Beer Braised Chicken Tacos

We incorporate some form of taco into our meal plan nearly every week. WE LOVE TACOS! So it’s fitting that one of our favorite cookbooks is Sara Deseran’s “Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More“. We live close enough to have eaten at Tacolicious in San Francisco, and we’re able to pick up tangy guacamole salsa and fresh, warm corn tortillas from La Palma Mexicatessen whenever we run low.

But you don’t have to live in San Francisco to enjoy these beer braised chicken tacos – just remember to pick up a bag of your favorite corn tortillas from the grocery store, an avocado, and a lime.

Beer Braised Chicken Tacos

These may be the most delicious chicken thighs you ever consume! We adapted this recipe from Sara Deseran’s “Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More“. Slow-cooking them in a deeply fragrant chili sauce produces a rich, complex, and not-too-spicy shredded chicken that’s perfect atop a warm corn tortilla with a slice or two of avocado and a dash of lime juice. With a side of bean or rice (or both), this is truly a perfect meal.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beer, chicken, dairy-free, tacos
Servings: 8
Calories: 214kcal
Author: planfulcook


  • 3 ancho chiles stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried chipotle chiles stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch green onion chopped
  • 1 habanero chile stemmed
  • 16 oz favorite beer
  • 1 cup chicken broth low sodium
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes fire roasted
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup parsnip chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 16 corn tortillas


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. 
  • Toast the ancho and chipotle chilies in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat. Turn the chilies every 30 seconds until you can smell them but before they blacken. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn. Remove them from the heat and the skillet.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or in the heavy skillet over medium-high heat. when the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs a few at a time to brown. It should take a few minutes on each side for the thighs to be ready. Move them to a plate and work in batches to brown all of the chicken. 
  • Add the green onion and habanero to the pan and saute over medium-high heat until the greens are softened. Add the minced ginger and stir together before adding the toasted chiles, beer, chicken broth, tomatoes, salt, cumin, and oregano. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Once the chiles have completely softened, remove the Dutch oven from the heat.
  • Pour the chili mixture into a blender and process until it’s completely smooth. You can leave a little texture if you prefer, but we like ours really smooth. If you have a small blender, you’ll need to process in batches. Pour the pureed sauce into a clean bowl. Once the Dutch oven is completely drained of chili mixture, place the chicken thighs back in, and then pour the pureed sauce evenly over the chicken.
  • Cover the Dutch oven and put it into the warmed oven for 2 hours. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 25 to 30 minutes. You may need to stir the chicken to keep it from sticking to the pot. Once the chicken is tender enough to fall apart from a fork, it’s ready. Remove the pot from the oven and use two forks or tongs to shred the chicken in the sauce.
  • Prepare your corn tortillas about 15 to 20 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking. Add a little oil to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place 1-2 tortillas into the pan at a time, heating them for 2-3 minutes on each side. Stack the warmed tortillas onto aluminum foil and once you have enough, wrap them tightly and place them in the oven to keep warm.


  • If you don’t have dried chipotle chiles, you can replace with chipotle pepper adobo (with roasted tomato). Use a teaspoon of the sauce to replace each dried chipotle.
  • Leave the habanero whole; it adds a nice kick as-is, and unless you want a really spicy dish, it doesn’t need to be sliced.
  • We made these changes to the original recipe:
    • 3 cloves garlic replaced with 1/4 cup chopped parsnip and 1 tablespoon minced garlic.
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped replaced with a bunch of green onions. We chopped the greens and tossed the white bases (a low-FODMAP friendly option).
    • 12-ounce can of your favorite beer plus 1 shot (1 1/2 ounces) of your favorite tequila replaced with 16 ounces of beer. We don’t have tequila on-hand, and the recipe was still amazing without it.
    • Dried Mexican oregano replaced with standard oregano. We’ve tried both; if you can’t find Mexican, we promise that standard oregano works great, too.

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