Make the best Air Fryer Tacos with this easy recipe, featuring perfectly seasoned shredded chicken thighs, melty cheese, and crispy air fried taco shells.
AIR FRYER TACOS RECIPE
Everyone loves tacos! These air fryer tacos are stuffed with seasoned chicken, lots of cheese, and topped with all of your favorite toppings.
The best part? The corn tortilla shells are cooked in the air fryer too so that they get super crispy!
This is a two-part recipe, and both parts happen in the air fryer, so there's no need to turn on the stove.
If you love tacos (and who doesn't, right?), check out how we make Air Fryer Cauliflower Taco Bowls, and Air Fryer Fish Tacos too!
CAN YOU COOK TACOS IN THE AIR FRYER?
I get this question a lot. Tacos are a weeknight dinner staple, and being able to cook them in the air fryer makes that dinner rush just a bit less stressful.
It's not only possible to cook tacos in the air fryer, but it's also extra delicious. The air fryer turns soft corn tortillas filled with chicken and cheese into crispy, melty, cheesy chicken tacos.
Your family will prefer these chicken tacos you made in the air fryer to your typical Taco Tuesday offerings, and that's ok because air fryer tacos are so easy to make!
INGREDIENTS IN AIR FRYER TACOS
This is everything you need to make air fryer chicken tacos from scratch! We're even making the crispy corn tortilla taco shells. You can adjust this recipe to make air fryer beef tacos too.
Chicken Thighs - Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are an inexpensive meat option, and they cook up easily in the air fryer, seasoned perfectly for tacos.
Oil - Olive oil or avocado oil is my choice, but any lightly flavored oil will work. Oil helps the seasoning stick to the meat and allows it to brown up beautifully.
Taco Seasonings - A special blend of chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and salt makes these air fryer tacos the best. You can also use a few teaspoons of your favorite taco seasoning instead.
Corn Tortillas - We'll put the tacos into the air fryer in uncooked soft corn tortillas, and pull them out later, crispy, hot, and yummy. You'll want to have some cooking spray or oil in a mister to coat the tortillas with oil so that they crisp up. Flour tortillas won't work quite the same.
Cheese - White cheddar cheese melts inside the chicken tacos when you bake them in the air fryer. Feel free to use other cheese, like Colby or Monterrey Jack if you prefer.
Toppings - The toppings suggested here are my favorites with chicken tacos, but you can adjust if you like. Have red onion, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream ready for serving.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER TACOS
First, we will season and cook the chicken for our air fryer tacos, then we'll assemble the tacos and air fry them again to make them melty and crunchy!
- Cook the Chicken: Place the chicken thighs in a bowl or on a plate, and drizzle them with oil. You can trim away any excess fat from the meat if needed.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Pour the spices over the chicken toss with your hands or tongs to make sure the chicken is completely covered in spices.
- Grease the bottom of an air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket, and cook as directed in the recipe below until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and place on a cutting board. Shred or chop into small pieces. Wash and dry the air fryer to get it ready for the second stage of air frying the tacos.
- Assemble the Tacos: Divide the cooked chicken and cheese between 12 corn tortillas, and fold each in half.
- Spray the air fryer basket with spray oil and place the tacos into it in a single layer. You will need to do this part in batches. Spray the tops of the tacos with more oil so that they get crispy. Air Fry at 400°F/200°C for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the shells are crisp.
- Serve: Top the tacos with red onion, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, and lime before serving.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH AIR FRYER TACOS
Make sure that you have everyone's favorite taco toppings on hand. You can top these before serving, or serve them without toppings and let your family add what they enjoy. Try any or all of these:
- Lettuce, tomato, diced onion, diced bell pepper, thawed frozen corn, black beans, pico de gallo
- Sour cream, lime crema, salsa, guacamole, or queso
- Cilantro, Cotija cheese, lime wedges
On the side, you might enjoy some Air Fryer Plantains, Air Fryer Tortilla Chips, or Air Fryer Mexican Corn on the Cob.
And if you really want to enjoy a Mexican-themed meal, try making a simple Horchata drink, or a pitcher of margaritas too!
AIR FRYER CHICKEN TACOS TIPS
Oil is Important - We will use oil in multiple places in this recipe to keep things from sticking to the air fryer basket and to make the tacos crispy. I prefer to use an all-natural cooking spray to make things easy.
Cheese is also Important - Without cheese inside of the tacos to help glue things together, the tortillas will have the potential to fly up and get burned. I like to put the chicken at the bottom with cheese on top so that when the cheese melts, everything sticks together. You can also put cheese both on top of and underneath the chicken!
To Make These Without Cheese - You will need to use toothpicks to hold the tacos closed. You can also use toothpicks with the chicken and cheese tacos if you want to be extra sure that they'll stay put.
Don't Crowd the Basket - To get crispy air fryer tacos, you want to be sure that they are in a single layer in the air fryer.
Wash in Between - After you cook the chicken for your tacos, the air fryer basket will have chicken grease in it. If you don't wash it out, it will burn and the tacos will not taste as fresh as you want them to.
