This chicken tinga is a classic dish made with shredded chicken that’s simmered in a smoky and savory sauce. A quick and easy dinner option that can be made into tacos, burritos, nachos and more!
My local Mexican restaurant makes the best chicken tinga, and I decided it was time to learn to make this dish at home. My version has all the great flavors of the restaurant version, and is surprisingly easy to make.
What is chicken tinga?
The term tinga refers to a Mexican dish that’s made with either shredded chicken or beef in a chile and tomato sauce. The most commonly used chile is chipotle peppers. This recipe was invented in Puebla, Mexico and has since become popular all over the world.
How do you make chicken tinga?
The first step is to prepare the chicken, then shred it. After the chicken is ready, make the sauce by cooking onions and garlic in a pan. Add tomatoes, chipotle peppers and spices to the onion mixture. Transfer the sauce to a blender and then puree until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan, and add the shredded chicken. Coat the chicken in the sauce, then simmer until everything is warmed through. Serve immediately and enjoy!
How to make shredded chicken
This recipe calls for shredded chicken, which can be achieved in a number of ways.
- Slow Cooker: Place 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts in a slow cooker with 1 cup of chicken broth. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 6 hours or high on 4 hours, then remove the chicken from the pot and shred.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place 3 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts on a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the skin, then shred the chicken.
- Stove Top: Place 4 chicken breasts in a pot and cover with one inch of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove from pot, then shred the chicken.
- Rotisserie: This is the easiest method of all! Purchase a cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it.
Tips for the perfect dish
- This chicken tinga recipe calls for chipotle peppers, which can be found in cans in the international foods aisle. The recipe calls for just one pepper with a spoonful of the sauce from the can, but you can freeze the rest of the peppers for later use.
- The finished dish will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and can be frozen for 3 months.
- You can easily convert this recipe to work in the slow cooker. Place 1 pound of chicken breasts in a crock pot along with the sauce ingredients. Simmer on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred the meat. Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a blender and puree. Mix the chicken with the sauce and serve.
How to serve chicken tinga
There are countless ways to enjoy this tinga! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Tacos: Pile the chicken into warm tortillas or hard taco shells with your choice of toppings such as lettuce, cheese, red onion, avocado and cilantro.
- Tostadas: Spread refried beans onto tostada shells and top with chicken, avocado, crema and fresh salsa.
- Burritos: Place the chicken in a large tortilla along with rice, beans and cheese, then roll it up.
- Nachos: Melt cheese onto tortilla chips, then top with chicken tinga, pico de gallo, sour cream and cilantro.
Make your favorite Mexican food in the comfort of your own home with this simple, yet totally satisfying recipe!
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Chicken Tinga Video
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup onion diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce canned
- 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Mexican oregano if possible
- 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes do not drain
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
- cilantro for garnish optional
- tortillas, tostadas and toppings of choice for serving
- Place the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Place the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, oregano, tomatoes, salt and pepper in the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the sauce cool off the heat for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the sauce mixture to a blender or food processor. then puree until smooth.
- Pour the sauce back into the pan and add the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken with the sauce.
- Turn the heat back to medium and let the chicken cook in the sauce for 5 minutes or until warmed through.
- Put out an assortment of toppings along with tortillas or tostada shells. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro if desired.