Main dish Tex-Mex

Chipotle chicken taco recipe

Chipotle chicken tacos | Homesick Texan

If you’re like me, you’ve been sneezing nonstop the past few days. I thought I had a cold until I looked at the calendar and realized what was really happening with my nose—it was an attack of the histamines. Howdy seasonal allergies, you’re right on schedule! And that means it’s time for chipotle chicken tacos.

I’ve had bad allergies all my life. When I lived in Houston it was the spring that made my nose explode and eyes water for two weeks. My mom would provide me with those little purse-packs of tissues, but that was never enough and you’d soon find me walking around with a roll of toilet paper that I’d grabbed from the school bathroom. I concede that wasn’t very ladylike but at least the toilet paper was softer than the lunchroom paper napkins.

When I lived in Austin, I got slammed in the winter with the dreaded cedar fever. It affected me so badly that one day my boss thought I had the flu and told me to go home. “But it’s just allergies from cedar pollen. I’m not actually contagious,” I said, but she insisted I leave, which was a very kind thing to do.

Chipotle chicken tacos | Homesick Texan

I thought when I moved to New York that I would finally escape the plight of allergies and for a few years I did. But a few years ago one fall morning I woke up almost unable to breathe and it’s been an annual curse of autumn allergies ever since.

Now, if I told you that I’d found a cure for seasonal allergies, would you believe me? Of course not! You can only suppress the symptoms until whatever it is that’s making you sneeze goes away. But two things always help me feel better when I’m in this state—chicken and chiles—and so I made a batch of shredded chipotle chicken tacos to help fight the histamines and make the allergy invaders go away.

Why does this work for me? Well, there’s plenty of chicken, which has been proven to help reduce congestion. And there’s enough fire from the chipotles to help clear your head. An added bonus is that I use a whole chicken so there’s plenty of leftover broth to sip until your allergies have finally gone away.

Chipotle chicken tacos | Homesick Texan

I certainly can’t make any guarantees these chipotle chicken tacos will help you stop sneezing, but they certainly can’t hurt and as well, they simply taste good, too. And hey, if you’re fortunate enough to not have allergies, don’t feel excluded—these tacos can be enjoyed by anyone! But if you are suffering from allergies right now, I hope that you feel better soon.

Would you like more Homesick Texan? Well, I’ve started offering additional recipes for paid subscribers to help with the costs of running the site. While I’m not taking anything away, if you’d like to support Homesick Texan and have access to exclusive, never-seen-before subscriber-only posts, please consider becoming a member; annual subscriptions are as low as $25. Thank you for reading, your consideration, and your support!

Chipotle chicken tacos | Homesick Texan
5 from 1 vote

Chipotle chicken tacos

Cuisine Tex-Mex
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


Ingredients for the chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken cut into quarters
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 leafy stem of cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Ingredients for the chipotle salsa:

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo (2 chile peppers not 2 cans!)
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Tortillas, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving


  1. Place the chicken in a large pot along with the garlic, onion, celery, cilantro, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Cover with water (about a gallon), bring the pot to a boil and then simmer 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the pot and when cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred either with your hands or 2 forks.

  2. Meanwhile, strain the cooled broth, throwing out the vegetables. Remove the fat from the broth with a gravy separator. Or you can take a quart-sized plastic storage bag and pour some broth into it. Snip a bottom corner of the bag and drain the broth, stopping when you get to the fat layer that is on top. (You will probably have to do this in batches).

  3. Place 1/2 cup of the chicken broth into a blender, reserving the rest for another use. Add to the blender the tomatoes, chipotle chiles, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, allspice, cilantro and lime juice. Blend until smooth. 

  4. In a medium-sized pot, heat up the oil on medium low heat. Pour the chipotle salsa into the pot and cook while occasionally stirring for 15 minutes. It should be a bit darker in color and a bit thicker. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust seasonings. With the heat still on, add the shredded chicken to the pot and stir until the chicken is well coated and has been re-heated, about 5-10 minutes.