Keep an Eye on Things - Open the air fryer after the tacos have been in for a minute or two to make sure that they're still together. Press on them gently to help the tortillas stick to the melting cheese. Also, we know that all air fryers are a bit different, so your tacos might need more or less time to cook.
EASY AIR FRYER TACOS VARIATIONS
Try With Chicken Breast - You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders if you want to make white meat chicken tacos in the air fryer. The cooking time will be different, so just be sure to keep an eye on things. You can follow the cooking instructions in my Air Fryer Chicken Breast recipe if needed.
Or Make Steak Tacos - Cook an air fryer steak seasoned with taco seasoning and use that to make air fryer tacos!
Vegetarian Air Fryer Tacos - These are so easy to make! Start with a batch of Tofu Sofritas, and use those to create your meatless meal.
Make Tacos with Leftovers - You can also use cooked taco beef or any cooked meat that you have in the fridge. Pork, steak, shrimp, salmon - you can turn anything into tacos if you try hard enough! Season leftovers however you like, then fill up the tortillas and air fry to crispy taco perfection!
Use this method to make all types of crunchy tacos in the air fryer! Try creamy cilantro lime chicken tacos or get creative with other fillings.
CAN I MAKE CHICKEN FAJITAS IN THE AIR FRYER?
You absolutely can! Follow our recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas to learn how to cook strips of chicken with peppers and onions.
We typically serve fajitas on soft flour tortillas, but you could stuff them into corn tortillas as we did here as well.
CAN I MAKE SOFT TACOS WITH THIS RECIPE?
You can cook the chicken in the air fryer, shred it up, and serve it on warmed corn or flour tortillas with your favorite toppings. These air fryer chicken tacos are delicious that way too.
CAN I COOK HARD SHELLS IN THE AIR FRYER?
If you have a box of crispy hard shells rather than soft corn tortillas, you can still make this recipe! After you've filled the hard shells with cheese and chicken, air fry at 360°F/180°C for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and the shells are extra crispy.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER AIR FRIED TACOS?
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last for 4-5 days.
To reheat, put them back in the air fryer at 300°F/150°C until warmed through, probably 2-4 minutes.
MY TORTILLAS ARE BREAKING WHEN I FOLD THEM
Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. This will make them pliable and easier to fold in half without breaking.
MORE AIR FRYER CHICKEN RECIPES
Don't let chicken get boring! We have lots of air fryer chicken recipes for you to make to spice up dinner.
Air Fryer Chicken Wings are always a hit. Serve them plain, or toss them in Buffalo sauce. You can also see how we make Frozen Wings in the air fryer.
Fried Chicken in the Air Fryer is well worth the effort, and it's way easier than frying it in oil!
To make simple chicken breasts more delicious, check out our recipes for Air Fryer Sweet and Spicy Chicken or Air Fryer Sticky Ginger Chicken.
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Air Fryer Tacos
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese or other cheese
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced fresh tomatoes
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Place the chicken thighs in a bowl or on a plate. Pour oil over the chicken.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika and salt until combined. Pour the spices over the chicken. Mix the chicken until it is completely covered in the spices.
- Grease the bottom of an air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket. Cook at 380°F/190°C for 15-18 minutes, until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165F/74°C.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and place on a cutting board. Shred with two forks or chop into small pieces. Wash and dry the air fryer basket to be sure it doesn't smoke later.
- Divide the cooked chicken and cheese between 12 corn tortillas, and fold each in half.
- Spray the air fryer basket with spray oil and place the tacos into it in a single layer. You will need to do this part in batches. Spray the tops of the tacos with more oil so that they get crispy.
- Air Fry at 400°F/200°C for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the shells are crisp.
- Top the tacos with red onion, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro and lime before serving.
- In place of the spices here, use 4 teaspoons of your favorite taco seasoning. You can also season the chicken however you like.
- Chicken breast can be used, but you may need more or less cook time, depending on the size of the pieces.
- The toppings here are just a suggestion. You can add any taco toppings that you enjoy.
- You can use a toothpick to secure the corn tortilla so it doesn't fly open during cooking if you wish. I typically just check on the corn tortillas after a few minutes and push down any tortillas into the melted cheese. If you want to make tacos without cheese, you will definitely want to secure the tortillas with toothpicks.
- Oil is important as it keeps things from sticking, and allows the tacos to get crunchy and crispy. I prefer to use an all-natural oil cooking spray.
- Pro Tip: This recipe can be made in the air fryer unit with a basket or the air fryer oven. If you are using the air fryer oven, use the middle rack and select the "Air Fry" function.
- Pro Tip: Check your food as it cooks. Each air fryer runs a bit differently. Sometimes airfrying is a trial and error process. Check your food as it cooks to learn your air fryer better! When cooking a new recipe or food items be sure to check your food often to help avoid over/under cooking.
Air Fryers can vary greatly. Please take the time to learn your specific air fryer. You may need to adjust times and temperatures based upon your air fryer. All though this website attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, the information should only be considered an estimate. Varying factors such as different product types, different brands, etc. can change nutritional information. It is your responsibility as a consumer to read all labels to make sure the ingredients fit your dietary needs as well as calculate your own nutritional information as a double check.