Tinga is a Mexican shredded chicken that is covered with a sauce of tomato, chipotles, and onions. It is often used for tostadas on a bed of refried beans, then topped with fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, some cheese, and maybe some avocado. However, my favorite is Chicken Tinga Tacos with a homemade corn tortilla.
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A note right up front
This recipe makes a boatload of chicken tinga! Which is fantastic for a Cinco de Mayo party! However, for every day meals, feel free to cut it in half. I never do, though, because I use any leftovers to make Chicken Enchiladas.
What makes chicken tinga tacos so delicious is the sauce and flavorings, for sure, and it all starts with onions and garlic ... as all good things do, right?!
After the onions and garlic have cooked, add the rest of the ingredients and let it cook down for 3-5 minutes.
Cut skinless, boneless chicken breasts into 3-4 smaller pieces so that they cook more quickly and is easier to shred. Cover it with water and cook over medium-medium high heat for about 20 minutes or until it is no longer pink.
My best tip for shredding the chicken
Shredding the chicken is one of my least favorite jobs. At least it was as long as I was using two forks to pull it apart! I finally caved and tried the suggestion of putting the chicken in the bowl of my KitchenAid and using the paddle attachment. It works beautifully! The task of washing the mixing bowl is totally worth the ease of shredding chicken this way!
After you've shredded the chicken, add it to the sauce and stir it till the sauce covers all the shreds of chicken.
How to serve
As I said earlier, chicken tinga is often served on a tostada with refried beans and topped with garnishes. You can do that, of course, and probably should! But it is so convenient to use as a filling for tacos.
I fill homemade corn tortillas with the chicken tinga, and top it with some chopped onion, queso fresco, cilantro, maybe some salsa. Oh man ... that's some good eats!
Other recipes you might like:
Chicken Tinga Tacos
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts each cut into 3-4 smaller pieces
- 1 onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves chopped small
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1½ Tablespoons canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped small
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons sugar I always use coconut palm sugar.
- 4-inch corn tortillas
- chopped tomatoes or pico de gallo
- queso fresco
- chopped cilantro
- avocado slices
- crema or sour cream
- Put the chicken pieces in a large saucepan and cover with water. Season with salt. Cover and cook over medium to medium-high heat until no longer pink. About 20 minutes.
- When the chicken is done, pour off the water (you can save it for another use!). Using two forks, shred the chicken. Alternatively, put the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer and shred it using the paddle attachment. Works like a charm.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat some oil, then add the onion. Saute until translucent, then add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 30-60 seconds more being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the oregano and cumin.
- Stir in the water, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, and sugar. Mix well and allow it to cook just till it is a bit thick, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the shredded chicken and stir till all of the chicken is coated.
- Use Chicken Tinga to make tostadas, quesadillas, enchiladas, or tacos. I use homemade corn tortillas and as toppings, I offer tomatoes (or pico de gallo), queso fresco (or cheddar cheese), cilantro, avocado slices, crema, or sour cream.