Chicken Tinga Tacos

Traditionally, chicken tinga is chicken accompanied by a smoky, slightly spicy sauce made from tomatoes, onions, chipotles, and spices. Tomatillos are also included in some versions, but I did not include them in my recipe for simplicity. This recipe uses pantry staples and is quick enough to be part of your weeknight repertoire. In addition, I used chicken thighs in this recipe, which I highly recommend. It is nearly impossible to overcook them, and the slightly tangy tinga sauce balances their richness. Over rice, in quesadillas, burritos, or tacos, as I did, this chicken would be delicious in any of these dishes. There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of my all-time favorite recipes for chicken tinga tacos.   

Chicken Tinga Tacos
Chicken Tinga Tacos
Chicken Tinga Tacos
The Best Chicken Tinga Tacos

Chicken Tinga Tacos

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4 – 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Entree


  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, separated into 2 tbsp. and 1 tbsp.
  • 1 packet of low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Mexican oregano (regular is fine as well)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place chicken on pan and evenly coat with two tbsp. of the vegetable oil and then evenly season with taco seasoning.
  4. Place in oven and bake until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the middle of the largest thigh reads around 160ºF, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from the oven and set aside.
  6. Pour the remaining 1 tbsp. of oil into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add any residual juices from the chicken sheet pan – so important – don’t skip this step! So much flavor in those juices!
  7. Add onion and saute for 5 – 7 minutes until lightly browned.
  8. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute and then add tomatoes, chipotles, cumin, salt, and oregano.
  9. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring often.
  10. Remove from heat and add to blender, blending until smooth.
  11. Shred or chop chicken.
  12. When ready to serve, heat sauce in a medium pan, and add chicken, heating until hot.
  13. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.
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