Crispy Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice


I find it totally interesting that my best “work” is done when Zach isn’t here to taste test. I’m not sure why this happens. This just happened to be the case with these crispy honey chipotle chicken tacos. Little known fact, I don’t normally post a recipe that I made that day or the day before. I usually have a little bit of a stock pile going on, and normally the recipe for these honey chipotle chicken tacos wouldn’t have been published until say Thursday or Friday, but I literally COULD NOT wait. I made these last night for early dinner, and they were sooooo amazing that I had to snap a few photos before it got dark. It being #tacotuesday and all, I thought it was more than appropriate to buckle down and write up this post to share with you today! You are so very welcome, guys!

So, I’ve got another little know fact for you guys. I worked at Chili’s as a server for about 5 years (a long, long while ago). Yup, yup I did. I loved it sometimes. I hated it most other times, and one thing is for certain, I could never work in food service ever again.

I did, however, have a creepy obsession with their honey chipotle chicken crispers. Do they even still make these? I don’t know. I haven’t been to a Chili’s in about 3 years, but one things is for certain, I still have dreams about honey chipotle chicken crispers, even if I don’t necessarily want to admit it.

I’ve seen a couple of copycat recipes floating around, but I thought I’d put my own little spin on it by making these crispy honey chipotle chicken tacos with cilantro lime rice. Poor Zach. He totally missed out. I will have to make them for him when he gets home. Luckily enough for me, I have enough leftover for tonight’s dinner! I’m literally counting down the seconds until dinner, which at this moment is approximately 18,000 seconds (if I eat at the same grandmotherly time of 4 pm, like I did yesterday). But, really, who’s counting ….

Beer pairing and recipe is below! Have a great day everyone!

Beer Love

OMG, do these tacos crave a pale ale. I knew immediately what I was going to pair with these crispy honey chipotle chicken tacos even before I made these honey chipotle chicken tacos. It’s that serious, guys. I definitely wanted a beer that was slightly hoppy, without being a palate-wrecker. It’s a known fact that hoppiers beers go well with spicy foods, and this case is no different. In this case, however, the chicken is also sweet. A pale ale is a nice balance. It tones down the sweetness just a notch and really enhances the flavor of the spice. Try some of these pale ales!

Wind River Brewing Company’s Fremont Pale Ale

Maine Beer Company’s Peeper Ale

3 Floyd’s Zombie Dust

Upslope Brewing’s Belgian Style Pale Ale

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Crispy Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
10 tacos


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • non-stick spray
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 chipotles in a adobo sauce, pureed in a food processor until smooth
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup uncooked rice, cooked per manufacturer's instructions
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ranch dressing, for drizzling (optional)
  • 10-12 corn or flour tortillas, warm


  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, and spray a large baking sheet with a non-stick spray. Set aside.
  • In one shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. In another shallow bowl, add the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, combine the panko and plain bread crumbs.
  • Taking each chicken strip, dredge in the flour and then shake to get rid of any excess. Place in the egg and douse to coat. Let any excess drip off. Then transfer the chicken strips to the bread crumb mixture, evenly coat and press down so that it adheres.
  • Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet, and drizzle the melted butter on top. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes on each side or until the chicken has cooked through and is crispy. Remove from oven.
  • While the chicken is baking, prepare your sauce. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the honey, brown sugar, garlic, ketchup, pureed chipotles, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking throughout. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water until the corn starch has dissolved. Add it to the saucepan, continuing to whisk until the sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
  • Submerge each chicken strip in the sauce, and place on a plate to the side.
  • Prepare your rice by, combining cooked rice, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Assemble your tacos by layering on rice, chicken, a drizzle of ranch dressing (if you are using) and a sprinkling of cilantro onto a warmed corn or flour tortilla. Serve immediately, and enjoy!


