The Best Chicken Ting

The Best Chicken Ting

Chicken Ting

Chicken Ting is life. The succulent chicken pieces in tangy, tangy tomato and chipotle sauce are so good, and I’m addicted.

Recently Mike found a new super authentic Mexican spot for us, and since he was feeling like burritos, we planned to spend the afternoon with some food and a little late summer picnic. He had already decided on the Chicken Tinga Burrito, but I was unsure. I have this thing where I am very indecisive in terms of food. I always want to make the best possible decision.

Anyway, Mike ordered his burrito while I was mulling over all the other options. His burrito was ready in a jiffy, and I insisted that he eat it right away – because I wanted to taste it too so I could make an informed decision. One bite and I was sold. It was delicious—large chunks of juicy chicken in tomato chipotle sauce. The richly caramelised onions were sweet and smoky, and some of the sliced ​​potatoes had a bit of creaminess. I was dead. I had to redo it as soon as we got home.

What is Chicken Ting?

Chicken Ting

Chicken Ting is a Mexican dish made from chicken, called tinga de Pollo in Spanish. It is simmered in adobo sauce in tomato and chipotle with shredded chicken and onions. Tinga is super popular in tacos or tostada with refried beans, lettuce, cheese, crema and salsa. It’s smoky, with just a hint of heat. It’s so good I sometimes eat it as a stew without rice or tortillas or anything. The best part is that it comes together very quickly, but it tastes like you’ve been simmering for hours.

how to make tinga

Making tinga is super easy:

Chicken Ting

  1. Mix the sauce. This part is easy; add chipotle to adobo, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and cumin in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Caramelise the onions. Take your time and caramelise the onions until they’re golden and soft, and let’s drive you wild with how great they smell.
  3. Boil the stew. Add the sauce and the chicken, bay leaves and chicken stock to the pan and simmer until all the flavours are combined, and everything is flavorful.

Chicken Tinga Ingredients

Chicken Ting

  • Chicken Ting usually uses pre-cooked chicken, so it comes together surprisingly fast. You can use leftover shredded rotisserie chicken or just cook some chicken and chop it up precisely for tinga. Or you can chop up whatever leftover roast chicken you have in your fridge. I love chicken thighs because they are super juicy, but usually, I see the tinge made from the breast, so it’s up to you which one you like best.
  • Chipotle in Adobo. This is what adds such a tremendous amount of flavour to your tinga! Chipotles come in small cans at adobo and are a ruby ​​red salty-sweet-spicy-tart-smoky delicacy. They are the basis of so many Mexican stews and marinades. You can find them in almost all grocery stores.
  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes add a bit of tartness and sweetness to your tinga. We used fire-roasted tomatoes for extra smoke, but you can use regular canned tomatoes or even just four sub fresh tomatoes, chopped.
  • Onion. Tinga needs onions. They add caramelised sweetness and so much flavour. Take your time where you are cooking the onions; you want them to brown but not blacken. Caramelising onions always takes a long time, but the flavour payoff is well worth it.
  • Spices. The tinge is relatively light on the spices, but the Mexican oregano and cumin are essential. Cumin adds a warm earthy aroma, and oregano adds a lemony citrus flavour. But only if you use Mexican oregano, which is different from the common oregano found in the spice aisle. Mexican oregano can be found at the grocery store near Mexican Food Stuff and is very cheap to get a bag. You can always substitute regular oregano if you don’t have one, but try and find some when you get the chance.

What are Chipotles in Adobo?

Chipotles are the key to so many Mexican stews and marinades in adobo. Essentially, chipotle in adobo is smoked and dried jalapenos rehydrated and canned in tomatoes, vinegar, garlic and spices. Keep two boxes in Your Pantry; that’s what we do because we use them all the time. They are super versatile and add so much flavour. You can use them in sauces, glazes, marinades, braises, soups, salsas, almost anything. We usually use a can at a time, but you can easily use just one or two and keep the rest in a container in your fridge (or freeze them) and use any. You can use them to add extra umami to cheeses.

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

  1. Blend the sauce and set it aside.
  2. Quick-fry the onion, then add the sauce, raw chicken, and chicken stock to the pan.
  3. Set on high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick-release upon completion.
  4. Carefully open the lid and remove and chop the chicken.
  5. Put the chicken back in the sauce and simmer on high for two minutes until the sauce is reduced.

Crockpot Chicken Tinga

  1. Blend the sauce and set it aside.
  2. Fry some onions in a pan on the stove and, when caramelised, add them to the slow cooker along with raw chicken, sauce, and chicken stock.
  3. Set the slow cooker on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 1-2 hours. When time is up, remove and shred the chicken, then pour it back into the sauce.

Chicken Tinga Frequently Asked Questions

Keys to Making the Best Chicken Tinga


Caramelised onions are a staple. They add sweetness, depth and umami to the dish. Many people like to do this step quickly, but it takes time to caramelise onions. Pro Tip: Use a low flame, and don’t move the onions around too much.


How the chicken is cooked is also very important. Most tinga recipes (including this one) start with pre-cooked chicken, so it’s important not to overcook your chicken. My favourite way to cook chicken is to do it in the air fryer. You can also sauté your chicken directly in the sauce, especially if you’re making an Instant Pot or crockpot chicken tinga.

How to Serve Chicken Tinga

  • Tucked into hot tortillas as in tacos
  • On Crispy Tostada with Refried Beans, Lettuce, Cheese, Crema, and Salsa
  • in a burrito
  • on a giant leafy salad
  • Top of Nachos Topped with a Ton of Cheese
  • As a stew with some Mexican rice
  • In Taquitos!

What to Serve with Chicken Tinga

Make a plate and serve it with Mexican rice, beans, pico de gallo, warm tortillas, chopped 

lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips.

If you have some extra chipotle at adobo, try these recipes:

  • Chipotle Chicken Wings
  • Oven-Baked Chipotle Chicken Tacos
  • Smoky, Sweet, Crispy Roast Al Pastor Pork

I could talk about Chicken Ting forever, but you’re probably drooling, so I’ll let you go so you can get started on dinner!

xoxo Steph


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