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Authentic Chicken Tinga Recipe - A Mexican Delight

Chicken Tinga is a vibrant and flavorful dish that tantalizes taste buds with smoky, spicy flavors.

July 4, 2023
spicy food icon
Chicken TingaPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4-6 people
Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 30 mins
Total 45 mins



  1. In a large pot, boil the chicken breasts until fully cooked. Once done, let it cool and shred it using two forks.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the chopped chipotle peppers, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pan. Stir well to combine.
  5. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and stir until it's well coated with the sauce.
  6. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve your Chicken Tinga with warm tortillas or over rice.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Chicken Tinga
Serves 4-6
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20 g25.6%
Cholesterol 100 mg33.3%
Sodium 1000 mg43.5%
Protein 35 g70%
Potassium 500 mg10.6%
Potassium 500 mg10.6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Use boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs. This makes it easier to shred the meat after cooking and allows the flavors of the sauce to penetrate the chicken.
  • Use fresh ingredients. Using fresh ingredients can significantly enhance the flavor of your dish. Try to use fresh tomatoes and onions instead of canned ones. Also, freshly chopped cilantro can add a nice touch.
  • Experiment with spices. Don't be afraid to add your own twist to the recipe. If you like your food spicy, add a bit more chipotle. If you prefer it mild, reduce the amount of chipotle or add some sour cream to balance the heat.
  • To get a smoky flavor in Chicken Tinga, use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These peppers provide a distinct smokiness and a touch of heat to the dish. You can adjust the amount of chipotle peppers to suit your preferred level of spiciness.
  • Before simmering the chicken in the sauce, lightly sear it in a hot skillet with a bit of oil. This step helps to enhance the flavor of the chicken and adds a nice caramelized touch.
  • Let it simmer. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for a while. This will not only make the chicken more flavorful but also incredibly tender.
  • Serve with your favorite sides. Chicken Tinga can be served in various ways. You can serve it with tortillas as tacos, or you can serve it with rice and beans. You can also use it as a filling for enchiladas or quesadillas.
  • If the sauce is too thin, continue to simmer until it thickens. If it's too thick, you can add a little chicken broth or water to achieve the desired consistency.
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Experience the flavors of Mexico in your own kitchen with this authentic Chicken Tinga recipe. This traditional dish, known for its robust flavor profile, is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It's made with shredded chicken in a sauce made from tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo, and sliced onions. Perfect for tacos, tostadas, or served over rice, this versatile recipe is a crowd-pleaser that's perfect for any occasion.

What Is Chicken Tinga?

Chicken Tinga is a traditional Mexican dish that features tender, shredded chicken cooked in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. It is known for its smoky and spicy flavor profile. The sauce known as adobo sauce is typically made with a combination of tomatoes, chipotle peppers, onions, garlic, and various spices.

To make Chicken Tinga, the chicken is simmered in the sauce until it becomes tender and easily shreds. This is a versatile dish and can be used as a filling for tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, or as a topping for rice or salads. It is often garnished with fresh cilantro, diced onions, crumbled queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime juice to add brightness and freshness. Chicken Tinga is a beloved favorite in Mexican cuisine, known for its rich and satisfying flavors.

What Does Tinga Mean In Mexican Food?

Tinga refers to a Mexican dish made from shredded chicken in a sauce made from tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo, and sliced onions. It is often served on a tostada and accompanied by a layer of refried beans. It can be topped with avocado slices, crumbled cheese, Mexican crema, and salsa.

What Does Tinga Stand For?

Tinga doesn't stand for anything. It's the name of a Mexican dish that features shredded chicken in a tomato and chipotle sauce.

What Does Tinga Taste Like?

Tinga has a unique flavor profile that combines the heat of chipotle peppers, the tanginess of tomatoes, and the savory taste of chicken. The chipotle not only provides heat but also a smoky flavor that is characteristic of this dish.

Why Is It Called Chicken Tinga?

The name "Tinga" is believed to come from the Spanish word "Tingir" which means to dye or tint because the chicken is tinted with the color of the sauce.

What Are The Differences Between Chicken Tinga And Chicken Tinga Tacos?

Chicken Tinga and Chicken Tinga Tacos are related but have a few key differences:

Preparation: Chicken Tinga is made with shredded chicken cooked in a smoky tomato-chipotle sauce, while Chicken Tinga Tacos specifically are made using chicken tinga filling. The Chicken Tinga is the base, and when it's used as a filling in tacos, it becomes Chicken Tinga Tacos.

Serving: Chicken Tinga is a versatile dish that can be used in various ways, such as tacos, tostadas, or as a filling for enchiladas. When served as Chicken Tinga Tacos, the shredded chicken is typically placed inside soft or crispy tortillas and topped with garnishes and sauces.

Portion size: Chicken Tinga can be served in larger portions as a main dish, while Chicken Tinga Tacos are typically served in smaller individual servings, allowing for a customizable and portable meal.

In summary, the main difference between Chicken Tinga and Chicken Tinga Tacos is the use of the Chicken Tinga as a filling in tacos, along with the accompanying tortillas and toppings. Chicken Tinga Tacos offer a handheld, flavorful, and customizable way to enjoy the deliciousness of Chicken Tinga.

What To Serve with Chicken Tinga?

When serving Chicken Tinga, there are several delicious options to accompany this flavorful dish. Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, allowing guests to build their own tacos. You can also serve it with Mexican rice and beans on the side dish, providing a hearty and satisfying addition to the meal. A fresh and vibrant Mexican slaw or salad, with ingredients like shredded cabbage, carrots, and cilantro, adds a refreshing element to balance the richness of the Chicken Tinga. Don't forget the condiments! Offer bowls of guacamole, salsa, and pickled onions to add layers of flavor and tanginess. Finish off the spread with a garnish of fresh cilantro and lime wedges. With these accompaniments, your Chicken Tinga meal will be a complete and satisfying culinary experience.

Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Chicken Tinga:

History of Chicken Tinga

The origin of the Chicken Tinga recipe is deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of Puebla, a state in the central highlands of Mexico. Known for its rich and diverse food culture, Puebla is the birthplace of many iconic Mexican dishes, including mole poblano and chiles en nogada. Chicken Tinga, or Tinga de Pollo, is no exception. This dish, characterized by its smoky, slightly spicy tomato sauce, is a staple in many Pueblan households.

The name "Tinga" is believed to come from the Nahuatl word "Tingu," which means "to mix." This is a fitting description for a dish that involves a flavorful blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chipotle peppers, all simmered together to create a sauce that is then mixed with shredded chicken. The result is a dish that is both hearty and bursting with flavor.

Chicken Tinga is typically served on tostadas and topped with a variety of garnishes, such as lettuce, cream, cheese, and avocado. However, its versatility means it can also be used as a filling for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Over time, the popularity of Chicken Tinga has spread beyond the borders of Puebla, and it is now enjoyed all over Mexico and in Mexican communities around the world. Its ease of preparation and delicious taste have made it a favorite choice for family meals and gatherings.

In recent years, Chicken Tinga has also gained recognition in the global culinary scene. Chefs and food enthusiasts around the world have embraced this traditional Mexican dish, adding their own twists and interpretations. From vegan versions made with jackfruit to gourmet renditions served in high-end restaurants, Chicken Tinga continues to inspire and delight food lovers everywhere. Despite these modern variations, the essence of Chicken Tinga remains the same - a comforting and delicious dish that brings people together around the table.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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