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These smoky and crispy chickpea tacos are a fantastic meatless alternative for your Taco Tuesdays. They’re filling, tasty, and easy to make!

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme

An Awesome Smoky, Crispy, Meatless Alternative

Sure, we love meaty tacos stuffed with shredded chicken, saucy ground turkey, spicy shrimp, etc. But this meatless version can totally give those babies a run for their money.

These tacos offer up a smoky chipotle crunch in every bite, and they’re packed with all of the refreshing taco toppers love.

The best part is that the chickpeas are crisped up in the air fryer, so you’re guaranteed that crunch—no greasiness necessary.

You’re going to LOVE these.

How to Make Crispy Chickpeas

There are tricks to getting soft chickpeas to crisp up nicely.

My preferred method is in the air fryer, because the air fryer does a great job at creating that crunch. If you don’t have an air fryer, the oven will work.

The key is to drain the chickpeas well and set them onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet to air dry. The dryer they are, the crispier they’ll get.

When fully dry, you can go ahead and toss the chickpeas in olive oil and seasonings before popping them into the air fryer or oven.

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme

The Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Canned chickpeas
  • Flour tortilla shells
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Chipotle hot sauce
  • Chili powder
  • Chipotle chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic salt
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • + Whatever toppings you desire!

How to Make Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos

Preparing the chickpeas

  1. Drain the chickpeas, then rinse them under cool water, giving them a good shake to get rid of excess water. Pop them onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet, carefully pat them dry, then let them continue to air dry for about 30 minutes, up to an hour.
  2. Pop the chickpeas into a mixing bowl and add the hot sauce as well as the spices listed. Stir them up well to ensure that the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Oven-baked chickpeas

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Transfer the seasoned chickpeas to a baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, check on them. If they aren’t crispy enough, pop them back in for another 10 minutes and check again.
  3. When you remove the chickpeas from the oven, set them aside to cool; they’ll get crispier as they cool.

Air fryer chickpeas

  1. Transfer the seasoned chickpeas to the air fryer basket, shaking them into a single layer.
  2. Air fry them at 400º F for about 10-12 minutes, giving the basket another shake at the 5 minute mark. Check on the crispiness and if they need a bit more time, pop them back in for 3-5 minutes.

Taco Assembly

  1. Smear the flour tortillas with Greek yogurt or sour cream, then top with the chickpeas and your favorite taco toppings!


You Know What These Tacos Need? A Margarita!

Useful Tools for This Recipe

Recipe Tips + Tricks

  1. I wouldn’t serve crispy chickpeas in hard shell tacos. As much as I love them, they’ll take away from the crispiness of those beautiful chickpeas.
  2. If smoky flavors aren’t your jam, you can omit the chipotle hot sauce and chili powder completely. The chickpeas will still have flavor and be absolutely delicious!
  3. Suggested toppings for this are pretty basic: diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheese. I also like to add julienned radishes for a little extra freshness and crunch.

Have You Made This Recipe?

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You can also show off your creations on Instagram by tagging @killing__thyme

Other Taco Recipes You’ll Love:


Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme — These smokey and spicy tacos are packed with plant-based protein for vegetarian perfection. Fabulous for Taco Tuesday, or any other day your belly wants tacos.

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  1. Weirdly enough, I’ve NEVER thought to put chickpeas in a taco! This is such a brilliant recipe — and nice and light too. I’ll likely be giving this a go this spring / summer and will be sure to report back! Gorgeous photos, too lady love!

    1. Thanks so much, girl! I don’t really know what made me think to put chickpeas in tacos. Back in the winter, we were making Thursdays “Taco Thursday” (in addition to — not instead of — Taco Tuesday, just to be clear ;)). It must have been a case of finding a good protein for my tacos in a pinch, and I happened to have these bad boys on hand. Definitely report back; I’d love to know what you think!

  2. I love this photo…just so visually appealing. This recipe would be so easy to make vegan and I think that’s just what I’m going to do! Pinned too YUM!

    1. Thanks so much, Bernice! Yep, this recipe can totally be made vegan. Let me know how it goes, please!

  3. Thank you for the history lesson! Literally did not know any of this….

    This recipe looks fantastic. Chickpeads with those spices would be amazing!

