Chicken Tinga made with shredded chicken, tomatoes, and chipotle chilis in adobo. Hearty and boldly flavored, this Mexican dish is perfect for tacos, burritos, tostadas, or as a main dish with rice and beans.
One of my favorite places to shop for groceries is a major Mexican supermarket chain a few blocks from the house. I usually spend a good part of the afternoon there when I go, just walking the aisles, checking new products, and discovering new flavors.
This chicken tinga is another delicious recipe I discovered on my recent trip to the store. They have a cooked foods section where you can have a free (very) small cup to taste test.
I tried it, fell in love, and asked the attending staff for the list of ingredients and the procedure. So, here it is, an authentic tinga de pollo recipe for you to try!
While chicken seems to be the most popular version, the dish can be made with pork or beef. Good cuts to use are pork shoulder or beef chuck roast which are excellent for stews.
Like the chicken, the pork or beef is first simmered in liquid and aromatics until fork-tender. It is then shredded, sauteed in garlic and onions, and finished off in the spicy tinga sauce.
Tinga sauce is a flavor-packed concoction made with tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, and spices such as dried Mexican oregano and cumin.
When I was doing my research for the dish, I also picked up a bottle of the commercially prepared sauce to have an idea of the taste I should be aiming for. The premade sauce had a hint of acidic flavor and sure enough, the ingredient list on the label included vinegar. The recipe below includes a minute amount of cider vinegar to add a touch of tang.
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga
This spicy Mexican shredded chicken takes about an hour to cook on the stovetop but if you prefer less tending, you can make it in the slow cooker by following the super easy steps below.
- In a blender, process chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, tomatoes, and 1/4 cup chicken broth until smooth.
- In a crockpot, place chicken in a single layer. Add tinga sauce, oregano, cumin, and salt.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 or until chicken easily shreds with a fork.
- Remove chicken from the pot, coarsely shred, and return to pot. Continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until heated.
If you love the bold flavors of Mexican food, this chicken tinga recipe is a must on your meal rotation. It’s easy to make with a simple list of ingredients you can find at most major supermarkets.
- As filling for enchiladas or burritos
- In warm corn tortillas as tacos or on crunchy corn tortillas as tostadas with chopped cilantro, red onions, and crumbled queso fresca
- Top on baked potatoes
- On rice bowls with shredded lettuce and sliced avocados
Mexican Chicken Tinga
- 3 pounds chicken breast
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pounded
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 can (7.5 ounces) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- In small, heavy-bottomed pot, arrange chicken breasts in a single layer. Add quartered onions, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, and enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top. Lower heat, cover, and cook in a barely a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until thermometer inserted in the thickest part of chicken reads 165 F.
- With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from pot and allow to cool to touch. Coarsely shred chicken and keep warm.
- Strain liquid using a fine mesh sieve. Discard bay leaf and peppercorns. Reserve the softened onions and garlic and 1 cup of the broth.
- In a blender, combine chipotle peppers including sauce, tomatoes, the softened onion quarters, garlic, and 1 cup reserved broth.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and cook until softened.
- Add pureed chipotle tomato sauce, vinegar, cumin, and oregano. Bring to a simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add shredded chicken and continue to cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until heated and sauce is thickened.
- Season with salt, if needed. Serve hot.