With 26 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat per serving, this Mexican smoked chicken breast is one of the best protein sources you’ll come across. But unlike most proteins that lean, this chicken is juicy, tender, and super flavorful. It’s perfect for tacos, sandwiches or tortas, salads, or on its own with sides like rice and beans.
And maybe best of all, it’s easy to make. You won’t need to marinate or anything like that. Just season, pop on the smoker for an hour and a half, brush with a hot sauce glaze, and you’ll be ready to rock!
Seasoning for Smoked Chicken Breast
If you’ve made my shredded Mexican chicken, this seasoning blend will look familiar. You’ll need salt, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, ground coriander and a dash of cinnamon, and that’s it. Thanks to the low and slow cook, you won’t need to marinate or brine the chicken breast, which makes this recipe a winner in my book.
Feel free to tweak this seasoning. Want a more earthy taste? Add some cumin. And don’t be afraid of the cinnamon! Also, ground cloves are another a nice addition with Mexican seasoning blends.
The recipe calls for olive oil to help with even distribution of the rub, but you can get by without it. Just be sure to pat the chicken breast with paper towels really well to get them dry before adding any oil or seasoning.
And don’t go out of order! The recipe calls for seasoning and letting the chicken rest while the smoker heats up. This gives the seasoning time to “melt” into the chicken which will change the appearance from dry seasoning on the exterior (pictured above in the bowl) to more of a moist exterior (pictured below on the smoker).
More Seasoning Ideas
For a BBQ seasoning, check out my BBQ slow cooker chicken thighs or BBQ smoked chicken thighs. You’ll also find 7 different seasoning blends like cajun, lemon pepper, and Nashville Hot in my air fryer chicken nuggets recipe. Just 3x the seasoning blends to work for your smoked chicken breast. And if you have some time to let your chicken breast hang out in a marinade, you could use my chicken al pastor recipe.
Smoking Boneless Chicken Breasts on a Traeger Grill
I used a Traeger Pro 575 with Signature Pellets for smoking. Any type of wood or pellets should work fine here, but you might change things up based on the seasoning blend you use.
Time and Temp
As far as cook time goes, it should take around an hour and a half to fully cook chicken breasts in your Traeger smoker at 225ºF. You’ll want the chicken to reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. You can pull the chicken around 160ºF and let carryover cooking finish the job to avoid over cooking.
This low and slow method allows the chicken to pick up more smoke flavor. If you’re after a faster cook, my Traeger grilled chicken breast recipe calls for 25-30 minutes at 500ºF. Both methods produce juicy and tender chicken.
Evenly Sized Chicken Breast
One big tip for best results with smoked chicken breasts is to start with evenly sized pieces of chicken, especially in thickness. The recipe calls for 6 chicken breasts that weigh about 8 ounces each. If you notice your chicken breasts are smaller, they’ll cook a bit faster.
For uneven thickness, you can always wrap chicken breast in plastic wrap or place in a Ziploc bag and pound until it’s an even size. Just don’t overdo it and turn your chicken breast into chicken cutlets.
Finishing with a Glaze
Once the exterior of your smoked chicken breast has picked up some great smoky flavor and the seasoning has fully cooked into the chicken, it’s a good move to brush the chicken with some type of sauce or glaze. This stops the chicken from drying out and allows some extra smoke to stick to the exterior. You’ll have seriously smoky smoked chicken breast using this method, and that’s a good thing!
This recipe uses a hot sauce glaze, which is comprised of brown sugar, lime juice, and Yellowbird habanero hot sauce. Feel free to skip the brown sugar and use another sauce. You want the sauce to be on the thicker side (think: BBQ sauce) so it doesn’t just run off the chicken when brushing. If you wanted to make your own, check out this spicy Mexican barbecue sauce or chipotle bbq sauce.
Serving Your Smoked Chicken Breast
You can do all kinds of things with your Mexican smoked chicken. Serve it with rice or low carb cilantro lime cauliflower rice, refried beans or healthier refried black beans, Mexican potatoes, on a torta, or in a Mexican chicken salad. And naturally, you could make smoked chicken tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.
Side note: You can make my smoked charro beans right alongside the chicken at 225ºF.
Storing and Reheating Smoked Chicken Breast
Your chicken should be good to go in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Any longer and you’ll probably want to freeze. I like to slice the chicken breasts before storing for easier reheating, but you can store whole chicken breasts and slice later.
To reheat, you can pop your chicken in a low oven (maybe 250ºF) on a sheet pan in an even layer for about 5 minutes until heated through. The air fryer at a lower temperature like 300ºF for 5 minutes should also get the job done. And then there’s always the trusty microwave, if you’re in a hurry.
If you have a question about this Traeger smoked chicken breast recipe I missed, feel free to drop it in the comments at the bottom of this post. And if you try this recipe and love it, I always appreciate recipe reviews. I hope you enjoy!
- 6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 8 oz each - 3 lbs total)
- 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 C (48g) Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp (30g) Hot Sauce (I used Yellowbird Habanero)
- 1 Tbsp (15g) Lime Juice
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before coating in the olive oil. Mix the dry rub ingredients together before sprinkling over the chicken. Gently massage to fully coat all the chicken. Cover and rest at room temperature.
- Preheat smoker to 225ºF with lid closed for 10 minutes.
- Place the chicken on the smoker and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the chicken is around 125ºF to 135ºF internally.
- Brush the hot sauce and brown sugar mixture on top of the chicken and cook another 30-40 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF to 165ºF. (If you have smaller pieces of chicken, you may want to pull them earlier as they come up to temperature.)
- Remove from the smoker and let the chicken rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing and serving. You can wrap in foil and place in an oven or cooler if you're waiting on sides or other dishes to come off the grill.
Each serving has 1 WW SmartPoint (blue).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 3 oz (about 1/2 chicken breast)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 26g