Easy 20-Minute Chicken Tinga Tacos
Easy Chicken Tinga Tacos — FAST, super easy, and the super juicy chicken has AUTHENTIC smoky chipotle FLAVOR!! When you’re craving tacos, these are the tacos to make!
Flavorful Chicken Tinga Tacos
Craving authentic-tasting Mexican food but you’re nowhere near Mexico? This recipe for chicken tinga tacos is just the thing to satisfy your craving. The tacos are easy, ready in 20 minutes, and jam packed with smoky and fresh flavors all in one. The ingredients are all readily available in most any grocery store so that you can literally be eating tacos in 20 minutes!
In order to keep this a very fast, easy, and weeknight-friendly meal, I recommend using rotisserie chicken. If you have leftover chicken on hand or want to cook the chicken yourself, go for it. I went the major convenience route and picked up a rotisserie chicken.
Other than the chicken, there are no other ingredients in these chicken tinga tacos that require much time to prep. It’s hard to believe such an easy recipe can be so flavorful!
What Is Chicken Tinga?
If you’ve never had chicken tinga before, you may have no clue how amazing these tacos are going to taste! Essentially, chicken tinga is shredded chicken that’s been simmered in a tomato and chipotle-based sauce. It’s so easy but so incredibly flavorful.
It tastes like a shredded chicken taco where the chicken is smothered in a tomato-ey, chipotle-esque sauce. I don’t find there to be much heat, but rather lots of smokiness and earthiness from the chipotles.
Chicken tinga usually takes much longer to make, but I’ve cut out the lengthy simmering process by using rotisserie chicken and lots of spices to add bold flavor.
What’s in Chicken Tinga Tacos?
For these easy chicken tacos, you’ll need:
- Fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- White onion
- Mexican oregano
- Olive oil
- Shredded chicken
- Corn tortillas
- Your favorite taco toppings (lime, cilantro, etc.)
How to Make Chicken Tinga Tacos
Transfer the sauce to a skillet to warm it, then add in the shredded chicken, stir, and get ready to load it into tortillas. Easy peasy.
Tacos are such a personal thing but suffice to say red onions, cilantro, and lime juice are almost mandatory when making these easy chicken tacos. From there, add avocado, cheese such as cotija, panela, or queso fresco. All are sold in mainstream grocery stores but feta could work in a pinch.
You could also add pickled radishes or your favorite pickled vegetables, add a side of rice and beans, or whatever you love with your tacos. For me, it’s lots of cilantro, lime juice, and a margarita.
Tips for Making Chicken Tinga Tacos
I used 3 chipotles and a generous tablespoon of adobo sauce, and neither I nor my daughter found the chicken tinga to be spicy. However, use one chipotle if you’re very sensitive to spices, two if you’re probably average, and 3+ if you don’t find anything to be spicy (other than eating a habanero like an apple), which is the camp we’re in.
If you find the earthiness or smokiness of the chipotles or the acidity of the tomatoes to be a bit much, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar to mellow the sauce. As with any kind of tomato-based sauce, like when making spaghetti sauce, I find a tiny bit of sugar can be very helpful.
Also note that you can freeze any leftover chipotle peppers or adobo sauce. I recommend freezing them in small containers, or blending them up and freezing in ice cube trays. You only ever need a little of the adobo sauce, so this will prevent you from thawing out way too much.
More Easy Mexican Recipes:
- One Skillet Beef Taco Pasta – An easy recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes, made in one skillet, and loaded with Mexican-inspired flavors! A family favorite that’s great for busy weeknights!
- Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef – Learn how to make authentic-tasting barbacoa beef in your Instant Pot or slow cooker!! EASY, tastes BETTER than a restaurant, and is a dinnertime WINNER!!
- Easy 30-Minute Chicken Enchilada Chili – Don’t have all day for chili to simmer? No problem! This easy, hearty, healthier chili full of Mexican-inspired flavors is ready in 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights!
- 15-Minute Cheesy Chicken Taco Skillet – Craving tacos minus all the empty carbs? This easy taco skillet without tortillas is perfect! Fast, easy, loaded with awesome Mexican-inspired flavors and it’s super cheesy!
- Taco-Stuffed Avocados – Like avocados? Then you are going to LOVE these taco STUFFED avocados with ground beef, CHEESE, and more!! EASY, ready in 15 minutes, a family favorite, and perfect for busy weeknights!!
- Easy 30-Minute Taco Macaroni and Cheese – Super creamy, ultra cheesy, flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro! Easy comfort food with a Mexican flair that’s a family favorite!
- one 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, or to taste
- 1 small white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken*
- 15 small corn tortillas, lightly charred or warmed
- red onions, diced small for garnishing
- cilantro, minced for garnishing
- cotija cheese, crumbled for garnishing**
- lime wedges, for garnishing
- To the canister of a high-speed blender, add the first 7 ingredients, through oregano, and blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Notes – I used 3 chipotles and a generous tablespoon of adobo sauce and neither I nor my daughter found this to be spicy but use 1 if you’re very sensitive to spices, 2 if you’re probably average, and 3+ if you don’t find anything to be spicy which is the camp we’re in.
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, sauce from the blender, and simmer it over medium-high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sauce is lightly bubbling and has slightly reduced and thickened.***
- Add the chicken, stir to coat, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until completely coated and warmed through.
- Place tortillas one by one over the flame of a gas stove for about 10 to 15 seconds per side, or as desired. For an electric stove, heat in a skillet until warmed though.
- Add chicken to each tortilla and evenly garnish with red onions, cilantro, cotija, lime juice, and serve immediately. Extra chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*I highly recommend a rotisserie chicken.
**Panela or queso fresco may be substituted.
***Tip: If you find the earthiness or smokiness of the chipotles or the acidity of the tomatoes to be a bit much, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar to mellow it.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 129 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 21mg Sodium: 80mg Carbohydrates: 14g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 2g Protein: 9g
Even More Taco Recipes:
Beer Battered Shrimp Tacos with Lime Crema – Fast, EASY, restaurant-quality tacos at home!! Juicy beer-battered shrimp, avocado, cheese, and a zesty lime crema to top it off! Perfect for weeknight dinners and easy entertaining!!
Easy 15-Minute Fish Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa – Tons of big flavors in a fast, fresh and healthy meal!! A clean-eating recipe that tastes like comfort food!
Vegan “Beef” Tacos — The ultimate comfort food. Juicy, meaty, beefy, cheesy, filling, and packed with big, bold flavors. They just happen to be vegan and healthy!