This is an authentic Mexican Chicken tinga, or tinga de pollo , a dish made with shredded chicken in a delicious tomato sauce and Chile Chipotle in Adobo sauce.
Authentic Mexican Chicken Tinga- Best Tinga De Pollo
This dish is as authentic as it can be and if you learn how to make it, you will never need another chicken tinga recipe.
Tinga is a Mexican dish made with shredded chicken, beef or pork in a spicy, smoky sauce made with tomatoes, chiles Chipotle in adobo and lots of onions.
What is a Chile Chipotle?
Chipotles are jalapeno chiles that are picked when fully ripe and red. They are left to dry on mats in the sun, then smoked.
After that, the chiles are rehydrated and pickled in a rich adobo sauce made with vinegar and spices.
There are many good brands out there and every one of them tastes different, so make sure you taste few of them before you choose your favorite.
The recipe below uses chile Chipotle in Adobo, and you can buy it in any grocery store that carries Mexican products.
For the ones who do not live in the United States, look for dried chipotle. It is a powerful spice, so a little goes a long way.
This being said, you will need the following: chicken breast, onion, tomatoes, Chipotle chiles, garlic, oil, salt, pepper and few spices. Pretty simple, right?
How to make the Chicken Tinga or Tinga de Pollo:
Step one is to bring a pot of water and salt to a boil and add the chicken breast to cook. Allow the chicken breast simmer until is cooked through.
This is a basic recipe, but you can add other things to the pot, an onion cut in quarters, some Mexican dried oregano, 1-2 garlic cloves.
Make sure you skim the foam that forms on top of the water as it starts simmering.
Tip: If you already have cooked chicken or even rotisserie chicken in the fridge, use that one. You will put dinner on the table faster.
If not, continue with the recipe.
Step two is preparing the other ingredients. While the chicken is cooking, slice the onions. Heat up the oil in a large pan and add the onion.
Cook it until soft and translucent for about 5-6 minutes.
This authentic Mexican chicken tinga has lots of onions that give sweetness to the dish and lots of flavor.
Step three. Place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and mushy, but not falling apart.
In a blender, throw the tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and 2-3 chiles chipotle from the can. Be careful with the chiles.
The original Mexican recipe calls for the entire can of Chipotle, but I found it to be too powerful and spicy for us, so I added fewer chiles in the blender.
Of course, you can play with how spicy the dish is going to be, so if you feel like it is not spicy enough for your taste, you can add more Chipotle. I personally look more for flavor and less for making it too spicy.
And, you can only add more, but you cannot take out the chiles as soon as you blend them all together. If you can handle the heat, go for it.
So, after blending the ingredients, taste the salsa for salt and pepper and adjust it if you need to.
Step four. Mix the salsa with the onions. Add oregano, marjoram, thyme.
Mexican oregano is the traditional spice, so feel free to add or skip entirely the marjoram and the thyme if you don’t like them.
Interested in more Mexican simple recipes that you can make in no time?
Here is a flavored, delicious recipe for Chicken Fajitas:
Anyway, back to the recipe…
Let it simmer on a low heat while you take the chicken out of the water. Be careful as the sauce will steam and bubble. Stir occasionally, partially covered, until the sauce becomes darker and thicker.
NOTE: DO NOT discard the chicken stock. You can make a beautiful Mexican white rice for this dish, using the stock to boil the rice.
Or, you can make a soup or simply freeze it and use it later for different recipes.
Step five. Grab two forks and shred the chicken like this:
Add the chicken to the salsa and mix.
Taste again for salt and pepper. Let it simmer for only a minute so the ingredients get acquainted with each other.
The traditional way to eat this dish is with white rice, but feel free to serve it hot on warm corn or flour tortillas, with sliced avocados, shredded lettuce, Mexican cream(or sour cream if you don’t have access to the Mexican one), fresh onion etc.
This recipe is very suitable for a picnic, potluck or even tailgating as you can make it in advance and serve it warm from a crockpot.
Some other ways to eat Chicken tinga:
Tostadas: These are crispy corn tortillas. They are a sturdy base for a variety of Mexican toppings and very easy to find in the grocery stores.
Traditional tostadas start with a layer of refried beans. Add chicken tinga, then top with shredded lettuce, avocado or radishes slices.
Crumbled cheese, Mexican cream and salsa work well too.
Tortas: French-style bread is used in Mexico to make sandwiches since the 1800’s . The sandwiches are called “tortas”. The bread is called “bolillos”.
Slice the bread in half horizontally, spread refried beans on each side, add chicken tinga, a thick slice of cheese, avocado and tomatoes slices, pickled jalapenos, etc.
Wrap the sandwich and take it with you for a hearty lunch or on the go.
Tacos with corn tortillas : Warm up the tortillas first. There are 2 ways to do that : one is to warm up the tortillas in a skillet, then cover them with a clean towel until ready to serve.
The other way is to place them directly over a gas flame to char them a little bit. Again, place them on a plate and cover them with a clean towel.
Tacos made with tinga this way are called tacos de guisado, very popular in Mexico, usually made out of different home-style dishes.
Wait, what? what is a taco de guisado?
Guisados are home-style dishes, anything from stews to stir-fries. They are extremely popular not only in every household, but also on the streets where you can find taco stands.
There are tacos de guisados for breakfast and lunch and great for workers who stop by to get their lunch during the day. Every busy corner has at least a couple street stands in any Mexican city.
These tacos are not served with any toppings besides maybe a little bit of salsa. They are simple, delicious and satisfying.
Another example of taco de guisado on my blog is this recipe of Mexican Picadillo.
Do you want to finish this meal in style? Make this wonderful bread pudding Mexican style for the entire family.
Revised recipe on August 2019
- 3-4 medium size chicken breast
- 4-5 tablespoons of oil (I used olive oil)
- 1-2 large onions sliced
- 4-5 medium Roma(plum)tomatoes
- 1 can of Chipotle chiles in Adobo
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring a pot of salty water to a boil and add the chicken breast to cook. Let the chicken simmer until is cooked through.
- Make sure you skim the foam that forms on top of the water as it starts boiling.
- While the chicken is cooking, place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and mushy but not falling apart.
- Slice the onions thinly. Heat the oil in a large pan(skillet) and add the onion. Cook the onion until soft and translucent for about 5-6 minutes.
- In a blender, throw the tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and 2-3 chipotle chiles from the can. Be careful with the chiles. The original Mexican recipe calls for the entire can of Chipotle, but I found it to be too powerful and spicy for us, so I added fewer chiles in the blender.
- After blending the ingredients, taste the salsa for salt and pepper and adjust the amount of salt and pepper.
- Pour the salsa over onions. Add oregano, marjoram, thyme and pepper.(Be careful as the sauce will steam and bubble).
- Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until the sauce deepens in color, becomes darker and less soupy, about 7-8 minutes.
- Take the chicken out of the broth and with two forks, shred the meat.
- Add it to the sauce and mix well to incorporate the chicken.
- Let it simmer for only a minute and serve over rice or on warm tortillas.
- Bon Appetite!
DO NOT discard the chicken stock. You can make a beautiful rice for this dish, using the stock to boil the rice. Or, you can make a soup or simply freeze it and use it later for some other dishes.
I want to make this chicken tinga in a slow cooker, can I do that?
Absolutely! I would start cooking the onions first, in a pan, blend the ingredients for the salsa together, then place everything in a slow cooker/crockpot and add the uncooked chicken.
Set the slow cooker on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6 hours and you are good to go. It is really easy and also will not take away from the authenticity of the dish, as the ingredients really have time to get friendly with each other in the crockpot.
Can I make this chicken tinga in an Instant pot?
From frozen salsa and chicken- If you start with frozen chicken mixed with salsa, place the sliced onions and oil in the Instant pot and press the Saute button. Cook the onions until soft and translucent, then add the frozen salsa with chicken in the pot.
Cook for 12 minutes on high pressure, then allow a 10 minutes natural release. Keep in mind that with frozen ingredients, the pot will need a little bit more time to build pressure.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 262 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 68mg Sodium: 598mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Protein: 26g