Weeknight-style Crispy Cider Braised White Chili Chicken Tacos. Slow-cooked with hard cider (or try using your favorite beer), spices, salsa verde, and hot sauce. Then mix with cheese, stuff into hard tortillas, and oven-bake. Each chicken taco is crunchy on the outside, and spicy, saucy, and cheesy inside. Serve with a creamy whipped honey garlic avocado crema on top. These come together easily and are so delicious. The perfect crispy taco that everyone will love!
When I go too long without making tacos the family begins to notice. And slowly the requests for tacos start to roll in. I know I speak about them all the time, but my dad’s tacos are the favorite of the bunch. So much so that we included them on our Home Chef menu.
What we love about them is the crispy hard shells and melty cheese. More often than not, people enjoy tacos in soft flour tortillas with no melty cheese. There’s nothing wrong with those, but we just love a crispy cheesy taco more than anything.
They’re SO YUMMY! To this day, they’re still one of our favorite dinners.
We also love to switch up taco night, and I switch it up often. I swap out flavors and meats, but I always keep the crispiness. It really is essential.
These tacos are braised in sweet, tangy cider, or sometimes I’ll use beer. There’s also plenty of spices, salsa verde, and even an avocado crema on top. I kept the recipe easy and simple and mixed everything all together at once on the stove.
Here are details
Step 1: make the chicken
For this recipe, I love to use skinless chicken thighs with chicken breasts mix. I find chicken thighs to be much more tender when braised versus chicken breasts. Mixing the two together is a nice balance.
Simmer the chicken with an onion and your favorite bottle of cider. I use a hard cider, but using a non-alcoholic cider works just about the same. Or use your favorite beer, pumpkin is especially nice this time of year.
Add your spices, I like using chili powder, chipotle, and smoked paprika. Then season well with salt. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is deeply browned and shreds easily.
Step 2: mix in the remaining ingredients
Now add a can of diced-up green chiles, salsa verde, and a couple tablespoons of hot sauce.
If you prefer a less spicy taco, go ahead and skip using the hot sauce.
Step 3: shred the chicken and assemble
Grab two forks and shred the braised chicken. Then toss the shredded chicken in with the sauce.
Next, stuff the taco filling into a hard taco shell and top with cheese, I use a mix of cheddar and pepper jack.
If you can spare an extra few minutes, you can make homemade crispy shells. Instead of using store-bought taco shells, take corn tortillas and stuff them with the braised chicken and cheese. Then put them into the oven to bake until the tortillas are crispy.
We love the crispy oven “fried” shells and melty cheese. It’s the best when some of the cheese melts out onto the pan and gets crispy too.
Step 4: the avocado crema
I know that making homemade crema is just another step, but it really is worth it. And it’s easier than running to the market to pick up sauce.
For this crema, you can add everything to a blender – the avocado, honey, garlic, lime, and salt. Then blend until whipped and creamy. If the crema is not thin enough, continue to add lime juice until it is right.
Top each taco with cilantro, green onions, and lime, and finish with a dollop of avocado.
Simple to make, but so yummy and fun for fall nights. My family loved these crunchy, crispy tacos! I think you will too!!
Looking for more simple weeknight recipes? Here are a few favorites:
Lastly, if you make these Crispy Cider Braised White Chili Chicken Tacos, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Crispy Cider Braised White Chili Chicken Tacos
Calories Per Serving: 580 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs can also do a mix
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chilies
- 1 can or bottle (12 ounce) cider or beer
- 1/2 cup salsa verde
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- 12 hard shell tacos (see notes for homemade)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar/pepper jack cheese
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425. In a large skillet with sides, add the olive oil, onion, and chicken, cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, paprika, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour over the cider(or beer). Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.2. Mix in the green chiles, salsa verde, and hot sauce. Remove from the heat, shred the chicken using two forks.3. Line the taco shells up in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Stuff the chicken into each taco shell and top with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp.4. Meanwhile, make the Salted Lime Avocado Crema. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt.5. Serve the tacos topped with avocado, lettuce, green onion, crumbled feta, limes, and any other desired toppings.
View Recipe Comments
For Easy Homemade Hard Shells: Warm 8-12 corn tortillas for 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave, until pliable. On a baking sheet, rub the tortillas with olive oil. Lay each tortilla flat, then layer evenly with cheese and chicken. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling, gently pushing to adhere (see above photo). Transfer to the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes, then flip and cook another 5 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp.