Cantina Style Chicken Tacos

Easy to make cantina style tacos with chicken, black beans, rice, and more!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6 people

Gluten/Soy/Dairy Free

Family night is Taco time!!! And the fact that each person can customize each taco to their liking makes these a fun family favorite!

Black beans, rice, salsa, vegetables —alongside the chicken— are served individually so no two tacos are ever the same. You can pick and choose what to add or not to accommodate your taco cravings... and the picky eaters!

Street tacos are different from Cantina tacos because street tacos consist only of two or three ingredients while cantina tacos have a variety of ingredients to choose from, which as I said earlier, it makes these tacos perfect for Family night or for a gathering of friends!

What is the flavor profile?

Full, bold, savory, citrusy, and herbaceous.

What ingredients will I need to make this?

Boneless chicken breast, onions, fresh garlic, ground cumin, fresh cilantro (coriander), paprika, chili powder, lemons, limes, canned black beans, Joe's Pico de Gallo or store bought salsa, oregano, chicken broth, salt & pepper, corn tortillas, jalapeños (optional), vegetable oil, and rice.

What else will I need to make this?

A knife and cutting board, a frying pan or skillet, and measuring cups & spoons.

Can I make substitutions?

Yes. You can use steak instead of chicken.

Can I grill the chicken?

Yes. You can grill the chicken breasts first and then cut them into strips or small cubes.

What are Tacos?

Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a small hand-sized corn or wheat tortilla topped with a filling. The tortilla is then folded around the filling and eaten by hand.

A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, beans, vegetables, and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. They are often garnished with various condiments, such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, and vegetables, such as lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and chiles. Tacos are a common form of antojitos, or Mexican street food, which have spread around the world.

Tacos can be contrasted with similar foods such as burritos, which are often much larger and rolled rather than folded; taquitos, which are rolled and fried; or chalupas/tostadas, in which the tortilla is fried before filling.

What is Pico de Gallo?

Pico de gallo also called salsa fresca and salsa cruda, is a type of salsa commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It is traditionally made from chopped tomato, onion, serrano peppers (jalapeños or habaneros may be used as alternatives), with salt, lime juice, and cilantro.

The tomato-based variety is widely known as salsa picada (minced/chopped sauce). In Mexico it is normally called salsa mexicana (Mexican sauce). Because the colours of the red tomato, white onion, and green chili and cilantro are reminiscent of the colours of the Mexican flag, it is also called salsa bandera (flag sauce).

In many regions of Mexico the term pico de gallo describes any of a variety of salads (including fruit salads), salsa, or fillings made with tomato, tomatillo, avocado, orange, jícama, cucumber, papaya, or mild chilis. The ingredients are tossed in lime juice and optionally with either hot sauce or chamoy, then sprinkled with a salty chili powder.

What are the uses for Pico de Gallo?

Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as other Mexican liquid salsas. Because it contains less liquid, it also can be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.

Let’s make it!


For the Chicken

  • 1 pound of boneless chicken breast, cut into strips

  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, sliced finely

  • 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and minced)

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro

  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika

  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder

  • juice of a lemon

For the Black Beans

Other ingredients

  • corn tortillas

  • salsa

  • cheese (optional)

  • 2 limes (cut in wedges)

  • vegetable oil

  • fresh cilantro

  • 1 to 2 cups of cooked rice of your choice


Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

  1. Cut chicken breast into strips. Season with the cumin, chili powder, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant.

  3. Add the chicken, cilantro, and cook until fully cooked (about 5 to 8 minutes depending on how thin/thick the strips are). Add the lemon juice and stir well. Cook for a minute. Remove chicken from heat and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Black Beans

  1. In the same frying pan you cooked the chicken, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil.

  2. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and salsa. Stir frequently until the mixture begins to look parched. Add the chicken broth and the cilantro. Stir until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3: Build your Tacos

  1. Toast the tortillas until they start "bubbling up".

  2. Place cooked tortilla on a plate and build the tacos whichever way you like.


Printable PDF Recipe below:

Cantina Style Chicken Tacos
Download PDF • 60.53MB

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