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Chicken Tinga Tacos in a row.

The Best Chicken Tinga Tacos

134 reviews / 5 average

Literally though, these chicken tinga tacos are the best.

A) Look how pretty!!

B) Imagine how good they taste because juicy chicken, smoky chipotle, creamy avocado, zippy lime, and a charred tortilla just SING together, right? I promise you, they sing.

C) Do you have 20 minutes? Cool. You can make these because this is not fancy. This is just really, really delicious chicken tinga tacos.

This is one of those rare recipes that comes together so quickly and somehow still rivals a restaurant-quality meal. It is a recipe that, once you make it, you say: I will probably make these chicken tinga tacos every time I have friends over because it makes me look fancy with minimal effort. You also say: I need to memorize this recipe. You also say: How soon is too soon to make these again.

It is a miracle and a delight. A perfect taco unicorn.

How To Make Our Chicken Tinga Tacos (1 Min):

Closeup shot of Chicken Tinga Tacos.

Speaking of minimal, two things.

One: This recipe is from my friend Melissa’s cookbook coming out TOMORROW YO called The Minimalist Kitchen (affiliate link). It is a beautiful, inspiring, and (here’s my favorite part) practical cookbook. Oh, hey, and one other thing! It’s also more than a cookbook. Melissa’s expertise isn’t just real life recipes – it’s getting your kitchen life structured in a way that removes the clutter and stress while bringing the art and the craft and the joy (!!) back to cooking.

chicken tinga tacos, Pinch of Yum

You should definitely, absolutely get this book. I do not recommend cookbooks often, because, well, mostly we all just buy cookbooks and then get all our recipes online. I only recommend the ones I really think will be worth your while.

This is one that will be well-loved with splattered and dog-eared pages. This is one for real life. This will be worth your while.

You can click here (affiliate link) to find the book in Amazon-land.

Two: Naturally, being that this chicken tinga tacos recipe is from The Minimalist Kitchen cookbook, it is minimal.

Here’s what you do. You take the usual suspects (garlic, onion, spices, chipotles, and some unpictured crushed tomatoes) and you make a sauce out of them.

Ingredients for Chicken Tinga Tacos in blender.

Then you throw your sauce in a pan with your chicken.

Shredded chicken and tinga sauce in pan.

Then you have chicken tinga for your chicken tinga tacos.

It’s that easy.

Chicken Tinga in pan with tongs.

Avocado is necessary for these tacos (and/or for life?!?!), so you can either put some chunks of avocado on the tacos as Classy Melissa does in the book, or you can be like me who needs help with messy taco situations and you can just mash up your avocado on the bottom of the tortilla, like a little spread.

Pro tip: a little lime and garlic salt in your avocado mash won’t be sad. It won’t be sad at all.

Obviously, finally, you will lean hard into those toppings and generously sprinkle cilantro, red onion, and cotija over top to crown each beauty.

HELLO LOVER! That was so easy! Can you even with these.

Chicken Tinga Tacos in a row.
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chicken tinga tacos, Pinch of Yum

The Best Chicken Tinga Tacos


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings (10-12 tacos) 1x

Description

Chicken Tinga Tacos – the only chicken tinga tacos recipe you will ever need! Spicy, saucy, simple, and so fresh. Recipe is posted with permission from The Minimalist Kitchen (affiliate link) cookbook (although I’ve taken the liberty of adding “The Best” as a necessary recipe title prefix).


Ingredients

Scale

Chicken Tinga Tacos:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup roughly chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3⁄4 cup canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 cup chicken stock
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works!)

For Serving:

  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • crumbled cotija
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium. Once warm, add the oil and onion. Sauté for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the chipotles, oregano, and cumin, and toast for 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes, stock, and salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 7 minutes.
  2. Blend: Place the tomato mixture in a high-powered or regular blender, and blend until smooth.
  3. Chicken: Return the blended sauce to the pan over low heat. Add the chicken, and cook for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  4. Serving: Prepare the garnishes. To assemble, top the tortillas with the chicken and garnish with the avocado slices, cilantro, red onion, and cotija. Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing.

Equipment

Notes

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Tacos: Blend all sauce ingredients (I did not saute them first). Add sauce to Instant Pot along with about a pound of chicken breasts. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Shred chicken in sauce and serve.

Spiciness: I like to use two chipotle peppers for optimal “medium” spiciness. If you want a mild version, just use one chipotle pepper. If you want it hot hot hot, go for three.

Avocado Mash: I found my avocados sliding out of the tacos because I am a taco monster and things got a little messy. To make sure I got every ounce of avocado goodness possible, I mashed up the avocado, squeezed in some lime juice, sprinkled in some salt and a super light dusting of garlic powder, and spread that on my tortillas before adding the chicken.

CHAR YOUR TORTILLAS PLEASE: Place directly over a gas flame to char the edges. Place on a plate, and cover with a towel to steam. (If working on an electric stovetop, heat the tortillas on a warmed pan, and cover to steam.)

Freezer Meal Version

  1. Blend Into a Sauce:
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    half of an onion
    2 cloves garlic
    2 individual chipotles in adobo sauce
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 14-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
    1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  2. Freeze sauce with:
    2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  3. Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 15 mins + 10 mins natural release
  4. Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 4 hours (thaw first)
  5. Final Step: Serve as tacos, on a salad, in a rice bowl, or in enchiladas.
  6. Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: chicken taco recipe, chicken tinga, chicken tinga tacos, taco recipe

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View the freezer meal version of this recipe here.

