18 Best Mexican Chicken Recipes

Mexican cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors, bold spices, and rich cultural heritage, and its chicken recipes are no exception. Most people have come across sizzling fajitas or hearty enchiladas featuring this prized bird, but there's a whole other world of recipes out there, and we'd be remiss if we let you miss out on them. Indeed, there is a Mexican chicken dish to fit almost any occasion, whether you need something sophisticated to impress the in-laws or the centerpiece for a casual lunch with friends.

We're here to delve into the world of known and unknown Mexican gastronomy by using the familiar chicken as an easy entry point. Chicken has been widely used in Mexico since the Spanish introduced it way back in the 1500s, along with many other staples. Since then, Mexican chicken recipes have come a long way, branching out into a wide range of delicious dishes we think everyone should know about. Ready? Grab your knife and fork, because we're about to dig in.

1. Smoky-Sweet Chicken Al Pastor

Although this "al pastor," meaning "shepherd-style," dish is traditionally made with pulled pork, shredded chicken can work just as well. All it has to do is sit around and absorb the delicious juices that form around it. What really makes this recipe special, though, are the smoky chipotle and sweet pineapple.

Beyond that, know that this recipe is essentially a taco filler recipe. So, be sure to serve your chicken with your favorite type of corn tortilla.

Recipe: Smoky-Sweet Chicken Al Pastor

2. Chicken Mole-Ish Chili

Mexican mole sauce is a magical concoction that allows people to bring chocolate out of the realm of desserts and into the world of savory dishes. In short, it means you can eat chocolate for dinner.

One of the best ways to make this happen is with chicken mole-ish chili, which calls for four ounces of dark chocolate along with plenty of tasty spices and diced chicken. For best results, make the chili a few days before you plan on eating it, so the flavors have time to blend together more fully.

Recipe: Chicken Mole-Ish Chili

3. Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Enchiladas don't look like something that could easily be turned into soup. But thanks to our slow cooker chicken enchilada soup recipe, nothing could be further from the truth. Copious amounts of cheese and plenty of chicken stock turn this Mexican classic into a warm and gooey stew — the ultimate comfort food.

What's more, this soup is easier to make than traditional enchiladas. Just toss the ingredients in the slow cooker and let the chicken tenderize practically on its own. The final touches just involve adding the cheeses and toppings.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

4. Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Tinga

A slow cooker can turn a panic-inducing recipe into an easy-breezy one, and that's exactly what's happening with our slow cooker Mexican chicken tinga. This dish is usually made with poached chicken that is then combined with spices and herbs. In this version, however, all you have to do is throw all the raw ingredients together in the cooker and press the appropriate button.

Once the chicken tinga is cooked, just remove it from the heat and shred. Serve it on a heated soft taco shell with cilantro.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Tinga

5. Crispy Chicken Flautas

These crispy chicken delights may look like enchiladas, but since they don't come with sauce on top, they're actually the lesser-known flautas. If you're unfamiliar, just know that they're delicious, and are distinguished by being irresistably crispy.

To achieve this texture, make sure you select the right type of flour tortilla. The thicker the tortilla, the less crispy it will turn out. Make sure you also space the flautas out properly during the cooking process, or they may end up creating closed-off pockets in which the tortilla steams and becomes soft.

Recipe: Crispy Chicken Flautas

6. Ancho Chicken and Avocado Burrito

If you need a super filling meal for lunch or dinner, the humble burrito always delivers. But in truth, burritos need not be so humble — there are plenty of ways to elevate them into flavor powerhouses.

One such way is to add chicken that has been prepared with spicy ancho chilies and lime juice. When combined with black beans, pico de gallo, melted Monterey Jack cheese, and sliced avocados, the chicken shines even brighter.

Recipe: Ancho Chicken and Avocado Burrito

7. Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

You know a chicken tortilla soup is successful when it achieves the perfect balance between tangy tomatoes and lime and savory beans and chicken. Our slow cooker recipe does just that.

Just place all the ingredients in the pot and wait for the chicken to be thoroughly cooked. Once it's ready, take it out, shred it, and add it back in until fully blended. Serve the soup with sliced avocado and the required tortilla strips.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

8. Crispy Chicken Quesadilla

One of the most beautiful things about quesadillas is that you can use practically any tasty filling and they're guaranteed to satisfy. But one of the best ingredients to put in quesadillas will always be chicken. It simply can't be beat.

This recipe is especially scrumptious. The mashed sweet potatoes add a hint of sugar to the mix without clashing with the savory qualities of the cheese and chicken. Serve with pico de gallo to add some tang and complete the balance of flavors.

Recipe: Crispy Chicken Quesadilla

9. Spicy Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas are essentially any type of meat, fish, or vegetable that has been cut into strips, cooked at a very hot temperature, and rolled into a tortilla. That is to say, this dish is extremely versatile and can be made with anything, as long as you follow those few simple rules.

