Chicken Tinga

A Great Taco Filling or Tostada Topping

Chicken Tinga, a classic shredded chicken taco or tostada filling prepared with sliced onions and a tomato chipotle sauce is a full-flavored crowd pleaser. It has a smoky flavor with just enough heat from the chipotle.

Tinga is served throughout Mexico. There is also a beef version. This recipe is so good that you may want to make a double batch to keep in the freezer.

Chipotle Chicken Tinga Recipe

How to Make

Gather your ingredients.

Chicken Tinga Ingredients
  • 1 pound whole boneless chicken breast
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 large white onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Start by making the shredded chicken.

  • In a large saucepan cover the chicken with an inch of water.
  • Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the cooking water. Save the broth.
  • Allow chicken to cool to the touch.
  • Finely shred the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1″ pieces then pull apart with your fingers.

Prepare the chipotle tomato sauce while the chicken is cooking.

  • Clean, seed, and chop the tomatoes.
Seeded Chopped Tomatoes
  • Add tomatoes to your blender.
  • To your blender, add 2 tablespoons canned chipotle, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth.
  • Blend until smooth. About 1 minute.
Blending Chipotle Tomato Sauce

Prepare the tinga.

Sliced White Onions
  • Thinly slice 1 large white onion. Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups.
Sliced Garlic
  • Slice 2 cloves of garlic.
Sauteeing Sliced White Onions
  • Preheat a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent in about 4 minutes. Do not allow the onion to brown.
  • Add the sliced garlic to the pan cook for 1 more minute.
Cooking Onions and Tomato Sauce
  • Turn the heat to medium and slowly pour the sauce into the pan with the onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. The sauce will start to reduce.
  • Turn the heat to low.
Cooking Chicken in Chipotle Tomato Sauce
  • Add the shredded chicken to the pan and mix well with the sauce.
Simmering Chicken Tinga
  • Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. During this time the sauce will reduce even more and coat the chicken and onion.
  • Salt to taste.

How to Serve

Tinga makes a great filling for the following:

Chicken Tinga
  • Tinga tacos – You can make chicken tinga tacos with either corn tortillas or flour tortillas. My favorites are tacos made with corn tortillas but tacos made with flour tortillas are still excellent.
  • Tinga tostadas
  • Tinga burritos
Chicken Tinga Tostada
Bowl of Chicken Tinga
Print Pin
3.9 from 38 votes

Chicken Tinga Recipe

Chicken Tinga [teen – GA], a shredded chicken taco or tostada filling prepared with sliced onions and a tomato chipotle sauce is a full-flavored crowd pleaser. It has a smoky flavor with just enough heat from the chipotle.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken tinga recipe, tinga de pollo recipe, tinga recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 109kcal
Author Douglas Cullen

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole boneless chicken breast
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 large white onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • SHREDDED CHICKEN
  • In a large saucepan cover the chicken with an inch of water.
  • Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the cooking water. Save the broth.
  • Allow chicken to cool to the touch.
  • Finely shred the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1″ pieces then pull apart wth your fingers.
  • CHIPOTLE TOMATO SAUCE
  • Clean, seed and chop the tomatoes.
  • Add tomatoes to you blender.
  • Add 2 tablespoons canned chipotle to blender. Use 3 tablespoons of chipotle if you prefer it spicier.
  • Add 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano to blender jar, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to blender.
  • Then add 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth.
  • Blend until smooth. About 1 minute.
  • PREPARATION
  • Thinly slice 1 large white onion. Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups.
  • Slice 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Preheat a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent about 4 minutes. Do not allow the onion to brown.
  • Add the sliced garlic to the pan cook for 1 more minute.
  • Turn the heat to medium and slowly pour the sauce into the pan with the onions and garlic.
  • Cook for 5 minutes. The sauce will start to reduce.
  • Turn the heat to low
  • Add the shredded chicken to the pan and mix well with the sauce.
  • Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. During this time the sauce will reduce even more and coat the chicken and onion.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Serve as a taco or tostada filling.

Notes

Preparation
  • This chicken tinga recipe calls for canned chipotle in adobo sauce. You should be able to find them in nearly any market in the chile and salsa section or the Hispanic section.
Reheating
  • Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan with a splash of water so that it doesn’t dry out and stick.
Storage
  • It will keep well for 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Chicken Tinga freezes very well. Make a double batch and keep it on hand for when you need a quick meal.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 225mg | Sugar: 2g

Difficulty – Easy

Don’t be intimidated by what appears to be a great number of steps in the recipe. Preparation is divided into 3 simple parts: preparing the shredded chicken, making the sauce, and assembling the dish.

Equipment Needed

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Kitchen spoon
  • Large saucepan
  • Large frying pan
  • Blender

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23 comments… add one
  • Noemy

    I really like the adding of lime juice and less oregano. A little bit of chicken bouillon makes taste better than the salt. For the tostada, I used regular corn tortillas and fry them myself for better taste than the commercial ones. I made it for p my relatives and they loved it.

  • Susie

    The only thing I’d do differently is decrease the amount of Mexican oregano, as it really overpowered the sauce. I used a powdered version. This may have been the trouble. Also because this is not prime tomato season, I used organic canned diced tomatoes and that worked really well. I took a chance and guessed at the amount of chipotles in adobo sauce to add, and put in 2.5 for a double recipe. It was the perfect amount of spicy for me, but a tad much for my teen. Again, to make it palatable for her, I did not double the amount of onion, and it still tasted very good. Oh, one more thing I did is add a few tablespoons of tomato paste. This brightened the color and gave it a little sweetness.

    I’m really glad I took the recipe’s advice to double the sauce. I also doubled the chicken, by breaking down a whole bird, and skinning but not deboning the pieces before poaching, including thighs, legs, and breasts. It’s a good use of a whole chicken.

  • Amelia Martinez

    This recipe is great! So easy and delicious. I will definitely try it at home. I tested it at Senor Burrito Restaurant and the test was awesome.

  • Jacqueline Perdomo

    I understand I’ll see some ads but this is ridiculous. It’s been a while and I’m still trying to get to the recipe. Guess what?Not worthy. There are tons of recipes somewhere else. Bye!

  • Glen Spencer

    Hello Patrick when following your recipe would it be okay to cook cilantro flakes in it or coriander also I made up a spice blend of chili powders oregano cumin in some lime and chili mix but it’s still lacking something and I’m wondering if what if I put coriander in it is it going to make it taste a little more like it has cilantro in it thank you any advice is good

  • Brian

    Do you have a newsletter? If so, do you send out blog posts like these to your list? I would be interested in signing up if you do.

  • Valerie

    I really love this recipe! I’m Hispanic but never learned to cook Hispanic food and this taste just like homemade I’m used to eating growing up! Recipe is super easy. I’m not the greatest cook and I completed this no problem and even got compliments from my husband. Thanks for sharing!

  • Miguel

    Es bueno

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