You might also like our full freezer meals post.

chicken tinga tacos, Pinch of Yum

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Recipe rating

386 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amy

    These look absolutely divine! Also, thank you for the book rec…headed to Amazon right after this! Do you recommend any specific brand of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? Would love any recommendations there. 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      CAROLYN M MOLINA

      La Costeña is my go-to brand for all mexican dishes. They are manufactured in Mexico and it is the brand most of my Mexican friends in USA use.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Melissa Parish

        These tinga tacos were the bomb. There are only two of us so I modifed the recipe for size. Outstanding, we will have these again. Thank you.






  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Laura Kenney

    Okay, so chicken tinga tacos are the reason I’m a married woman.

    My then-long time boyfriend happens to love tacos and so my Mexican co-worker took pity on me and taught me this recipe. She was very serious when she told me gringos should only have two chipotle peppers, which she handed to me to mince. While I diligently concentrated on this task, she hand-shredded the rest of the can of peppers and tossed all of them, including my two, into the pot. Despite tears streaming down my face, I could not stop eating.

    So, I made them for my now-husband and the rest is history. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Astrid

      Oh great. *eyeroll emoji* another person who ignorantly thinks the color of my skin dictates how spicy I can handle/like my food…

      As a Minnesotan, where the general consensus is bland, bland, bland (seriously do people really think ranch dressing has a taste)…I have things bad enough. While I don’t think dumping heat onto food until you can’t taste anything is any different than slathering ketchup over your entire meal…I certainly don’t need to be called a “gringo” (laughable really) nor do I think entire cultures cook the ‘same’ recipe the same way.

      This comment is already way longer than I expected, so tl;dr is THIS FINNISH/JEWISH WOMAN WANTS ALLL THE HEAT

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    DNN

    Happy Monday Lindsay,

    Did you forget to add sour cream and guacamole to those delicious looking Chicken tacos? Oh how I wish I could reach through the PC and grab those tacos right about now! L 😛 L

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nora

    Tacos are my weakness. I used to get these Tostadas de tinga at a Mexican restuarant where we used to live and haven’t had them in years. They were amazing and these remind me of them. Definitely making these tacos this week! Thank you for sharing the recipe

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kaitlin

    Hi Lindsay! I bought fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilis in them…do you think that’ll be okay?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Kaitlin

        Jenna, I made these last night in the Instant Pot. I sauteed some red pepper and onion first and then placed the chicken on top and covered it all with the sauce. It was so great! I’m looking forward to making enchiladas with our leftovers!






  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jojo

    For the instant pot version, do you blend the ingredients in a blender first, or just mix all ingredients together before adding to the instant pot?

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Michael

    A way I found that elevates this recipe even more is if you pickle the red onions, using a simple pickle solution of vinegar, sugar and salt. Just adds this little delicious acidity to it






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wonderful way to teach how to prepare chicken tinga tacos!! Thank you Lindsay for making it easier for me by sharing snaps and describing each and every step involved in preparing yummiest Tinga Tacos. I always follow PunchofYum and http://www.spicetheplate.com to learn cooking. Lindsey you are awesome!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Dave Grainer

    Minimalist Kitchen $25 a bit too pricey for my budget. Will need to wait for used copy.
    But will definitely make on the beach at Nayarit, Méx later this month!






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Claudia

    It’s a really delicious recipe. And here in Mexico we use to heat the tortillas on the flame of the stove. Thank you.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Denise

    Perfect timing with a very busy for me Taco Tuesday coming up tomorrow!!! Very intrigued by this cookbook, because I need to de clutter sooooo bad! Looking forward to making this!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amy

    When I opened my email this morning and read this recipe my first thought was this is tonight’s dinner! So easy and it was delicious!! Thanks for the recipe and the information on the cookbook, which sounds wonderful.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    oh my.. just by looking at it i feels like my saliva cant stop drolling lol..

    Thank you Lindsay for this recipe, you are awesome !

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Lindsay. I made these in the Instant Pot last night, and they DISAPPEARED. I doubled the sauce recipe and used 2 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinking I could have the chicken around for meal prep this week. There aren’t a lot of leftovers. 🙂

    There was a lot of sauce in the pot when the chicken finished cooking, but I just reduced it on “sauté” for a while and it was fine. I might leave the broth out next time so I can skip this step.

    I just served the leftovers to my teenage son for breakfast, too. Grilled a tortilla, topped it with cheese, Chicken Tinga, corn and bean salsa, and a fried egg!

    Thank you — this is a new favorite for us!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Andrea

      For the InstantPot directions do you quick release or natural release? Making these tonight. Looks delicious!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Katie

        I just made these (doubled the recipe) and did natural release…it turned out perfect 🙂






  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    TC

    Absolutely love these chicken Tinga tacos!! I easily doubled the recipe by using a whole rotisserie chicken. I love these left overs; they have a deeper flavor! Definitely will make again!






  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Weronika

    Hi, I am from the UK and they don’t have chipotle chills in adobo sauce here. What can I use as a substitute?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        VB

        These look delicious and I’m thinking of making them for a friends’ getaway. Trying to simplify meal prep even more during the actual night of the meal. Could the sauce be made ahead of time? How long do you think it would keep in the fridge?
        Thanks!!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          You could definitely make the sauce ahead of time and just store in the fridge in a sealed container. We’d guess it’d stay good in the fridge for about 5-7 days. Enjoy!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kelly

    Hi, this looks delicious. When you use the Insta Pot recipe, are you putting in raw chicken, or cooked chicken?