But we're not going to leave you wandering the Earth for the perfect fajita recipe. Rather, try our spicy chicken fajitas, which can be made as mild or as hot as you want, depending on the amount of jalapeños you use (or don't use).

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Fajitas

10. Cheesy Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

The quality of an enchilada is determined by a lot of things, but the sauce on top might just be the most important factor. This is why getting the salsa verde right in this cheesy salsa verde chicken enchilada recipe is paramount.

The extra step of broiling the vegetables used to make the salsa is key. Once you've done that, add them and the cilantro to a blender and zap away. This recipe calls for flour tortillas instead of corn ones; they soak up more of that delicious salsa, giving you a good amount of sauce in every bite.

Recipe: Cheesy Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

11. Leftover Makeover Shredded Chicken Tacos

Leftover night doesn't have to mean a boring dinner. With the right recipes, you can turn any kind of leftovers into something new and exciting. This is the case with our leftover makeover shredded chicken tacos recipe, which calls for — you guessed it — leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.

The intense flavors brought by the mango salsa instantly transform yesterday's tired chicken. Just mix them with chopped bell peppers, tangy red onions, jalapeños, lime juice, cilantro, and freshly grated garlic. Inject freshness into your shiny new meal by topping old chicken with this vibrant new salsa.

Recipe: Leftover Makeover Shredded Chicken Tacos

12. Baked Chicken Fajita Bowls

Fajitas are defined by their sizzling heat and affinity with tortilla wraps, so it's hard to imagine them as an ingredient in something salad-esque. Yet that's exactly what they are in this baked chicken fajita bowl, and we're all better off for it.

This is an especially great way to serve fajitas if you don't want to get your hands dirty. By putting the roasted chicken and vegetables in a bowl with rice, tortillas, and guacamole, you can easily use a fork to eat your meal without fear of mess.

Recipe: Baked Chicken Fajita Bowls

13. Shredded Chicken Quesadilla

Everyone should know how to make a good old-fashioned chicken quesadilla in case of emergency, and we have just the recipe for it. This dish is simple and easy to make, even for those who are completely new to Mexican cooking.

Start by making some poached chicken and shredding it, or get ahold of some rotisserie chicken you can easily pull apart. Mix it with tomato salsa and you practically have your quesadilla filling already made. After that, all you need are the cheese and tortillas and you're done. Just don't skip the salsa step. If you do, you'll end up with dry, chewy chicken, as the salsa is what gives it moisture.

Recipe: Shredded Chicken Quesadilla

14. Smoked Chicken Tacos

Tacos are great and all — especially on Tuesdays — but maybe it's time to elevate your taco recipe and try something new. Enter smoked chicken tacos, which use most of the usual ingredients, but with a smoky twist.

To make these, you need a smoker so you can smoke the chicken along with a whole bell pepper. Once that step is done, proceed with your tacos as usual and serve them with cilantro and sliced avocado or guacamole.

Recipe: Smoked Chicken Tacos

15. Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Instant Pots are so easy to use and quick to deliver that they have practically no drawbacks. The only possible hitch is that sometimes, you need to adjust a recipe to fit the cooking method. 

Not so with this recipe. Indeed, all there is to do is insert the ingredients into the Instant Pot in the right order and press play. The rest takes care of itself, except for the final chicken shredding. You need to do that yourself with a pair of forks. Serve the saucy chicken with rice or as a taco filling.

Recipe: Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

16. Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos and Avocado Crema

If you haven't made any Mexican recipes with your air fryer yet, now is the time to start. Taquitos are the perfect introduction, as these traditionally deep-fried bites can be made just as well in an air fryer as anything else, and with a lot less oil.

Once the taquitos have been taken care of, it's time to turn your attention to the crema. Choose soft, ripe avocados for this venture, as under-ripe ones are tough to work with and deliver practically no flavor. Ripe avocados are also much more inclined to blend in seamlessly with the sour cream, lime juice, and other ingredients.

Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos and Avocado Crema

17. Slow Cooker Chicken Posole Verde

Posole soup is a warm and hearty comfort food that dates back to Aztec times. This version is marked by a bright green color, which comes from the slew of fresh vegetables used to make it, including tomatillos and Anaheim and poblano peppers.

The key ingredient in this recipe, though, is the hominy, which is a type of corn. When added to the slow-cooked chicken and vegetables, it adds a lovely creamy touch to the soup.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Posole Verde

18. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas with Spicy Avocado Crema

Chicken fajitas come out well whether they're fried in a pan or roasted in the oven. But the latter method makes for an especially perfect weeknight meal, as you can tuck the chicken and vegetables away on a sheet pan and not think about them again until the timer goes off.

That's what happens in this recipe, which is as simple as it is tasty. The flavor factor comes from the delicious blend of seasonings added to the fajitas, which includes cumin, paprika, and oregano. The spicy avocado crema, which gets spooned onto each tortilla wrap, also plays a major role.

Recipe: Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas with Spicy Avocado Crema