  5. Serve shredded chipotle chicken with warmed-up corn or flour tortillas, limes and any of your other favorite taco toppings and your favorite salsa, such as a salsa verde.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have a whole chicken, you can use the equivalent in parts. Likewise, if you have leftover chicken, you may toss it in the salsa instead of starting from scratch. 

  1. I'm sneezing my head off her ein Boston too! I am totally trying out your medicine tonight. I often go for heat to unclog the sinuses, but I have never heard that chicken helps too – must be why we always reach for chicken soup when under the weather!

  2. Another good thing for congestion is sushi — with LOTS of wasabi. Or just the wasabi by itself, if you're brave enough.

  3. Man, I was still in Italian mode and was going to bread and cheese and salad for dinner, but now I think I'd mug my own grandmother for chicken tacos.

    (OK, I wouldn't really, but I might do something almost as drastic.)

  4. Looks like just what we need. I'll be making it soon!

  5. I never had any allergies until I was in my 30s, and then for the past many years I have had spring fever. For the past maybe, 5 years, I get a milder version in the fall. I always have a problem when I visit Texas, (north of San Antonio) with cedar allergies for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Since I love tacos, this seems like a good way to treat it!

  6. oooooh. i was gonna say wasabi but someone beat me to it! chiles work just fine too though! my hubs has bad allergies and just finished some fancy laser treatments – we'll see how well they work!

  7. Mmm, those look delicious! From the picture it looks like you use 2 tortillas for each taco…is that normal or personal preference?

  8. This looks simply amazing! I bet the chicken would be great over rice, too.

    And count me as another one suffering from allergies, all year 'round. Apparently ragweed is the worst in the fall all over the country, and that's one of the most common allergies! I'm allergic to live oak and pecan, too (plus some other pollens and molds)… growing up in Mid-West TX was no picnic. I ought to buy stock in Zyrtec.

  9. My oldest son has loves sharing all his germs from school. I'd thought that this year we'd escaped it but alas I too am inflicted with an awful stuffed up nose and the sneezes. This recipe looks so amazing, I've been craving taco's for a few weeks now I might have to finally make them ASAP! Maybe a little spice will loosen the face ick some :p

  10. Katie–Yes, there's something in chicken that helps decongest you–I just learned this!

    Janus–Oh, yes! I'm also a big fan of horseradish.

    Little Black Car–Now you don't have to mug your grandmother–you can just make them yourself!


    Lindie–Cedar fever is the WORST! I'd love to live in Austin again but I don't know if I could without figuring out some way to combat that.

    Heather–I've never heard of laser treatments–might have to look into that!

    TrippyTexan–Oh, yes! It would be great over rice!

    Neo-Homesteading–Spicy definitely helps. Feel better!

  11. These sound delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Sounds fantastic! I am having an extremely bad allergy season–much worse than ever before, so I'm definitely looking for any relief, the more delicious, the better.

    I just put a turkey meatball soup recipe up on my blog which helped me this weekend, and might give you some sore throat soothing, too. It's good!

  13. When I lived in Austin I experienced the same allergies but not as bad as you. I got my first sinus infection there. Lovely. Now this year in PA I am getting allergies worse than usual. Please rain.

    Love the recipe. Chipotles just make me happy.

  14. Man this looks good and will definitely have to happen sometime soon.
    The worst allergies I ever had was living in New Mexico, where there is a plant there that is called chamisa that smells like feet. Moving away did help for me but I always have that fear that they might develop somewhere else as well.
    Oh! And I made your sopapilla recipe yesterday and they were great! (I do miss that part of living in New Mexico!)

  15. ah–ah–ah–feel your pain! ah-ah-ah think I'll try your cure—choo! I had cedar fever every January when I lived in Buda, outside of Austin. Now I just have hayfever from all the pollen in North Carolina

  16. Oh my gosh! I wish I had a batch of this ready to go right now. My allergies have knocked me for a doozy and left me with only just enough energy to eat leftover soup. (thank goodness i have some!)

