Chicken tinga tostadas, tacos and chips—oh, my! 

The first time I tried chicken tinga, I was at a family reunion. We were all out on the farm having a good ol’ time, swimming, enjoying the sun, and cooking in the outdoor kitchen. I remember when my cousin Denise walked out with the dish, the savory smells of chicken, melted cheese and adobo sauce following behind her. I stopped what I was doing and followed her to the table… and I wasn’t the only one!

The next thing you know, we were breaking out the margarita maker and my mother in law, Marie, was whipping up a batch of salsa and guac. We served it all up with tortilla chips, but you can also make tacos and tortas with chicken tinga. Traditionally, it’s served on a tostada with some refried beans, fresh cream, and all the fixings.


Chicken tinga is the perfect recipe for parties—it’s DIY and everyone loves it!

My Chicken Tinga recipe is the perfect dish for any casual get-together, because it’s delicious, easy to make, and feeds a lot of people. Its name might sound a little exotic to some of my fellow midwesterners out there, but I’ll give you the inside scoop on how to make this stuff right.

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce makes for the best chicken tinga recipe. Period.

The secret ingredient in a good chicken tinga is the chilies. Packing your adobo sauce with good chipotle peppers gives it its distinctive, smoky flavor—and the sauce makes the flavor of the peppers more rich. Now that’s teamwork. Spicy fun fact: chipotle peppers are just ripe jalapeños that have been smoked and dried. Did you know that jalapeños turn red when they’re fully ripened? 


I start with just two chipotle peppers in my adobo sauce, then add more to taste. Don’t be fooled—those little guys can really pack a punch!

Serve your chicken tinga tostadas, tacos or appetizer with a few garnishes to finish off.

You can enjoy chicken tinga on tostadas, in tacos or served in a large platter with tortilla chips garnished with shredded lettuce, crumbled queso fresco, diced avocados, and sour cream. There are no rules here, my Chicken Tinga can also be used as a taco salad, over rice, in a torta, or any sandwich—provecho!

Yield: Makes approximately 2 pounds
Chicken Tinga Recipe

Chicken Tinga Recipe

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
Chicken Tinga is rich and flavorful, versatile, and couldn’t be easier to make. It’s perfect for feeding a crowd, so get ready to party! Need something to drink with it? Try my Pineapple Infused Tequila. Yum!


For the Chicken:
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 peeled white onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 whole peeled garlic cloves
For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, to taste
  • ¼ to ½ cup of water (as needed)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Serving Suggestions:
  • Shredded Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 (15 ounce) round queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1 (15 ounce) container sour cream
  • Tortilla chips


  1. To prepare the chicken, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the teaspoon of salt, the white onion quarters, and the whole garlic cloves. Place the chicken breasts in the water and simmer until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it cool. Discard the cooking liquid and anything left in it.
  2. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred it into thin pieces. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the canola or olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Keep the onions in the pan while preparing the tomato chipotle sauce.
  4. In a blender, combine the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, diced chipotle peppers, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, ¾ cup water, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Pulse to create a chunky sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. Feel free to add more chipotles and adobo sauce if you want more heat! If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water.
  5. Pour the sauce over the onions. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer the sauce for 5 to 6 minutes to thicken. Add the shredded chicken. Stir gently to coat the chicken. Your spicy chicken tinga is ready to serve!
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it # ChickenTinga
April 27, 2022 — Mary DiSomma