This will be a contender for your weekly taco night, trust me. Huge flavor, incredibly filling, healthy, family friend, and easy …I can’t say enough great things about these chicken tinga tacos!

Side view of three chicken Tinga tacos on a teal plate. The tacos are topped with cilantro, avocado, a drizzle of crema, with a side of lime. There is an avocado cut in half on the table as well as charred corn tortillas, a plate of purple cabbage slaw, a bowl of chopped cilantro, and a sheet pan with chicken Tinga. All are sitting on a teal surface.

This recipe is…

I’m over the moon excited to introduce you to a chicken tinga taco. Tinga, referring to the chipotle-infused sauce that the chicken is tossed in, can be used on just about any protein or veggie …but my go-to is shredded chicken. I especially love these tacos for a quick weeknight meal because it’s a great way to use up shredded chicken from another meal (just make the sauce and then saute in a skillet with your chicken), load it up into a toasted corn tortilla (ALWAYS TOAST YOUR TORTILLAS), and then a simple cilantro and lime sauce is drizzled on top for a creamy, dreamy, tangy perfection.

My family loves this dinner with a simple slaw, but pinto beans are another standard we serve them with as well.

Looking for more taco recipes? Check out our crispy taco recipes: crispy ground beef tacos, shredded chicken tacos, ground chicken tacos, and black bean tacos!

Chicken Tinga is a traditional Mexican dish of shredded chicken smothered in a tomato-y, chipotle chili-forward sauce. Chicken Tinga is commonly served tostada-style (on top of a crispy tortilla slathered with a thick layer of refried beans), taco-style (like we’re doing here!), or burrito bowl-style.

Ingredients for Chicken Tinga Tacos

Chicken tinga ingredients on a grey and white marble surface.

For the Chicken Tinga

  • 1½ – 2 pounds of chicken tenders
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup of fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons of water

For the Cilantro Lime Crema

  • ¼ cup of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • ½ cup of cilantro

For Serving

  • Corn tortillas
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Avocado, sliced

How to Make Quick and Easy Chicken Tinga Tacos

Tinga ingredients in a small, white bowl.
Tinga ingredients being whisked in a small white bowl.
Tongs coating chicken with Tinga mixture in a white bowl.
Tongs placing chicken coated in Tinga on a sheet pan
Chicken baked on a sheet pan.
Forks shredding cooked chicken on a sheet pan.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk together the tinga mixture – add the finely chopped chipotles, tomato paste, lime juice, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and water to a bowl, and whisk together to combine.
  3. Toss the chicken in the tinga mixture – add the chicken to the bowl with the tinga mixture and toss to fully coat.
  4. Bake – spread the chicken tenders out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Make the crema – combine the ingredients for the cilantro lime crema in a blender, and blend until smooth and there are no green specks.
  6. Shred the chicken – once the chicken is out of the oven, use two forks to pull it apart. 
  7. Make the tacos, then serve and enjoy – fill the tortillas with the shredded chicken tinga, then top with the cilantro, avocado, and crema. Serve and enjoy!

How to Serve

You can serve these chicken tinga tacos with a bunch of different sides! Any kind of slaw would be really yummy (this easy Mexican coleslaw with a creamy avocado dressing is a great pick). You could also do a really simple slaw with thinly sliced purple cabbage tossed with a couple of squeezes of lime juice and sprinkle of salt.

How to Store and Reheat

Store any leftover shredded chicken tinga in an airtight container (separately from the rest of the ingredients to keep the tortillas from getting soggy!) in the refrigerator. Stored this way, it’ll last for up to 5 days. To reheat, either pop the chicken tinga in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.

There is a teal plate with two chicken Tinga tacos visible on the plate. A spoon is drizzling lime crema over the top of one of the tacos.
What does Chicken Tinga taste like?

If you’ve never had chicken tinga, you may be wondering what it tastes like! It’s pretty tomato-forward (a ½ cup of tomato paste is no small amount!) with a nice hint of spice from the chipotles and really delicious Mexican-style flavors from the cumin, oregano, and lime juice.

Where does Chicken Tinga come from?

Chicken Tinga originated in Puebla, Mexico – Puebla is actually an area that is credited with a lot of the Mexican dishes that are considered to be classic!

Are Chicken Tinga tacos spicy?

Because Chicken Tinga is made with chipotle peppers, it definitely has a bit of a kick, but nothing extreme. I fed this meal to my 2-year-old, and though she’s used to some spice, it didn’t phase her one bit.

Easy Chicken Tinga Tacos Recipe

3.90 — Votes 20 votes
By Cassy Joy Garcia
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
This will be a contender for your weekly taco night, trust me. Huge flavor, incredibly filling, healthy, family friend, and easy …I can’t say enough great things about these chicken tinga tacos!

Ingredients  

For the Chicken Tinga

  • 1½-2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo finely chopped
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons water

For the Cilantro Lime Crema

  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

For Serving

  • Corn tortillas
  • Cilantro roughly chopped
  • Avocado sliced

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Add the finely chopped chipotles, tomato paste, lime juice, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and water to a bowl, and whisk together to combine.
  • Add the chicken to the bowl with the tinga mixture and toss to fully coat.
  • Spread the chicken tenders out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Combine the ingredients for the cilantro lime crema in a blender, and blend until smooth and there are no green specks.
  • Once the chicken is out of the oven, use two forks to shred it.
  • Fill the tortillas with the shredded chicken tinga, then top with the cilantro, avocado, and crema.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Store any leftover shredded chicken tinga in an airtight container (separately from the rest of the ingredients to keep the tortillas from getting soggy!) in the refrigerator. Stored this way, it’ll last for up to 5 days. To reheat, either pop the chicken tinga in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.

Nutrition

Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 1046mg | Potassium: 1047mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 814IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 269
Keyword: chicken tinga, chicken tinga tacos

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Brandi Schilhab


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15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Restaurant worthy and so yummy! I read another comment where she only used 2 peppers bc of the heat and I did the same. Thank goodness I did as 2 brought the heat. The chipotle peppers really add some flavor. Overall, it was so easy to make and very flavorful. Will definitely make again.

  2. 4 stars
    Trying this tonight in the instant pot with frozen chicken breasts. Any tips or suggestions?

    1. How did it go, Theresa? I haven’t tried this recipe with frozen chicken!

  3. Made these over the weekend and it was delicious and easy! Loved the flavor and versatility of this recipe!

  4. Quick, easy and delish!! I only used 2 chipotle peppers because I can’t handle the heat! The whole meal turned out amazing. Thank you F&F team for for inspiring me to get out of my comfort zone in the kitchen.

  5. 5 stars
    Easy, quick, delish!!! I only used 2 chipotle peppers because I just can’t handle the heat. It was perfect!! Thanks F&F for always sharing great ideas and recipes and getting me out of my comfort zone in the kitchen!

    1. We’re so glad you loved these tacos, Brenda! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us!

  6. Do you think that this recipe is freezer meal friendly? How would you suggest?

    1. YES! You can either freeze the already cooked and shredded chicken tinga in a bag or airtight container, or you can freeze the raw chicken in the tinga mixture and cook from frozen in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.

  7. 2 stars
    This is my first rating that isn’t 5 stars. This is the only recipe we haven’t loved.

  8. 5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious! I love the depth of flavors and it was so easy! Definitely going on our regular dinner rotation. Thank you.

    1. We are so glad you loved this recipe, Lindsey! Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. We really appreciate it! -Team FF