Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot is a Mexican dish made up of tender shredded chicken breast served in a smokey, sweet and spicy sauce. The whole family will love this simple, healthy dinner. We serve it in tacos, over rice or on top of a salad. It reheats well and makes a great meal prep recipe!
We love Mexican-inspired dishes. Just look at our Mexican Beef and Rice, Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa Casserole and Healthy Chicken Enchiladas. If we can find anything to make a taco out of, we do it, like our Instant Pot Carnitas, Instant Pot Salsa Chicken and flavor-packed Carne Asada.
We thought it was time to invite Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot to the party.
What does Tinga mean?
"Tinga" translates to "stew" and is often used in reference to chicken, pork or beef. The stew is made up of tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle peppers (in adobo), oregano and a few other spices. You get a deep, smoky and spicy flavor by cooking the chicken tinga (pollo de tinga) in the Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga ingredients
- Chicken breast
- Fire roasted tomatoes
- Chipotles in Adobo (this gives it that smoky flavor!)
- Spices: salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano
- Chicken broth
How to make Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot
- Pressure cook: Add the garlic and onion to the instant pot and saute. Add the rest of the ingredients then pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
- Shred the chicken: Do a quick release then use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Shred it with two forks.
- Blend the sauce: Transfer the rest of the ingredients to a blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
- Mix and serve: add the sauce and chicken back to the Instant Pot and combine well then serve.
How To Make it in the slow cooker
Start by cooking your garlic and onion in a pan on the stove with the olive oil then transfer it to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Next, slow cook on low for 6 hours then follow the directions to shred the chicken and blend the sauce.
Recipe substitutions and variations
Some of the best recipes are the ones you can make your own based on your taste. Here are a few variations you can make to suite your needs!
Can this recipe be made less spicy?
The spice level of this recipe is definitely on the mild end. The majority of the spice in this recipe comes from the chipotles in adobo.
If you want very mild spice: Try using 1 chipotle in adobo to start off and you can also use diced tomatoes rather than fire roasted (though they give this recipe a great smoky flavor).
Can you use chicken thighs?
You can swap out chicken thighs if you prefer them or if that's what you have on hand. For boneless thighs keep the cook time the same. If you're using bone-in chicken thighs, increase the cook time to 10 minutes.
How to serve Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
We love it in tacos with your favorite toppings, in a bowl with rice or cauliflower rice and toppings, over a salad with our creamy cilantro jalapeno dressing.
More Instant Pot dinners
- Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
- Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas
- Instant Pot Honey Mustard Chicken
- Instant Pot Greek Chicken and Rice
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breast about three 6-8 ounce breasts
- 1 medium yellow onion cut in half then sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, not drained
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- Set the instant pot to saute mode and add the olive oil. While the oil is heating, season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside. When the oil is hot, add the yellow onion and cook to soften for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Add the fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, oregano, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and chicken broth. Stir well then add the chicken breast and mix to combine to cover the chicken. Close the lid of the instant pot and make sure the vent is set to the “sealing” position. Press the manual (pressure cook) button and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Use a wooden spoon to turn the valving from sealing to venting to quick-release the steam. You can put a dish towel over the steam to catch the steam and quiet the noise.
- Carefully remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and shred with two forks.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender (that can handle heat) or a food processor and blend on high until smooth. You could also keep the sauce in the instant pot and use an immersion blender if you have one.
- When the sauce is smooth, transfer it back to the instant pot and add the shredded chicken. Stir well to coat the chicken completely in the sauce. Serve warm as tacos, in a bowl with rice and toppings, over chips as nachos or in burritos or enchiladas.