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Chicken Tinga is one of my favorite dishes to make for my family. It is made with chicken seasoned with taco seasoning and simmered in broth. It is then shredded and cooked with onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and chipotle peppers. Quick and easy, ready in less than 30 minutes!

You may also like my Chicken Al-Pastor recipe or my Air Fryer BBQ chicken recipe. They are so good!

shredded cooked chicken that's orange looking with chopped avocado garnishes on a bed of rice in a white bowl.
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This chicken Tinga is a must try, especially if you love Mexican food as much as I do! I’ve been making it on repeat and serving it on tostadas, in tacos and burritos, and even just over a bed of cilantro lime rice.

The chicken is tender and has such a wonderful smoky flavor! I know you’re going to enjoy this new and tasty way to switch up taco night!

Highlights

  • Easy to make at home and super customizable!
  • Authentic Mexican flavor with delicious smokiness and just the right amount of heat.
  • Can be served in a variety of ways, from tacos to rice bowls!
  • Great for meal prep, as it keeps for days to use in different meals throughout the week.

Ingredients needed

Raw chicken breasts in a bowl near chicken stock, spices and chipotle peppers.

This recipe uses taco seasoning for convenience and other super simple ingredients. Together, they make the most flavorful chicken ever! Here is what you’ll need to make it:

  • Chicken breasts: Perfect for shredding into tender, juicy pieces! You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Taco seasoning: Savory and bold with the perfect amount of heat! Buy pre-packaged or use my flavorful homemade taco seasoning recipe.
  • Olive oil: Used for searing the chicken in a pan. You can also use avocado oil.
  • Chicken stock: Gives the chicken moisture and makes a rich, savory sauce!
  • White onion & garlic: Adds a slightly sweet and savory taste to the dish.
  • Crushed tomatoes: No need to drain! This is what will help make the sauce bright and fresh with some acidity.
  • Chipotle peppers: Use the chipotle peppers that are sold canned and in adobo sauce for that classic smoky flavor.

See a full list of ingredients and quantities in the recipe card below!

How to make this recipe

It’s quick and easy to make chicken Tinga! Most of the cooking time is hands-off while it simmers, which gives you extra time to work on the side dish to go with your meal, like this easy Mexican street corn.

  1. Season and sear the chicken: Rub the chicken breast with the taco seasoning and a pinch of kosher salt. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken breast for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden.
  2. Cook the chicken in broth: Add the broth and reduce the heat to a low. Simmer the chicken into the broth until fully cooked through, around 15 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 165ºF.
  3. Shred the chicken: Once the chicken is done, place on a plate and shred it with 2 forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the pan with the remaining liquid; add in the onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes and chipotle peppers.
  1. Continue to cook with the veggies: Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until all the flavors nicely meld.
  2. Serve: Enjoy with rice, chopped avocado, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tips

  • Chicken stock is recommended, as it is more concentrated in flavor than broth. However, chicken broth works as well.
  • To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, check the temperature of the thickest part of the breast and it should read 165ºF.
  • You can use two forks to shred the chicken by placing the forks at the center of the breast and pulling the chicken apart into pieces. Or for a quicker method, add the chicken breast to a deep bowl and use a hand or stand mixer to shred it.

Frequently asked questions

What does Chicken Tinga taste like?

Also known as Tinga de pollo, chicken Tinga is a traditional Mexican dish that consists of shredded chicken that’s been simmered in a tomato-based sauce. It has a smoky, spiced flavor from the seasonings, tomatoes and chipotle peppers, and it tastes wonderful when served in tacos or enjoyed in a burrito bowl.

Is tinga spicy to eat?

Depending on the recipe, chicken Tinga can be a bit spicy. This particular recipe is fairly mild as it just calls for taco seasoning as the spice blend. If you’re especially sensitive to heat, be sure to use mild taco seasoning.

How do you eat Chicken Tinga?

Chicken Tinga is very popular because it’s so versatile. You can eat it simply with a side of rice, or use it as a filling for a variety of Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or empanadas. The options are truly endless!

Ways to serve it with

  • Tacos: Chicken Tinga is a classic taco filling that pairs well with soft or crispy tortillas, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, guacamole and other taco toppings.
  • Burritos: Pile the shredded chicken into large tortillas and wrap them up with other ingredients like beans, rice, and cheese.
  • Quesadillas or nachos: Great for an appetizer or fun meal! You can layer the chicken with cheese, salsa, jalapeños, and any other toppings you like.
  • Rice bowls: Enjoy the chicken over a bed of rice with black beans, pico de gallo, and diced avocado or guacamole for a satisfying meal.

Storage recommendations

  • Storing in the refrigerator: Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or over the stove on medium heat until warmed through.
Chicken Tinga served with rice, fresh lime wedges and avocado in a white bowl.

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Thanks for stopping by! If you make this dish or any of my other recipes, I would really appreciate you taking the time to comment and rate it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Tinga Recipe

By: Rena
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
shredded cooked chicken that's orange-looking with chopped avocado garnishes.
Made with chicken that is seasoned with taco seasoning and simmered in broth. It is then shredded and cooked with onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and chipotle peppers. Perfect for tacos, tostadas or just served over rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • Optional to serve: cooked rice, lime wedges, chopped avocado

Instructions

  • Rub the chicken breast with the taco seasoning and a pinch of kosher salt. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken breast for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden.
  • Add the broth and reduce the heat to a low. Simmer the chicken into the broth until fully cooked through, around 15 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 165ºF.
  • Once the chicken is done, place it on a plate and shred it with 2 forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the pan with the remaining liquid; add in the onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and chipotle peppers.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until all the flavors nicely meld.
  • Serve with rice, chopped avocado, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Notes

Chicken Tinga is great leftover to use in different meals. Here’s how to store it, so it stays fresh longer:
  • Storing in the refrigerator: Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or over the stove on medium heat until warmed through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 27gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 365mgPotassium: 713mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 267IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! Welcome to my blog. I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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