Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

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Slow cooker chicken tinga is the best easy meal prep recipe for flavorful Mexican dinners. Use it for tostadas, tacos, quesadillas, and more!

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Things can get busy around here, so we’re no strangers to the low-effort, big batch slow cooker meal. Slow cooker recipes are a lifesaver when you just need a break from cooking! Sure, you could get takeout. But what if you want to stop spending money eating out, and still enjoy a delicious and flavorful meal? That’s where our latest recipe comes in: Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga.

Slow cooker chicken tinga is the perfect easy recipe for anyone that loves Mexican food. This big batch recipe makes 2 pounds of shredded chicken that’s super tender and soaked in a deliciously spicy, smoky sauce. All this chicken tinga can be used for tostadas, tacos, enchiladas, and even sandwiches for fun, easy Mexican dinners and leftover lunches! (And if you’re craving a gooey midnight snack, try loading up a quesadilla with this saucy chicken tinga. It’s incredible.)

A big serving dish of chicken tinga made in a slow cooker

If you’re always looking for new slow cooker recipes, you’ll love this chicken tinga. You can achieve authentic chicken tinga flavor with surprisingly few ingredients, all while your crock pot does all the work for you! Keep reading to learn about what the best chicken tinga is made of and how to easily make it at home.

What Is Chicken Tinga?

Chicken tinga, or tinga de pollo, is a Mexican dish made of shredded chicken in a smoky tomato, chipotle, and onion sauce. Traditionally, chicken tinga is served on tostadas with refried beans and other toppings (check out our recipe for authentic chicken tinga tostadas here). But this deliciously saucy chicken goes great in tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and burritos, too! If you love spice and the flavor of chipotles in adobo, you’ll want to use this chicken tinga in all your favorite Mexican recipes.

Is Chicken Tinga Spicy?

Our chicken tinga is definitely spicy, as an authentic Mexican tinga de pollo should be! We drew inspiration from the chicken tinga we’ve eaten at local taquerias here in Southern California to achieve the perfect balance of sweet tomatoes and onions balanced by spicy, smoky chipotles in adobo. If you’re wary of spice, don’t worry – we’ll suggest a few adaptations to the recipe later on in this post.

Shredded slow cooker chicken tinga in a serving dish

How To Make Chicken Tinga At Home

Making your own chicken tinga at home isn’t hard, especially if you have a slow cooker or crock pot. And since the best part about slow cooker recipes is the convenience and low effort, our chicken tinga sauce has only 3 easy ingredients (plus a few spices) for simple, authentic flavor. Here’s what you’ll need to make the best easy chicken tinga recipe:

  1. Canned fire-roasted tomatoes
  2. Canned chipotles in adobo
  3. White onion 

Canned ingredients are the best for easy slow cooker recipes! The fire roasted tomatoes add a touch of spice and smoke to the chicken tinga, but this recipe really gets its heat and smoky flavor from the canned chipotles in adobo. White onion balances these flavors out, while a bit of minced garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, and salt help to enhance the flavor.

To make our easy crock pot chicken tinga recipe at home:

  1. Add the tomatoes, chipotles in adobo, onion, and seasonings to a blender and blend on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Pour the sauce into a large slow cooker or crock pot.
  3. Add whole chicken breast to the crock pot, submerging it fully in the tinga sauce.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, until the internal temperature of the chicken is about 160 degrees F.
  5. Remove the chicken, shred, and return to the slow cooker. Let the chicken continue cooking for another 30 minutes to 1 hour on LOW so that it soaks in the flavors of the sauce.

You can easily make big batches of flavorful meats like this chicken tinga in a slow cooker and use it throughout the week for tostadas, tacos, sandwiches, and more. If you love meal prep, you might also like our slow cooker pulled pork or salsa marinated chicken.

