Love and Olive Oil

Soft Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri and Homemade Corn Tortillas

Soft Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri and Homemade Corn Tortillas

From far East… to South of the border… spice is universal, and these tacos are no exception.

With soft, homemade corn tortillas, shredded rotisserie chicken, shredded cabbage, and a bright green salsa made from onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and TABASCO® Green Pepper Sauce, this recipe is as flavorful as it is quick and easy to prepare.

But can we talk about homemade tortillas for one second? I mean, seriously. They make these tacos. The tender corn tortillas are nothing like the dry, bland things you buy in stores. They are soft and flexible (no cracks!) and a perfect foundation for this simple taco recipe. And, while a tortilla press would speed up the process just a bit, even without one it is not as hard as you might think.

I’d also be curious if this same process works for homemade flour tortillas… anyone tried?

How To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas without a Tortilla Press

You start by mixing up a simple dough of masa harina (a flour made from corn that has been soaked in lime and dried), salt, and water, then divided and rolled into balls. Store the balls under a moist tea towel to keep them from drying out as you work. If you’re like us and don’t have a tortilla press, you can press the dough with a large, flat bottomed skillet (make sure it doesn’t have any sort of imprint on the bottom or it will impress into your tortillas), then roll thin. We tried parchment and waxed paper, but found that plastic wrap created the smoothest, crease-free tortillas. Once pressed, the tortillas are quickly cooked just under a minute per side.

And that’s it.

It’s such a simple process that we’ve even made them for quick, weeknight dinners, like Breakfast Tacos, Garlic-Marinated Skirt Steak Tacos, or Crispy Black Bean Tacos.

I don’t think we’ll ever buy store-bought corn tortillas again.

Soft Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri and Homemade Corn Tortillas

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For Chimichurri:

  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

For Tortillas:

  • 1 cup corn flour (masa harina*), plus more as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For Tacos:

  • 2 cups shredded roasted chicken (from 1/2 a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage


  1. Combine onion, cilantro, jalapeño, olive oil, and green pepper sauce in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Mix corn flour with salt and 2/3 cups water in medium mixing bowl until dough comes together. Dough should be soft, but not gooey or crumbly. Add more flour or water as needed until desired consistency is achieved. Divide dough into eight equal balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel to keep them from drying out as you work.
  3. Place a single dough ball between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper on a sturdy surface. Using the bottom of a heavy pan (or other flat heavy object), press firmly down on dough ball to flatten. Then, using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough ball into a 5 to 6 inch round. You can also use a tortilla press if you have one. Gently peel tortilla from paper and place on flat surface. Cover with damp towel and repeat with remaining dough balls.
  4. Preheat a griddle or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. One at a time, add tortillas to dry pan and cook for 40 to 60 seconds per side. Keep cooked tortillas in warm oven until ready to use.
  5. To assemble, spoon shredded chicken onto tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and chimichurri. Serve immediately.

*Masa Harina flour is a made from lime-soaked corn kernels. You can find it in the international aisle of most major grocery stores or Mexican food stores, or online.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. Is there a homemade recipe for masa harina? Pls post it.
    Love your recipes!

    • I don’t, sorry! It’s a pretty involved process so I’ve never made it. I’ve always bought the dried flour, but you can sometimes find fresh masa at Mexican grocers.

  2. Is there a recipe for homemade masa harina?
    Love your recipes, especially with homemade ones. Thank you.

  3. Are you supposed to do anything  wwth the shredded cabbage, or just serve it raw?

  4. The chimichurri ROCKS!!! I made the corn tortillas as well. We didn’t use rotisserie chicken as we had leftover shredded cooked chicken. We seasoned the chicken with chile con limon & lime juice when we heated it in the skillet. What an amazingly fast meal. Love that the tortillas are FRESH…they hold all that chicken and just DO NOT TEAR like a store bought tortilla. Thanks for sharing the inspiration that anyone can make a soft taco at home. I tend to agree….not much reason to buy them any more. They are not only easy, they’re just plain quick to make!

