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Red Chile Chicken Tacos with Creamy Corn

39 reviews / 4.9 average

These Red Chile Chicken Tacos are always on our minds! Lightly pan-fried corn tortillas stuffed with tender chicken and a pinto bean red chile saucy filling, piles of creamy corn salsa, and tangy homemade pickled red onions. YUM!

It’s been a little bit since we’ve written a love letter to tacos, though they are truly always on our minds. We really will take them in almost any variation but when they’re coming at us in warm, lightly pan-fried yellow corn tortillas bursting with a tender chicken and pinto bean red chile saucy sensation, piles of a quick creamy corn salsa…ish (can we call it salsa when mayo is involved? probably not), and tangy-crisp homemade pickled red onions rounding it out?

Well my oh my, there’s a new crush in town.

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SOS-Level, Made Fancy

There are so many delicious flavors going on with these chicken tacos, but the real highlight is that you don’t have to do very much work to accomplish any of them. The taco filling especially is so easy and pretty darn quick because all you’re doing is cooking up some chicken thighs, tossing in a can of pinto beans, and then opening up a packet of Frontera red chile enchilada sauce (total fave and namesake!) and letting that do all the work.

Boom. Bam. Lightly spiced, smoky, tomatoey, saucy goodness ready to stuff your tortillas so full they spill over onto your hands.

Then you get to just kind of fancify things. You’ll mix up a little corn situation with some major elote vibes that is also so easy but will be VERY DIFFICULT to hold off on eating until taco assembly. Just a taste to adjust the lime juice? Okay. Twenty more bites and oops it’s gone? It happens. Luckily, it’s easy to remake.

You’re going to make some quick pickled red onions because really you’re just throwing some things in a jar, giving it a shake, and then, look at you, all set with the most delicious little taco topper ever! Next thing you know, you have one gem of a taco happening.

How To Make These Red Chile Chicken Tacos

Again, pretty quick and easy, which is how we like it. Let’s get each of the elements together.

  1. The pickled onions: Let’s pickle, bb! Jam your red onion slices into a jar and add your vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Shake, fridge, donezo.
  2. The saucy filling: Cook up the chicken thighs in a skillet until cooked through. Then, shred/cut it up and add that packet of red chile enchilada sauce and pinto beans. Simmer, thicken, donezo.
  3. The creamy corn: Mix all the delicious bits together in a small bowl. Taste, adjust, donezo.
  4. The perfect taco: We like to lightly pan fry the tortillas for added deliciousness and have your chopped fresh cilantro at the ready. Stuff, top, donezo!

That’s it! See?! Now you’re in taco business, which is the best business there is.

White hand holding chicken tacos on a plate

What Makes These SO GOOD

The red chile chicken side of this taco business is particularly successful. It’s just all so good. Smoky, creamy, fresh, briney-bitey-crunch. What an absolute dream.

You could probably play around with the filling a little since that enchilada sauce is bringing all the major flavors, but we love the juiciness of chicken thighs and the creaminess of pinto beans. But play around if something suits you better. Flour tortillas work too, of course, but we love the added flavor of the corn ones to complement the smokiness of the filling and the richness of the topping.

That creamy corn topping is such a treat since you’re getting the fresh sweet crunch texture of like a roasted corn salsa but with your cheese/sour cream-type dairy needs all mixed in. And you just can’t go wrong with pickled red onions. Ever. Truly a taco’s best friend.

And the general ease of it all carries this one all the way to the top of our Weeknight Yums list. Checking every ding dang box.

Chicken tacos on a plate with creamy corn

We just kinda want to eat them all the time, you know? Taco Tuesday rolls into Taco Wednesday and also Taco Thursday and whoooops, how did we get to Taco Friday, well here we are at the weekend, so let’s just keep on going.

Red Chile Chicken Tacos: Frequently Asked Questions

Could I use the slow cooker or Instant Pot for the chicken?

Yes! See slow cooker and Instant Pot instructions below in the recipe notes.

Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs?

Chicken breasts will work, but if you can find them, chicken thighs really are perfect here for the tenderness.

Could I make these vegetarian with just beans?

Love that idea! Yes, you can make these veg-friendly by omitting the chicken and added an extra can of pinto beans as needed.

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Red chile chicken tacos on a plate

Red Chile Chicken Tacos with Creamy Corn


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 68 tacos 1x

Description

These Red Chile Chicken Tacos are always on our minds! Lightly pan-fried corn tortillas stuffed with tender chicken and a pinto bean red chile saucy filling, piles of creamy corn salsa, and tangy homemade pickled red onions. YUM! 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Red Chile Chicken Tacos

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • 8 oz. of red chile enchilada sauce (I like the Frontera brand pouches)
  • one 14ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Creamy Corn

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • lime juice to taste

Pickled Onions

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Extras

  • corn tortillas (I like to quickly pan-fry mine in a shallow skillet of hot oil to make them extra soft)
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. For the pickled onions: Transfer red onion slices to a jar. Add red wine vinegar and water. Add your salt and sugar. Shake a few times and set in the fridge while you make everything else.
  2. For the chicken: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and shred or cut into smaller pieces. Add chicken pieces back to the pan with the sauce and the beans. Simmer gently until sauce has thickened and it looks ready to be taco filling.
  3. For the corn: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust.
  4. For the tacos: Fill tortillas with the chicken mixture. Top with the creamy corn and pickled red onions. Finish with cilantro. Mwah.