A dish of slow cooker chicken tinga served with a fork

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga Recipe Variations

There are a few adjustments you can make to this chicken tinga recipe based on your preferences. First, we’ll remind you that this is a spicy dish! If you are wary of spice, you can decrease the amount of chipotles in adobo. Alternatively, you can use regular canned tomatoes instead of fire-roasted as some of the sweetness will counteract the smoky spice of the chipotles.

Next, you can choose not to blend the sauce if you’d like to simplify this recipe – or if you prefer chunks of tomato and onion in your chicken tinga. (We prefer to blend our tinga sauce for a smoother consistency and an evenly spicy flavor throughout). Just make sure to adjust a few things if you’re skipping the blender:

  1. Chop up the chipotles in adobo before adding to the slow cooker.
  2. Thinly slice or dice the onion, depending on preference (authentic chicken tinga traditionally has slices of onion in it).
  3. Stir together the tomatoes, chipotles, onion, and seasonings in the slow cooker before adding the chicken.

Why Make Chicken Tinga In A Slow Cooker?

This is the best chicken tinga recipe, all thanks to our trusty slow cooker! Cooking chicken tinga in a slow cooker really helps ensure the chicken is super tender. Plus, hands-off cooking in a crock pot means you can set it and forget it until dinnertime. That’s why slow cooker chicken tinga is the perfect recipe for easy big batch meal prep, family dinners, and feeding a crowd. It’s basically no prep, no effort, and no hassle in exchange for a delicious main protein you can use in tons of Mexican dishes. Who wouldn’t love that?

A serving dish of slow cooker chicken tinga

Try the recipe below and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share! If you love it, let us know – and come back on Friday to try our recipe for authentic chicken tinga tostadas.


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4 from 3 votes

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

Slow cooker chicken tinga is the best easy meal prep recipe for flavorful Mexican dinners. Use it for tostadas, tacos, quesadillas, and more!
Servings 2 pounds
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz canned fire roasted tomatoes diced or crushed
  • 3.5 oz canned chipotles in adobo
  • ½ medium white onion chopped
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 lb chicken breast

Instructions

  • Add canned tomatoes, chipotles in adobo, chopped onion, minced garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, and salt to a blender. Blend on medium speed until fairly smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Pour the contents of the blender into a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken breast, fully submerging it in the sauce.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is about 160 degrees F.
  • Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred. Return shredded chicken to the slow cooker, cover, and continue cooking on LOW for another 30 minutes to 1 hour to let it soak up the sauce.
  • Serve hot on tostadas or in tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or burritos. Alternatively, let cool and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

Variations: There are a few adjustments you can make to alter this recipe for your personal preference. First, this recipe is spicy! If you want to cut back on the heat, simply halve the amount of chipotles in adobo. Or, use regular canned tomatoes instead of fire-roasted if you prefer. Second, you can skip blending the sauce if you like a chunkier chicken tinga. Just make sure to chop up the chipotles in adobo, and thinly slice or dice the onion before adding to the slow cooker.
Serving suggestions: Chicken tinga goes great in plenty of Mexican dishes! We love to use it for tostadas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, salads, and burrito bowls, just to name a few. Check out our easy chicken tinga tostadas recipe here.
Storing and reheating: Chicken tinga will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days in an air-tight container. To use it in your favorite Mexican dishes, simply reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute or serve cold on top of a salad or burrito bowl. 
Scaling: This recipe scales easily, but you’ll want to make sure you have a large enough slow cooker! A 4-quart crock pot is about perfect for 2 pounds of chicken.
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 610kcal
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: big batch, chicken breast, chipotles in adobo, crockpot, fire roasted tomatoes, meal prep, onion, slow cooker

Nutrition

Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 98g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 290mg | Sodium: 1753mg | Potassium: 1734mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3422IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 4mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Nancy Alloway says:

    Chicken Tinga in the crockpot! Looking forward to trying it for lunch tomorrow when my youngest son is visiting!

    1. Nicole Author says:

      Exciting! We hope you love it 🙂

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