Chipotle Grilled Chicken Tacos

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Smoky, spicy, and ready to party, these chipotle grilled chicken tacos are a great way to capture those summertime camping vibes. 

Four tacos arranged on a plate with grilled corn on the cob and hal an avocado

There’s a lot to like about these Chipotle Grilled Chicken Tacos, which is why we keep coming back to them summer after summer! 

The marinade only requires a few ingredients and can easily be made ahead of time. Since it doesn’t include anything acidic (like lime juice or vinegar), the chicken won’t toughen while it sits in the marinade. So if you’ve packed enough ice in your cooler, this is a great dinner option for a multi-day trip!

While you can absolutely cook this chicken in a cast iron skillet over a camp stove, we really like it when we can cook it over a campfire. The smokey flavor of the chipotle is really enhanced, and we just love all the crispy slightly burnt bites. 

So if you’re looking for a new camping dinner to try out this summer, add these Chipotle Grilled Chicken Tacos to your list. 

What We Love:

  • Smoky, spicy, full-body flavor 
  • The marinade can be prepped at home, days in advance 
  • Super easy to scale up to feed a larger group
  • The meal can be made entirely over the campfire!
A table scene with a plate of tacos in the foreground and Megan's hands assembling tacos on a second plate

Equipment Needed

Sealed container to marinate in: The chicken should remain in your cooler while it marinates, so you’ll want to make sure it’s in a leak-proof container. We marinate in reusable reZip bags, but any sealable zip-top bag or tupperware container would work.

Long tongs: Long tongs make flipping the chicken on the grill easier and safer.

Heat resistant gloves: Optional, but we like to use heat-proof gloves when working over a campfire or moving skewers around the grill (instead of trying to mauver skewers with tongs).

Flat metal skewers: Metal skewers have the benefit of being totally reusable and won’t burn the way bamboo skewers can. The flat design makes it easier to rotate them as it prevents the food from just spinning around.

Instant read thermometer: Since campfire cooking can be a little unpredictable, we suggest using an instant-read thermometer to determine when the chicken is done.

For a full rundown of our recommended camp cooking gear, check out this post about how to build a camp kitchen.

Megan chopping ingredients for tacos with a camp scene in the background

Ingredient Notes

Chicken: Chicken thighs are perfect for grilling—they don’t dry out as quickly as chicken breasts can. You can substitute with breasts, though cooking time may vary.

Chipotles in adobo: To make things easy, we used these diced chipotles in adobo. If all you can find is whole chipotles in adobo, you can blend them into a paste (keep the rest in a jar in your fridge). Adjust the amount to your liking—chipotles can be spicy!

Seasoning: Ground cumin and coriander, minced garlic, and salt make the base of the marinade seasoning. Feel free to use a taco seasoning blend you already have, or add extra spices like onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, or chile powder if you really like things hot!

Michael placing corn on the cob over a campfire.

How to Make Grilled Chicken Tacos

Start by making the marinade (this can be done at home!). Combine the olive oil, chipotle peppers and adobo, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt in a small food processor or blender. Give it a whirl to combine, then transfer into a resealable bag or container with the chicken. Place it in your fridge or cooler and marinate at least an hour or two, up to 24 hours. 

Heat a grill to medium-high or start a campfire. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Grill for 6-8 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 165F, then remove and let rest for a few minutes before slicing or chopping. 

Left: Three chicken thighs on a campfire grill. Right: Megan placing a lid over a large bowl containing grilled corn

As the chicken is cooking, make the sides. Place the corn on the grill and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally so all sides have a chance to pick up color. To grill the pineapple, thread pineapple chunks onto skewers and place on the grill for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown and caramelized in spots. 

While the chicken, corn, and pineapple are on the grill, toast your tortillas over the flame, using tongs to flip them frequently until they soften and pick up some color. 

To assemble, divide the chicken and pineapple between the tortillas and top with Pico de Gallo, cotija cheese, cilantro, and avocado. Serve with the grilled corn and lime wedges. Enjoy! 

A ziplock bag containing chicken in marinade resting on a plate

What to Prepare at Home / Make Ahead Steps

There are a few ways to cut down on steps in camp by prepping ahead at home. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make the marinade and add it to a bag or container with the chicken. Keep this in your fridge until you’re ready to pack your cooler. If you’re not going to use it within two days, freeze (marinade and all!) and let it defrost in your cooler at camp.
  • Shuck your corn, removing any husk and threads.
  • Pre-toast your tortillas. Lightly toast your tortillas at home, then wrap them in foil and put them in your cooler. As soon as you get your fire or grill going, place the foil packet on the grate to warm the tortillas up, flipping occasionally.
Three ears of grilled corn in a large bowl surrounded by other taco side dishes.

Serving Suggestions

In addition to the grilled corn and pineapple, these tacos are great with salsa fresca/pico de gallo (store-bought or homemade)—or try this Fire-Roasted Salsa since you’ll already have the grill going! We personally like a mild, fresh salsa to balance the heat from the marinade. 

If you want to turn this meal into a full spread (maybe for a larger group), bring along a can of beans and a box of Mexican-style rice to cook up and serve on the side.

Four grilled chicken tacos on a plate with a green drinking glass in the background
Four tacos arranged on a plate with grilled corn on the cob and hal an avocado

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Tacos

Author: Fresh Off The Grid
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinate (minimum): 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
10 tacos

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • corn on the cob, husks removed
  • 8 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 10 corn tortillas

To Serve

  • Pico de Gallo
  • Avocado
  • Cotija cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Limes

Instructions

At Home:

  • To make the marinade, combine the olive oil, chipotle peppers and adobo, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt in a small food processor or blender. Give it a whirl to combine, then transfer into a resealable bag or container with the chicken. Place it in your fridge or cooler and marinate at least an hour or two, up to two days (or longer if frozen).

At Camp:

  • Heat a grill to medium-high or start a campfire. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Grill for 6-8 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 165F, then remove and let rest for a few minutes before slicing or chopping.
  • Place the corn on the grill and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally so all sides have a chance to pick up color.
  • To grill the pineapple, thread pineapple chunks onto skewers and place on the grill for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown and caramelized in spots.
  • While the chicken, corn, and pineapple are on the grill, toast your tortillas over the flame, using tongs to flip them frequently until they soften and pick up some color.
  • To assemble, divide the chicken and pineapple between the tortillas and top with Pico de Gallo, cotija cheese, cilantro, and avocado. Serve with the grilled corn and lime wedges. Enjoy!

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Serving: 1taco | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Main Course
Camping
campfire recipes, camping food, chicken, make ahead, tacos

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