Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa

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Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa

Jerk seasoning is one of my secret weapons for nights that I want big flavor but don’t feel like spending a ton of time in the kitchen. Its bold combination of allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, and cinnamon can perk up just about anything! Rub it on some pork chops and throw them on the grill or use it as a marinade for smoked jerk chicken thighs – it’s basically my favorite flavor of summer.

For these jerk chicken tacos, I poach chicken thighs in a citrusy jerk marinade before topping them off with pepper jack cheese and a pineapple-avocado salsa. The sweet salsa and creamy cheese balances out the heat of the chicken for a sweet and spicy taco that we love!

Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa

So, I have a confession to make about tacos. You might have noticed that I make them a lot, but that I almost always use soft tortillas instead of crispy shells. I thought I didn’t like hard taco shells, but apparently I was just doing it wrong.

Did you know that you’re supposed to bake them? I had no idea! I mean, it says so right in huge letters on the front of the box but somehow I managed to completely ignore that little fact. Duh. It makes a world of difference. The shells get deliciously crisp and if you fill them before you bake them the cheese gets all melty and delicious.

I don’t feel so bad since I’m apparently not the only person who didn’t know you’re supposed to cook the darn things (I found out when I read about it on Baked Bree). If you’re in the same boat, definitely give them another try!

Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa

Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa 1

Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa

Take taco night to the tropics with these sweet and spicy Jerk Chicken Tacos! Look for Jerk seasoning by the Latin products in the international aisle of your grocery store. For spicier tacos add additional seasoning to the shredded chicken, but taste as you go because some seasoning is very spicy!
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5
Author: Lauren Keating


For the salsa:

  • ¼ cup diced mango
  • ¼ cup diced avocado
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup diced pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime juiced
  • pinch salt

For the tacos:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons Jerk seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 package 4.7 ounce Old El Paso Stand ‘N Stuff Taco Shells
  • 3 ounces reduced fat pepper jack cheese shredded


  • To make salsa, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • In a shallow baking dish, combine water, orange juice, lime juice, Jerk seasoning, and soy sauce. Mix well. Add chicken thighs, turning to coat. Cover and let marinate 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 350*F. Transfer marinade to a deep skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Add the chicken and cook 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from liquid; shred with two forks.
  • In a baking dish, arrange taco shells so they stand upright. Divide shredded chicken between shells; top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes, or until shells are crisp and cheese is melted. Serve with tropical salsa.

This post was brought to you in partnership with Old El Paso. I was compensated for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own. 

By on August 22nd, 2013

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie.

More posts by this author.

9 thoughts on “Jerk Chicken Tacos with Tropical Salsa”

  1. Thank you for sharing your glorious recipe, I love Mexican food but never have had the chance to try Tacos. I’ll definitely try them after seeing this pictures!

  2. I love tropical salsas on food. These chicken tacos with tropical salsa look like a perfect treat for summer time. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  3. Growing up my mom always baked them, and I always could tell when I went to a friends house for dinner and their parents didn’t bake them. Who knew it says right on the box to bake them, all those poor kids missing out on yummy crunchy tacos.

    These tacos sound delicious. I just made up a batch of jerk seasoning. Think I need to try them soon.

    • oooh, I bet they’d be fabulous with homemade jerk seasoning! That’s something I haven’t tried yet.

  4. I’m still going with soft corn tortillas for tacos. You know why? Because they are healthy delicious. No joke. If you can find the good ones, they are just corn, water, salt and lime. One day I want to make them myself from organic corn masa. Maybe this fall will be my year.

    • I still love the soft corn tortillas, but sometimes a little crunch is nice too. They have that notalgic taco-night thing going on, too.

      We made some tortillas with organic masa at this year’s Big Summer Potluck though and they were delicious and so simple (although a bit time consuming). I had tried them at home before without much luck, but I’d definitely give them another go.

    • Out of curiosity I looked up the ingredients for the hard shells and they’re really simple too – just limed corn, oil, and salt.

  5. I didn’t know that one has to bake the shells to make them crispy. Mexican food is still so new for us here!
    I am getting hungry looking at your photos. =P


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