These Healthy Buffalo Chicken Tacos are an easy recipe to make in only 20 minutes! Chicken breasts are thinly sliced and cooked, smothered in buffalo sauce, and served on toasted corn tortillas with crunchy celery and bell pepper salsa and cool, creamy ranch (or blue cheese) dressing.
I find myself craving buffalo chicken constantly, but take-out buffalo wings come at a high price (especially in terms of calories!).
So I LOVE making alternative buffalo recipes that are much healthier than traditional wings. All the flavor and none of the guilt.
These tacos (which happen to also be gluten-free) come in at only 195 calories per taco!
They’re made light and healthy with sautéed chicken breast meat (with no breading), and a secret flavor-boosting ingredient added to the sauce to keep it thick, mellow, and luxurious without tons of butter. OK I’ll just tell you- it’s ketchup!
And the healthy celery and bell pepper salsa adds cool crunchiness and veggies to the tacos, with lots of bright flavor to balance out the buffalo sauce. All you need is a little bit of ranch or blue cheese dressing on each taco and you’re good to go!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Chicken breasts (you can use thighs if you prefer, or cooked shredded chicken)
- Hot sauce, ketchup, and butter (for the buffalo sauce- olive oil may be used instead of butter)
- Corn tortillas (or flour, but since they’re bigger you may yield fewer tacos)
- Celery, bell pepper, cilantro (or parsley), lime juice (or lemon), and diced red onion (or green), for the salsa
- Ranch or blue cheese dressing (or sour cream mixed with blue cheese crumbles)
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
How to make buffalo chicken tacos
- First, mix the celery salsa. Stir together some diced bell pepper (any color- I used yellow), diced celery (plus the leaves, if you’ve got them!), diced red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Let it sit for a few minutes while you do everything else so the flavors marry (stir it a few times if you remember).
- Then, cook the chicken. First, slice chicken breasts very thin, about 1/4″ thick (this will cut down on cooking time). Then, sauté for a few minutes in olive oil with salt and pepper until ALMOST all the way cooked.
- While the chicken is cooking, mix the buffalo sauce– hot sauce, melted butter, and ketchup. I like to make it in a glass measuring cup so I can melt the butter directly in it and pour the sauce when I’m ready.
- Pour the buffalo sauce into the skillet with the chicken and toss to coat, and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until chicken is fully cooked.
- Build the tacos by spreading ranch dressing on toasted corn tortillas, spooning the chicken (and some extra sauce from the skillet) on top, and topping with celery salsa!
How to toast corn tortillas
I like to place the tortillas directly on my gas burners over medium heat for about 30 seconds on each side, flipping them over with tongs. Keep an eye on them though- I’ve caught more than one on fire before! Then, I store them in a tortilla warmer lined with a damp paper towel until I’m ready to serve.
You can also toast them in a dry, hot skillet for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Or if you’re feeling lazy, you can just zap them in the microwave for a little bit to soften them (but they won’t have that awesome toasty flavor).
Just keep in mind: if you don’t warm them up or toast them in any way, they will likely fall apart when you try to fold them.
Can I use precooked shredded chicken?
You can definitely use shredded cooked chicken, such as rotisserie or leftover roast chicken, for these buffalo chicken tacos.
Just toss about 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken with the buffalo sauce and warm up briefly in a skillet or in the microwave! Easy peasy.
Other Buffalo recipes
- Buffalo Mushroom Naan Pizza
- Buffalo Chicken Fingers
- Crispy Honey Buffalo Chicken Thighs
- Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells
- Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”
Other Quick and Easy Taco Recipes
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Healthy Buffalo Chicken Tacos
- 1/2 bell pepper any color, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 celery stalks diced, with leaves if available (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce such as Frank's
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts thinly sliced, about 1/4" thick (about 2 breasts)
- 4 tablespoons ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing
- 8 corn tortillas toasted
- In a small bowl, mix together the diced celery (about 1/2 cup), diced bell pepper (about 1/2 cup), diced red onion (1/4 cup), chopped fresh cilantro (2 tablespoons), juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons), 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
- In another small bowl or glass measuring cup, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in the ketchup (2 tablespoons) and hot sauce (1 tablespoon). Set aside.
- In a large skillet (I prefer nonstick), cook the sliced chicken breasts in the olive oil (1 tablespoon) seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until almost all the way cooked (about 3-4 minutes on each side). Pour in the butter, ketchup, and hot sauce mixture. Stir to coat and finish cooking for about 2 more minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, toast the corn tortillas or warm in the microwave to make them softer.
- Spread 1/2 tablespoon of ranch or blue cheese dressing on each toasted corn tortilla. Top with the chicken and a little sauce from the bottom of the skillet, followed by a spoonful of the celery and pepper salsa. Serve immediately.
- Ingredient substitutions: chicken thighs may be used instead of breasts; parsley may be substituted for the cilantro; ketchup may be omitted in favor of more hot sauce for a spicier version; butter may be replaced with more olive oil or ghee; sliced green onions may be substituted for the red. Flour tortillas may be substituted for corn but since they're usually larger, you may get fewer tacos.
- Make the salsa up to 48 hours in advance to save some time.
- Make your own simple blue cheese dressing by mixing sour cream with blue cheese crumbles.
- If you like, you can use any shredded cooked chicken, such as rotisserie or leftover roast chicken. Just toss about 2 cups shredded chicken with the buffalo sauce and heat it up briefly in a skillet or in the microwave.
- Large Skillet (I prefer nonstick)
- Glass Measuring Cup (such as Pyrex)