Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos
Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos! It’s when esquites or street corn salad meets chicken tacos! These chipotle chicken tacos are loaded up with a simple roasted corn salad and topped with chipotle mayo!
Taco Tuesday never looked this good!
Until now, that is. We’re mashing together two of my favorites and making Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos today!
It all starts with chipotle marinated chicken tenders that I cooked up and popped into warm flour or corn tortillas and topped with a simple roasted corn salad. Just before serving we’ll drizzle it with chipotle crema. If that wasn’t enough, I squeeze on some lime juice on each taco to really wake up the tastebuds. Wow, are these tacos exploding with all sorts of delicious flavor or what? I could seriously face plant into a plateful of this for dinner every night of the week.
My mouth is salivating at the thought; I just finished having lunch.
It’s no secret that we love Mexican street corn. Every year in March when the rodeo is in town, I make the hubby stand in an endless line for what can only be described as mediocre roasted corn on the cob or steamed corn in a cup. They have a table set up where you can doctor your corn however you’d like. You can add mayo, butter, lemon pepper seasoning, chili powder, or hot sauce. I can smell that roasted corn before we even make it to the fairgrounds. And though I know, I can make it about 1000 times better at home; still, it’s something I look forward to getting every year.
Have you made my elotes recipe yet? It’s one of the most popular recipes on the blog around Cinco de Mayo. Over the years, I started enjoying street corn in salad form and a couple of years ago I shared a version with black beans and avocados. I’ve even mixed street corn salad with rice. What I’m trying to say is that we love chicken tacos and street corn salad so it’s only natural that I mash the two together and make what I consider to be the best tacos I’ve ever eaten – street corn chicken tacos.
What is street corn salad or esquites?
Esquites or Mexican street corn salad is a combination of roasted corn tossed together within a creamy dressing usually with chili powder and cheese. It’s a salad or dip that you can serve on its own or with tortilla chips, and sometimes it’s tossed with cilantro, lime juice, and scallions. You want to make sure everything is chopped up small. That way, it easily fits onto your tortilla and you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
How to marinate chicken for street corn chicken tacos:
First, let’s talk about the kind of chicken you need. You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs for this recipe. I usually like to use tenders here because they’re already portioned out and all I need to do it cut them in half once they’re cooked and pop them into warmed tortillas.
You’ll need just a handful of simple ingredients for marinating the chicken:
- chicken: I like using both chicken thighs or chicken breasts for this recipe. Chicken tenders would also work well here!
- lime juice: adds a delicious floral flavor and gives the spices a nice kick!
- oil: Use olive oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil for this recipe.
- chipotle chili powder:
- garlic powder:
- ground cumin:
- kosher salt: this ones a given!
The marinade for these chicken tacos is ridiculously easy but the flavors are outstanding! I like to marinate the chicken in the afternoon if I’m planning on serving this for dinner. The longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the more flavorful it is.
TIP: I know that chipotle chili powder isn’t always easily available and if you can’t find it in your grocery store, replace it with 1 teaspoon of Mexican chili powder and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. This will give it that same smokey taste you get when you use chipotle chili powder.
What you need to make esquites for Mexican street corn tacos:
- corn: for this recipe you can use a bag of frozen corn from the grocery store. Or use fresh corn that you char on the grill or over an open flame inside. Once the corn is cooled you can make the corn mixture.
- chopped scallions: adds an onionflavor without being too harsh! If you like a more oniony punch, use red onion instead.
- cilantro: cilantro adds a fresh flavor.
- crumbled cotija cheese: you can usually find this in the refrigerator next to the other Mexican cheeses. If you can’t find it in your area, grated parmesan cheese makes a decent substitute.
- jalapeno pepper: adds a kick.
- lime juice: you’ll need lime juice for the street corn portion of these tacos but you’ll also want to serve this up with lime wedges to squeeze on top.
TIP: I like to add fire roasted corn to my street corn chicken tacos. The charred corn adds a new flavor, one that you can’t get if you were to use plain, frozen or canned corn. Fire roasted corn is usually sold in the freezer section of most grocery stores right next to the regular stuff. Recently, I’ve even spotted it in the canned veggies aisle, so there’s no need to roast corn for this unless you want to!
To make the street corn salad, you just need to toss it all together in a bowl. It’s so simple to make that I find myself often making it as a side with grilled chicken and all sorts of other things.
Top your street corn chicken tacos with chipotle sauce
The sauce for these tacos is creamy, spicy, and tangy. It has a little kick that balances out the sweet corn so well. Just whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and top your tacos with it! For the chipotle sauce you’ll need:
- sour cream: helps give this a luxurious flavor.
- mayonnaise: we’ll cut the sour cream with mayo. Feel free to use greek yogurt if you want to make these tacos even lighter.
- lime juice: lends tartness to the sauce.
- adobo sauce: gives it flavor. The chipotle sauce makes it smoky and so good.
TIP: Adobo sauce is the liquid stuff that comes in the can when you purchase chipotle peppers. You don’t necessarily need the peppers here, just the sauce. If you prefer spicy food, feel free to chop up a pepper or two and add it to the sauce. I find the jalapenos in the corn salad and the chipotle powder in the chicken marinade made this spicy enough for us and opted to use just the adobo sauce.
What I love most about these street corn chicken tacos is that it’s all in one. You’ve got your protein, your salad, and your sauce all loaded up on a corn or flour tortilla.
Put these street corn chicken tacos on the menu ASAP, you’re going to love them!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Crispy Chicken Carnitas
- Gotta Have ‘Em Ancho Chicken Tacos
- 5-Minute Restaurant-Style Blender Salsa
- Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Smashed Avocados
- Seared Cod Fish Tacos with Sweet and Tangy Slaw
- 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken (breasts, tenders, or thighs)
- 2 tablespoons EACH: lime juice AND oil
- 2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or more to taste!)
- 1 ½ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, ground cumin, AND kosher salt
Street Corn Tacos:
- 1 ½ cups roasted corn
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup EACH: chopped cilantro AND crumbled Cotija cheese
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Flour or corn tortillas
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ¼ cup EACH: sour cream AND mayo
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce (see notes)
- CHICKEN: Combine the lime juice, oil, chipotle powder, garlic, ground cumin, salt in a bowl. Add the chicken and toss using a rubber spatula so that the chicken is coated in the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or cover it and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Lightly spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and cook the chicken over medium-high heat 6-10 minutes, flipping halfway through until it cooks through.
- STREET CORN: Combine the corn, scallions, cilantro, cotija cheese, jalapeno, and lime juice in a bowl. Season with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed; set aside.
- SAUCE: whisk together the sour cream, mayo, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce in a bowl. Taste and add additional adobo sauce and salt as desired.
- TACOS: Warm the tortillas, add chicken, a slice of avocado, street corn, and top with chipotle sauce. Serve with lime wedges if desired.
- adobo sauce is the liquid stuff that chipotle peppers come packed in, when you buy the cans!