Chicken Tinga Tacos

Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite Mexican dishes: Chicken Tinga.  This very simple recipe is foolproof – It comes out delicious every time!  This juicy dish has a wonderful savory, smoky flavor (and a little heat) from tomatoes and chipotles and is perfectly complemented by the avocado, cheese, and cilantro.  It’s great for weeknights as it requires very little attention while it cooks.  Trust me, you’ll love it!

Tinga Taco

This authentic recipe, given to us by friends, is similar to Rick Bayless’ recipe for tinga from Authentic Mexican.  However, this dish is easier and, in my opinion, tastes better.  I prefer chicken, but this dish also works well with pork if that’s what you prefer or if you are looking to change up your protein a bit.  Once you’ve tried it, you’ll come back to this recipe over and over…

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2-3


For the tinga
10 oz. Chicken Breast
1 White Onion
1/4 tsp. Marjoram
1/4 tsp. Thyme
1/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
3 Bay Leaves
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Vegetable or Canola Oil
5 canned San Marzano Tomatoes, diced
3 canned Chipotle Chiles, seeded and minced
1 tsp. Salt
For serving
4 warm Flour Tortillas (Make your own using our recipe)
Shredded cheese (You want something creamy that melts easily)
coarsely-chopped Fresh Cilantro
1 medium Avocado, diced (see Tips for Cooking with Avocado)

1.  Cut chicken breast into 3-4 ounce pieces and place in a pot with 3/4 of the onion, sliced.  Add enough water to cover the chicken and onions.  Then add the marjoram, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves.  Bring the water to a boil, cover, and cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred (~15 minutes).

Boil Chicken

2.  Once the chicken is cooked, pull the chicken from the water using tongs and set in a bowl.  While the chicken is cooling, strain the broth into a separate container and set aside.  Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken breast (I use my hands but you could also use a pair of forks).

3.  Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  While the oil is heating, dice the remaining 1/4 onion.  Once the oil is hot, add the onion and shredded chicken.  Cook until the mixture is browned then add the garlic and cook an additional two minutes.

4.  Add the tomatoes, chipotles, and salt to the pan and allow the mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium low heat.  If the mixture starts to dry out, add some reserved broth.  After the mixture is done simmering, reduce to the desired consistency.  You want the dish to stay nice and moist, but if it’s too wet it will soak the tortillas and drip all over your plate.

Add Tomatoes and Chipotles

5.  Serve the tinga in warm tortillas – homemade are definitely best (plus they’re quick and easy! – see our recipe for Homemade Flour Tortillas) but raw tortillas from the store are good too – with the avocado, cheese, and cilantro.  For the cheese, I prefer Farmer’s cheese or Monterey Jack.  If you’re not a huge fan of plain diced avocado, you can try it with our Avocado Spread or our Roasted Garlic Guacamole.

Tinga Taco

To make it a meal, serve with a Mexican side dish such as our Mexican White Rice Pilaf (seen below) or Mexican Roasted Corn Salad.

Chicken Tinga Dinner

Now get you a nice big bite of these juicy, smoky tacos – YUM!!  Plus, there’s usually some tinga left over for a lunch taco the next day…


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