Categories: American Fare, Appetizers and Snacks, Chicken, Food and Beer Pairings, Main Course, Meat and Fish, Recipes, Seasonal, Spicy, Superbowl, Tacos, Tailgating
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  • Nora @ A Clean Bake

    These look incredible! I also, at first glance, thought they were deep fried and though that always makes for a delicious meal, it’s so indulgent that the baked version seems like a much better everyday dinner. :-)

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Haha, thanks, Nora! I’m all about the “oven-fried.” ;)

  • Danae | Recipe Runner

    You worked at Chili’s!! How has this not come up during one of our coffee dates!? So I was just sitting here writing a post wondering what in the world to make for dinner…problem solved! Thanks friend!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Haha, it’s not something that I prefer to share! I hope you enjoy the recipe, girlfriend! xoxo

  • Kelly @ Life made Sweeter

    These tacos look amazing! I love the honey chipotle chicken at Chilis and in oh my goodness in taco form with that cilantro rice – that sounds even better! Love this!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      I’m happy you can relate, Kelly! Thank you so much!

  • No Spoon Necessary

    You can never go wrong with the honey and chipotle combination… AND in taco form? I’ll take a dozen, please and thank you ; ) looks great!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Haha! I totally agree! Thank you so much!

  • Becca

    Made these last night to celebrate my beaus sour release. I was feeling lazy and used the pre breaded costco chicken breasts (really I had a mountain of dishes and it seemed like a fair trade). We freeze our chipotle peppers in ice cube form so I added three ice cubes and called it good, there were some chunks but we didn’t mind. Avoided the ranch and instead made a peach (no idea where the peach came from as there not in season but man oh man was it ripe!) salsa – which really made it pop. Paired it with Hangar 24 Pale Ale and the meal was a success. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Haha! I LOVE your style Becca! I think buying the pre-breaded Costco chicken is a FABULOUS idea, and besides Costco is the best ever … sooooo … I’m loving all of your adaptions! I have to try this peach salsa! Thank you so much for trying the recipe! ;)

  • Flo Marable-Guyton

    Made this TONIGHT! They were awesome! Great recipe. I do have one question: In the middle of my chicken strips the breading spoofed (air between chicken and breading) out from the chicken. Did I do something incorrect?

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Hi Flo! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe! I have had “spoofing” before too, actually more often than not I do. I don’t think you did anything incorrectly. I just think because the oven is so hot and the breading is so “tight” that it tends to poof out a little bit. If you have a way to keep the chicken from doing this, I’m all ears! I’d like to know too! I do appreciate you trying the recipe and I am sooo happy you liked it. :) – Justine

  • shar

    why do you drizzle melted butter on the chicken before cooking? Can I skip that step?

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      You don’t have to do this step, but drizzling butter helps the chicken to crisp up more. If you have a canola spray (non-stick spray) that will also work. Again, not completely necessary, but it will help in crisping up the chicken.

  • Kayla Whitsitt

    Did you use minute rice?

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Hi Kayla. I didn’t use Minute Rice. I just used a regular long grain white rice, but you can definitely use Minute Rice to save some time. Good luck!

  • Crystal

    I hate to be “that girl”, but if you had to guess, roughly how many calories do you think each of these bad-boy tacos has?

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Haha. It’s totally fine Crystal! I’m going to put this recipe into a calculator and figure it out. It might take a moment though. I’m going to go ahead and ASSUME that it is a lot of calories. HA! I will let you know asap. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Hi Crystal! It look like we are at about 400 calories per taco. I hope this helps! Thanks!

  • TraceyPR

    Made these for supper yesterday: Delish! Thanks for the recipe! The chicken (prepared in ‘nugget’-sized pieces) & a bowl of honey-chipotle sauce for dipping would make a tasty appetizer…

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it Tracey! OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea for an appetizer! Genius!

  • Hannah

    I made these last night and they were fabulous! I used Sriracha instead of hot sauce and it was perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer

      Ahhh! I’m so happy you enjoyed them Hannah! I think Sriracha is the perfect alternative! I’ll have to try that last time. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day!

  • Claudia & Megan

    Hey! We are high school students all the way in Australia who used this recipe for an assignment! It was great, thanks for the recipe!! Surprisingly easier than it looks! Our teacher was very impressed. We took out the cilantro and used a bit of extra spice. Definitely will be making it again, outside of the classroom. :)

    – Claudia & Megan

  • Raygn

    Hi! I would love to make this for dinner but I want to make the chicken shredded. I still want it crispy though. Any way I could do that? If not could you let me know how to make it shredded and grilled?