Fried Chicken Tacos – A crispy buttermilk fried chicken tender wrapped in leafy lettuce and a flour tortilla and finished with juicy diced tomatoes and a lemon garlic mayo. A simple, yet delicious new way to get your taco fix on Taco Tuesday!
Happy Taco Thursday! OK, that’s not a thing, but we’ve got tacos today on the blog so just roll with it…
Tacos are a funny thing for me… I rarely ate them growing up and when I did, they were the hard shell tacos with ground beef and the basics. It wasn’t until college that I tried different kinds of tacos. But even then, they weren’t too exciting. Why get a taco when I can get a burrito that has beans and rice, too?!
But this taco, ladies and gentlemen, changed the game for me. The minute I tasted it, I FINALLY found the taco I’ve been searching for my whole life, the taco that spoke my language, the taco that was meant to be eaten by me.
Say hello to the Fried Chicken Taco!
I first had a fried chicken taco at a local restaurant here in Atlanta when I first moved here. It was a huge lunch spot with my coworkers so they took me there during my first week on the job to try it out. There were only four kinds of tacos so choices were limited. Fried anything is typically a safe choice so the fried chicken taco was what I went with.
And, man, what a great choice that was! The chicken was a super-crispy chicken tender and placed in a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, and just enough mayo. So simple but so delicious.
The taco I’ve created for you guys is similar to the one I had that momentous day, but I’m using heartier lettuce for some crunch and an aioli-type mayo instead of a basic mayo. I think the lemon and garlic in my mayo add another layer of depth to this otherwise simple dish.
If you’ve never fried anything before, have no fear – I am here to give you some tips to make sure you get these tenders fried perfectly, plus some other tips:
- This recipe calls for you to marinate the chicken in a buttermilk mixture before frying. So keep this in mind when prepping your meals. If eating this during the week, I recommend marinading in the morning so they’re ready for dinner that night. If you’re in a rush, 30 mins – 1 hour will be good enough, but just know that they’ll be even better when given some more time to marinade!
- Make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken. The fried crust will get oily and soggy if it’s not fried in hot oil. This may mean that you have to let the oil back heat up in between batches. Ah, and speaking of batches…
- Make sure you are frying no more than 4 tenders at a time. If you crowd the frying pan, the oil temperature will drop and cause your chicken to get soggy. So you’ll probably need to fry the tenders in about 3 batches.
- When breading the chicken, make sure you cover completely with flour and press it into the chicken tender. This will help the breading stick on during the frying process.
- And lastly, if you’re unsure about the cooking time, test one chicken tender using the times I suggest below and then check to make sure the center is cooked. I always do this because cooking time can differ based on what kind of pan or stovetop you have.
There you have it – you’re new favorite taco! I hope you have a chance to try it soon. You’re gonna love them!
Here are all the kitchen tools and serveware that I used in today’s recipe. For each item sold below, I make a small commission. I only recommend items that I own and love so you can trust that each recommendation is tried and true. Thank you for supporting CPA!
Fried Chicken Tacos
For the chicken marinade:
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders raw
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the chicken breading:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
For the tacos:
- 8 small flour tortillas
- 8 leaves leafy lettuce
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 1 cup light mayo
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- First, we have to marinade the chicken in the buttermilk mixture. Add chicken tenders and marinade ingredients together in a large ziplock bag. Close bag and shake together to combine ingredients. Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
- Prepare mayo spread by mixing mayo, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/8 teaspoon paprika together in a medium bowl. Set aside until we assemble the tacos.
- Prepare the chicken breading by stirring all ingredients together in a shallow bowl. Remove chicken from refrigerator. Remove one tender from the bag and shake off excess marinade and place in flour mixture. Coat completely in flour and shake off excess. Place on clean plate and repeat with rest of the tenders.
- Heat 2-3 cups of oil in a large skillet on medium heat. I used my cast iron one. Once it gets hot, add chicken tenders one at a time, cooking a maximum of 4 tenders at a time. You don't want to crowd the pan or else the oil will cool down too much. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, flip and then cook for another 1 1/2 minutes or until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with rest of chicken tenders until complete.
- To assemble the tacos, spread a little mayo on the flour tortilla. Place one leaf of lettuce on top of mayo, then add 1 or 2 chicken tenders, depending on the size of the tenders. Top with more mayo and diced tomatoes. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve immediately.
