A Spicy Perspective

Chicken Tinga Tacos (Instant Pot & Stovetop)

Chicken Tinga Tacos – Make zesty, savory, and spicy, incredibly flavorful shredded chicken tinga using the Instant Pot or our quick Stovetop method. This recipe is terrific as a base for the best tacos, burrito bowls, nachos, salads, and more!

chicken tinga tacos loaded with toppings

Easy Chicken Tinga Tacos

Who doesn’t love a good spicy chicken taco?! There is seriously nothing better than a soft, warm tortilla loaded with tender chicken and lots of flavorful fixin’s. Add a kick of heat and I am in heaven.

Our 2-Ingredient Crock Pot Taco recipe is terrific for making a simple, family-friendly dish that is pleasing to nearly any palette. However, this Chicken Tinga recipe is absolutely my favorite for when I need a meal that satisfies with lots of spices. Today we share with you two easy methods for making the best authentic Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot or on the Stovetop. They both create a shredded chicken that is bursting with spicy, savory, and smoky flavor – and each method only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Use homemade Chicken Tinga to make delicious tacos, salads, burritos, enchiladas, burrito bowls, nachos, wraps, and more!

smoky chicken tinga taco recipe

Ingredients You Need

Here are the simple ingredients needed to make the most flavorful Chicken Tinga recipe in the IP or on the stovetop:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – or thighs, if you preferchopped
  • Onion – peeled and chopped
  • Garlic cloves – minced
  • Olive oil – or preferred cooking oil
  • Seasonings – ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, plus a bay leaf
  • Canned tomatoes – fire-roasted, diced
  • Chicken broth – we recommend low sodium
  • Chipotle chiles – in adobo sauce, chopped
  • Flour Tortillas or Corn Tortillas

Plus your favorite taco or burrito bowl toppings.

Our Favorite Chicken Tinga Taco Toppings

  • Diced red onion
  • Crumbled cotija cheese or shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce

And lime wedges on the side for a pop of fresh acidity that brings all of the flavors together for an amazing taste in one bite.

You can also serve Tinga with…

  • Pico de gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • Tostadas
  • Refried beans
  • Red or green salsa
how to make tinga in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop

How to Make Chicken Tinga Tacos in the Instant Pot

Prepare Instant Pot Chicken Tinga using the Instant Pot for absolutely the easiest, most hassle-free recipe. Including the time needed to build pressure, this method typically takes less than 30 minutes.

Firstly, set out a large 6-quart Instant Pot and turn it to the Sauté setting. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften the onions, stirring as needed.

Once the onions are translucent, add in the chicken chunks, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chopped chipotle peppers, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.

Next, lock and seal the lid into place and pressure cook on High for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, wait 5 minutes before you do a Natural Release for the high pressure inside. It is safe to open the pot as soon as the steam button drops.

Get the Complete (Printable) Chicken Tinga Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Now use two forks to shred the chicken into the sauce. Set on Sauté again and simmer for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce reduces by about half. Stir occasionally.

Remove the bay leaf before serving warm.

instant pot chicken tinga

Stovetop Instructions

No Instant Pot? No problem! It’s just as easy to make this Chicken Tinga recipe on the stovetop in a large pot. Similar to the IP version, this method is ready in under 30 minutes.

  1. Set out a large 6-quart saucepot over medium heat to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften the onions, stirring as needed.
  2. Once the onions are soft, add in the chicken chunks, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chopped chipotle peppers, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Use two forks to shred the chicken chunks into the sauce.
  4. Then simmer for another 2-3 minutes to reduce the sauce by half. Remove the bay leaf and serve warm.
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga recipe

Chicken Tinga Serving Suggestions

Smoky and savory homemade Chicken Tinga is fantastic to use in many of your favorite dishes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Tacos – load corn or flour soft tortillas with plenty of chicken and your favorite taco toppings
  • Burrito bowls – make them low carb and gluten-free by using Roasted Cauliflower Rice as a base with a layer of refried beans
  • Salads – try our recipe for Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls!
  • Enchiladas – use Chicken Tinga for spicier versions of Enchiladas Suizas or Enchilada-Style Mexican Stuffed Shells
  • Wraps – fill flour tortillas or low carb (blanched) Swiss chard wraps with chicken and any toppings you like
best spicy tacos

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will leftovers keep well?

Leftover Chicken Tinga will keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

Can I freeze Chicken Tinga?

Absolutely! Let the taco meat cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container, and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then thaw completely before reheating.

How do I make extra spicy Chicken Tinga?

Feel free to add a dash of extra chipotle pepper to get an even bigger kick of spiciness.

How can I prepare a Chicken Tinga that is less spicy?

Make a version that’s not quite so spicy by only including 1 or 2 chipotle peppers.

What sides go well with Chicken Tinga tacos?

Serve chicken tinga in tacos, burrito bowls, on salads, or however, you like with your favorite Mexican-inspired sides! Try our recipes for the Best Refried BeansGrilled Mexican Street Corn Salad, or easy 4-Ingredient Spanish Rice for yummy side dishes.

Can I make Beef or Pork Tinga?

Of course! We suggest using slices of pork loin or flank steak in order to cook in the Instant Pot as directed below.

loaded spicy chicken tacos

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Chicken Tinga Tacos (Instant Pot & Stovetop)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Chicken Tinga Tacos – Make spicy, flavorful shredded chicken tinga using the Instant Pot or our quick stovetop recipe. Perfect for tacos and more!
Servings: 16 tacos

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken into large 2-inch chunks. Chop and mince the onions, garlic, and chipotle peppers.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Set out a large 6 quart Instant Pot. Turn on the Sauté setting. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Sauté 3-4 minutes to soften the onions, stirring as needed.
  • Once the onions are soft, add in the chicken chunks, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chopped chipotle peppers, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the IP on Pressure Cook High for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, perform a Natural Release for 5 minutes. As soon as the steam button drops, it is safe to open the pot.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken chunks into the sauce. Then set on Sauté again and simmer for another 5+ minutes to reduce the sauce by half. Remove the bay leaf and serve warm.

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Set out a large 6 quart saucepot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Sauté 3-4 minutes to soften the onions, stirring as needed.
  • Once the onions are soft, add in the chicken chunks, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chopped chipotle peppers, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Use two forks to shred the chicken chunks into the sauce.
  • Then simmer for another 2-3 minutes to reduce the sauce by half. Remove the bay leaf and serve warm.

Video

Notes

Leftovers will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 2oz, Calories: 89kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 287mg, Potassium: 242mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 124IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Author: Sommer Collier

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9 comments on “Chicken Tinga Tacos (Instant Pot & Stovetop)”

  1. Such a lovely idea and helping this information thanks sharing this article and wonderful information

  2. Love that you shared two different ways to cook this! Both easy & they turn out so good!

  3. Oh man, these were absolutely DELICIOUS. Super easy, too! Perfect for weekdays.

  4. These chicken tinga tacos were absolutely amazing! My family and I loved every bite! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pingback: Speedy Pot Rooster Tinga - Sluggish Cooker or Drive Cooker - buzzBEST

  6. Pingback: Instant Pot Chicken Tinga - Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

  7. These were absolutely amazing..just wow!

  8. These were so delicious and my 11 year old said they are way better than Tinga’s!

  9. This chicken Tinga taco recipe is the best tacos that I have made since the pandemic started! I love the flavors and it makes me feel like I am out at a restaurant and getting served this amazing dish!