Chicken Tinga Tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Smokey, spicy slow-cooked chicken tinga tacos with all the fixin's.
Serves: 15 tacos
For the Chicken Tinga:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ½ medium onion, quartered
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning the chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle pureé or paste (and a pepper or two, if you're feeling it)
  • 1 bay leaf
For Serving:
  • corn tortillas (my preferred method of heating corn tortillas is to place them on a plate between layers of paper towels, wet one sheet of paper towel, wring it out, and place it on the plate next to the tortillas, then microwave for 15-30 seconds until warm. Of course, you can toast the tortillas as well, but I find that this dries them out)
  • radishes (fresh or pickled)
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • cotija cheese (or feta if you can't find cotija)
  • jalapeños, thinly sliced
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat your vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs in batches, sprinkling with a little salt as you go, and brown on both sides, setting aside each batch on a plate until you've browned all of your thighs.
  2. Once the chicken is browned, you can make your sauce one of two ways: A) Combine the tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and chipotle pureé (and pepper, if you're using it) in a blender and blitz until smooth, then add it to the pot OR B) Add everything to your pot and use an immersion blender to blend everything - this is what I did because it saves having to wash another dish.
  3. Scrape up any bits of browned chicken from the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and stir the sauce until it's gently simmering. Add your chicken back to the pan, along with the bay leaf, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every so often. Remove the lid, stir again, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is fall-apart tender.
  4. When ready, remove the tinga from the heat and use two fork to gently shred the chicken. I like to keep some pieces a little bigger than others, so don't shred everything to teeny, tiny bits. Texture is good! Set up your taco-building station by laying out your tortillas, radishes, cilantro, cheese, jalapeños, and whatever else you like to put on your tacos (avocado, anyone?). Build and devour!
Adapted From
Recipe by The Crepes of Wrath at