Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded chicken tacos are a quick and easy dinner full of subtle flavors that combine together into a mouthwatering dish.  Adding a vinaigrette dressing gives it a citrus flavor that provides a light and delicious twist.

Homemade Chicken Tacos with Citrus Basil Dressing
Homemade Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken Tacos Recipe

Taco night is a regularly occurring theme at our house.  Using shredded chicken in tacos is both easy and very tasty.  Combined with the other vegetables this becomes a light and healthy alternative to other kinds of beef based tacos.  The key is to get that chicken just right.  I use a combination of an instant pot and the oven to get tender chicken with just the right consistency.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Easy taco night meal
  • Bright and citrus flavors
  • Simple options for homemade tortillas or store bought
  • Healthy taco alternative to other beef based options
Healthy chicken tacos recipe with homemade tortillas
Shredded Chicken Taco with Homemade Tortillas

Pro Tips for Making Shredded Tacos

Use a combination of instant pot and oven

The instant pot will help keep your overall cook time down. The chicken needs about 15 minutes or so in the insta pot to be ready to shred. The consistency of the instant pot cooked chicken though will be kind of watery. To get it to be a little more of a Mexican taco meat texture the key is to season the meat and then put the pulled chicken in the oven for about 15 minutes. This will give it that grilled kind of texture in a quick and easy method.

Shredded chicken with olive oil and basil finished in the oven
Shredded Chicken with Basil

Use a slow cooker for a bit more flavor

I used an Instant Pot to cook the chicken breast to prepare everything in one session. You could easily use a slow cooker. Just prep the shredded chicken ingredients in the morning and set it on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

I still recommend using the oven to finish the meat and give it that savory flavor and texture.

Lots of tortilla options

This recipe calls for flour tortillas. I recommend smaller flour tortillas if you are going to buy them at the store. 3 small tortillas makes the perfect dinner and the smaller portions allow the flavors to pop.

Alternatively, you could make my easy homemade flour tortillas recipe. In about 30 minutes you could have a really amazing set of tortillas you make yourself. It adds both flavor and a few “cool points” for the chef!

You can also use corn tortillas if that is more appealing to you. I recommend using 2 of them to hold things together well.

Sweet Chicken Tacos with a citrus basil sauce
Pulled Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken Taco Recipe FAQs

What is the best way to shred chicken?

The key to great shredded chicken is to ensure you get the chicken cooked right. Cook the chicken to about 165 degrees and then let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool. With the chicken still warm, you can shred it either by using two forks in a pulling motion or use a hand mixer on low. The target is generally for the chicken to be shredded into strips and chunks no more than 2 inches in length.

What temperature should my chicken be at?

The USDA recommends to cook the chicken to 165 degrees for at least 30 seconds. It is possible to overcook chicken and have it become tough and dry. Use a thermometer to pull the chicken from the heat source just as it hits 165 for the best results.

Will a slow cooker make the meat more tender?

Generally speaking, slow cooking meat is the best way to break down the meat fibers and present a really juicy and tender chicken. In pulled chicken recipes, similar results can still be achieved if using an instant pot or even boiling the chicken.

Pulled chicken tacos - a healthy and easy recipe to make for summer.
Shredded Chicken Tacos

If you like this recipe, then you will LOVE these easy chicken tacos or slow cooker chicken tacos with spicy mayo.

Homemade chicken tacos with citrus basil vinaigrette
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5 from 2 votes

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded chicken tacos are a quick and easy dinner full of subtle flavors that combine together into a mouthwatering dish.  Adding a vinaigrette dressing gives it a citrus flavor that provides a light and delicious twist.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken tacos, Citrus Basil Vinaigrette, pulled chicken, shredded chicken, shredded chicken tacos
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 368kcal


  • 1 tsp Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 chicken breasts
  • 2 small kumquats
  • 6 leaves basil
  • Kumquat Basil Dressing see below
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 batch of homemade tortillas

Citrus Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 kumquats
  • 2 kumquats zest
  • 3 Basil leaves


Preheat oven to 350

  • Add a tsp of Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the bottom of an Instant Pot and lay the raw chicken breasts over top. Top the chicken with 3 basil leaves and two sliced kumquats. Seal the instant pot and pressure cook for 15 minutes.
  • Once that is done, take out the chicken, lay on a foil lined baking sheet and pull the chicken apart with two forks.
  • Spread the chicken out evenly throughout the pan and top with 3 basil leaves (torn up). Bake for 15-20 minutes, enough to crisp up the chicken a bit.
  • While the chicken is in the oven, 1/3 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, kumquats, zest, and basil leaves to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust to the desired sweet/sour levels (the rind is sweet).
  • Take the chicken out, and pour 1/2 cup of the citrus basil vinaigrette over the chicken breast. Mix.

Assemble Tacos

  • Add the chicken, purple cabbage, more chicken to your tacos. Top with desired about of citrus basil vinaigrette.
  • Optional: serve with optional spicy dressing (mayo and hot sauce). 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 624mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 2mg
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Citrus Basil Chicken Tacos
Shredded chicken tacos with citrus vinaigrette

12 comments on “Shredded Chicken Tacos”

  1. 5 stars
    That sounds so good! I love citrus in dressings and recipes. It adds such a fresh flavor. Om nom nom.

  2. I was literally looking for a recipe for pulled chicken for tacos yesterday. I like this take on it. It’s not the usual flavors.

  3. These tacos sure do look tasty. I love the addition of the purple cabbage making them really eye catching.

  4. These look amazing! I love all the color too. That makes it look even more delicious.

  5. These pulled chicken tacos look amazing. I am always looking for healthy recipes to make for dinner. I will have to get the ingredients I need to make this on the weekend. I’m sure it will be a big hit with my family.

  6. 5 stars
    I never would’ve thought to put citrus OR basil on chicken tacos! This looks so tasty. Going to use my Instant Pot to make the chicken. Hope the kids like it!

  7. Definitely a tasty recipe. THe vibrant colors make it look irresistible 

  8. Olive oil, Balsamic, and bread is one of my favorite snacks too! Yum! These tacos look heavenly! Thanks for the recipe. Sharing on FB. Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Hope to see ya next week!

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