chicken tinga tacos

Chicken tinga tacos are a great alternative to carnitas or carne asada. It’s way easier to make as well. Takes way less time. Delicious though. Definitely tasty.

Who needs another chicken taco recipe? Nobody. And yet I’m writing it. I’m doing it because I like tacos. But I’m also doing it because the world does need a better enchilada recipe. This recipe, along with this tomatillo salsa is laying the groundwork. Better restaurant style enchiladas verdes coming soon.

You can make chicken tinga tacos better than your local Mexican restaurant.

Tinga is a simple, shredded chicken dish with a red chili sauce. You know that tasteless shredded chicken you get at your local Mexican restaurant? This is what it’s supposed to taste like. Spicy, well seasoned and a little bit sour. Way better. You can use it to make chicken tinga tacos. Or enchiladas. Or quesadillas. Or you can just eat them straight from the pot. That’s what I do.

Make chicken tinga tacos better than you can buy at your local Mexican restaurant.

Make chicken tinga tacos better than you can buy at your local Mexican restaurant.
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5 from 5 votes

chicken tinga tacos

Chicken tinga tacos are a quick an easy alternative to carne asada or carnitas tacos.
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 tacos
Author romain | glebekitchen


The chicken tinga

  • 8 chicken thighs - bone-in skin-on
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 3 whole cloves garlic peeled
  • 2-3 to tomatillos coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
  • 1 tsp mild pure red chili powder - I like New Mexican Red
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mexican oregano - leave it out if you can't get it. Oregano is not the same.
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 chipotles in adobo plus a 2 tsp adobo sauce
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt to taste


  • corn tortillas
  • fresh cilantro
  • diced red or white onion
  • queso fresco
  • Lime if desired


Chicken tinga

  • Heat a pot that can hold the chicken in one layer over medium heat.
  • Add the vegetable oil and cook, skin side down for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken over and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Spoon off all but about 3 Tbsp of fat.You need this much because your spices will burn otherwise.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook 2 minutes. Watch to make sure the spices do not burn.
  • Turn the heat back up to medium. Add the tomatoes and tomatillos and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Watch that it doesn't dry out.
  • Add the cider vinegar and cook a minute more.
  • Return the chicken and accumulated juices. Add enough chicken stock to almost cover.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken over and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 165F. This will take 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and set aside. Turn the heat up to medium high and reduce by about half.
  • Add the chipotle and adobo sauce and puree. If you are using a blender, take the thing in the middle of the lid off and cover with a towel. Unless you enjoy cleaning tomato sauce off the ceiling.
  • Taste for salt at this point and adjust as required.
  • When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred coarsely. Two forks works well here. Your hands work better.
  • Combine the shredded chicken with the pureed sauce and warm over low heat.

Chicken tinga tacos

  • Wrap the tortillas in a dish towel, moisten with a little water and microwave them until hot. I know, it sound horrible but it does work. Rick Bayless says so.
  • Place a bit of Tinga in the middle of a taco, top with onion and cilantro and sprinkle a little queso over top.
  • Enjoy!



4 thoughts on “chicken tinga tacos”

  1. 5 stars
    Hello, I’m Mikael and I’m an addict. I started making great tacos six months ago and now I can’t stop thinking about them. Problem is, they take time to make so I usually only do them on weekends. On weekdays I have withdrawal symptoms. By today I discovered that my universal recipe peddler has a genius solution. Chicken Tinga Tacos – wonderful incredible tacos in less than an hour!! Forever in your debt, sir!

    PS. My oldest son exclaimed, “I count my lucky stars that I was borne into this family” after tasting these tacos!

    • Haha. Great story. I’m an addict too. Love a good taco. I think your son was lucky to be born to a culinary adventurer.

  2. 5 stars
    Dear Romain, you make us getting rid of many cookbooks! Glebekitchen – what else do you need? First I had to find out about Mexican tDear Romain, you make us getting rid of many cookbooks, they are fading away due to your excellent recipes. “Glebekitchen – what else do you need?” That’s what my wife said after dinner! And I talked to a friend last week who said: “On Sundays we make the glebekitchen curry base for cooking dinners the week after!”. Concerning this dish: first I had to find out about Mexican tortillas. Masa harina! Got it from one of the Dutch supermarkets. It was our maiden-use of the tortilla-press we have bought some weeks ago. Tomatillos, fresh? Impossible here in The Netherlands, it seems. But canned: yes!!! So I used those, it was fine! Mexican oregano: yes, I could order it here! And I made my own chicken stock from the remainings of the previous chicken rotisserie. So everything was fresh!!! And I got also fresh chicken thighs from our local butcher, bone-in, skin-on. And the result was – fan-tas-tic!!! My wife said that this was the most delicious meal ever! Kids loved this dish! Reducing the sauce was an excellent part of the recipe. We love glebekitchen! We love glebekitchen! You are a hero!!! Thank you so much for another flavour explosion and flavour experience. And right now, the bones from the chicken are cooked for another chicken stock. Up to another glebekitchen foods Kindest regards, Daniel&co.

    • Here’s to you Daniel. The work you undertook to get the ingredients is an inspiration! And making your own corn tortillas is serious, serious business. Bravo!!!

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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