    However, as soon as I have a little reserve of energy built up, I'm so making these.

  17. Cedar fever was the worst when we lived at New Braunfels years ago. I would have a headache for DAYS! Now it's mold that gets me in Arkanasas. The peppers actually do help they say, anyway this recipe will make me forget all about my allergies. I love the little soft tortillas cradling the meat…do I sound like a native Texan?!!

  18. That sounds wonderful! I always go with chipotle chicken soup to clear my allergy ridden head, but maybe this year I'll try your tacos. So you're writing a cookbook right? When do we get to see it? You're going to tell your loyal readers so we can buy it for our families for holidays, yes? (Texas Independence Day counts as a holiday if you need until then.)

  19. Chile and chicken are the best for a cold or allergies,not to mention great comfort food!

    I'm ready to give this a try!

  20. My allergies are worst in Spring, but like my mother before me, I'm one of those people who always has a wad of tissues stuffed into every pocket all year long. Actually, I have started collecting vintage hankies to keep in my pockets instead, because I got tired of kleenex bits stuck to everything in my dryer after once again missing a stray tissue in a pocket.

  21. P.S. This recipe looks so great!

    After reading your blogs all day yesterday, I was inspired to make a big pot of pinto beans with ham, and I have had beans for every meal today. Thanks!

  22. Ok, ok this is just too much. Looks spectacular.

  23. Fantastic recipe! Sorry allergies have managed to get you in 3 out of 4 seasons. Total bummer. But if they helped inspire this recipe, all is not lost. Feel better!

  24. Farmer Jen–You're welcome. And thank you!

    Janelle–Turkey meatball soup sounds very soothing!

    SweetSavoryPlanet–Rain does help, doesn't it?

    Eva–A plant that smells like feet? Sounds awful! And so happy you enjoyed the sopapillas. Thanks for reminding me it's been too long since I've last made them!

    Diane–Cedar fever–so terrible!

    Steff–I know how you feel–allergies can be so debilitating. Feel better!

    Joycee–Yes you do–we do love our tortillas!

    WildCilla–The cookbook is supposed to come out next fall. I'm still working on it right now!

    Kkryno–Aren't they? Love the combination.

    Kathi D–I've actually become a vintage hankie person myself. Much softer on the nose, I think.


    Bria–Now that's looking on that bright side! Thanks for putting it all in perspective!

  25. To help ease the symptoms, and possibly help you not have such severe attacks, use the herb Stinging Nettles along with lots of Vit. C and Quercitin. You can get all of these at your local health food store or on line. I like Vitacost for online herbs and vitamin shopping. They have great prices. If you begin taking these a few weeks before allergy season begins, your immune system is strong enough to lessen or even prevent an attack. Also, lots of probiotics help. A weakened immune system makes us more vulnerable to allergies. You might also want to try homeopathy. It really works. I hope you feel better soon!

  26. Kristen Tucker

    Your recipes always look so amazing, and this one does not disappoint! Living in San Diego, I can definitely appreciate all the Mexi recipes you have. And since right now I am under the weather, this looks just as inviting as if I had allergy empathies. I just might have to add it to the menu this week! Thanks!!!

  27. Celeste

    Wow, this looks like it would taste great!

    I hope you feel better soon. Ohioans want nothing more than a killing frost right now, myself and my itchy red eyes included.

  28. Love this recipe. Can't wait to try my own version.

  29. My husband suffers from severe allergies and we have found that my Green Chilie Soup has helped out the best
    1-2 lbs pork cubed and browned
    1 32oz pkg frozen mild green chilies (found in walmart freezer section or home grown roasted and peeled)
    4 cloves of garlic sliced
    1 can whole tomatoes crushed
    about 8 cups of chicken broth

    I brown the pork then add the broth for about 30 min. then add the green chilies and garlic and simmer for an hour. Last add the crushed whole tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of milk. Don't forget to season the pork. I usually just do salt/pepper and maybe oregano and garlic powder.

    it certainly opens your sinuses and warms you up if you are achy. thanks for the chipotle recipe.