    Do you have a preferred soft taco shell? I am constantly disappointed with them, EVEN WHEN I WAS IN MEXICO (sorry, I was quite passionate about this…) and I am at a loss…

    1. Haha, you’re welcome ;)
      I usually get Mission’s soft shells. They’re always so pillowy and soft, and they seem to stay that way for weeks!

  4. Thank you for sharing the background of Cinco de Mayo, TBH I never really post about it because I never knew about it really XD Air frying chickpeas sounds really interesting! Are they crispy all the way through or is it just like crisp on the outside and tender on the inside? I’m so intrigued!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I felt the need to make mention of it simply because I’ve come across so many round-ups where people were sort of bastardizing Mexican dishes to celebrate the day in the whitest of ways (taco pizzas, buffalo chicken nachos, etc.) and eh, I mean, I know not everyone knows the history of such events but I do believe that as food bloggers, we have a responsibility to at least do our homework and respect a culture’s cuisine and celebrations. I received a pitch from a PR company about switching things up for Cinco de Mayo by making spaghetti tacos. SPAGHETTI TACOS. WHUT. Anyway, /endrant. Lol.

      And UGH air-fried chickpeas forever! The exterior is crispy, and the interior is… kind of? It’s not mushy, anyway. When I first heard of crispy chickpeas I thought the whole friggin’ thing would be one big crunch and was so excited. After much experimenting though, I’ve come t learn that it’s probably impossible to get the whole center into a crisp because of it’s natural texture, but this is as close as I’ve gotten.

  5. First of all, beautiful pictures, Dana!! Next, the flavors of these tacos… Wow! I’m loving everything about them, from the smokey chipotle to the crispy chickpeas. We would sprinkle parsley on top, just like you, cilantro in our place is not really appreciated ;-) . We made fish (haddock) tacos last night, but next time we’re making tacos I want to make these, I just adore chickpeas! :-)

    1. Thank you so much! Haha, I’m you know, us cilantro haters seem few and far between; I felt so much better once I learned that it’s a genetic predisposition. At first, I couldn’t understand how anyone could eat (let alone enjoy) that damn herb. Once I found out that it tastes different to us folks who have the cilantro-hating gene, it made sense. I’d love to know what it tastes like for everyone else, but hey, parsley it is!

      Haddock tacos sound fabulous. I need to make some fish tacos soon. I’m excited for you to try these, though! Definitely let me know what you think!

  6. Yup, this is right up my alley, any day of the week! Love soft tacos, and love chickpeas, so this = winning combo! Tacos are kinda similar to bowl meals, except the bowl is a taco… Yum… Just pile allll the veggies in it! MMmmm!

    1. Yesssss — though bowl meals are less messy, once you perfect the art of eating a taco, it’s a breeze. And I mean, soft taco shells are just so delish, especially when they’re fresh and pillowy, ugh.

  7. I’m always looking for new taco recipes for ‘taco tuesday’ and I am in love with these! I never even thought of using the Actifry for chickpeas, what a wicked idea! Can’t wait to try this out next week!

    1. I love when I hear about others celebrating Taco Tuesday — my husband and I got for tacos *every* Tuesday. We have an amazing taco joint right by us! Let me know how these turn out for you, k? :)

  8. Damn girl! This recipe sounds soooo crunchy and good! For the chickpeas… I don’t have an air-fryer but I’m sure the oven can do fine too no? or dehydrator better? Oh! and thanks for the short history lesson… I always thought it was their national day… shame on me…

    1. Thanks, Marie! These are hella robust and incredibly nummy. I’ve never used a dehydrator, but I’d definitely look into dehydrating chickpeas, because that just might work! Otherwise, you can roast them in the oven (instructions are included on the recipe card), it just takes a little longer if you want them crispy. Though I will say, even less crispy, these tacos are still great.

      And hey, no shame.

  9. Just as I was mulling over what type of tacos to make tonight, I saw your recipe. I’m going to give these a go tonight. They look delicious and a nice change from my typical Lentil tacos

    1. Awesome! Let me know how it goes, Nathalie! I love these gems; they’re so smokey and delish.