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3 Chicken Tinga served on tacos. 3 tacos are on the plate with 1 chicken tinga laying flat and being assemble in the background

Amazing Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)

Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Family Friendly
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 10 tacos
Calories: 374kcal
Author: Marilyn
Chicken Tinga is shredded chicken smothered in a smoky, sweet and sassy sauce. So easy to make and wonderfully versatile. Chicken tinga tacos are a great family-friendly and crowd-pleasing dish that you can whip up in no time.
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Chicken Tinga:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onions such as Vidalia
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch granulated sugar optional
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken see Tips
  • 10 corn tortillas (taco-size) 6 inch diameter


  • 1 cup finely chopped red onions about 1 small onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves about ⅓ of a bunch
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the chipotle peppers and cook, stirring, 1 minute or until peppers are lightly toasted. Stir in the adobo sauce, tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano, cumin, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Heat until simmering and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes or until the flavors are melded. Reduce heat to low.
  • Using and immersion blender, blend tomato mixture until smooth. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed for sweetness.
  • Add the chicken to the sauce and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is heated through and coated with sauce. Season to taste with salt.
  • Meanwhile, in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add a tortilla and cook, 15 to 30 seconds per side or until they smell toasty and have a few darkened spots. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Spoon chicken tinga onto each tortilla. Serve garnished with red onions, cilantro, cotija, and lime wedges.


Serving Size: 2 tacos are a good serving size for many people while some can eat 3 tacos. This is why I have the recipe calculated as 10 tacos for 4 people - the assumption that about half of the family or guests will eat two and half will eat three. You can also make the recipe using 12 tortillas and dividing the mixture accordingly.
  1. Read through the whole recipe before you begin. 
  2. Do any prep work such as chopping, measuring herbs and spices, and opening cans before you start. If you are using frozen shredded chicken, have it completely thawed before starting. This way you won’t be scrambling to get an ingredient ready as your sauce is simmering away
  3. Add the chipotle peppers a little at a time. Start with 1 pepper, about 1 tablespoon chopped and taste. Then slowly add more chopped chipotles to taste for the amount of spiciness you prefer.
  4. When you are making the sauce, resist the urge to sauté the onions, garlic and chipotle peppers at the same time. Adding them one at a time and then cooking them until they are fragrant is the best way to release all the flavors into the sauce.
  • Spicy or Not Spicy. As a general rule of thumb, use 1 chipotle for a mild sauce, 2 for medium spiciness, and 3 for very spicy. Chilis can vary so, I strongly suggest you add a little - ½ to 1 tablespoon finely chopped - at a time until you get your desired spiciness
  • Tostadas de Tinga (Chicken Tinga Tostadas): Tostadas are taco-size fried corn tortillas that lay flat. I like you buy ready-made tostadas from the grocery store. Alternatively, you can fry your tortillas in very hot oil until they brown and start to wrinkle up from the skillet. Tostadas are great filled with chicken tinga, refried beans and the other recommended toppings. They are delicious but be forewarned that they are messy to eat - but fun!
  • Top with sliced avocados.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream or serve alongside.
  • Top with refried beans. This one is not one of my favorite variations, but some people really enjoy it. I serve it as a side dish and then anyone who wants to can add it to the top of the tinga.
What to Serve With Tacos


Serving: 4g | Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 939mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 298IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg