This Chicken Tinga is ready in 30 minutes! Tender chicken simmered in a flavorful sweet and spicy tomato sauce and served on a crunchy tostada with all your favorite toppings!
Tender chicken smothered in a slightly spicy tomato sauce all piled onto a crunchy tostada with every taco topping imaginable . . . YUM.
This recipe packs a SERIOUS flavor punch, but is so quick and easy to make thanks to my favorite shortcut: the store-bought rotisserie chicken. 🙂
What is chicken tinga?
Chicken Tinga is a Mexican dish made with shredded chicken and onions simmered in a tomato/chipotle pepper sauce.
It’s most often served on a tostada with refried beans and other toppings…which is exactly how we’re serving it today!
- Olive Oil – used to cook the onion.
- Yellow Onion and Garlic – adds a touch of sweetness, nuttiness, and that caramel-y flavor.
- Taco Seasoning – I use my homemade taco seasoning but feel free to use a store-bought version instead!
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce – you can find these canned in any grocery store. They’re smoked, dried, then rehydrated jalapeño peppers canned in a tomato puree.
- Tomato Sauce and Chicken Broth – adds more of that tomato flavor and so much moisture to the chicken.
- Green Chiles – I use canned mild diced green chiles. Want an extra spicy kick? Try canned and diced jalapenos instead!
- Shredded Chicken – use a cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken for easy prep.
- Salt – enhances other flavors.
- Tostadas, Refried Beans, Shredded Lettuce, Sliced Avocado, Pickled Red Onions, Chopped Cilantro, Crumbled Cojita or Feta, and Lime – all for serving, if desired!
How to make
This quick and easy recipe is so versatile. Serve it the traditional way on tostadas or make it healthier, by serving it over a bed of lettuce with a drizzle of my chili lime salad dressing!
- Heat oil in a large skillet then add onion and taco seasoning and cook until the onions are tender. Mix in garlic and chipotles then continue to cook.
- Stir in tomato sauce, broth, and chiles then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken and cook for another 5 minutes then serve as desired and enjoy!
What chicken to use
Use an already cooked rotisserie chicken for easy prep. All you have to do is peel and discard the skin, remove the meat from the bones, and shred!
What is adobo?
Adobo is a seasoning made up of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Adobo sauce is a tomato based sauce using adobo seasoning. It’s sweet, spicy, salty, and super yummy!
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce are smoked, dried, then rehydrated jalapeño peppers canned in a tomato puree.
Is chicken tinga spicy?
It isn’t super spicy but it does have a little bit of heat! If you are really heat-sensitive, try omitting one of the peppers and/or adding a touch of sour cream to the mixture. The dairy helps soften the kick from the spice. Keep in mind, toppings like guacamole, cheese, and sour cream will also help to balance out the heat!
If you really enjoy spicy food, feel free to add more chipotles and/or canned diced jalapenos instead of the green chiles!
How to serve chicken tinga
The most common way to serve chicken tinga is on tostadas with refried beans and various toppings like lettuce, avocado or guacamole, pickled red onions (recipe coming soon!), cilantro, cojita (or feta), and a sprinkle of lime juice.
I love the tender chicken contrasted with the crispy texture of the tostada and all of the sweet, tangy, fresh, spicy flavors that come into play with the toppings!
You can also serve this along with rice, in a burrito, in tacos, or just eat it by the forkful!
What to serve with chicken tinga
Chicken tinga is delicious served with tostadas and toppings but if you want to bulk up your meal even more, here are a couple of side dishes!
How to store
Store any leftover chicken tinga in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge then warm in the microwave or on the stove.
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 (4 oz) can mild diced green chiles
- 4 cups cooked and shredded chicken I used 1 rotisserie chicken with the skin removed
- Salt to taste
- Refried Beans warmed
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced avocado
- Pickled red onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Crumbled cotija or feta
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add onion and taco seasoning and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in garlic and chipotles, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, and chiles.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Serving suggestion: place a tostada shell onto a plate, then top generously with a layer of refried beans. Top with cooked chicken mixture, then garnish with shredded lettuce, avocado, pickled red onions, cilantro, cheese, and a squeeze of lime.
- Serve and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.