Air fryer shredded chicken tacos are a breeze to make, thanks to the air fryer and the recipe is simple to follow. You can make air fryer chicken tacos for a tasty fuss-free weeknight dinner when you need to get a meal on the table quickly. This chicken taco recipe is even one you can make in advance!
We love Mexican food for dinner in our house. And, you can’t make it any easier than air fryer Mexican recipes. I have to admit that I’ve broken not one but two different air fryers in the past four years. That’s how much I use and love my air fryers. Not only are air fryers easy to use, they also cook quickly and taste great.
On weekday nights after sports, and other family activities all I really care about is feeding my family something healthy that cooks really quickly. That’s where these amazing air fryer chicken tacos really shine. Serve them up with air fryer chicken taquitos, Mexican corn casserole and smoked guacamole and you’ve got an entire meal the whole family will love!
They are healthy, taste amazing, and come together so quickly in the air fryer. They’re great for groups too! Make a taco bar with all your favorite toppings and don’t forget the red salsa and green salsa to add some spice!
Chicken Thighs vs Breasts for Tacos
I prefer boneless skinless thighs for shredded chicken tacos because the meat comes out more tender and moist.
When it comes to the air fryer, I feel that the thighs work much better than breasts. I recommend giving them a try if you have them on hand.
We promise you will love how tender they turn out.
Pro Tip: I do not recommend using bone-in chicken for this recipe. Using bone-in meat will take a lot longer to cook and will be harder to shred for your chicken tacos.
Ingredients Air Fryer Tacos with Chicken
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt and black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Vegetable oil
- Taco seasoning
- Fresh lime juice
- Flour tortillas or corn tortillas
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Shredded cheese
How to Make Fast Shredded Chicken Tacos
This recipe is super easy making it perfect for busy weeknight dinners!
Step 1: Prepare Taco Seasoning
Mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Step 2: Season the Meat
Place the thighs in a bowl or large resealable bag and toss with oil until coated.
Transfer the pieces to a cutting board and sprinkle with spice mixture, as evenly as possible. You could also use a storage bag and shake them up or add the seasoning to a plate to coat your chicken thighs.
Step 3: Cook the Meat
Pop the pieces of meat in an air fryer basket then inside the air fryer and set the temperature to 400 degrees.
Cook for 13-16 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs over around the 7-minute mark.
Use a kitchen thermometer, to make sure chicken thighs have at least reached 165 degrees before serving. Be sure to check that your thermometer is inserted into the center of the chicken to get the most accurate temperature reading.
Step 4: Shred the Meat for Tacos
Place the cooked chicken in a bowl and shred it hot using two shredding claws, or 2 large forks. Or you can cool the chicken for a bit and then pull it with your fingers.
Step 5: Pile-Up and Serve Air Fryer Tacos
Serve with warm tortillas and any of those mouth-watering taco toppings and you’re in taco heaven!
- Taco seasoning: Swap out the homemade seasoning for a package of taco seasoning and you have the perfect amount. My house loves the Taco Bell brand taco seasoning packet. You can use any kind your family prefers.
- Chicken thighs: Swap out the thighs for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Jalapenos: If you don’t have fresh, you can use pickled instead or any other type of spicy fresh chile.
- Cheese: Swap out the shredded cheese for cheese sauce!
- Looking for low-carb? Skip the taco shells and make a taco bowl instead with lots of fresh veggies! It would taste great with avocado ranch on top!
- Not a chicken fan? Try swapping out air fryer tacos with air fryer steak or smoked pork instead.
Can I Make Air Fryer Chicken Tacos in Advance?
Absolutely, you can make air fryer shredded chicken tacos in advance. All you need to do is cook your thighs all the way through.
- Cook and Store: Allow your thighs to completely cool and come to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container. Store your airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
- Reheat in Microwave: Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave at fifty percent power for about two minutes or until your chicken thighs are warmed all the way through. Microwaving your chicken thighs at reduced power will help prevent them from drying out and becoming tough to eat.
- Reheat in a Skillet: Preheat a skillet on your stove on medium heat. You will want to add a small amount of oil or spray well with nonstick cooking spray.
Pro Tip: If the chicken looks a little dry add a small amount of water or chicken broth to your skillet while you are reheating your precooked chicken thighs to help them moisten up.
How to Freeze Shredded Chicken for Tacos
Make a batch or two ahead and freeze for quick and easy meals during the week. Here’s step by step how to do it!
- Cook: If you are freezing your shredded chicken tacos, cook the thighs completely as shown in the recipe.
- Cool: Allow them to completely cool and come to room temperature.
