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Chicken Tinga

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 265
chicken tinga tacos in a platter with avocado and radishes

A few choice canned ingredients—like smoky chipotles in adobo and fire-roasted tomatoes—and a store-bought rotisserie chicken make this easy chicken tinga recipe a weeknight go-to.

Spicy, Smoky and Super Easy, Our Quick Chicken Tinga Recipe is a Weeknight Keeper!

Let us just say right away that this is NOT an authentic Mexican chicken tinga recipe. This chicken tinga recipe is inspired by the smoky, peppery flavors that we love so much in chicken tinga, but it’s built for busy weeknights. We take nearly every shortcut in the book, and while the methods and results are absolutely inauthentic, they’re also absolutely tasty! And as far as meals that are ready in under 30 minutes go, it’s hard to beat this super easy chicken tinga recipe.

tomatoes, shredded chicken, lettuce, onions, oil and spices for chicken tinga

An Easy Chicken Tinga In Just 7 Ingredients

Brick red and inviting, chicken tinga is simply chicken that’s flavored with smoky chipotle peppers, tomatoes and onions. Beyond that basic formula, tinga recipes vary quite a bit! Often, chorizo is added to double down on that spicy, smoky flavor, but like we mentioned, this chicken tinga is all about keeping things as simple as can be. With deeply flavorful ingredients like chipotle peppers in adobo sauce—and yes, you’ll definitely want to use all of the heady, spicy, smoky adobo sauce that’s left in the can—and taco seasoning, you’ll end up with a dish that’s bursting with boldness, despite the short cook time. Here’s everything you’ll need to make chicken tinga:

  • Cooked chicken (this can be leftover poached chicken, or use the meat from a grocery store rotisserie chicken.)

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Chipotles in adobo sauce

  • Taco seasoning

  • Fire-roasted canned tomatoes

  • Chicken bouillon (cubed bouillon is fine, or you can use a jarred version like Better Than Bouillon.)

onions cooking in a cast iron pan
tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle, taco seasoning and chicken bouillon in the base of a blender for chicken tinga
tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle, taco seasoning and chicken bouillon blended in the base of a blender for chicken tinga
homemade chicken tinga sauce mixed with shredded chicken in a cast iron skillet

How To Make Our Easy Chicken Tinga Recipe

If you have poached chicken breast—maybe you prepped it over the weekend, or its leftover from another meal—use those. But a store-bought rotisserie chicken will work, too. If you opt for the rotisserie chicken method, you can use thigh or leg meat, too, for an even heartier chicken tinga. Our chicken tinga recipe is as easy as:

  1. Sauté the onions for a bit until they’re soft, then add the garlic for a few more minutes to

  2. Blend the onions, garlic chipotles in adobo, taco seasoning, tomatoes bouillon until you’ve got a nice, smooth, brick red sauce.

  3. Pour the sauce into a skillet with the shredded, cooked chicken and simmer to let the chicken absorb all of that saucy goodness! And you’re done!

chicken Tinga with sauce in a bowl with a serving spoon

How To Serve Chicken Tinga

  • Chicken tinga tostadas are maybe our favorite way to enjoy chicken tinga! Just grab some store-bought tostada shells, load them up with your quick homemade chicken tinga and garnish as you please!

  • Chicken tinga tacos are another classic.

  • The sky’s the limit! Chicken tinga is so juicy and flavorful, it’s great on just about anything. Top a salad with it to turn that leafy bed into a complete meal, or mound it into a burrito with beans and rice for an ultra-filling dinner.

chicken tinga tacos in a platter with avocado and radishes
chicken tinga tacos in a platter with avocado and radishes

Tools You’ll Need:

What To Serve With Chicken Tinga

chicken tinga tacos, tostadas with beans and rice and lime and radish

Weeknight Deliciousness, In Just 30 Minutes!

With mostly pantry ingredients, it just doesn’t get much more “throw it together” than this chicken tinga recipe! This is the kind of recipe that you just know is going to swoop in and save you on some night when dinner needs to come together fast and you’ve got to make do with whatever is in the cupboard. If you make this ultra easy version of chicken tinga, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Chicken Tinga

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 265

Ingredients

For Serving

  • Tostata shell or tortillas, warmed
  • Mexican rice
  • Refried beans (black or pinto)
  • Shredded iceberg or cabbage
  • Radish, thinly sliced
  • Cotija or queso fresco, crumbled
  • Avocado, sliced

Method

  1. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat until glistening. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  2. Transfer the onion and garlic to a blender. Add the chipotle pepper and desired amount of adobo sauce, taco seasoning, tomatoes and bouillon or better than bouillon. Blend the sauce until smooth.
  3. Add the chicken and sauce back to the large skillet and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  4. Season to taste with salt, more taco seasoning or adobo sauce.
  5. Serve the chicken warm, on a tostada or tortilla or over rice. Garnished with desired topping.

**Leftovers can be refrigerated in a food storage container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.