Easy Chicken Taco Cups Appetizers

Easy chicken taco cups are crunchy, flavorful bite-size appetizers perfect for a party. Frozen phyllo shells are filled with chicken and a blend of Mexican flavors including salsa, red pepper and cheese. It’s one of our favorite recipes to serve warm to guests for Cinco de Mayo, game day parties, or girls night in. 

phyllo cups filled with chicken and vegetable and cheese mixture, on oval tray.

If you love Tex-Mex style food, you’ll love this finger food recipe. These delicious appetizers are ideal for a Cinco de Mayo party, game day, or girls night in.

They’re also the perfect hors d’oeuvre for a Mexican themed dinner party

Serve with a pitcher of beer margaritas or traditional red sangrias to wash it all down.

Why You’ll Love It

  • The Tex-Mex ingredients are so tasty and a classic crowd pleaser.
  • They’re very easy to make because we start with prepared phyllo shells and other convenience products.
  • The recipe is so versatile. See substitutions and additions section for lots of suggestions.
phyllo shells filled with texmex chicken fillings and cheese and garnished with green herbs, overhead.


  • Canned Chicken. Use a premium can of chunk chicken and drain off the liquid it’s packed in. Or you can make your own shredded chicken instead.
  • Jarred Salsa. I love to use chipotle salsa for this. It’s a little smoky and a little spicy, but you can also use a regular or mild flavor. You will drain the juice before mixing it in.
  • Phyllo Shells. Find these in the freezer section in packs of 15 shells each.
  • Cheese. Finely shredded cheddar cheese, Mexican blend, or Pepper Jack is delicious in these. In this recipe it’s okay to use pre-shredded from a package.
  • Roasted Red Pepper. Use a large jar and pat the peppers dry with a paper towel before using them.
  • Green Onion. Green onions add yummy flavor without the bite of regular onions.

Substitutions & Additions

Instead of using the phyllo shells, you can use one of these alternative serving suggestions.

  • Put chicken mixture into tortilla scoops.
  • Make lettuce cups with sturdy iceberg.
  • Spoon the chicken over nachos and heat through.
  • Make crunchy tacos, soft tacos, or mini tacos.
  • Serve it over rice.
  • Replace half the chicken with black beans that are drained and rinsed.
  • Put the filling into soft tortillas and make burritos.
  • Make wonton cups for another crispy alternative.

When I first shared these in 2012, I made chicken taco wonton cups. But using the phyllo shells makes the recipe so much quicker for the busy hostess.

EXPERT TIP: For a completely different flavor profile make bbq chicken cups using bbq sauce instead of the salsa. 

How to Make Chicken Taco Phyllo Cups

hand strainer with salsa in it, sitting over white bowl.
  1. It’s important to drain the salsa to get rid of excess liquid.
  2. Combine filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Place phyllo cups in mini muffin tins to hold them steady and upright while filling and baking. You can prebake them according to package directions to make them fresh and crisp. Remove and let cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. Place about a tablespoon of filling in each phyllo cup and top with cheese. Use a mini scoop to make this easier and even.
  5. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and cups are heated through. 

Serve with sour cream or guacamole on the side. 

phyllo cups appetizers on oval tray on table surrounded by party drinks and plates.


To make these ahead, prepare the chicken filling up to 24 hours ahead and store it covered in the fridge. Fill the pastry shells when you’re ready to bake and serve.


If you want to make ahead and freeze, it’s best to do so before assembly. Freeze the filling in a Ziplock freezer bag for about 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and fill the appetizer shells when ready to heat and serve.

Leftovers & Reheating

Chicken taco cups are best eaten fresh and warm, but you can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat them in the oven at 350°F until the phyllo cups crisp back up and the center is warmed through. 

I recommend eating the leftovers within about three days. After that, the shells will start to get soggy on the bottom and won’t be as crisp when reheated.

EXPERT TIP:  Keep the tray that the phyllo shells come in, and use it to store leftovers. Just place the appetizers back in the container, cover with foil, and refrigerate.

Party Tips

  • Serve them warm.
  • Pass them on a tray with cocktail napkins.
  • Bake them in batches so you have warm appetizers to serve over time.

More Finger Food Recipes

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phyllo cups filled with chicken and vegetable and cheese mixture.

Chicken Taco Cups Appetizers recipe

Yield: 30 appetizers
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Easy chicken taco cups are the perfect appetizer for Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican themed dinner party, or any girls night in gathering.


  • 1 ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack-Cheddar cheese blend
  • 1 ¼ cup chipotle salsa with excess liquid drained
  • 1 cup cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, patted dry and chopped
  • ½ cup diced green onions
  • 2 packages frozen phyllo shells


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients until well blended.
  3. Spoon into phyllo cups and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I don’t care how spicy they are. They’re absolutely amazing looking…
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    You should apply for blog of the year (yes, I only found out about you a while). You’d get my vote… as you get my bow everytime I receive one of your suggestions.
    Thank you!

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