Chicken Tinga is a Mexican dish with spicy, smoky chicken cooked in onions, tomatoes, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Served on warm tacos or tostadas, topped with crunchy purple cabbage, radishes or red onions, creamy avocado, and crumbly cheese it makes a perfect meal.
Note: The original recipe posted in May 2017 has been updated with detailed step by step photos.
These Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Tacos are our family favorite. The best part is that we can make the shredded chicken ahead of time since the flavors only get deeper and earthier over time.
Serve these Chicken Tinga Tacos with crunchy, colorful toppings such as shredded purple/green cabbage, corn, red onions, and cilantro, a generous sprinkle of favorite Mexican cheeses: pepper jack, cotija, or queso fresco. Then, add a dollop of creamy guacamole or this incredibly delicious Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce from my favorite blogger - Palak Patel. This addicting & versatile sauce needs a few basic ingredients and is ready in under 5-mins. Check out more recipes using this sauce on The Chutney Life.
Tinga is a traditional dish originating from the state of Puebla, home of the battle that Cinco de Mayo commemorates. It is made with shredded chicken in a sauce made from tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo sauce sliced onions and garlic. Often, it is served on a tostada and accompanied by a layer of refried beans, and you can top it with avocado slices, shredded lettuce, crumbled cheese, sour cream, and salsa.
Here are just a few reason why you will love this incredibly delicious Chicken Tinga:
- Quick & EASY to make in the Instant Pot and can be made-ahead
- Crowd pleaser, no-fail recipe
- Gluten-free with corn tortillas
- Can be made low carb by serving over chopped romaine
Note: Although I LOVE making this Chicken Tinga recipe in the Instant Pot, it will also work great in a slow cooker or stovetop. Just adjust the timings so that the chicken is cooked soft and can be easily shredded!
Here is my step by step recipe with photos:
- Puree quartered tomato, garlic, and half a can of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and set aside. Tip: Double up all the ingredients here, so you can use the full 7 ounces can of Chipotle peppers in adobo, 2 tomatoes, and 8 garlic cloves. This will make a little over a cup of sauce. Use half and freeze half for later or add more sauce for extra heat in the end!
- Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat oil. Add sliced onions and cook for a minute with a glass lid on, followed by diced tomatoes, chicken breasts, broth, and salt. Then, pour the pepper puree over the chicken breasts. Following this, select the Manual/Pressure Cook (HI) option and adjust the cooking time to 8 minutes.
- Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Next, open the Instant Pot, take the chicken out and shred it using two forks. Afterward, put the shredded chicken back in the pot and turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Cook for 5 mins or until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Adjust salt and add cayenne pepper to taste.
To serve, cook the corn tortilla directly over medium flame until it gets a few charr marks. You can also cook the tortillas on a cast-iron skillet. Serve with cabbage, red onions, cilantro, guacamole, cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lime!
Our favorite Mexican Cheeses to sprinkle over Tinga Tacos:
- Cotija - Aged cheese made with cow milk, is mild, salty, and crumbly
- Queso Fresco - Fresh cheese made with cow milk is similar to feta and has a salty-sour kick
- Pepper Jack - Semi-soft cheese with peppers and chilies with a creamy, delicate taste
- Check out more on different Mexican Cheeses at Bon Appetit
If you love Mexican food like us, please check out our other favorite recipes:
- Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Enchilada Quinoa
- Black Bean & Corn Quesadilla
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Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
- ½ can chipotle peppers in adobo
- 1 large tomato quartered
- 4 garlic cloves
- 12 corn tortillas
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- 1 cup cabbage shredded (purple or green)
- 1 avocado mashed
- ½ cup pepper jack cheese or cotija or queso fresco (optional)
- 1 lime cut in wedges
- Puree quartered tomato, garlic, and half a can of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and set aside.
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat oil. Add sliced onions and cook for a minute with a glass lid on. Add diced tomatoes, chicken breasts, broth, and salt. Pour the pureed sauce over the chicken breasts. Pressure Cook for 8 minutes.
- Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Open the Instant Pot, take the chicken out, and shred it using two forks. Put the shredded chicken back in the pot and turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Cook for 5 mins or until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Adjust salt and add cayenne pepper to taste.
- To serve: Cook the corn tortilla directly over medium flame until it gets a few charred marks. Serve with cabbage, red onions, cilantro, avocado, cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lime.
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