Chicken Tinga is a flavor-packed Mexican dinner made with juicy, shredded chicken, tomato puree, and chipotle peppers. Prepared in the Instant Pot, this chicken stew is a breeze to put together and serve!
Saucy Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
Today I’m coming to you with yet another chicken dinner. And, guess what… it’s just as delicious as usual!
This time we’re going to make Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, and I promise you’re going to fall in love with it – really! Homemade chicken tinga is made with juicy shredded chicken, sautéed onions, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and more. The sauce that forms with this meal is honestly the component that sealed the deal for me – it’s a little spicy, perfectly seasoned, and it tastes amazing in a taco or over rice!
You can eat this easy chicken tinga dinner as-is, or serve it in tacos (my favorite as you might have guessed!), burritos, etc. It’s very versatile. Throw some fresh tomato, some avocado slices, and a few other vegetables onto the plate, and dinner has never looked or tasted better!
P.S. Chicken Tinga is also healthy, low cal, low carb, keto friendly!! Checks all the boxes, right?! 🙌
What is Chicken Tinga?
Chicken tinga is a traditional Mexican dish, made with shredded chicken, tomatoes (in this case tomato purée), chipotle peppers or chilis in adobo sauce, and onions. It’s flavored with a number of seasonings such as dried oregano and cayenne, which elevate its savory elements and add a little heat, if that’s your thing. Chicken tinga is a essentially a stew on its own, but you can serve it in tacos too, or on a tostada!
What You’ll Need
Chicken tinga uses a fair amount of seasoning, but there aren’t too many main ingredients. Here’s everything you need to know about this chicken dinner’s essentials:
- Olive Oil: For sautéing the onion – other cooking oils will work too.
- Onion: I used a yellow onion – thinly sliced.
- Garlic: Minced.
- Seasoning: You’ll need ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne (optional), and a bay leaf.
- Tomato Purée: Use one 14-ounce can – any brand will work.
- Canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: Minced, plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce. I normally use two chipotle peppers, but if you like it really, REALLY spicy, use more.
- Chicken Broth: I like to use low sodium chicken broth for this recipe.
- Chicken Breasts: Boneless and skinless.
How to Make Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot
Chicken tinga is the perfect meal for busy weeknights – it doesn’t require much prep work, and basically all you have to do is throw the ingredients into the Instant Pot. It’s a little more complicated than that, but not too much more:
- Sauté the Onions: Select the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and heat it up until shimmering. To the instant pot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Make the Sauce: Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, and the ½ teaspoon salt, and stir to combine. Stir in the tomato purée, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off sauté.
- Prepare and Cook the Chicken: Season chicken breasts with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add chicken breasts to the Instant Pot. Pressure Cook for 8 minutes. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
- Shred the Chicken: Open the Instant Pot, take the chicken out, and shred it using two forks. Stir the shredded chicken back in the pot and turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Serve.
Tips for Success
Doesn’t talking about this flavorful chicken dinner just make your mouth start watering? It definitely does for mine. 😋 Here are a couple of extra tips on how to make the best chicken tinga:
- Can I Do Quick Pressure Release? Sure. I generally do natural pressure release, but if you’re crunched for time, feel free to do a quick pressure release.
- Adjust the Spice to Your Tastes: If you aren’t big on spice, feel free to a) leave out the cayenne and b) use less of the chipotle peppers in the adobe sauce. Conversely, if you like a little heat, feel free to add a little more of each.
- Can I Use Chicken Thighs? Yes, you can. Both chicken breasts and chicken thighs will taste great in this recipe. You may have to slightly adjust the cooking time, though, and make sure that the chicken cooks all the way through. Chicken is done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F. Use an instant read meat thermometer to check.
How does one serve chicken tinga? 🤔
- There are a few different directions that you could go in. Serve it in tacos, on tostadas, with a salad, in lettuce wraps, etc. It’s really up to you. You can also present it over a bed of white or brown rice, if you want to keep things simple.
If you’re going to serve chicken tinga as chicken tacos, I have a couple suggestions. In my house, we like to use low carb flour tortillas as the base. We then include the following add-ins:
- Shredded cabbage
- Avocado slices
- Cotija cheese
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Cilantro, for garnish
Of course, feel free to include your own additions and truly make this meal your own!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
- The best way to reheat chicken tinga is on your stovetop. Include both the chicken and the sauce in a pan over medium heat, and cook until the chicken is warmed through.
Can I Freeze This?
- Absolutely, you can. Once the chicken tinga has cooled completely, place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.
- Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating and enjoying again.
I hope you love this dinner as much as we do! 🍽
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne, optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato purée
- 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- Select the “Saute” button on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and heat it up until shimmering. To the instant pot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, and the ½ teaspoon salt, and stir to combine.
- Stir in the tomato purée, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off saute. Season chicken breasts with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add chicken breasts to the Instant Pot.
- Secure the lid and Pressure Cook for 8 minutes. Then, allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
- Open the Instant Pot, take the chicken out, and shred it using two forks or shredder claws. Stir the shredded chicken back in the pot and turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
- Serve in tacos, tostadas, salads, lettuce wraps, etc…
- NET CARBS: 6 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.