Copycat Applebee’s Chicken Wonton Tacos — Crispy, crunchy wonton wrappers are filled with succulent teriyaki chicken and topped with sesame ginger coleslaw to create the best ever chicken wonton tacos! This is a homemade version of Applebee’s wonton tacos, but fresher and tastier. If you love Asian-fusion recipes, you’re going to love these tacos!
Asian Chicken Tacos … with Wonton Taco Shells!
I split my time between San Diego, California and Mexico, and I can’t even guess how many tacos I’ve eaten over the past few years living in a border city as well as south of the border! Tacos in any form are always a win in my book, whether they’re stuffed with al pastor-style pork, ground beef, carne asada, or pulled pork.
Hand me a plate of tacos and a lime margarita to wash it all down with, and I’m in heaven.
These chicken wonton tacos are the latest in a line of taco recipes I’ve fallen head over heels for. Are they even remotely authentic? Absolutely not. Are they finger-licking delicious? YES!
The wonton shells are folded over the edges of a baking tray and cooked until ultra crispy, then filled with juicy teriyaki chicken and topped with an Asian-inspired coleslaw.
This is my take on Applebee’s wonton tacos, but as per usual the homemade version blows the restaurant version out of the water!
If you’re in a cooking rut and are craving something with an abundance of textures and Asian-inspired flavors galore, you need to make these tacos!
Toss together a classic green salad or steam some veggies for a side, and lunch or dinner is served! These are also a hit for casual get-together or game day parties. Whether you’ve got picky eaters or hungry sports fans on your hands, everyone adores these chicken tacos.
Ingredients for Chicken Wonton Tacos
This recipe for wonton tacos is broken down into three parts: the crispy wonton taco shells, the teriyaki chicken taco filling, and the sesame ginger coleslaw topping.
You may need to make a trip to the grocery store for a few purchases, but all are easy to find.
Gather the following ingredients:
- Chicken breasts
- Teriyaki sauce (or hoisin sauce)
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce
- Fresh ginger
- Coleslaw mix (just the shredded cabbage + carrots mixture, without the dressing)
- Green onions
- Rice vinegar
- Granulated sugar (honey may be substituted)
- Lime juice
- Wonton wrappers
- Sweet chili sauce (the Trader Joe’s brand is great or try the Thai Kitchen brand)
- Fresh cilantro
- Sesame seeds
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Chicken Wonton Tacos
This copycat recipe for Applebee’s chicken wonton tacos has a few more steps than your average taco recipe, but it’s easy to follow, with about 20 minutes prep time, and everything comes together in about 45 minutes total time.
Full instructions are provided in the recipe card at the end of this post, but let’s review the basic steps to making Asian chicken tacos with wonton shells:
Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
- Finely dice the chicken, then add to a large bowl with 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, tablespoon sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.
Step 2: Make the Asian Slaw
- While the chicken marinates, make the slaw.
- Add the fiber filled coleslaw mix and sliced green onions to a mixing bowl.
- Top with a combination of sesame oil, rice vinegar, tablespoon soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, and ginger. Toss to combine.
- Taste the slaw and adjust as needed. Add more vinegar for a more tangy slaw, more lime juice for a citrus-forward flavor, more soy sauce to make it saltier, or more ginger if you prefer a ginger-packed coleslaw.
- Set to the side so the flavors have time to marry.
Step 3: Shape and Bake the Wonton Taco Shells
- Fold the wonton wrappers over the edges of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Spray them with non-stick cooking spray (or brush lightly with olive oil).
- Bake in a 375ºF oven just until golden brown.
What Kind Of Wrappers to Select for Copycat Applebee’s Wonton Chicken Tacos
If you’re not familiar with all the various types of wrappers for a variety of Asian recipes, it can be daunting!
You want to select wonton wrappers to create the a crispy wonton shell for your taco filling.
Do NOT confuse wonton wrappers with:
-Spring roll wrappers which are paper thin, extremely delicate, and transparent. Save these for Fresh Spring Rolls.
-Egg roll wrappers which are thicker, larger, denser, and made for really being stuffed, stretched, and rolled like I do in my Copycat Chili’s Restaurant Southwest Chicken Egg Rolls.
-There are also wrappers for potstickers, dumplings, sushi wrappers, and move. Skip all of those too.
