Chicken Tinga – Spicy Mexican Chicken


If you like Mexican food, this is a recipe you NEED to master.  It is beyond delicious, and so versatile.  You can use it to make tacos, stuff in enchiladas, top on nachos or my favorite – use on a taco salad.  This recipe pretty much elevates any traditional Mexican dish.  Looking at the recipe, it may seem daunting because there are numerous steps, but it really requires very limited cooking skills and time – basically you just brown chicken, blend a sauce, cook and shred chicken and serve!

To save time you can even buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it and add it to the blended sauce just before serving.


Everything you need for the sauce





Chicken Tinga – Spicy Mexican Chicken

  • Author: ThePetitePiglet
  • Yield: 8 tacos or 4 salads


  • 2 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 2 – 3 depending on size)
  • 3 – 4 tomatillos, husks removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 chipotles in adobe, roughly chopped + 2 tablespoons of the sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Salt + pepper


  1. Season the chicken with salt + pepper
  2. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven
  3. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, add chicken (skin side down) and cook over medium heat on the first side for about 6 – 8 minutes without moving.  Flip the chicken and cook on the opposite side for about 3 – 4 minutes.  Remove chicken and set aside (chicken will not be completely cooked at this point, you just want each side to be nicely browned)
  4. Add the onion to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes, until onions begin to soften
  5. Add the tomatillos and garlic and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes (you may need to lower the heat so you don’t burn the garlic)
  6. Add the cumin and oregano and stir well to combine
  7. Add the chipotles, chipotle sauce, diced tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes
  8. Turn heat off of sauce and allow to cool slightly, use an immersion blender to blend sauce until smooth.  Alternatively, you can transfer sauce to a blender to blend
  9. Once sauce is blended and smooth, increase heat and bring sauce back to a boil
  10. Once sauce is boiling, add chicken breasts back to the Dutch oven, reduce heat to a simmer and cover and cook for about 25 – 30 minutes (flipping the chicken halfway through the cooking time). The chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 F
  11. Remove chicken and let cool, once chicken is cool, shred the chicken and return it to the sauce, mix well to ensure chicken is evenly coated with the sauce
  12. Use as filling for tacos, enchiladas, on nachos or my favorite way – on a taco salad

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