Chicken al Pastor Tacos

overhead shot of chicken al pastor tacos

I am going to call these “kinda” chicken al pastor. I want to be VERY clear that I do not think these are 100% al pastor. These are loosely based on a favorite taco…based really on the things we had in the house. 1) Al Pastor isn’t usually made with chicken. 2) Traditionally they are made with OJ in the mixture…unfortunately, that wasn’t something we had in the house. We did have a pineapple. 3) The chiles usually used for al Pastor can vary, but there are often multiple types including guajillo chiles as the main one. However, all we had was chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Which we basically always have at home for these burgers or this sauce. 4) And it usually includes achiote paste, which we didn’t have at home either.

Although you can easily find those items at the grocery store, Mexican markets, or online…these were items I had at home and they still turned out delicious so I wanted to share it with you all! It’s an alternative recipe, but it’s still delicious and spicy. Also, who doesn’t love some tacos?

Tips on Ingredients for these Tacos:

Usually the better the ingredients, the better your food will taste. However, I do like to go over which ingredients that you should have the best quality for. And the others that I think don’t need to be the highest quality.

These are the items that I have notes for, whether it’s to buy the best quality or if there are specific notes about those ingredients for chicken al pastor tacos.

– Meat or Veggies: These Chicken al Pastor tacos can definitely be customized for you. Be sure to use the type of meat you like best and a good quality, pork, beef, or even jackfruit!

– Pineapple: These should also be ripe and ready. I prefer to use a fresh pineapple, although you could use canned. I just don’t prefer it.

Tips and Knowledge to make the best Chicken al Pastor Tacos:

– Meat: you can use chicken as I do. Or you can use turkey, pork, or beef…OR you can use veggies or tofu. As long as you use the same amount.

– Marinating: You can definitely skip this step as it will still cook in the sauce. However, you won’t get as good of a flavor. You don’t want to leave this for too long either as the acidity of the lime will break down your meat. So, one hour is a great rest time.

– Pineapple: This is a key ingredient to al Pastor. Both the marinade and the toppings have pineapple in them as a key part. I would not skimp on this and the fresher the better! You can also heat or grill the topping pineapple for extra flavor.

– Toppings: I really care about lime and cilantro in my Mexican food. Like we constantly have both in our house because I’m addicted. I think they help the flavor profile of the tacos.

– Spice Level: if you aren’t into spicy…this probably isn’t the recipe for you. However, you can adjust this chicken al pastor recipe with how many chipotles, jalapeño, and how much adobo sauce you add to the recipe. You can adjust.

– Heating Tortillas: You can for sure do this in the microwave, but I love the toasty taste of using a skillet without oil. And I’m not brave enough to use the grate on the stove directly.

– Cheesy Tortilla: This is something we often experience in Mexico, so I thought I’d bring it to this recipe. I think it’s a fun addition, but you can also just add cheese on top, change out the cheese for Cotija cheese…or skip the cheese altogether.

Other Savory Recipes to Try:

pineapple on chicken al pastor tacos
chicken al pastor tacos
long shot of chicken al pastor tacos
overhead shot of chicken al pastor tacos

Chicken Al Pastor Tacos…Kinda

0 from 0 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Marinating time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 tacos
Author: Amanda Wilens

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

Meat and Marinade
  • 1 lb. chicken sliced into tenders
  • 1/2 pineapple skin removed and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 yellow onion large, sliced
  • 4 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • ½ Tbsp adobo sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 jalapeño deseeded
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
Topping
  • 1/2 pineapple diced
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 1 jalapeño diced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro chopped
Tortillas
  • 8 small corn tortillas makes 8 tacos, but you can double up tortillas
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Take your pineapple, onion, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, garlic, lime, jalapeño, and apple cider vinegar and place it into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add in sugar and spices and mix until combined. In an airtight container add meat (or veggies) into the container. Cover with the mixture from step 1. Make sure to coat all of the meat. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • While that’s marinating, create the topping. Mix all topping ingredients into a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble tacos.
  • Heat a large skillet on the stove over medium with a dash of avocado oil. Place in the chicken and pour the sauce on top. Cook and leave untouched for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Check on the doneness of meat by slicing the largest tender in half and making sure there is no pink.
  • After its done cooking, shred or dice up chicken. I shred mine with a stand mixer and the paddle attachment. Mix in about ½ of the cooked marinade and mix (use more if you like things saucy and spicy).
  • Heat tortillas in a large skillet set to medium, toasting each side (I do this without oil). If you wish to add cheese, toast one side, flip, add some cheese and cover the skillet with a lid and allow to melt.
  • Place chicken and topping on top of toasted tortillas. Enjoy!

Notes

– Meat: you can use chicken as I do. Or you can use turkey, pork, or beef…OR you can use veggies or jackfruit. As long as you use the same amount.
– Marinating: You can definitely skip this step as it will still cook in the sauce. However, you won’t get as good of a flavor. You don’t want to leave this for too long either as the acidity of the lime will break down your meat. So, one hour is a great rest time.
– Marinade Ingredients: these don’t have to be cut pretty as they are all going into a blender and will be smoothed out.
– Pineapple: This is a key ingredient to Al Pastor. Both the marinade and the toppings have pineapple in them as a key part. I would not skimp on this and the fresher the better! You can also heat or grill the topping pineapple for extra flavor.
– Avocado: This is a great way to cool your palate with the spice of the taco and jalapeño. But if you aren’t a fan… crema, sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt would also be helpful! Mangos would also be good.
– Toppings: I really care about lime and cilantro in my Mexican food. Like we constantly have both in our house because I’m addicted. I think they help the flavor profile of the tacos.
– Spice Level: if you aren’t into spicy…this probably isn’t the recipe for you. However, you can adjust this with how many chipotles, jalapeño, and how much adobo sauce you add to the recipe. You can adjust.
– Chipotle Peppers: We used the canned ones all the time. Adobo sauce is delicious and the two mixed together are great. You can also find this easily in basically all grocery stores and Target…just not Trader Joe’s…yet!
– Tortillas: We use small corn tortillas always, but you could use larger, but it’ll change the number of tacos you’ll be able to make.
– Heating Tortillas: You can for sure do this in the microwave, but I love the toasty taste of using a skillet without oil. And I’m not brave enough to use the grate on the stove directly.
– Cheesy Tortilla: This is something we often experience in Mexico, so I thought I’d bring it to this recipe. I think it’s a fun addition, but you can also just add cheese on top, change out the cheese for Cotija cheese…or skip the cheese altogether.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 643mg | Potassium: 576mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @amanda.wilens or tag #amandawilensmakes