  5. My husband loves chicken tacos :) I can’t wait to make these for him, they look perfect!

  6. Oh, this looks delicious! Can’t wait to get back into my kitchen again and try this! NOw, what box is my tortilla press in!?

  7. Ooo that cilantro chimichurri must add a great flavor to this dish! Yum!

  8. Really keen to give these a try.  Just have to find the masa harina in London.  Thinking Whole Foods? 

  9. I love making homemade corn tortillas! They’re so much better than storebought and so dirt cheap to make. :) I like to use a glass pie plate to press the tortillas, but I might try rolling next time. Can’t wait to try them with this recipe!

  10. I’ve never made tortillas from scratch before. You’ve convinced me to give it a try.

  11. I completely agree about homemade corn tortillas being FAR superior to store bought.  In fact, my husband and I just posted grilled tri-tip tacos on homemade tortillas on our own blog last night!  (It must be all the rage!). But I do highly recommend getting a tortilla press.  They are inexpensive and so much fun to use.  Especially if you have kids!

  12. Yum, I will definitely be trying to make my own tortillas. How long will these keep in the fridge/freezer?

    • They really are best fresh, so plan on only making what you can eat in one meal. You may be able to make the masa dough balls ahead of time and store those (covered so they don’t dry out), but still press and cook them just before serving, although I have not tried this personally.

  13. My favorite thing to order from the great little Mexican restaurant near us is their fish tacos with homemade corn tortillas. You’ve inspired me to try to make them at home !
    I’m going to try this recipe as well!

  14. Oh man, this sounds amazing and look s even greater to eat. Cilantro and jalapeno? Sign me up!!! Thank you for sharing with us from

  15. This is so impressive! I keep meaning to try homemade tortillas and these look way simpler than I thought they would be! You’ve officially inspired me :)

  16. Homeade tortillas are seriously the best and so darn easy! Why do more people not make them. I know when you’re in a hurry they’re so much cheaper too and not filled with all that junk! Oh and these look delicious!

  17. We make flour tortillas often and while it is hard to make them perfectly round as the above commenter said, that’s never stopped us from enjoying them or serving them to company! Who says they should be round anyway, right?! They are SO simple, quick and taste far superior to store-bought!

  18. Green salsas are my favorite–but somehow I have never yet made chimichurri at home! Must try very soon, as these tacos are making my mouth water. :)

  19. Oh, I haven’t made tortillas from scratch in SO LONG!! You just totally inspired me. :)

  20. I didn’t know chimichurri sauce was that simple! Thanks for sharing. The tortillas look lovely and accessible so I may go buy some of that special corn flour to try that part of the recipe out too.

  21. Homemade tortillas too!? Even when you are not doing a kitchen challenge, you are doing things that I would consider voting for a kitchen challenge haha

  22. Your tacos made with homemade corn tortillas look so delicious! Well done! As far as flour tortillas the same method does not work. That requires rolling and unfortunately is not as simple. We make homemade flour tortillas often and they are amazing but rolling perfectly round tortillas takes practice :)

  23. There’s nothing better than fresh tortillas and zingy salsa! Yum! 

  24. I’m desperate to try homemade tortillas – they must just elevate this dish into something special. Definitely going to give these a try at home!

  25. Homemade corn tortillas are the BEST!  Love your method with the skillet and rolling pin too.  :)  These tacos look so tasty!!

  26. Your posts are so inspiring! A friend and I were just talking about making our own tortillas last week (no joke) and she mentioned that she had a small truckload of masa harina in her kitchen. I know what we’re doing this week!

  27. Will definitely be  trying these out! My boyfriend is a coeliac so I’m always looking for new gluten-free recipe ideas!

  28. I have made flour tortillas, but never corn tortillas. It is time to change that! I always kind of thought a corn tortilla could not really get better, since they are a little boring unless spiced up, but after hearing (reading) you rave about them I have to give them a try! The tacos look awesome! Plus, we are a taco family around here, so new tacos are always welcome!

  29. These look so delightfully fresh. And love that you have made your own tacos from scratch. Yum.

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