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Chicken Tinga. Shredded chicken simmered in a smokey chipotle, tomato sauce. Perfect for topping tostadas or for filling tacos! 

Homemade slow cooker Chicken Tinga loaded into tacos.

What is Chicken Tinga? 

Chicken Tinga is a classic Mexican dish made of shredded chicken that has been cooked in sauce made of chipotle chiles, tomato sauce, and onion. Depending on how many chipotle chiles and how much adobo sauce you add, the chicken can have a bit of heat to it. Chicken tinga is typically served on tostadas, or can be used to make tacos! Of course, my family and I typically enjoy ours as Chicken Tinga Tacos. 

Chicken Tinga ingredients in a slow cooker.

Ingredients needed:

  • Chicken– chicken thighs are preferred to ensure tender, juicy chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs make for quick and easy prep. 
  • Tomato Sauce– one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce. You can substitute with fresh tomatoes, use about 5-6 whole tomatoes, clean seed and chop the tomatoes, blend in a blender or food processor. 
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce– whole chiles or diced chiles will work. I typically will get whole chiles and use 2-3, dice them up, keeping all seeds. If you’re concerned about heat, you can reduce the amount. 
  • Onion– my preference is to dice the onion up fine so that it blends in nicely with the chicken while it cooks. Traditionally, the onion is sliced thinly, but not diced. Leaving pieces of onion about the size of the shredded chicken. Choose whichever method you prefer.
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
Pot filled with Chicken Tinga, shredded chicken in a chipotle sauce.

How to make:

Slow Cooker:

  1. Add the chicken into the slow cooker.
  2. Prepare sauce mixture: in a small bowl mix together the tomato sauce, chipotle chiles, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Pour over the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken.
  3. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours until the chicken easily shreds.
  4. Stir the chicken into the remaining sauce. 
Pot filled with shredded Chicken Tinga.

Chicken Tinga on the stovetop:

  1. Cook the chicken in a large skillet or pot that has a lid. Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in the skillet, add the chicken. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, then pour in enough water or chicken broth to coat the bottom of the pan and come up about halfway up the chicken. Place the lid on the pan and cook the chicken, allowing it to poach. Once the chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit it is fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan, shred. 
  2. Prepare the sauce: In clean skillet drizzle a small amount of olive oil, saute the onions until tender add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, chipotle chiles, salt, pepper and oregano. Bring mixture to a simmer.
  3. Coat the chicken: Add the chicken, stir to coat the chicken in the sauce. Cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes. 
Chicken Tinga tacos.

Other Recipes you may enjoy:

Chicken Tinga

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Serene
Chicken Tinga. Shredded chicken simmered in a smokey chipotle, tomato sauce. Perfect for topping tostadas or for filling tacos! 
Chicken Tinga tacos.


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs preferred
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sallt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

  • Place the chicken in the slow cooker. 
  • In a small bowl combine the tomato sauce, diced chipotles, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir. Pour over the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken.
  • Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours until chicken is tender and shreds. Serve on tostadas or in tacos.

Stovetop Chicken Tinga

  • Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken on each side about 3 minutes.
  • Pour water or chicken broth into the pan, enough to come halfway up the chicken. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until chicken reaches 165 and easily shreds. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Shred.
  •  In a clean skillet, drizzle a small amount of olive oil. Saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Pour in the tomato sauce, chipotles, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken into the sauce. Stir to coat the chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve chicken warm on tostadas or in tacos. 



  • Onions can be diced, or sliced depending on preference. 
  • Fresh tomatoes can be substituted for tomato sauce. Use 5-6 whole tomatoes, clean and de-seed. Blend. 


Serving: 1 | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 597mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 582IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

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

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Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the Houes of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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Recipe Rating


  1. My family loved this! It tasted just like the chicken tinga at a favorite LA restaurant! Thank you!

  2. Have you tried the Chicken Tinga in an instant pot yet? I would think it would work out well. That’s my preferred way to do shredded chicken these days. Thoughts?