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How to Make the Best Chicken Tinga Tacos

Chicken Tinga Tacos are a delightful blend of shredded chicken simmered in a smoky, spicy tomato sauce, traditionally served in tortillas and topped with your favorite garnishes.

Originating from Puebla, Mexico, this dish offers a perfect balance of flavors and is surprisingly simple to prepare. Here’s how to make the best Chicken Tinga Tacos.

chicken tinga tacos
Image by Clara Murcia from Istockphoto


  • For the Tinga:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
    • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (adjust to taste)
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works well)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Tacos:
    • Corn or flour tortillas
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped
    • Diced onions
    • Crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
    • Lime wedges
    • Sliced avocado
    • Sour cream or Mexican crema


  1. Prepare the Sauce:
    • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    • Add the sliced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
    • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Blend the Sauce:
    • In a blender, combine the diced tomatoes, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and chicken broth. Blend until smooth.
  3. Cook the Chicken Tinga:
    • Pour the blended sauce into the skillet with the onions and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
    • Add the shredded chicken to the skillet, stirring to coat the chicken evenly with the sauce.
    • Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble the Tacos:
    • Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet or microwave.
    • Spoon a generous amount of the chicken tinga onto each tortilla.
    • Top with fresh cilantro, diced onions, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, and avocado slices.
    • Drizzle with sour cream or Mexican crema and serve with lime wedges on the side.
chicken tinga tacos
Image by Marcos Elihu from Istockphoto

Tips for the Best Chicken Tinga Tacos

  • Adjust Spiciness: Control the heat by adding more or fewer chipotle peppers.
  • Make Ahead: The chicken tinga can be made in advance and reheated, making it perfect for meal prep or gatherings.
  • Customize Toppings: Personalize your tacos with your favorite toppings, such as pickled onions, radishes, or shredded lettuce.

Enjoy these flavorful Chicken Tinga Tacos, a perfect combination of smoky, spicy, and savory elements wrapped in a warm tortilla.

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