Tinga de Pollo, aka chicken tinga, is a rich Mexican dish, bursting with smoky chiles. Make this Instant Pot recipe for dinner tonight!
This chicken tinga recipe is very versatile and you’ll find it makes a great addition to many dishes. I have some serving suggestions at the bottom of this post.
What is Chicken Tinga?
Originating in Puebla Mexico, Tinga, in Mexican culinary terms, implies stewing and shredding meat. It can be made with beef or pork but you’ll find most recipes using shredded chicken.
This technique of stewing and shredding meat is popular in Mexican dishes. What sets the shredded chicken tacos apart is the smoky chipotle chiles and the adobo marinade. It adds smoky flavor and a kick of spicy heat.
Ingredients for Tinga de Pollo
- Chicken – You’ll be adding the raw poultry to the pureed tomato and chipotle mixture in your Instant Pot. I prefer to use half thigh and half breast meat, but you can use whichever you like.
Or in a pinch, you could try using a rotisserie bird and add the meat at the end just until it’s heated through.
- Tomatoes – I love using canned fire-roasted tomatoes. I love the flavor and you can’t beat the convenience.
- Chipotle Peppers with Adobo Sauce – And here is the MVP of our tinga. Whether you make them from scratch or buy them prepared, these chipotles in adobo marinade bring all the smoky spice this dish needs.
- Tomatillos – Another secret ingredient! They are a cousin to the tomato and add some zest and zing to the sauce.
- Garlic, Honey, and Other Seasonings – And we cannot forget these classics. Every savory recipe needs those undertones of flavor. The juxtaposed flavors of garlic and honey balance things out.
Kitchen Tools / Equipment
You’ll need a couple of appliances to make this recipe. Nothing major, but you really can’t make the tinga de pollo recipe without them.
- Instant Pot – I use the Instant Pot to make tinga de pollo and I love how moist and flavorful the meat comes out. And you just can’t beat pulling dinner together in 30 minutes or less!
- Blender – What more needs to be said? This is vital for getting your stewed mixture smooth and perfect.
Chicken Tinga Video Tutorial
To see how to make the recipe from start to finish, check out the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Make the sauce.
Start with the sauce by pureeing the stock, tomatoes, chipotle and adobo, tomatillos, garlic, honey, and seasonings in the blender until nice and smooth.
- Cook the poultry.
Set your Instant Pot to Saute and add the mixture once it’s at the correct temperature. You’ll cook it for a few minutes before adding the poultry and some sliced onion. You might need to press the chicken breasts down to be sure they’re submerged in the pureed mixture. You want all that saucy goodness to cook into the meat.
- Shred the chicken.
You’ll cook on Manual Pressure for a little bit and once the Instant Pot has released, remove the meat and shred it.
- Reduce the sauce.
While you’re shredding, allow the sauce to continue cooking so it reduces and thickens to the perfect coating consistency.
- Combine the chicken tinga meat with the sauce.
Mix the shredded meat back into the pot and you are good to go!
Serving Suggestions for Tinga de Pollo
- Tacos! Serve on corn tortillas heated and charred over an open flame. I love mine topped with cotija cheese, onion, avocado, and cilantro.
- This makes a great filling for burritos, empanadas, and tostadas, too.
- It’s a flavorful topping for sopes or in a Mexican salad.
- When filling tacos, mash some avocado with a little lemon juice, salt, and a dash of garlic powder. Then spread the mixture on the tortilla before filling. Or skip that work and just use homemade guacamole.
- You can easily make a double recipe of the sauce and freeze it for future meals.
This post, first published on Kevin is Cooking Feb. 10, 2019, was last updated with new content on Feb. 21, 2021.
Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo) + Video
- 4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (See Note 1)
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 28 oz fire roasted tomatoes
- 7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 4 tomatillos
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp oregano Mexican oregano, if you can find it
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- corn tortillas
- cotija cheese or queso fresco
- diced onion
- cilantro chopped
- Purée in a blender the chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce, tomatillos, garlic, honey, salt, oregano and clove until smooth.
- Turn Instant Pot to Sauté setting and add oil to pot. When hot add the tinga sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and sliced onion. Press chicken and onion down to submerge and cover with sauce.
- Close lid and seal. Press Manual Pressure and set time to 12 minutes. Allow 5 minutes to natural release.
- Open lid and shred chicken. If too thin of a sauce, turn to Sauté and cook to reduce and thicken. Add chicken back into toss and coat.
- Serve with corn tortillas heated and charred over open flame or warmed along with cotija cheese, onion, avocado and cilantro.
- You could also use 2 lbs boneless thigh meat and 2 lbs boneless chicken breast.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.