-In a pinch if you can’t find wonton wrappers, or you don’t want to deal with baking them and creating the wonton taco shells, you can cheat and use good ole fashioned hard taco shells. Easy peasy. The flavor and texture will differ of course, but they’ll work.
Step 4: Cook the Chicken Taco Filling
- Add the chicken and pour all the marinade which is now your stir fry sauce into a nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Note that dark meat if you’re using chicken thighs takes a bit longer to cook through.
- If there’s excess sauce in the skillet after cooking, you could consider discarding it. If you add too much sauce to the wonton taco wrappers, they’ll become soggy. Although I am sauce fan and enjoy it.
Step 5: Assemble the Wonton Tacos
- Scoop the chicken taco filling into the baked wonton wrappers, then top with slaw.
- Drizzle sweet chili sauce, sprinkle fresh cilantro, and sesame seeds if desired.
- Try to eat the tacos without making a mess — good luck!
The chicken wonton tacos are easy to make in advance and reheat during the week.
However, there are a few tips to keep in mind for leftover success:
- Store the Asian coleslaw and teriyaki chicken taco filling separately in the fridge.
- Wait to bake the wonton shells until you’re ready to fill and eat them. If you bake them too far in advance, they’ll lose their crispness as they sit on your counter.
- Cilantro should be minced fairly close to service so it doesn’t oxidize.
If stored correctly, the slaw and taco filling will last up to 5 days in the fridge. You can reheat the filling in the microwave or in an oiled skillet over medium heat.
The Best Chicken Wonton Tacos FAQs
Wonton wrappers are available at most major grocery stores, typically in the refrigerated section and / or ethnic foods section.
I am also including an Amazon link to wonton wrappers although you’ll be able to purchase them more economically at your local grocer or big box retailer like Target or Walmart I presume.
Potentially you can use small flour tortillas that you fold and bake over the edge of a baking pan instead of the wonton wrappers for this recipe.
Or just use hard taco shells like I mentioned above.
You’ll still be left with a tasty Asian-inspired chicken taco despite the flavor and texture of the shell differing from this restaurant copycat DIY-at-home version like I made. But use whatever you have on hand.
You can enjoy them however you want!
Wonton wrappers aren’t as large as the tortillas most American use – think classic Mexican street taco size or a bit smaller for wonton wrappers.
So I could see the tacos being served as an appetizer for an Asian-fusion meal. But the teriyaki chicken taco filling is fairly hearty, so the recipe also works as an entree.
If you’re hosting a casual get-together with friends, this is an impressive protein packed recipe to set out on your buffet table as part of other things included in your spread.
Or for the ultimate sports fans treat, a batch of these Asian chicken tacos will have the cleaning their plates!
I imagine you can use it as your protein but you need to account fo the marinating process.
Therefore, I would start browning the ground chicken in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and when it’s about halfway done, add all the ingredients included in the marinade (although I would likely reduce the fresh ginger if using rather than dried to about 1/2 teaspoon rather than 1 full teaspoon), and continue cooking until the chicken is done.
Most bagged coleslaw mixes weigh roughly 12 to 14 ounces, which equals 6 cups of shredded cabbage. If you’re shredding the cabbage yourself, I recommend using a food processor to do so to save time, but of course hand chopping is fine.
I suggest also including a few shredded carrots as well since bagged coleslaw mix contains them, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t add them (or any red/purple cabbage either).
If your wonton taco shells close in on themselves while they bake, you might want to tent them over a piece of aluminum foil and then drape the aluminum foil over the edges of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
That extra layer between the wonton wrapper and the baking dish should help keep the wonton taco shells wide enough to fill with the teriyaki chicken mixture.
Although honestly this isn’t much of an issue for me and doubt it will be for you.
No you don’t. I like to use a large, high-sided nonstick skillet for this recipe. That’s all you need! With a nonstick skillet, you likely won’t need to add additional oil to the skillet, which keeps the monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat lower, and zero trans fat.
What to Serve with Asian-Inspired Wonton Tacos
Seeing as how this chicken wonton taco recipe is neither authentically Asian nor authentically Mexican, you might as well keep the fusion food train going and have fun with the sides!
