Mexican meals are always a family favorite! And luckily, it’s easy to whip up a flavorful Mexican dinner at home when you take the time to do a little prep work. With this make ahead slow cooker chicken tinga recipe, you can serve the classic shredded chicken dinner topped with spicy tomato chipotle sauce to your family – even on a busy weeknight. Just prep the ingredients ahead of time and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to start cooking!In our house, there would be no complaints if everyday was Taco Tuesday, so I’m always looking for taco variations to try. Some of our favorites include Salsa Verde Fish Tacos, Zippy Shredded Chicken Tacos, and Shredded Beef Nachos.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga Recipe
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ an onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce from a can
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
For Day of Cooking:
- Flour or corn tortillas or tostadas
- taco type toppings (see suggestions)
- Place the chicken breasts in a large, resealable freezer bag.
- Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, chipotles, oregano, cumin, fire roasted tomatoes, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth and well combined.
- Pour the blended sauce over the top of the chicken
- Remove excess air and seal the opening of the freezer bag.
- Place the chicken tinga ingredients in the freezer until you’re ready to start cooking.
Slow Cooker Cooking Instructions:
- Transfer the frozen chicken tinga ingredients to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- Pour the contents of the bag in the bowl of your slow cooker.
- Set to cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours.
Instant Pot Cooking Instructions:
- Place the frozen chicken tinga ingredients in the pot of your pressure cooker.
- Set to cook on high pressure for 12 to 15 minutes, then do a natural release for 10 minutes.
Chicken Tinga Recipe Ideas
This flavorful Mexican chicken recipe is a great option for dinner because it’s so simple to make ahead. And on top of being easy to prepare, there are so many simple ways to customize your meal. Try these recipe ideas as you’re planning your dinner to create a delicious meal for your family.
- Adjust the heat level. Since the spice level of chipotle peppers can vary, it’s easy to adjust the heat level of your chicken tinga. When you use two peppers, as suggested in the recipe, you’ll end up with a medium spice level. If you want your chicken to be milder, simply reduce the number of peppers used. And if you want it spicier, add more chipotle peppers to the sauce.
- Use cooked chicken. If you want to speed up your prep work even more, try using rotisserie chicken in place of the raw chicken breasts. Shred the cooked chicken and add it to the bag with your sauce. Keep the ingredients stored in your freezer, then heat up the meal in the slow cooker, instant pot, or on the stovetop.
- Try different meat. While this recipe is called chicken tinga, the sauce can be added to a variety of proteins. Try serving the chipotle sauce with shredded pork, chopped steak, ground beef, or ground turkey.
How Do You Serve Chicken Tinga?
One of the easiest ways to customize your Mexican dinner is by serving the cooked chicken in different ways. You have several options when it comes to prepping your shredded chicken for dinner. Try serving your chicken tinga with these sides and toppings:
Make chicken tinga tacos. The most popular way to enjoy shredded chicken tinga is in a shell. But the type of shell you use is totally up to you! Try serving your cooked chicken with these shell options:
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Crispy taco shells
Add some toppings. Enhance the flavor of your shredded chicken with the help of toppings. No matter how you plan to serve your chicken, you can take the meal to the next level by serving it with some of these toppings.
- Diced tomatoes
- Sliced olives
- Pico de gallo
- Jalapeño peppers
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped cilantro
Serve it over sides. Another easy way to round out your Mexican dinner is by serving your cooked chicken over other popular side dishes. Add your shredded chicken to the top of these other recipes to create a full meal on your plate.
- Mexican rice
- White or brown rice
- Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Tortilla chips
- Taco salad
How Do I Store Chicken Tinga?
Since there are so many possible ways to serve this flavorful chicken dinner, you might not have any left when dinner is over. But if you do have leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them again. Transfer the extras into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to four days.
The chicken tinga can also be frozen after it’s prepared. After cooking and shredding the chicken, allow it to cool completely. Then, transfer the meat to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
- 3 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce from can
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 14 oz fire roasted tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Flour or corn tortillas or tostadas
- taco type toppings see suggestions
Place the chicken breasts in a large, resealable freezer bag.
Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, chipotles, oregano, cumin, fire roasted tomatoes, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth and well combined.
Pour the blended sauce over the top of the chicken
Remove excess air, seal, and freeze.
Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours in the slow cooker.
Set to cook on high pressure for 12 to 15 minutes, then do a natural release for 10 minutes.
lettuce, sour cream or crema, avocado, green or purple onions, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, black olives