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Bold and flavorful Chicken Tinga features tender shredded chicken in a homemade chipotle sauce. Use this Mexican chicken to fill your tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas and more!
Why I Love this Chicken Tinga
- Flavorful: The smoky chipotle sauce is loaded up with fresh ingredients including tomatoes, onion, and garlic, plus some of our favorite Mexican seasonings making this sauce filled with flavor.
- Simple Ingredients: Thanks to using fresh ingredients, the list of things needed for this recipe is simple and easy to manage.
- Versatile: This Mexican seasoned chicken is perfect for using in so many dishes including tacos, burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, gorditas and more!
How to make Chicken Tinga
Sear the chicken: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a dutch oven or skillet. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then cook in the skillet for 2-3 minutes per side until they have a nice sear.
Simmer: Pour water into the pot, making sure it’s enough to cover the chicken. Add in the onion, garlic and bayleaves. Bring this to a simmer and let it cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and can easily be shredded. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
Boil Tomatoes: Add the tomatoes to the pot and let them cook until the skins start to come up, this only takes a couple minutes.
Blend: Remove the tomato, onion and garlic from the pot and add to a blender or food processor. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to the processor. Add in the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cumin, oregano and salt. Blend it all into a smooth sauce.
Simmer: Add the shredded chicken into the chipotle sauce, stir to coat the chicken and let simmer for several minutes before serving.
Serve: Use this chicken Tinga as a taco filling, Gordita filling, or on top of tostadas. Top with your favorite toppings including diced onion, fresh cilantro, and crumbled cotija cheese.
- Heat Level: This chicken Tinga has a fairly mild spice, if you want to up the heat level you can add more chipotle peppers to the sauce.
- Cooking Method: You can make this chipotle chicken recipe in the slow cooker or instant pot also. Full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for 3-5 days.
- Freezer: Store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheating: Reheat the chicken tinga in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until warmed through.
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Sprinkle the chicken with a small amount of salt. Sear the chicken in the dutch oven turning to sear both sides.
- Pour water into the pot, ensuring that the chicken is completely covered. Add more water as needed to fully cover.
- Add the onion, garlic, and bayleaves.
- Bring to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and easily shredded.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
- Add the tomato to the pot of water and let simmer for several minutes until the peel starts to come off.
- Remove the tomato, onion and garlic from the pot and add to a blender.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth into the blender.
- Add the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and the seasonings.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce into a clean skillet or braising pan, heat over medium heat.
- Shred the chicken and add to the chipotle sauce in the skillet. Stir to coat the chicken.
- Cook for 10 minutes then serve.
- Rotisserie Chicken: If you already have shredded chicken on hand, or a rotisserie, you can make the sauce and simmer the shredded chicken in the sauce.
- Slow Cooker: Prepare the sauce according to directions (simmering without chicken). Add chicken to the slow cooker and pour the chipotle sauce over the top. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken to shred, then add back into the slow cooker to continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes.
- Instant Pot: Prepare the sauce according to the directions (simmering without chicken). Pour the chipotle sauce into the instant pot, then add in the chicken thighs. Seal and cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Allow to natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure. Remove the chicken, shred, and add back into the sauce. Use the sauté setting and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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