Easy Instant Pot Chicken Tinga – Mexican shredded chicken mixed into a smokey, chipotle tomato sauce. Serve in in tacos, burritos or enjoy as it. Made entirely in the instant pot in about 30 minutes for easy prep and easy clean up! | Gluten Free + Whole30 + Dairy Free
Spicy, saucy, smokey & sweet – just a little descriptive alliteration to give you an idea of what we’ve got cooking today!
This chicken tinga instant pot recipe is all of the above and so much more! Best of all it’s easy & delicious making it my new, favourite go-to dish to make for last minute meals and busy weeknights.
What is Chicken Tinga?
Chicken tinga (also known as tinga de pollo) is a traditional Mexican dish featuring shredded chicken stewed in a sauce typically made up of tomatoes, chili peppers / chipotle chilis, onion and bay leaf.
It’s often served on top of a tostada (fried corn tortillas) with refried beans, topped with avocado slices, cotija cheese, salsa and shredded lettuce.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
This Chicken Tinga is suuuper easy to make in a pressure cooker. It’s made even easier here with the use of chipotle paste here instead of whole chipotles. Using the paste means that you don’t even need to pull out the blender – you can just cook and mix everything as it.
This recipe can be made using skinless chicken thighs or breasts – so whichever you have on hand will do the trick.
- Cook the onion & garlic in oil until soft on the sauté setting.
- Add the chipotle paste, chicken stock, spices and tomatoes to the pot (still using the sauté function).
- Place the chicken in the bottom of the pot in a single later. Switch off the saute setting. Cover & cook on high pressure.
- After the time has gone off, remove and transfer chicken to a plate or bowl to shred.
- While shredding the chicken, boil & reduce down the sauce.
- Add the chicken back to the pot & that’s it!
The end result is shredded, juicy chicken coated in a smoky tomato-chipotle sauce – perfect for adding to bowls, tacos, burritos and more!
Tips & F.A.Q.’s
- Where do I find chipotle paste?
- You can usually find this in the major grocery store chains in either the international food section or if your grocery store has a dedicated Mexican food aisle.
- Can I use whole chipotles instead of chipotle paste?
- Yes! Look for whole chipotles in adobo sauce. Use 2 whole peppers and blend them together with the tomatoes, chicken stock and spices before adding to the instant pot.
- Can I use frozen chicken breasts?
- Yes! Just add a couple of minutes on to the cook time.
- If your chicken pieces are frozen together, place them in a bowl of cold water until you can pry them apart. If you try to cook this using frozen chicken breast in one giant chunk it won’t cook fully or evenly.
- Quick Pressure Release or Natural Release?
- It doesn’t really matter here. If you’re busy as the time goes off you can just let it depressurise naturally otherwise you can start venting right away with a quick release.
Freeze For Later
There are two ways you can go about this:
Freeze before cooking: Complete steps 1 & 2 in the recipe instructions and then set aside and cool. You can do these steps in the instant pot itself but it would probably be easier for you to just saute in a pan on the stove top.
Once you’ve created the sauce you can set it aside and cool completely. Once cooled add it to a freezer safe bag or container along with the raw chicken, seal and freeze for later. You can freeze this for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to eat and enjoy you can cook everything from frozen in 15 minutes. After you remove the chicken to shred continue on from step 6 to complete.
Freeze after cooking:
Simply cook everything as you normally would and allow the chicken to cool completely. Once cooled you can then transfer the chicken to a freezer safe bag/container and freeze up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use, take the chicken out of the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. You can then reheat it in the microwave or oven until heated through.
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Serving Suggestions
When you’re ready, turn this chicken tinga recipe into chicken tacos, burrito bowls, tostadas – whatever you like! Add you favorite toppings: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cheese, lime juice etc. It pairs well with this Mexican Red Rice and a side of these Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
To keep it low carb you can this goes well with this Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice and topped with some homemade guacamole or maybe with a side of this guacamole salad. If you really love all things chipotles (who doesn’t?) then you can also top with a spoonful of this roasted chipotle salsa too!
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) avocado oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 1/2 cup (225 g) white onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp chipotle paste (use 3 tbsp if you want it spicier)
- 1 1/4 cup (360 g) chopped tomatoes from a can
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) chicken stock
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- Add the oil to the Instant Pot and press the "Sauté" button. Once the oil is warm, add the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté about 4 minutes until tender.
- Stir in the chipotle paste, tomatoes, oregano and chicken stock and salt.
- Add the chicken.
- Press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button to stop the sauté function. Secure the lid and make sure the steam valve is set to closed. Press 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook' and set the timer to 10 minutes.After the time is up the Instant Pot will automatically switch the keep warm. Switch the valve immediately to allow for venting.
- Once the steam has been fully released remove the lid of the instant pot. Remove the chicken breasts and set aside on a chopping board.
- Turn the Instant Pot to 'Sauté' and bring the sauce to a boil. Let the sauce simmer/boil and thicken for about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.
- While the sauce is simmering shred the chicken breasts with a couple of forks.
- Once the sauce has thickened, taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Stir the shredded chicken back into the sauce. Enjoy serve with your favourite toppings or in tacos, burritos, bowls or straight out of the pot.
Use Whole Chipotles in Adobo Sauce?
- If you want to use whole peppers simply blend together the peppers, tomatoes, chicken stock and spices in a blender before adding to the sautéed onions and garlic.
Can I use frozen chicken breasts?
- Yes! Just add a couple of minutes on to the cook time.
- If your chicken pieces are frozen together, place them in a bowl of cold water until you can pry them apart. If you try to cook this using frozen chicken breast in one giant chunk it won't cook fully or evenly.