Chicken Tinga Soft Tacos

I can’t say I’d heard of Chicken Tinga until I read Thomasina Miers’ recent cookbook, Home Cook. Even in there it’s only really mentioned as a side note, but it was enough to pique my curiosity. It didn’t take long until I found out just how common it is. Indeed, I’ve since found a Tinga sauce in my local supermarket, so I was clearly behind the curve!

That being said I don’t think Chicken Tinga is widely known here in the UK. I suspect it’s because you just don’t see it on restaurant menus that much. It’s quite a simple dish, made of shredded chicken in a spicy tomato and onion sauce, so maybe it just isn’t exciting enough. Though as with many recipes I feel it necessary to point out that simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Indeed, I personally think it’s a great recipe to make at home instead of the more usual Chilli con Carne.

As with much Mexican-inspired food getting your Chicken Tinga to taste right is a question of balance. Good ingredients are essential as is a decent balance of the spicing. Too much chilli and it’s inedible, too little and it’s excessively plain. In this recipe I suggest using chipotle paste – which is quite easy to find these days. If not, I would have bought some dried ancho chillis, or similar, and made my own. I don’t think a basic chilli powder would work.

I’ve also cooked it for a little longer to reduce the tomatoes down to a thick coating for the chicken and onions. That’s because I think the chicken works very well served as a soft taco. A warmed corn tortilla filled with the spicy chicken sauce, Pico de Gallo and crisp lettuce, then drizzled with a little sour cream really is quite delicious. Especially with a little bit of strong cheddar cheese grated over the top. It may not be authentic, but damn it tastes good.

Chicken Tinga Soft Tacos

Smokey, spicy and absolutely delicious. This Chicken Tinga would be great served with coriander and lime rice, but why not treat yourself and stuff it into a giant soft taco instead?
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chicken
Servings: 2
Calories: 875kcal


For the Chicken Tinga

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Chipotle Paste
  • 350 g Crushed Tomatoes or Passata Rustica
  • 2 cooked Chicken Breasts shredded

For the Soft Tacos

  • 4 Soft Corn or Flour Tortillas warmed
  • Pico de Gallo see notes
  • Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
  • Soured Cream
  • Grated Cheese Cheese


  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until starting to soften.
  • Add the chipotle paste and stir to coat the onions, then cook for a further minute or two before adding in the crushed tomatoes. Mix well, bring to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until thickened.
  • Add the shredded, cooked chicken to the pan and mix into the sauce. Once the chicken is heated through it’s ready to serve – though you may want to cook it for a little longer if the sauce is still a bit runny.
  • Serve with warmed corn tortillas – filling each with a generous amount of lettuce, followed by the chicken tinga. Top with Pico de Gallo, soured cream and grated cheddar cheese.


Pico de Gallo is a great side dish for any occasion. Made with tomato, onion, chillies, coriander and lime it has a fresh flavour that’s a perfect balance for any spicy food – plus it brings its own sweet and sour flavour too. It’s easy to make – I have a recipe for it here.


Estimated Values per Serving
of which Saturates12g
of which Sugars13g
Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.

Scott Silverthorn

Hi, I’m Scott. I love cooking food and I love eating it - both useful credentials for writing a food blog! I get a lot of joy from sharing my passion with my friends and family, so here's hoping you enjoy it too.

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