Table of Contents
  1. These tacos are your next weeknight meal obsession.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. If you love this recipe, try these recipes as well.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Tequila Citrus Chicken Tacos Recipe

What could be better than an easy-to-make weeknight meal that can be fully customized? That’s what makes these tequila lime chicken tacos shine! These tacos are paired perfectly with a quick, homemade corn salsa, which combines the sweetness of corn with the richness of avocado. You and your family will both love this recipe!

These tacos are your next weeknight meal obsession.

A weeknight meal does not need to be the same thing repeated over and over again. New recipes full of strong flavors are easy to employ on a weeknight… when you have the right recipe. Case in point: these tequila citrus chicken tacos are ideal for a weeknight meal.

For many, chicken breast is often in the freezer and can be quickly marinated in the morning before work. Once home again at the end of the workday, all you need to do is grill the meat and prepare a quick salsa. This salsa uses frozen corn and canned tomatoes for a quick but fresh-tasting salsa.

These tacos are speedy for a weeknight but taste like a weekend!

Large stoneware bowl filled with two chicken tacos topped with corn salsa and lettuce with lots of toppings sitting all around on white countertop.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

Since this recipe is all about simplicity, the ingredients are handpicked to pack a punch. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Orange juice and lime juice work in tandem to lend a sweet, sour, and acidic brightness to the marinade. Shy away from juice that comes from a bottle. Fresh juice is important for the best flavor.
  • Tequila is the star of the marinade and the flavor is super important. Tequila adds a slightly smoky flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. The point of using tequila in the marinade is intentional. You want that iconic, unique tequila flavor, so leaving it out is not an option.
  • Chili powder is a combination of spices including garlic, cayenne, cumin, paprika, oregano, and onion. The mixture is an easy way to pack in a lot of flavors quickly.
  • Frozen corn makes it super easy to use this recipe any time of the year. I use my home-frozen corn, but store-bought varieties will work the same. You can also use fresh corn that has been cooked.
  • Red onion has a nice sweetness to it along with a bit of a tempered onion flavor, as compared to regular white or yellow onion. Plus, it has a nice color, which is half of the eating experience.
  • Lime juice adds some acidity which is so important in a salsa. It also helps the added avocado from turning brown once it’s exposed to air.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps to balance out the acidity of the salsa and elevate the flavor of the tomatoes.
Lots of ingredients sitting on white countertop with labels indicating each item on counter which includes chicken, citrus, tequila, tortillas, tomatoes, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

Since this is a weeknight meal, the steps are intentionally simple. And the process is designed for those that want to prepare this before work and come home to minimal prep work. Here are the steps:

  1. Marinate the chicken breasts. To a medium bowl, add the tequila, orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic, salt, chili powder, and cumin. Whisk everything to combine the ingredients. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or other protective covering and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the chicken to marinate for as little as two hours and as long as six hours. Marinating for longer than six hours will begin to make the chicken mushy, with too much breaking down of the cells of the chicken.
  2. Grill the chicken breasts. After the chicken has been marinated, place the breasts on the grill. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken for about five to eight minutes per side. Then flip them and grill on the other side. Once the internal temperature of the breasts has reached 160°F, remove them from the grill and allow them to rest before slicing.
  1. Prepare the corn salsa. In a bowl, combine corn, drained fire-roasted tomatoes, red onion, avocado, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, cilantro, cumin, and chipotle powder. Mix everything together until fully combined and the pieces of avocado become slightly chopped. Let the salsa sit for about thirty minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
  2. Char the corn tortillas. Using a grill or a flame from a gas stove, char the tortillas for a bit of additional flavor, interest, and texture. This step is completely optional.
  1. Assemble the chicken tacos. Start with a taco and pile on the items that you love. Here’s how I assemble mine: taco, crunchy lettuce, slices of the grilled chicken breast, corn salsa, Cotija cheese, sliced radish, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve and enjoy!

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • For the most added flavor, use a yellow or gold tequila, rather than a white variety. The yellow or gold varieties will have more flavor, which is what is desirable when creating a marinade.
  • Make sure the citrus that’s added to the marinade is at room temperature. This will ensure that the most amount of juice can be squeezed from the fruit. If your oranges and limes are cold when making this recipe, pop them into the microwave to warm them up for a few seconds. This will bring their internal temperature closer to room temperature.
  • If marinating the chicken in a shallow vessel where the marinade does not fully submerge the breasts, make sure to turn them every so often. You do not want parts of the chicken to be left without marinade on them.
  • After the chicken has been grilled, make sure to let it rest before cutting it into slices. This resting time will allow the breasts to reabsorb their juices. If cut right away, a lot of the juiciness from the chicken would be lost.
Hand holding a chicken taco with slices of radish on top along with crumbly cheese with another taco in stone bowl below.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Does tequila have to be added to the marinade? What if I don’t drink or don’t like to use alcohol?

