Fried chicken tacos with garlic ranch dressing are a totally fun twist for Taco Tuesday. Crunchy nuggets of flavorful fried chicken, wrapped in a warm tortilla, and drizzled with homemade garlic ranch – how could you not?
For the Fried Chicken Tacos:
3 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 C buttermilk
1 T hot sauce
Neutral oil for frying
8, 6 inch flour tortillas
1 1/2 C flour
To garnish: grated cheese, shredded lettuce or cabbage, sliced jalapeno, pickled red onions, avocado, lime wedges, hot sauce, creamy garlic ranch (recipe below)
For Creamy Garlic Ranch Dressing:
1 T apple cider vinegar
1–2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ C buttermilk
½ C mayonnaise
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 T chopped dill
2 scallions, finely chopped
For Fried Chicken Tacos:
Preheat your oven to 250° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine buttermilk, hot sauce and half of the spice mixture, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add chicken and stir to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to one hour. This would be a good opportunity to get your garnishes prepped and dressing made.
Wrap the tortillas tightly in aluminum foil and place in the oven to heat. In a large, high-sided skillet or dutch oven heat enough oil to come just halfway up the side of pan over medium high heat until it reaches 350° F. While you’re waiting on the oil, combine flour with the remaining spice mixture in a shallow dish (a pie plate works well here). Remove half of the chicken from the buttermilk mixture, letting most of the excess liquid drain away, and transfer to the seasoned flour. Toss to coat the chicken evenly.
When the oil is ready, carefully fry the chicken in two (or three) batches for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through in the center (165 on an instant read thermometer). Stir or turn occasionally to keep pieces from sticking together and to promote even browning. Drain chicken well and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet with wire cooling rack. Place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat the flouring and frying process with the other half of the chicken.
Remove chicken and tortillas from the oven. Assemble your crew and crush some tacos!
For the Garlic Ranch Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for up to three days.
You can use white meat chicken here, but be careful not to overcook it.
If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by combining 1 cup of regular milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and let that hang out for ten minutes. When you come back to it, you’ll have something pretty similar to buttermilk. Magic!
The temperature of the oil will plummet as soon as the food goes in. This is normal, but adjust the heat slightly to bring the oil back up as the chicken continues to cook. Take a five minute break between batches to let the oil come back up to temp if it’s a little under.
The fried chicken will stay hot and crispy for about 30 minutes in a low oven.
The dressing can be made up to a two days in advance.
If you want, feel free to char the tortillas over an open flame instead of heating them in oven – the flavor difference is worth it. You can also char them and then wrap in foil to stay warm in the oven while you make the rest of the recipe.
Keywords: fried chicken tacos, americanized tacos, homemade ranch dressing, how to fry chicken, how to make ranch dressing