Pin for later:
More recipes that you’ll love:
Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Skewers
Jalapeno Pineapple Sticky Wings
Shrimp & Grit Cake Bites
Mmmm this taco recipe looks so delicious! Definitely saving it to Pinterest for later!
Amy Blake says
These look amazing! My family would love these!
How mace I never thought of this!!! They look amazing
Denay DeGuzman says
So darn delicious! I’m getting hungry just looking at those gorgeous tacos. I need to try your fried chicken taco recipe ASAP. Thanks so much for this awesome Tex-Mex inspiration. Yum! 🙂
You’re very welcome! I hope you enjoy them!
These look and sound amazing, Sharon! And your photos are so good. 🙂
Theresa Bailey says
These look delicious. I’m going to use this to switch up our taco game.
This looks so tasty!! I’ve had a chicken taco before, except it was a chicken bacon waffle taco!
That looks amazing, and now I really want it!
Maryanne | the little epicurean says
This looks super tasty! Ha, I can’t believe I haven’t thought about using fried chicken in tacos! It’s the perfect combo!
Julie I Aloha Lovely says
These look so good! Love finding new ways to prepare chicken, which we eat like all the time.
Krista Nile says
YUM! Those are so colorful and delicious!
Joanie @ One Dish Kitchen says
There’s a restaurant here in Houston that serves up the best fried chicken tacos and my daughter orders it every time we eat there. I can’t wait to show her your recipe and we’ll have to start making them at home. Yours looks so delicious!
Yay! So glad to hear that! Let me know if they live up to the restaurant in Houston!
lesley sullivan says
I love the touch of lemon garlic mayo you added. I’ll have to try that subtle, yet genius trick!
Thanks so much! Those flavors are so perfect together!
Sue Tanya McHorgh says
I love fried chicken. This looks good.
Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated says
I never normally eat fried chicken, but this looks so good to me that I don’t think I’d be able to pass up! I bet the combo of textures is ah-maz-zing!
My husband is the same way – but he loves fried chicken tenders so he likes these 🙂
Give me anything taco and give me anything fried!! So excited I found this recipe, especially since there is a huge carton of buttermilk in my fridge just begging to be used!
That’s what happened to me too! The Nutella Crunch Cupcakes I posted on Monday also use buttermilk so I was looking for a way to use the leftovers from that recipe. You could always try those if you want something sweet instead!
Rachel Ritlop says
Oh wow this looks fabulous! I’d love to try and make this for dinner one day !
Victoria with One Sharp Mama says
This dish is combining my two favorite things into one meal
Modernized Mom says
If you know anyone from Michigan, they’ll likely refer to this staple as a “Hani”. We go to our local Coney Island for a similar dish, but it’s served on a pita!
Yum these look great!! Every day is a good day for tacos.
Jordan | Read. Eat. Repeat. says
Fried chicken AND tacos? Whaaaat? I wish everyday could be taco Tuesday.
Kristen Kavan says
I fully support Taco Thursday! 🙂 I was just trying to figure out dinner and I think I found it! YUM!
Yay! Glad to hear that!
I love that you marinade the chicken! I think that is so important when preparing chicken it keeps it juicy and super flavorful too
Right?! I completely agree!
Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries says
Yum – these look so good! I’m like you; I grew up never eating tacos and then when I did, it was classic taco shells and beef all the way. I love trying new recipes, so I ‘ll need to try this out!
Thanks so much! Let me know how you like it!
These look delicious!!! I love tacos! Great post and I can’t wait to try them!!!
Thanks so much! Let me know how they turn out!
These look so good! Tacos are one of my favorite foods, and I love fried chicken. I bet the two together are out of this world! Thank you!
You are so welcome! This dynamic duo will blow you away!
Jenna Urben says
My husband loves fried chicken and we both love tacos – this is the perfect recipe!!
Yay thank you!
Boy oh boy do these tacos look delicious! My mouth is watering just looking at them. Great pics!
Thanks so much!
This looks really good. I think my kids would even like them…which is a rare
Thank you! Yes, I agree that kids would love these!
Lynn Woods says
Its rare for me to eat fried foods, but I think I’m going to have to make an exception. These look soooo good!
Thanks so much!