  30. I've been looking for a chipotle salsa recipe! Thanks a million! Your tomato salsa and black eyed pea salsa (caviar) are awesome–I'm sure this is my next favorite!

  31. I so love the chipotle and wasabi rememdy, but another great cure is the homeopathic drops at Whole Foods. Here in Dallas they carry "Texas Weed Mix," drops that really do help calm the allergies! Seriously it works, even when everything else fails – we use it every year. I bet they have a local rememdy at your WF in Manhattan. Try it! Good luck!

  32. This looks YUM! I always head to my local Thai, where I used to work as a teenager, for Chicken Hot and Sour Soup – it saves me every time. Even if I feel a cold coming on, I start drinking water with lemon juice in it and head straight there for lunch – it never develops into a full blown thing!

  33. Yum. I love spicy when I'm not feeling so well, so I understand your affiliation with this recipe and your allergies! Love chipotle, and this would be a welcome treat anytime in our house.

  34. I can't wait to try this recipe.My husband developed terrible allergies when we lived in San Antonio. When we moved to New York, they got even worse…spring and fall allergies! Thank goodness for summer. I've only recently started cooking with chipotles. I look forward to trying another dish, and if it helps his allergies, even better.

  35. I'm jonesing for some Taco Cabana Chicken tacos now…can't wait to try this!

  36. I went the opposite direction. Thought we were all suffering allergies and finally came to the conclusion that we've been passing a cold around the family. Joy. Mine has turned into an awful hacking bronchitis-y chough. Annoying.

    This chipotle chicken sounds wonderful. Would be a nice stuffing with some cheese for some poblano chiles.

  37. Cookie–You're right–stinging nettles are great with no side effects.

    Kristen–Thank you and you're very welcome.

    Celeste–I don't want it to freeze yet, but a good rain might help. Feel better!


    Candi–This soup sounds fabulous. Can't wait to try it!

    DessertforTwo–So pleased you love the black-eyed pea salsa!

    Andrea–I'll have to see if there's something similar here in NYC. Thanks for the tip!

    Vickyb–Water with lemon juice also works!

    Tasty Eats at Home–I'm a big fan of everything chipotle myself.

    Dianne–And even if they don't help, at least they taste good!

    Joycee–I love Taco Cabana's bean and cheese tacos.

    Donna–Oh, no! Hope y'all feel better soon. Coughing can be so painful.

  38. I made these for dinner last night, and they were fantastic, and I'm breathing surprisingly well in Iowa this morning. Thanks! I think I'm going to try the leftovers with some sliced avocado…

  39. These look amazing..allergies or not!

  40. I don't have access to chipotles in adobo where I live, but I do have chipotle powder. How much do you think I should put in as a substitute for the canned chiles?

  41. We cooked this recipe tonight and it turned out great! yum!

  42. These were awesome! Made them last night for dinner exactly as written except I added more chipotle peppers and grated some cotija cheese on my tacos at the end. YUM! Thanks for posting, as always.

  43. It would almost be worth getting a cold just to make these tacos and let the magic work!

  44. this looks so awesome! hope you feel better!

  45. Girlfriend, this blog is el mejor!
    I just sent it to my DIL who is a transplanted Texican living in Philadelphia. Your recipes (and travel)have the ring of authenticity, don'cha know? Tried your red sauce for cheese enchiladas…..bien, bien!
    Keep on writing about this stuff.

    From a Hill Country resident for 22 years.

  46. Never hear of chicken reducing congestion, but I'll take it! 🙂 Good being back on here. Been too long.

  47. Making this for the second time already….FABULOUS!!!

  48. I believe peppers help for one reason, in that they contain a chemical which is equivalent to a booster shot for the immune system. This runs true for all pepper fruit, whether bells or ghost peppers.

    They also increase the ability of the tongue to taste nuances if flavor… which all around is good especially if having trouble with sinuses.

