Upgrade Your Chicken Tacos With A Spice You Already Have

Chicken tacos in flour tortillas on board with slaw
Chicken tacos in flour tortillas on board with slaw - Luchezar/Getty Images

Part of the fun of taco night is that it's easy to keep your menu exciting by rotating through recipes for different fillings and toppings. But if your crowd is prone to poultry preparations, one spice will give your chicken tacos a total upgrade, and you probably already have it on hand: Cinnamon.

While you may be used to using cinnamon for your sweets, baked goods, and seasonal treats like pumpkin spice lattes, it plays well in the savory space, too. When it comes to tacos, it is often found as an ingredient in traditional barbacoa and mole poblano and can be used in marinades and rubs. The familiar flavor of the spice along with the beloved taco format come together to create delicious complexity. When combined with other spices and aromatics, balanced by the flavor of a sweet corn tortilla, and finished with your favorite salsas and toppings, a little bit of cinnamon will give your chicken tacos an exciting flair.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Using Cinnamon In Your Tacos

Cinnamon, sticks and ground
Cinnamon, sticks and ground - Avocado_studio/Shutterstock

The beauty of using cinnamon in your chicken taco recipe is that it contributes spiciness, but not the mouth-burning kind. If you prefer mild flavors to the five-alarm sauces -- or you want to be sure your meal has broad appeal when you're hosting guests -- this is a great option. That said, cinnamon also complements a range of other spices, including elements that deliver heat, like chili powder or cayenne, so you can keep the kick if you want it.

There is also a range of cinnamons, which will offer different nuances. Experimenting with those varieties will help you find your spicy sweet spot, but "true cinnamon" (also known as Canela, Mexican, or Ceylon), is an ideal option for your tacos, as its softer flavors blend seamlessly into savory dishes.

Depending on the freshness and strength of your cinnamon and other elements in your dish, it's best to set out with less and add more to taste. When making chicken tacos, no matter which you choose to use, a good starting ratio is about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to 1 ½ pounds of chicken as part of a marinade, rub, or sauce.

Upgrade Inspiration

Three chicken tacos with salsa
Three chicken tacos with salsa - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

You can easily experiment with how you use cinnamon in your chicken taco recipe. Add ground cinnamon to your favorite taco seasoning mix and keep it on hand for a quick and easy way to upgrade your dinner in a snap. In terms of complementary spices for your mixture, a barbacoa recipe might include ground clove, smoky ancho chili, and allspice, as well as dried and powdered aromatics like garlic, and herbs like thyme. Mole poblano -- which also incorporates cinnamon -- is paired with a blend of chilies. More spices well-suited to your cinnamon spice blend can include everything from black peppercorns to anise seed to cumin.

To take inspiration from another cuisine, Instant Pot Jamaican spice-rubbed chicken -- which also has cinnamon as well as coriander, and ginger -- is a great way to put a distinctive spin on your tacos. You can also prepare your chicken on the stovetop, or even try slow cooker chicken tacos.

Top these with a classic fresh pico de gallo for contrasting brightness and texture, or a roasted tomato and tomatillo salsa made with jalapeños and cilantro for a concentrated herbaceous sauce with a kick. You can even make a tomato salsa tinged with cinnamon to double down on this flavor profile. So next time you're ready to roll out the taco spread, grab your cinnamon shaker and get started.

Read the original article on Daily Meal