Weekday Chicken Tacos

June 16, 2015
10 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

In the summer, like most people, we tend to grill a lot. And nothing is more exciting around here than taco night. We are big fans of achiote and make up big batches of it so we can slather chicken in the morning and have a quick and delicious dinner at night. There is really no flavor like it and it pairs wonderfully with other favorite taco toppings: avocado, salty cheese, and pickled onions.

This recipe will make enough powder for another meal. You can keep it in an airtight container in the pantry until ready to use. Or, do as we do and grill up a double batch and freeze the chicken for even quicker meals at a later date. It makes a great chicken salad with a little mayo, fresh cilantro, and chopped onions. —savorthis

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is fantastic. We took savorthis's advice and made a double batch. I'm so glad we did! The easy-to-prepare, flavorful chicken was delicious in tacos and complemented by the creamy avocado, salty feta, and crisp quick-pickled onions. We've been eating the leftovers in wraps with hummus, on salad, and (I'll admit) right out of the fridge after coming home late one night. I'll definitely be making this one again and again. —Annabelle

What You'll Need
  • For th achiote powder:
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 12 cloves
  • 5 tablespoons annatto seed
  • For the tacos:
  • 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons achiote powder (above)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Corn tortillas
  • Avocado, for serving
  • Cilantro, for serving
  • Cheese of your choice (cotija, Monterey jack...)
  1. Toast all achiote ingredients except annatto seeds in a dry skillet just until fragrant. Let cool, then grind with annatto in coffee grinder.
  2. Zest and juice the orange. Mix well with the achiote powder and garlic and toss chicken to coat. Marinate at least 6 hours or overnight. Light grill to medium heat and bring chicken to room temperature. Drizzle chicken with a bit of oil and season with salt. Grill chicken until well browned and cooked through.
  3. Chop chicken and serve on corn tortillas with avocado, cilantro, cheese, and pickled onions.*
  4. * Another thing we always have on hand is pickled onions. Heat equal amounts of cider or sherry vinegar and water, add a splash of sugar, hefty pinch of salt, and several coriander seeds. Add a sliced red onion, heat to a simmer, then let cool. Store in the fridge and eat on salads, sandwiches, tacos.....

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ECMotherwell
  • savorthis
  • Whitney
Co-Owner/Designer @ Where Wood Meets Steel-Custom Furniture

3 Reviews

ECMotherwell July 2, 2017
The marinade is awesome, and honestly...although I KNOW it could be better done exactly as-is, I'm here to tell you that it still works wonders when hacked together with pre-ground spices that aren't toasted. :) I made it in my less detailed version, and it was still great! (Looking forward to trying it as written sometime soon.)
Whitney June 13, 2016
How are these weekday tacos when you need to a) toast all spices and b) marinate 6 hours or overnite? Weekday meals seem to me to be a recipe I can click on and then make to eat now. Damn, they sound good though.
savorthis June 13, 2016
I suppose it could be called Plan Ahead Weekday Tacos. In my head note I did say we make extra batches of the spices. So I blend the marinade in the morning and grill for dinner. I agree it's not a last minute quickie! But perhaps it's just relative to my ridiculously complicated normal cooking. :)