This Authentic Instant Pot Chicken Tinga recipe is a flavor-packed delight! Bone-in chicken cooked with a vibrant combination of spices results in a delicious chicken filling that you can use to make chicken tinga tacos, tostadas, chalupas, burritos, nachos, enchiladas, or a chicken tinga rice bowl or burrito bowl. Add your choice of toppings including queso fresco, salsa, guacamole, onions, and cilantro!
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So what is chicken tinga? Chicken Tinga is an authentic recipe (known as tinga de pollo) that comes from the state of Puebla in Mexico, which is best known for mole. Chicken Tinga is a shredded chicken recipe that’s cooked with smoky chipotle peppers, spices, onions, and tomatoes.
This Instant Pot chipotle chicken recipe can be made with pork or beef too. Serve the chipotle flavored meat in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, on a tostada or nachos, or as part of a rice bowl.
My two favorites are chicken tinga and pork tinga. When I make Instant Pot pork tinga, I fry up some chorizo to combine with the pork – it’s pretty delicious! But today’s recipe is for Instant Pot Chicken Tinga.
I love the burrito bowls you get at the Chipotle restaurant chain and this chicken tinga recipe is perfect to make those. Burrito bowls are a great entertaining idea. Make the Instant Pot chicken tinga a day ahead, which allows the chicken to become even more flavorful.
Tips and Substitutions
Pressure Cooking Time
Pressure cooking time for the chicken thighs or drumsticks can vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces. For larger pieces, you may need to increase cooking time by 1 or 2 additional minutes.
I highly recommend using bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks. But if you decide to use boneless chicken thighs, pressure cook them for about 8 to 9 minutes.
I like to add brown sugar in this recipe because it balances out the flavors: salty, sour, spicy, and sweet flavors make a perfect combination. Feel free to omit the sugar.
For many years I’d been buying cans of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce, and I would freeze the leftover chilies for later use. But now I’ve discovered Diced Chipotle Peppers which come in a glass jar. It’s very convenient and easy to use and keeps in the fridge for a long time. That’s what I use in this recipe.
Garlic Sauce / White Sauce
I have a secret sauce that I’ve concocted that I use for all kinds of recipes including Middle Eastern and Mexican. It keeps in the fridge really well. I love using it on tacos and rice bowls!
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or whole milk yogurt
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/8 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper chopped finely (optional)
Making the Marinade
You could skip the blending and chop up the ingredients very finely, but I find that blending the ingredients delivers the best flavors.
Reducing the Sauce
Reducing the sauce and sauteing the chicken adds a lot of flavor to the Instant Pot Chicken Tinga. I suggest using a splatter screen when you reduce the sauce because there will be a lot of bubbling up while the liquid evaporates.
Sauteing the Chicken
Although sauteing the shredded chicken is optional, I do recommend doing this step. You can do it in a frying pan or in the oven under a broiler. I love the crispy bits and caramelization!
Substituting Pork or Beef
This recipe can also be made with Pork or Beef. Here are the cooking times for 3 lbs. of meat cut into 3 large chunks:
How to Serve
This recipe would be perfect for a taco bar if you’re entertaining. It’s easy to pressure cook the chicken ahead of time and saute on the day of your party. You can offer alternate options and serve Instant Pot Carne Asada and/or Instant Pot Pork Carnitas as fillings.
Toppings for the Instant Pot Chicken Tinga include:
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, you might find it helpful to first read one of the following guides and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
- Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO NOVA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO GOURMET Beginner’s Manual
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga – Ingredients
- Brown sugar (optional)
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tinga (Step by Step Instructions)
- Make the marinade.
- Add chicken and marinade to the inner pot.
- Pressure cook.
- Release pressure.
- Reduce to thicken.
- Shred the chicken.
- Saute the chicken.
Make the Marinade
- Add onions, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, chipotle chiles, oregano, marjoram, salt, thyme, cumin, and brown sugar to a blender jar.
- Blend until it forms a smooth paste.
Add Chicken and Marinade to Inner Pot
- Add broth, chicken, and blended sauce to the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Stir to combine.
Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cook 12 minutes
- Close the lid and make sure the steam release handle is in the Sealing position.
- Press Manual (or Pressure Cook) and + or – until the display reads 12 (12 minutes).
Instant Pot Ultra Pressure Cook 12 minutes
- Close the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 12 minutes (00:12).
- Press Start.
Pressure Cooking Process (Duo and Ultra)
- Instant Pot display will change to On.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down to 0; it will then switch to Keep Warm mode and display L0:00 or 00 00 and begin to count up the number of minutes since pressure cooking completed.
How to Naturally Release Pressure (NPR) on the DUO and ULTRA
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR). The float valve will be in the down position. This may take 15 to 30 minutes. [Find out more about the pressure release methods and how and when to use them. ]
- Press Cancel and open the Instant Pot.
* If you wish, you can release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.
Reduce to Thicken
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken from the inner pot into a large bowl and set aside.
- Select Saute mode and reduce the sauce until thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To prevent splatter from the bubbling sauce, use a splatter screen to protect your countertops.
Shred the Chicken
- Shred the chicken using two forks.
- Add in desired quantity of sauce, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
- Mix the chicken and sauce.
Saute the Chicken
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil.
- Spread out the shredded chicken on the frying pan and add more sauce if desired.
- Saute the chicken until brown bits form on the bottom, stirring gently occasionally.
- Serve in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, on nachos or as part of a rice bowl with any of the toppings described in the tips section above.
Best Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
- 1 1/2 cup onions – coarsely chopped
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes – 14.5 oz
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp garlic – coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce – chopped (more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 1/2 tsp salt – or to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken thighs or drumsticks – bone-in skinless
- 2 tsp vegetable oil – if using
- Combine onions, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, chipotle chiles, oregano, marjoram, salt, thyme, cumin, and brown sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Combine chicken broth, chicken, and blended sauce in the inner pot.
- Close the lid and pressure cook on High Pressure for 12 minutes.
- Do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR). If you're short on time, you can do a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release (NPR 15). [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods]
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken from the inner pot into a large bowl and reserve.
- Select Saute mode and reduce the sauce until thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring intermittently. To prevent splatter from the bubbling sauce, use a splatter screen to protect your countertops.
- Shred the reserved chicken using a meat shredder or two forks. Add in desired quantity of sauce (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) and stir together the chicken and sauce.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. *
- Spread out the shredded chicken on the frying pan without overcrowding. Add more sauce if desired.
- Saute the chicken until brown bits form on the bottom, stirring gently occasionally. Add more sauce as needed.
- Transfer chicken to a serving bowl.
- Serve with tortillas, rice or salad and your choice of toppings.
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. skinned chicken, chopped onions, minced garlic, etc.
- * sauteing of chicken is optional, but I recommend it!
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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