needed. When all tacos are cooked, pull out and discard toothpicks. Serve with salsa on the side.

  5. Note: Nutritional analysis is per taco.

Cook's Notes

A typical rotisserie chicken yields just enough meat for this recipe. Tacos can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead, then fried just before serving. Or, you can fry them up to 6 hours ahead and recrisp them in a 300° oven for 15 minutes before serving.

Doña Tomàs: Discovering Authentic Mexican Cooking; Doña Tomàs, Oakland, California