Go Back
+ servings
Chicken tinga in a black serving bowl.

Chicken Tinga Recipe

Make Chicken Tinga for dinner tonight, and you’ll thank yourself all week long for the leftovers. They’re smoky, spicy, and just what you need on Taco Tuesday, Tostada Thursday, or any weeknight at all. Muchas gracias, you! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 397kcal
Author Meggan Hill


For the chicken:

  • 1 4 to 5 pound whole chicken cut into pieces (see notes)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Salt

For the sauce:

  • 3 roma tomatoes cored
  • 1 cup chicken stock reserved from boiling chicken or store-bought
  • 4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce or more to taste
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 extra large chicken bouillon cube or 2 regular cubes

For the tinga:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or lard (but only if it's the GOOD lard from Mexico)
  • 3/4 medium onion sliced (the remaining from making the sauce above)
  • Flour tortillas warmed, for serving
  • Mexican rice for serving
  • Shredded lettuce for serving
  • Queso fresco for serving


To make the chicken:

  • In a Dutch Oven or large stock pot, add chicken, onion, garlic, and 1 tablespoon salt. Add water to cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from pot. Shred chicken, discarding skin and bones (you should have about 4 cups chicken). Remove and set aside 1 cup cooking liquid (chicken stock). See notes for how to save the remaining chicken stock. 

To make the sauce:

  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring 4 cups water to boil. Add tomatoes and boil until the skin begins to pull back, about 5 minutes. Remove and transfer to blender.
  • To the blender with the tomatoes, add reserved chicken stock, chipotle chiles in adobo, onion, garlic, and chicken bouillon. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. 

To make the tinga:

  • In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until just smoking. And onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add half the sauce and bring to boil. Stir in chicken, adding more sauce if desired (the heat of the dish comes from the sauce, so use less sauce for a less spicy dish and more sauce for a spicier dish). Boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve in tortillas with Mexican rice, shredded lettuce, and cheese.


  1. Some grocery stores sell cut-up chickens so you can buy that instead of a whole chicken. Cut the breasts in half if you want, so it cooks faster.
  2. To reserve chicken stock (and you SHOULD), pour through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer to the refrigerator and cool overnight. The next day, scrape the layer of accumulated fat off the top and discard. Divide broth into freezer-safe containers and freeze.


Calories: 397kcal