This recipe utilizes the flavor of tequila. Tequila offers a slightly smoky brightness to the chicken. Other alcohols, like white rum, can work in the same way. If you do not want to use tequila, you could omit it and add some neutral oil in its place. The citrus will still be there but the overall flavor will be impacted.

Instead of orange or lime, can lemon juice be used?

Lemon will add the acidity needed to the marinade but will not have the same flavor as lime or orange. While it will work in a pinch, I wouldn’t recommend the flavor profile.

Why add additional cumin to the marinade when the chili powder already has cumin?

While chili powder does contain cumin each brand has varying amounts. This Southwestern-style marinade needs just a hint of additional warmth. It’s not warmth in terms of heat, but warmth in the vein of additional spice.

Can I leave the cilantro out of the corn salsa if I don’t like it?

Of course! The corn salsa will not quite have the same intended flavor, but if you don’t like cilantro or it tastes like soap to you, you can for sure leave it out. Some ethnic markets carry culantro, which is a great alternative. Those who think that cilantro tastes like soap usually do not think that about culantro.

Instead of tacos, is there something else that this chicken could be used for?

Yes, this chicken and corn salsa would make a great salad. Chop lettuce and place the chicken and salsa on top for a wonderful meal. This chicken could also be used in a white chicken chili with the corn salsa as a garnish.

Watch how to make this recipe

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

Tequila Citrus Chicken Tacos

5 from 4 votes
What could be better than an easy-to-make weeknight meal that can be fully customized? That’s what makes these tequila lime chicken tacos shine! These tacos are paired perfectly with a quick, homemade corn salsa, which combines the sweetness of corn with the richness of avocado. You and your family will both love this recipe!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Marinating Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 32 mins
Servings 8 tacos

Ingredients

  • ½ cup gold tequila
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 lb chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)

For the corn salsa

  • 2 cups corn frozen and thawed or freshly cooked
  • 1 15 oz fire-roasted tomatoes drained
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder

To serve

  • 8 tortilla shells
  • lettuce as desired
  • cotija cheese as desired
  • radish sliced, as desired

Instructions
 

For the chicken

  • In a medium bowl, combine the tequila, orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic cloves, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Whisk to combine and submerge the chicken with the marinade. Cover the marinating chicken and chill for 2 hours, or for up to 8 hours.
    ½ cup gold tequila, ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup lime juice, 3 cloves garlic, 1 ½ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 lb chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), 1 ½ tsp salt
  • Once the chicken is marinated, prepare the grill by heating it on high for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium-high. Grill the chicken until browned on both sides with an internal reading of 160°F, about 6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill and set it aside to rest for 15 minutes. While resting, the chicken will continue to cook.

For the corn salsa

  • In a large bowl, combine the corn, drained fire-roasted tomatoes, red onion, avocado, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, cilantro, cumin, and chipotle powder. Stir to combine and serve with tacos.
    2 cups corn, 1 15 oz fire-roasted tomatoes, ½ cup diced red onion, 1 avocado, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp salt, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp chipotle powder

To serve

  • Slice the chicken breasts. Assemble tacos with tortilla shells, corn salsa, cotija cheese, radish, lettuce, and any other toppings.
    8 tortilla shells, cotija cheese, radish, lettuce

Notes

  • For the most added flavor, use a yellow or gold tequila, rather than a white variety. The yellow or gold varieties will have more flavor, which is what is desirable when creating a marinade.
  • Make sure the citrus that’s added to the marinade is at room temperature. This will ensure that the most amount of juice can be squeezed from the fruit. If your oranges and limes are cold when making this recipe, pop them into the microwave to warm them up for a few seconds. This will bring their internal temperature closer to room temperature.
  • If marinating the chicken in a shallow vessel where the marinade does not fully submerge the breasts, make sure to turn them every so often. You do not want parts of the chicken to be left without marinade on them.
  • After the chicken has been grilled, make sure to let it rest before cutting it into slices. This resting time will allow the breasts to reabsorb their juices. If cut right away, a lot of the juiciness from the chicken would be lost.

Nutrition

Serving: 1taco (does not include taco shell) | Calories: 148kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine Southwestern
Difficulty Easy
Method Grilling

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This made for a truly delicious meal on a warm summer evening in The Netherlands. The marinade creates a beautifully flavored and tender chicken breast. At the dinner table we were predicting how this will become a favorite dish for us. Thank you for this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Did change the salsa up a bit, charred the corn, fresh tomato and fresh jalapeños. Family wishes Id leave recipes alone! But this was delicious! Will definitely be making these again!

  3. 5 stars
    I didn’t put the chicken and salsa in tortillas, but served with mixed greens. It was delicious and I’ll be making the corn salsa often! Good stuff..