- Shred: Shred the meat as instructed.
- Store: Once your chicken thighs have reached room temperature add them to a freezer-safe bag or well-sealed airtight container. Place your bag or container into your freezer and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw: When you are ready to eat your frozen chicken tacos, simply place your frozen thighs into your fridge and allow it to thaw slowly overnight. Allowing the meat to thaw slowly in the fridge is the safest way to thaw meat and protects the quality of your dinner.
- Reheat: Place on a microwave-safe plate and reheat at fifty percent power until warm in the center.
Want to extend the time your cooked chicken thighs can stay in the freezer? Vacuum seal your chicken thighs to protect them from freezer burn and they will last up to 6 months without any quality loss.
How to Shred Chicken for Tacos
- Shredding claws: My favorite way to shred chicken is by using shredding claws. I love how shredding claws work quickly with little effort on my part. Shredding claws also leave the best texture and most evenly shredded chicken.
- Use to shred any type of meat. I like to shred roasts, pulled pork, chicken breast, and chicken thighs.
- They’re inexpensive and do a great job quickly and easily.
- Two forks: Use two forks to pull the meat apart with your forks. You can use one fork to shred the meat and one to hold the meat still if you prefer to do that.
- Your hands: Once the meat cools, you can also simply shred it into pieces by hand.
How to Use a Mixer to Shred Meat
Did you know that you can also use your Kitchen Aid mixer to shred chicken? Well, you certainly can. It’s amazingly fast and takes very little effort on your part.
Simply place your chicken thighs in a mixing bowl, and use your mixer to quickly and efficiently shred into pieces.
The only downside to using your mixer is that you will need to wash your bowl and your mixing hook.
Be sure to watch your mixer while it is shredding the meat so that it doesn’t over shred it.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Tacos
Once you’ve got everything ready now it’s time to pile on all your favorite taco toppings! Here are some ideas:
- shredded lettuce
- diced tomato
- shredded cheese
- queso dip
- sour cream
- refried beans
- black beans
- hot sauce, salsa or pico de gallo
- hard or soft tortilla shells
If you need some new side dish ideas to serve with this air fryer shredded chicken tacos any of these sides for tamales will work too! You can also discover more Mexican food meal ideas in this collection of weeknight Mexican dinners.
- Choose thigh meat. While you can swap it out for chicken breast, the thigh meat actually stays moister when cooked in the air fryer.
- Make ahead. This recipe is the best way to make shredded chicken for tacos. It stores easily in the freezer and reheats well.
- Flip the chicken. Don’t forget to flip them over halfway through cooking so they cook evenly on both sides.
I used a 4.2-quart Ultrean Air Fryer with a fryer basket but you can use any type of air fryer.
If you have the oven or rotisserie type of air fryer be sure to place your rack at the middle level for the best results.
You can even use the trivet in your Instant Pot and the air fryer lid for your pressure cooker and still get excellent results for these air fryer tacos.
Yes, you can reheat your air fryer chicken tacos in your air fryer. Simply place your thawed shredded chicken thighs into your air fryer to reheat. Reheat them at 350 degrees for about two to three minutes. Be sure to watch it closely so it doesn’t burn or dry out.
Yes, you certainly can freeze air fryer shredded chicken tacos. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is freezer friendly. Be sure to cool the meat completely before storing in an airtight container and freezing. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I prefer to preheat my air fryer before using it but isn’t 100% necessary. However, I find having a preheated air fryer ensures the thighs will cook closer to 12 minutes instead of sixteen minutes and helps the thighs stay tender. If you are short on time, it’s ok to skip.
More Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Tacos Video
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Tacos
- 2 Shredding claws or two forks to shred the chicken
Seasoning for Chicken
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper if desired
- 1 pound chicken thighs boneless, skinless and trimmed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Pico de gallo
- 1 tomato cored and chopped
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Jalapeño diced, optional
- 1 tablespoon lime juice from fresh lime
- 6 large flour or corn tortillas
- 1 cup iceberg lettuce shredded
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Pull out and measure all of the ingredients.
- In a bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cayenne.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub chicken with oil, and sprinkle spice mixture evenly. Put chicken in air-fryer basket and place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees.
- Cook until chicken temperature reaches 175 degrees; 12 to 16 minutes, flipping and rotating chicken halfway through cooking.
- Meanwhile, combine tomato, onion, jalapeño, and lime juice in bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to serve.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board and let cool slightly. Using 2 shredding claws or 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Serve chicken on warm tortillas, topped with salsa, lettuce, and cheddar.