Perfect Chicken Tinga Tacos

Jump to Recipe

Chicken Tinga Tacos are going to be your new go to dinner! If you've never heard of or made Tinga before, it's a Mexican dish made with shredded chicken with a sauce made from tomatoes, tomatillos, chipotle chilis in adobo, and onions. Chicken Tinga is perfection and serves a crowd. You can even make tinga tostadas out of it.

Two Chicken Tinga Tacos in a plate with a bowl of prepped Chicken Tinga.


 

Why I Love This Recipe

Shredded chicken cooked in the most crazy delicious spiced sauce on the planet and then stuffed in a taco…. Ummm yes please. This Chicken Tinga is out of this world. You’ll want to slather it on top of everything – serve it over rice, toss it into an enchilada style bake, use it in a taco salad, you name it, it works on just about everything! But when it’s folded up in taco and topped with some lime and avocado to balance the sauce, it’s absolute perfection. I made this a few weeks ago and my 3 year old requested it in her lunch for 3 days straight!

Chicken Tinga Tacos in a plate topped with cilantro, onions, avocado and a squeeze of lime along with a few lime wedges.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Mise en place of all ingredients to make chicken tinga tacos.
  • Olive Oil
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomatillo
  • Dried Oregano
  • Ground Cumin
  • Fire-roasted Tomatoes
  • Chipotles plus the adobo sauce
  • Chicken Stock
  • Bay Leaf

*For a full list of ingredients and instructions please see recipe card below.

How to Make Chicken Tinga Tacos

A dutch oven with olive oil and chicken thighs.

Step 1: Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add chicken thighs and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes.

A rectangular dish with browned chicken thighs.

Step 2: Flip thighs and continue to cook until the other side is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving fat in the pan, and set aside.

A dutch oven with onions and garlic being cooked.

Step 3: Add onions and garlic to the same Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned around the edges, about 5 minutes.

A dutch oven with browned onion and garlic with chopped tomatillos.

Step 4: Add tomatillo and cook until browned around the edges, about 4 minutes.

A dutch oven with browned onions and tomatillos with oregano and ground cumin added.

Step 5: Add oregano and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

A dutch oven with browned onions and tomatillos with tomatoes, chipotle, and adobo sauce just added.

Step 6: Add tomatoes, chipotle, and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

A dutch oven with a chipotle and tomato sauce, with bay leaf and chicken stock just added.

Step 7: Transfer sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour sauce back into pan, stir in chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

A dutch oven with a chipotle and tomato sauce and chicken thighs nestled into the sauce to be cooked.

Step 8: Nestle chicken thighs in sauce, reduce to a simmer, and cook until chicken is fully cooked and easily shredded, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove sauce from heat and discard bay leaf.

A rectangular dish with cooked chicken thighs cut into strips.

Step 9: Pull chicken meat into strips. Stir chicken into sauce and cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

A dutch oven with the chipotle tomato sauce, and cooked chicken cut into strips added, which is the final chicken tinga.

Step 10: Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.

A wooden board with a lightly charred tortilla with chicken tinga topped with cilantro, chopped onions, sliced scalions, avocado and crumbled cotija cheese added along with lime wedges on the side.

Step 11: Warm the tortillas over an open flame to char, prep the white onion, avocado chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, crumbled cotija cheese, and lime wedges for serving. Spoon chicken into warm tortillas and top with avocado, onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

Chicken Tinga in a big serving bowl, ready to be made into tacos and a prepared taco on the side.

How to Store Chicken Tinga Tacos

This Chicken Tinga is a beautiful recipe to prep ahead. You can store the chicken tinga in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm it through, warm the tacos, get your toppings and dinner's ready!

How to Freeze Chicken Tinga Tacos

You can freeze chicken tinga for 3 months in airtight container or zip top bag. I recommend freezing in meal-sized portions so that you can thaw the amount you need. Thaw it overnight in the fridge.

Tips & Tricks

The avocado will contrast nicely and tone down the spices. You can also add sour cream to your taco.

FAQs

What is chicken tinga made of?

Chicken tinga is made of shredded chicken cooked in a smoky and spicy tomato and tomatillo-based sauce, typically flavored with chipotle peppers, onions, garlic, and various spices.

Is Chicken Tinga spicy?

The recipe below, no! My 3 year old ate this for dinner and then requested it in her lunch the following day. If you want to tone down the spice, you can omit or reduce the chipotles in adobo.

Why is it called Tinga de Pollo?

Tinga de Pollo is called so due to its traditional Mexican origins and the cooking method used to prepare it. The term tinga refers to a dish that typically includes shredded meat, and pollo specifies that the meat used is chicken.

Similar Recipes

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Author: Gaby Dalkin
4.8 from 6 votes
Shredded chicken cooked in the most crazy delicious spiced sauce on the planet and then stuffed in a taco is absolute perfection.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 yellow onion small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 large tomatillo husk removed, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 14.5 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo roughly chopped, plus 2 tablespoons of the sauce
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt

Toppings

  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Avocado diced
  • 1 white onion diced
  • Cilantro roughly chopped
  • Scallions sliced
  • Cotija crumbled
  • Lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken thighs and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes. Flip thighs and continue to cook until other side is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving fat in pan, and set aside.
  • Add onions and garlic to the same Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add tomatillo and cook until browned around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add oregano and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, chipotle, and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour sauce back into pan, stir in chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Nestle chicken thighs in sauce, reduce to a simmer, and cook until chicken is fully cooked and easily shredded, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove sauce from heat and discard bay leaf.
  • Pull chicken meat into strips. Stir chicken into sauce and cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.
  • Warm the tortillas over an open flame to char, prep the white onion, avocado chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, crumbled cotija cheese, and lime wedges for serving
  • Spoon chicken into warm tortillas and top with avocado, onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

Notes

The avocado will contrast nicely and tone down the spices. You can also add sour cream to your taco.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking

37 Comments

  1. That name. . . I still can't stop giggling. Giggles or not, these tacos look mighty tasty. And topped with avocado . . I think I have entered taco heaven. I'll take 2 with my margarita. . .on the rocks, please!

  2. You're right Tinga Tacos did make me giggle lol. Love the colours and photography in the first photo.

  3. The new website looks and feels really good and easy to navigate.
    The tacos sound delicious. I think my two cats would be very glad to lick the plate clean - but they have to suffice with the Fancy Feast!! Great combo for the girls!!

  4. LOVE the new site, girl!! Congratulations! It's so clean and vibrant and so very Gaby!! xoxo

  5. Gorgeous new site and no joke- I was just making chicken Tinga tacos for my kids AS I OPENED THIS!! Great minds think alike 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating