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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!

three tacos filled with chicken tinga from the instant pot and topped with fresh lime, onion and cilantro
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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
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Fire roasted tomatoes
  • Chipotles in Adobo (this gives it that smoky flavor!)
  • Spices: salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano
  • Chicken broth
ingredients for chicken tinga arranged on a large sheet pan

How to make Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot

  1. 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.
  2. Shred the chicken: Do a quick release then use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Shred it with two forks.
  3. Blend the sauce: Transfer the rest of the ingredients to a blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
  4. Mix and serve: add the sauce and chicken back to the Instant Pot and combine well then serve.
steps showing how to make chicken tinga in the instant pot

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.

chicken tinga in a white serving dish with a fork

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

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!

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4.71 from 17 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Instant pot Chicken Tinga is a Mexican dish made up of tender shredded chicken breast served in a smokey, sweet and spicy sauce. It's healthy, packed with flavor and versatile for a dinner the whole family will love. We serve it in tacos, over rice or on top of a salad. It reheats well and makes a great meal prep recipe!

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Servings: 4 people


  • 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.
    chicken tinga ingredients in the instant pot before being cooked
  • 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.
    cooked chicken tinga ingredients in the instant pot
  • Carefully remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and shred with two forks.
    shredded chicken tinga on a white cutting board
  • 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.
    tinga sauce blended in a food processor
  • 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.
    shredded chicken tinga in the instant pot with a gray spatula
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!


How to store: Allow the chicken Tinga to cool completely then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It makes a great meal prep option! You can store it in individual containers with your sides.
How to reheat: Add it to a saute pan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes until warmed through. You can also warm in the microwave in 30 second increments.


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.3g | Protein: 39.1g | Fat: 11.7g | Cholesterol: 124.5mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 2.9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Chelsea says:

    If making more than the original serving is the cook time the same?

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hey Chelsea! I haven’t tried this, but the cook time shouldn’t change. Let me know if you do!

  2. Marisol says:

    5 stars
    I have never liked Mexican food, recently went to Mexico, and I absolutely love it!

    Just got back and I wanted to make my first dish for my family an authentic Mexican dish. I chose this one and holy cow! It was a HUGE fit with my family, even my children love it and they are extremely picky, to where they got seconds!

    I made the Chicken Tingas with a homemade Mexican rice! I can’t believe I’ve never liked Mexican food before!

    Absolutely loved your recipe! I will definitely make this in the future!!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Thank you so much! That is such high praise! We looveeee Mexican food around here. We have a whole category dedicated to Mexican-inspired and cinco de mayo recipes. You should check them out!

  3. Ashley says:

    Could I make this in the crockpot? Maybe just throw everything in on low for 5-6 hrs?

  4. Tori Webb says:

    5 stars
    Literally amazing! Served this over brown rice and topped with avocado. I added a 4oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce because I love spicy things and it is absolutely amazing! Will be making again for sure!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Love that!! You are really brave with all that adobo!! Thanks for taking the time to share:)

  5. April says:

    5 stars
    Hi there, planning to make this recipe next week! Was just wondering how spicy it is? I’m not a fan of spicy so was wondering if I should cut it down to 1 chipotle pepper? Thanks!

  6. Heather says:

    5 stars
    This dish was awesome!! I served it with roasted sweet corn, cheddar cheese, sour cream, lettuce and corn tortillas. My whole family LOVED it! Thanks again Molly. You are making me look like an amazing cook! Lol

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      The best comment! Roasted corn sounds SO good. Glad you loved this recipe! I have a feeling you ARE an amazing cook:)