    I've had good luck with these recipes and look forward to introducing this one to my new neighbors when we move next week.

  49. I figured out what to do with the leftover broth: boil another chicken in it.

  50. Carrie

    This took me a while to make but OMG SO WORTH the time and effort! I added an extra Chipotle pepper and WOW my lips are on fire! So good I ate it plain on a skillet-warmed corn tortilla. Going to try it with a little sour cream next go-round. I have a ton left to share or freeze, and I also have a whole freezer full of beautiful chicken stock for Fall soups! My dog especially loves it when I do a whole chicken….he got plenty of samples today! Great recipe….keep 'em coming!

  51. I want some of this for dinner! Sounds delish!

  52. I LOVE your page! my roommate asked me last nite if i ever made anything that didnt have jalapenos in it. I said sometimes i use serranos. I am carrying appx 7 extra pounds my boyfriend calls my enchalada lbs. Im living in new orleans (moved from Katy-little town west of houston) and cant tell you how many TERRIBLE enchalada meals ive had here till i found your receipe-Growing up in houston I never realized the rest of the country doesnt have a donut/kolache place on every corner. will be trying your receipe soon. One other thing we dont have in new orleans (at least to my knowledge) is good german sausage. man i sure do miss it-am getting a sausage grinder and gonna do my own. Keep up the good work

  53. This was delicious and easy, and fed a huge group of hungry people. I added some roasted hatch chiles from New Mexico.

  54. everytime I see this photo it makes me want to weep – it looks so good xx

  55. Made these tonight – DELICIOUS. I didn't have a whole chicken, so I threw in a ton of raw chicken tenders and a beef rib bone. The broth is KILLER! Also, bone broth is an excellent, healthy soup because bones simmered for long period of time contain and release an easily digestible form of magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc and other minerals. Zinc, magnesium and calcium are vital for a functional immune system. It's some of the best stuff you can eat when you're sick (like you mentioned!) These tacos are great, especially with a little broth spooned over the taco! Yum!

  56. David from Southern AZ

    As always, this recipe really delivers. I had some leftover chicken and I needed the right direction to make it into chicken tacos and this recipe did it for me.

    Home Sick Texan, you are the greatest!!!

    P.S. I was born in Houston and your recipes are my favorite, always giving me the flavors and textures that I crave!

  57. Im here in Del Rio TX and these sound goooooood! I have a tip though for shredding the meat: Place the warm chunks of meat in your stand mixer (It's best to have the kind that lock down in place.). Attach the paddle attachment and turn on slow and move toward medium slowly. This should shred all of your chicken in about 45 seconds! It's a huge lifesaver when you are a busy mom!

  58. Nutzabouttennis

    I just made these tonight and had to post it on my Pinterest…the sauce was seriously so good I wanted to drink it.

  59. I just made this a couple hours ago for the family. Tasty and with a 4lb chicken enough for 6 or 7. I recommend cooking the sauce on the stovetop a little longer (maybe another 10 minutes) until it thickens quite a bit. My chicken had a sauce that was a little too thin and I would have like to intensify the flavor even more.

  60. Shaunna

    This is delicious and versatile. Made it a couple times before trying paleo, and with very few and easy tweaks it's perfect as paleo, even. Extra heaping of the salsa simmered in another cup of bone broth; chugged that yesterday to kick out a cold/fever/ugh-osity; to success.

  61. We had left over turkey from Easter. I shredded it up and used this chipolte sauce. It turned out GREAT!!!!

  62. Carl Moore

    Hi Lisa,

    In the last sentence of the instructions, you said “I like to use this tomatillo salsa verde”, but there was no link and I searched your site but couldn’t really determine which recipe you were referring to. Help?


    • Lisa Fain

      Carl–This tomatillo salsa I use for these enchiladas is the one I often use. I’ll add a link to the recipe, as well. Thanks for noticing that!

  63. Carl Moore

    Thank you so much Lisa!

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