Chicken Tinga is a common filling in Mexican cooking. It is savory shredded chicken that has been cooked in a smoky chipotle sauce. I have developed my own version of Instant Pot Chicken Tinga that can be prepared in an hour.
Chicken Tinga is surprisingly easy to make. The Instant Pot can be used as a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. With a pressure cooker the entire dish, start to finish, can be done in an hour. Of course, a slow cooker takes longer but you can set it in the morning and have it done when you come home in the evening.
The key ingredient in chicken tinga is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These commonly come in 7-ounce cans. Many years ago, when I was first making Mexican cuisine I used a recipe that called for 3 canned chipotle peppers. I misread that as 3 cans! However, while it came out quite spicy, it was edible.
I mention this because I use one whole can of chipotle peppers. I see many recipes call for much less. The chicken is cooking in the sauce and will absorb much of its flavors. However, you can also serve the sauce on the side. What I do after shredding the chicken is pour a small amount into the chicken and serve the rest of the sauce on the side.
It only takes 15 minutes on high pressure for the chicken to cook. If it is frozen you only need to add another 5 minutes. However, I have learned to add a half hour to that time for the Instant Pot to build and release pressure.
Chicken Tinga seems to be most commonly associated with tostadas. A tostada is basically a fried corn tortilla (tostada means toasted). I basically describe it as a large corn chip. Usually, you layer some refried beans, top with the chicken tinga and add other toppings such as lettuce, cheese, avocado, sour cream etc.
When I serve my Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, I also serve flour tortillas. This gives my guests the option of making a burrito or a tostada.
I have even prepared my Instant Pot Refried Beans to go with this. Assuming you don’t have two Instant Pots, you can either prepare them the day ahead and refrigerate or simply cook them first and clean out the pot.
I also use Chicken Tinga as a filling for my homemade tamales. Just note that making tamales is not a simple process. The best way to make tamales is freeze a batch of meats including Chicken Tinga and shredded beef (Barbacoa).
Shredded Mexican Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
This is a recipe for shredded chicken, also known as chicken tinga. It is easy to make in the Instant Pot. It provides a great filling for many Mexican dishes including burritos, tacos, enchiladas and tamales.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 onion diced
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 10.5 ounce can Rotel Diced tomatoes
- 1 7 ounce can chipotle adobo in sauce
- 1 cup water
Heat oil in skillet or Instant Pot on sauté setting. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown on both sides. About 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano to Instant Pot. Sauté until onion softens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add water, diced tomatoes and chipotle with sauce. Add chicken.
Set Instant Pot on high pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Let natural release for 5 minutes , then use instant manual release. Remove chicken to plate and let cool. Turn Instant Pot onto sauté. If you like you can use an immersion blender to combine sauce. Let sauce cook for about 10 minutes until thickened. Adjust for salt if needed.
While sauce cooks shred chicken using two forks. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken. Stir and serve as a filling for tostados, tacos or burritos.