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BBQ Chicken Tacos

My heart belongs to these BBQ Chicken Tacos. Chicken marinated in BBQ sauce, juicy on the inside, and slightly crusty on the outside. Wrapped in a soft flour tortilla, and topped with roasted corn, cilantro and pickled onions.

BBQ Chicken Tacos are versatile, tasty, and simple to make. That’s why they make the most perfect quick dinner!

Top down view of three bbq chicken tacos topped with corn, cilantro and pickled red onions

Barbecue (BBQ) Chicken Tacos

I love a good bbq chicken taco!

There’s something unique about the combination of flavors – the savory sweet bbq sauce, the crunchy corn, the pickled onions soaked in vinegar with a hint of sweetness, that warm and soft tortilla

Put them together and BAM! MAGIC happens.

P/S on the bbq sauce: pick your fave. There are many to choose from, but you know what you love. Some like it sweeter, some like it saltier. You and your favorite is what’s going to work best for your bbq chicken tacos.

What I also love about bbq chicken tacos is that you can use any leftover chicken from the fridge or rotisserie chicken or any cooked chicken to make the bbq chicken filling, which will also speed up your process.

I chose corn, picked onions and cilantro as the toppings for my bbq chicken tacos, but feel free to use your favorite toppings and veggies!

It is super versatile, can be customized easily for the picky eaters in your family, and best of all easy and straight forward to make! (Just make sure to make some time before hand to pickle the red onions – more on that later!)

You guys ready for some bbq chicken tacos???

Ingredient Notes

Here’s a short list of ingredients you will need to make this delicious bbq chicken tacos:

Flour tortillas topped with barbecue chicken, red onions and corn
  • chicken tenderloin – you can use chicken breast or chicken thighs as well. Or, you can use cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken instead. This is a great way to use up chicken from the fridge!
  • barbecue sauce – use your favorite bbq sauce! Some like it spicy, some like it sweet, some like it tangy…pick your favorite!
  • smoked paprika – used to season the chicken and gives it a slight smoky flavor. Regular paprika works as well if that’s what you have at hand.
  • flour tortillas – I get store-bought but here’s a Flour Tortilla Recipe if you want to make it at home! Or, corn tortillas work great as well.
  • red onions – we will be picking it and I think red onions taste amazing pickled. It has a nice zesty punch. Try not to substitute with white or yellow onion if possible.
  • apple cider vinegar – white vinegar is fine if that’s what you have
  • granulated sugar – this is used along with vinegar to pickle the red onions.
  • frozen roasted corn or frozen corn – fresh or canned works too
  • cilantro – used as garnish to bring about a bite of freshness and lots of great flavors.

How to make BBQ Chicken Tacos

Making these bbq chicken tacos is truly a fairly simple task. I like to think it is divided into three major components:

  • Pickle the red onions
  • Marinate and sauté the chicken
  • Assemble

Pickle the red onions

Pickling does take a little bit of time, but here’s the good news: it is all passive time.

The first thing I always do whenever I make my bbq chicken tacos is to start the pickling business an hour or so before you get crazy hungry, and you should be all set.

You can also pickle hours or days before actually making your meal. In fact, it can last up to at least a week in the fridge!

The longer you pickle, the more flavorful the red onions will be.

To pickle red onions, combine sliced red onions with apple cider vinegar, white and granulated sugar. Let it sit for at least an hour, or more than that if possible.

A jar of pickled onion

And if you really want to speed up the process, grab store-bought pickled red onions and skip the pickling step all together!

Marinate and cook chicken

As for the chicken portion of the bbq chicken tacos, coat chicken tenders in bbq sauce on both sides. Let chicken marinate for 30-60 minutes.

Yes it is best to marinate the chicken. If you don’t have time, you can skip it but chicken will not be as flavorful. But then you can always splatter more bbq sauce onto it at the end to get more flavor if needed.

I typically cook the chicken on the skillet because that’s the fastest, easiest way, but the grill works great and will make a pretty awesome tasting chicken.

Cooking on the skillet: When it is ready to cook, heat up skillet with some vegetable oil, then place chicken tenderloins onto skillet. Try to get chicken onto the skillet as dry as possible. This is to prevent splattering, and to get a nice char on chicken. Flip chicken and cook the other side, brushing additional barbecue sauce on the top of the chicken.

Cooking on the grill: This is a more laborious process but gives barbecue chicken an added dimension of smoky flavor and is very tasty. To make it on the grill, heat up grill, place marinated chicken on grill, after a few minutes, flip and cook the other side. Brush leftover bbq sauce marinate on chicken. bbq chicken is ready when internal temperature of chicken is 165℉ using a meat thermometer.

