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29 March 2021

My favorite chicken tinga tacos recipe, with warmed tortillas stuffed with zesty shredded chipotle chicken tinga, topped with crumbly cheese, sliced peppers and lots of hot sauce.

It’s Taco Night in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen tonight, my friends! Would you care for a taco? I think you’re going to want one of these.

Today we’re making Chicken Tinga Tacos, and they’re huge on flavor. What we’re doing is simmering juicy chicken thighs in a zesty, spicy chipotle sauce until they’re fall apart tender. Then we shred the chicken and stack it onto warmed tortilla shells with all of your favorite fixings.

If you’re a fan of chicken tacos, you need to try these chipotle chicken tacos. They’re incredibly juicy and flavorful and we just can’t get enough of them in this house. I think you’re going to love them.

Let’s talk about how we make Chicken Tinga Tacos, shall we?

Chicken Tinga Tacos on a serving platter

Chicken Tinga Tacos Ingredients

  • Chicken. Chicken thighs are great for chicken tacos, as they are juicier and have a higher fat content, but you can use chicken breast as well. 
  • Peppers and Veggies. I’m using one jalapeno pepper for a bit of heat and flavor, along with onion and garlic. Cooking them down adds a lot of extra flavor to the final sauce and shredded chicken. 
  • Chipotles in Adobo Sauce. Use a typical 7-ounce can that you can find in most stores. There are usually several brands to choose from. Go for the actual chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, not just the adobo sauce, as the chipotles add to that smoky flavor in the shredded chicken and the sauce. 
  • Tomato Sauce. I love fire roasted tomatoes for this recipe, though you can use crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or the equivalent of fresh tomatoes. Tomato and chipotle are a great combo.
  • Seasonings. To spice things up and build on flavor, we’re using chili powder, Mexican oregano, a bit of cumin, and salt and black pepper. If you have other preferred seasonings, like a favorite taco seasoning recipe, feel free to include it.
  • Tortillas. I love flour tortillas for my chicken tinga tacos, though I also love corn tortillas. Don’t make me choose!
  • Your Favorite Toppings. I’m using jalapeno slices fresh chopped herbs, crumbly white cotija cheese, fresh chopped cilantro, chili flakes and hot sauce. Other options include avocado, guacamole, chopped tomato, refried beans, shredded cheese.

Chicken Tinga Tacos ready to serve

How to Make Chicken Tinga Tacos – the Recipe Method

FOR THE CHICKEN TINGA

Cook the Peppers, Onion and Garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet to medium high heat and add the onions and jalapeno peppers. Cook them down about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant, stirring occasionally.

Sear the Chicken. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan. Give them a nice sear on each side, a couple minute each.

Cooking down chicken and vegetables to make chicken tinga

Make the Chipotle Sauce. Process the tomato sauce and chipotles in adobo sauce in a food processor, then pour the mixture into the pan, covering the chicken. Stir in the seasonings.

Cooking down chicken in spicy chipotle sauce to make chicken tinga

Simmer the Chicken in the Sauce. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and easily pulls apart.

Shred the Chicken. Remove the chicken and shred it with a couple of forks. It will mix up nicely with the sauce, coating everything. It is incredibly juicy and moist.

Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken (aka chicken tinga), in a pot

Simmer the Shredded Chicken. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer in the sauce another 5 minutes.

See my Chicken Tinga Recipe for more notes and tips on making chicken tinga.

FOR THE TACOS

Warm the Tortillas. Warm the tortillas (either in a microwave or in a heated pan) to your liking. Patty loves them warmed and slightly charred over the stovetop open flame. Be careful not to scorch or burn them if you do this.

Stack the Tacos. Add the chicken tinga onto the tortillas, a couple ounces each (or spoonsful), then top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Boom! Done! Chicken tinga tacos are ready to serve! They look super tasty, don’t they? 

2 Chicken Tinga Tacos

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Rotisserie Chicken. Save yourself some time and make this recipe with rotisserie chicken. Just shred it and warm it with the sauce. Super easy!
  • Guacamole. Any tacos, and these chicken tacos in particular, are great with homemade guacamole. Mix an avocado with a bit of salt, lime juice and chopped cilantro – blend until smooth. You’ll love it!
  • Topping Ideas. I love mine topped with sliced peppers, fresh cilantro and crumbly cotija cheese. And lots of hot sauce! Try them with pickled red onions, chiles toreados, pickled jalapenos, salsa macha, fiery chile de arbol salsa, or this creamy jalapeno sauce. So good!

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my chicken tinga tacos recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’m a huge fan of chicken tacos. Just can’t get enough of them.

Chicken Tinga Tacos with lots of garnish

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Mike grabbing a Chicken Tinga Taco from the platter

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Chicken Tinga Tacos Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Chicken Tinga Tacos Recipe

My favorite chicken tinga tacos recipe, with warmed tortillas stuffed with zesty shredded chipotle chicken tinga, topped with crumbly cheese, sliced peppers and lots of hot sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: chicken, chipotle, shredded chicken, tacos
Servings: 12 Tacos
Calories: 218kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE CHICKEN TINGA

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs chicken breast is good too
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 7 ounce can chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE TACOS

  • 12 flour tortillas or you can use corn tortillas
  • Your Favorite Fixin's - I'm using jalapeno slices fresh chopped herbs, crumbly white cheese, fresh chopped cilantro, chili flakes and hot sauce. Great with avocado, guacamole, chopped tomato, refried beans, shredded cheese.

Instructions

FOR THE CHICKEN TINGA

  • Heat the oil in a large pan to medium heat and add the onions and jalapeno peppers. Cook them down about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan. Give them a nice sear on each side, a couple minute each.
  • Process the tomato sauce and chipotles in adobo sauce in a food processor, then pour the mixture into the pan, covering the chicken.
  • Stir in the seasonings.
  • Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and easily pulls apart.
  • Remove the chicken and shred it with a couple of forks.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and simmer in the sauce another 5 minutes.

FOR THE TACOS

  • Warm the tortillas (either in a microwave or in a heated pan) to your liking.
  • Spoon chicken tinga onto the tortillas, then top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 692mg | Potassium: 391mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1223IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg

 

Chicken Tinga Tacos
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