Notes

Instant Pot Instructions: Add the chicken thighs, salt, pepper, and enchilada sauce directly to the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Release the pressure, shred the chicken directly in the pot, and stir in the canned pinto beans. Prepare the other pickled onions and creamy corn according to recipe instructions. 

Slow Cooker Instructions: Add the chicken thighs, salt, pepper, and enchilada sauce directly to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or cook on low for 4-5 hours. Shred the chicken directly in the slow cooker and stir in the canned pinto beans and cook until warmed through. Prepare the pickled onions and creamy corn according to recipe instructions. 

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Tacos
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: chicken tacos, red chile chicken tacos, red chile recipe

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92 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Laurel

    This sounds amazing!—except for the Mayo. Just can’t stand Mayo. Anything you can sub for that in the corn? Thanks

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Addie’s Mom

    The la fontera brand is hard for me to find. I’m in the SW and use the Las Palmas brand of sauces. The enchilada sauce is very good as well as the chili Colorado ( thinner but great flavor). Thanks for another great recipe it really helps to have different recipes.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Victoria

      Ooooh I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for the chili colorado sauce, it’s one of my favorites!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    REK981

    I already have tace seasoned and sauced chicken in the freezer, and some black beans on hand so I shall be making these soon! Looks delicious!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Angela

    Made these tonight for dinner. They were super yummy! I will certainly make them again.






  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ali

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely DELICIOUS. The flavors of the creamed corn, onions, and meat really complimented each other. Will definitely be making again soon!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Alyse! We really like the elote-like flavors and texture of our corn. I don’t think creamed corn would give you the same results, but it’d definitely be a quicker option!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Sandra

      We had a can of corn and can of creamed corn that we used and mixed with the rest of the cream corn ingredients with great results. You can make it ahead of time too and store it in the fridge.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sarah

    I received the email for these last night and knew this had to be dinner tonight! Holy moly! So much flavor and so easy! I used fresh sweet corn and fried the tortillas too! Another hit!






  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sonja

    If I were to prepare the corn sauce ahead of time how long would it keep in the fridge?
    And how long can the pickled onions stay in the fridge?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      The corn should keep for a few days. The pickled onions should last around 2 weeks!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Shannon

    I made this last night. YUM. Next time I’ll use fresh corn rather than frozen. Doubled the recipe because we love leftovers! Very easy!






  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ashlie Pechin

    I couldn’t find the enchilada sauce at my store. Is it a pouch of powder or a sauce? Just checking so I can find a substitute. These sound delicious!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Nancy

      It’s a pouch of sauce!

      I’m making these tomorrow and I can’t wait to try them.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Michelle

    Super simple and super delicious! Cant wait until I have some fresh corn to make this summer. Would also be just a great dip for chips!






  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carly

    Made these for dinner tonight and they were so good for these newborn parents that we could have cried. I diced and sauteed zucchini to add to the corn mixture but other than that it was super simple to put together and quick enough that we had time to eat together before baby had to go in the bath. We will definitely make again!






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amy

    This was a 10 out of 10 for dinner tonight accompanied with a citrusy arugula salad. I am watching my saturated fat so I swapped the mayo with nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with ranch dip powder. I heated my corn tortillas in a dry cast iron skillet instead of frying them. Dinner was fab and quick after a long workday. Thank you for an inspired recipe!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        No need to cook first! However, you certainly can if you’d like to get a little char on the corn!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Ooh love the sound of that citrusy arugula salad you paired with the tacos!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cricket

    I was able to put this together while getting several other things done — just a little stir here, a little chopping there, and BAM!

    Delicious!
    Thank you for getting it:::: Taco Tuesday is every night!






  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Anna Martin

    My mouth is watering! Adding this to next week’s menu. Clarification – is the serving size one taco?

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ali

    What’s the measurement for the “1 pouch of Frontera red chile enchilada sauce (or similar)” please? Online it looks like they come in 8oz maybe?

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sarah

    These are amazing and so easy to pull off! Thanks for another awesome meal that the whole family enjoys! The tang of the pickled onion! The creamy corn! The flavorful filling! This one’s a keeper!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Team,
    I couldn’t find the Frontera Enchilada Sauce. We have La Victoria, El Paso, and Las Palmas, and don’t know how much a “pouch” is. Could you define please? Thank you for all the delicious recipes. Your site is my first “go to!”
    Chris

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rebecca B.

    So good! Just had it for lunch! I used frozen corn and chilled the creamy corn for a few minutes while the chicken cooked. My husband loved it too!






  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kathryn

    So goooood! We had to make a few modifications that turned out great! I don’t like tortillas, so when I pan fried them I used avocado oil; squeezed lime juice on one side, flipped it, and did a sprinkle of sea salt on the other. AMAZING. I used whipped cream cheese in the corn salsa too! We didn’t have red wine vinegar for the onions so I used rice vinegar and it was delicious! My 2yo and 1yo loved it too!






  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kali

    Can’t wait to make these! I couldn’t find fresh corn. Do you think canned sweet corn would be okay?