Pair the tacos with one or more of the following:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (thighs may be substituted), diced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce (hoisin sauce may be substitued)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger OR use 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- one 12-ounce bag coleslaw mix (mixture of mostly green cabbage, a bit of red cabbage, and minimal shredded carrots; discard any dressing packets)
- 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (honey may be substituted)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger OR use 1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger
Wonton Taco Shells
- 16 wonton wrappers* (See Tips below)
Assembly and Garnishing
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, or as desired
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced; optional for garnishing as desired
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, optional for garnishing as desired
- Marinating the Chicken – To a large bowl, add the all the ingredients, stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate to marinate for about 30 minutes.
- Slaw – To a separate large bowl, add the all the ingredients, stir and toss to combine and coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit on your counter while the chicken marinates and the taco shells bake in the next step. Tip – It may not look like enough ‘dressing’ to really coat the coleslaw mix properly, but between the sodium in the soy sauce and the lime juice and being kept at room temp, the coleslaw will wilt enough to be a great texture when it’s time to serve the tacos.
- Wonton Taco Shells – Place the wonton wrappers over a raised edges of a 9×13-inch baking pan and lighly spray them with cooking spray.
- Bake for about 7 minutes, or unitl lightly golden and crispy. Repeat the proces once more, or as needed until you’ve baked enough wonton shells for your needs. Tips – Wonton wrappers are sold in the Asian section of most well stocked grocery stores for much less than the price of these on Amazon; link is for reference. Make sure to buy wonton wrappers, and not spring roll wrappers (extremely thin and transparent) nor egg roll wrappers (larger, thicker) than wonton wrappers. If you can’t find wonton wrappers and/or don’t want to deal with the act of baking your own shells, hard taco shells will work fine.
- Cooking the Chicken – To a large, high-sided, nonstick skillet, add the chicken + marinade contents (just dump it all into your skillet), and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is done and cooked through (note – thighs take a bit longer than breasts to cook through if you’re using thighs). Stir and flip very frequently to ensure even cooking. Tip – If for any reason the chicken is sticking, drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Assembly and Garnishing – Spoon a few pieces of chicken into each baked wonton taco shell, top with slaw as desired, evenly drizzle with sweet chili sauce (Trader Joe’s brand or Thai Kitchen brand are my recommendations) as desired, and evenly sprinkle a bit of cilantro and sesame seeds to taste, and serve.
Storage – Leftover chicken and slaw will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store them separately.
Extra baked wonton taco shells will keep airtight in a sealed ziptop bag for up to 5 days, noting that they will lose crispiness as time passes and humidity enters.
Make-Ahead recommendations are explained in the blog post.
This isn’t a recipe I recommend freezing.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 533Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 1065mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 41g
More Easy Asian-Style Restaurant Copycat Recipes:
P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps – You can skip the restaurant version and make your own in 20 minutes and I promise you this homemade version tastes better!
Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken — This sweet and sour chicken recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and tastes way better than takeout. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!
Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken — Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce!!
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice – One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Shrimp Fried Rice — One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never get takeout again!! Homemade tastes WAY BETTER!! Tons more flavor, not greasy, and loaded with tender shrimp!
Chicken Pad Thai — EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and BETTER than takeout!! Tender rice noodles, juicy chicken, with crisp-tender carrots, cabbage, and more for an IRRESISTIBLE and AUTHENTIC chicken pad Thai!
Kung Pao Chicken Recipe — An easy, BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT recipe with juicy chicken and such a flavorful sauce!! Don’t call for takeout when you can make this HEALTHIER version at home in 20 minutes!
15-Minute Spicy Korean Skillet Chicken – Fast, EASY, perfectly SPICY chicken that’s so tender and juicy!! Who needs takeout or a restaurant when you can make this AWESOME chicken at home in 15 minutes!!
Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!!
Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
Sticky Basil Chicken — Skip takeout and make this AMAZING chicken that tastes like it’s from a Thai restaurant at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and plenty of fresh basil!
Copycat P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef – Comes together in 20 minutes, it’s EASY, and makes for a great weeknight meal! Even picky eaters will love this, and any leftover sauce can be served over rice.
Better-Than-Takeout Beef and Broccoli — It really is BETTER than takeout and it’s definitely FASTER!! This EASY Chinese restaurant copycat recipe is a family favorite that’ll go into your regular rotation!!