When bbq chicken is done, sliced them into smaller pieces.

Barbecue chicken tenderloins on a plate

How to make bbq chicken using cooked chicken: Cube, slice or shred cooked chicken (or leftover chicken, or rotisserie chicken). Add chicken to skillet, along with barbecue sauce. Stir to combine everything together. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook for 2-3 minutes.


It’s time to bring everything together and assemble your bbq chicken tacos!

First, warm the tortillas. Here are a few ways to go about it:

  • directly on the flames on a gas stovetop – don’t leave it on there for too long!
  • wrap them in wet paper towels and warm in the microwave
  • directly on the grill (if using grilling method)

Then place bbq chicken pieces, pickled red onions, corn and cilantro on the tortillas. Wrap them up and enjoy your bbq chicken tacos! YUM!

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few things to note when making these bbq chicken tacos!

  • If using stovetop to pan fry the chicken, try to get chicken onto the pan as dry as you can – don’t pour the bbq sauce marinated directly onto the frying pan. This will help create a nice char and a slightly crusty texture to the chicken.
  • There may be some splattering when pan frying chicken – use a splatter guard to avoid getting juices and sauces onto you.
  • Feel free to drizzle more barbecue sauce onto the tacos for a more intense bbq flavor!
  • A few easy short-cuts if you are short on time: used store-bought pickled red onions, used cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken.
Close up of a bbq chicken taco

Other Toppings

There are so many toppings you can add to this delicious bbq chicken tacos! Here are some of my other favorites:

I truly hope you love these delicious bbq chicken tacos as much as I do! Every bite has a combination of savory, sweet and tangy flavors, as well as lots of beautiful textures of crunchy, juicy and and so much more!

Don’t miss this one! Make it today!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please comment below and give us a 5-star rating! This will help others find this recipe on Google and Pinterest. We very much appreciate your help! 🤍

Let’s taco about these other yummy taco recipes!

More Chicken Recipes

barbecue chicken taco topped with corn and red onions

BBQ Chicken Tacos

A yummy and light taco dinner recipe! Pan-fried BBQ chicken topped with cilantro, roasted corn and pickled red onions, wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. 
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinate time: 1 hour
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 630kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 1 lbs chicken tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce your favorite!
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ~1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • 5-6 small flour tortillas

Pickled Onions

  • 1/2 red onions
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 1 cup frozen roasted corn or frozen corn
  • cilantro chopped


Pickled Red Onions

  • Combine apple cider vinegar, sugar and water in a bowl. Microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until sugar is dissolved. Slice red onions. Add red onions to vinegar mixture. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for an hour. (See Note 1)

BBQ Chicken

  • Combine spices – smoked paprika, salt (see Note 2) and black pepper in a small bowl. Coated chicken tenderloin with vegetable oil on both sides, then evenly spread spices on both sides of the chicken. Use fingers to press the spices onto chicken.
  • Pour bbq sauce onto chicken. Make sure to get it on both sides. Let chicken marinate for 30-60 minutes.
  • Heat up skillet with some vegetable oil, then place chicken tenderloins onto skillet. Try to get chicken onto the skillet as dry as possible. This is to prevent splattering, and to get a nice char on chicken.
  • Once one side of the chicken is cooked, flip to the other side, and brush some of the leftover marinate onto the side of chicken that is faced up.
  • Once the thickest part of the chicken tenderloins reaches 165 degrees, remove chicken from heat. 
  • Let it cool for a few minutes, then slice chicken into smaller pieces

Prep other ingredients and assemble

  • Chop cilantro. Warm roasted corn and flour tortillas briefly in the microwave.
  • Fill tortillas with chicken, roasted corn, cilantro and pickled red onions (without the liquid).
  • Serve and enjoy!


Note 1: You can keep pickled onions in refrigerator for up to a week.
Note 2: Salt needed may vary depending on the salt content in bbq sauce and your preference. Use less or more if necessary.
Short cuts: Use store-bought cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken (no marinating needed) and/or use store-bought pickled red onions.


Calories: 630kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 2118mg | Potassium: 955mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 706IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I am swooning over these tacos!!!!!!! I love everything about them. Thank you so much for including my salad ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks Cheryl! Love that taco salad of yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Allie Chatham says:

    5 stars
    I tired this recipe last night. Delicious! I loved the cilantro with the pickled onions and BBQ. Great flavors together.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed it, Allie! Thanks for writing a review! ๐Ÿ™‚