For a simple weeknight low-fat taco meat, turn to poached chicken breast. Not only is this recipe easy to scale up, but it makes fantastic leftovers. Serve with refried beans, rice, or any other taco fixings you prefer.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

The canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce is essential for the flavor. Do not omit this or substitute something else.

Have your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start. It’ll make this recipe a lot easier.

I’ve adapted this from America’s Test Kitchen’s book The Chicken Bible.


  • 12″ skillet (any type works fine here) with lid
  • cutting board


  • 1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce (add more if you like)
  • 3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • lime wedges for serving


  1. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chipotle and cook about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in 1/2 cup of cilantro, orange juice, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
  2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low, cover with a lid, and cook until the chicken registers 160 F, about 10-15 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through cooking, at about the 7 minute mark.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly. Leave the sauce in the pan.
  5. Shred the chicken with two forks. If the chicken isn’t shredding well, cut the breasts into slices about 1/2″ thick against the grain, then pull apart with the grain. It should be easier this way than pulling shreds off a big breast with a fork.
  6. Meanwhile, turn up the heat in the skillet to medium-high and reduce the liquid left in the skillet to 1/4 c. (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the chicken and remaining cilantro to the sauce.
  8. Toss and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with tortillas, lime, and taco toppings, or over shredded lettuce.


  • You can substitute lime juice for the orange if you like, but I found the orange juice to have a pleasantly different flavor.
  • This recipe easily doubles or triples for large gatherings or even leftovers. It microwaves well, and tastes as fresh as the day it was made if you squeeze a little lime over it after reheating.
  • I do recommend having a meat thermometer and checking the temperature of the chicken. Chicken breast is very lean, and doesn’t take well to overcooking. You also don’t want to cut into the chicken and lose any precious moisture or juices before it’s done.
  • Recommended taco fixings: avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, refried beans, rice, sour cream, cotija cheese (or feta if you can’t find cotija), sprouts (radish, onion, or alfalfa), lettuce, salsa (red or verde)