Chicken Tostadas Tinga with Potatoes features a traditional chicken tinga (tinga de pollo) on baked corn tortillas. I’ve provided several topping suggestions, but we love it (and keep it simple😊) with quick pickled onions, sliced avocado, and crumbled cotija cheese. The tinga takes about an hour to make, but it’s great for meal prep if you make a big batch!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – About Tinga de Pollo
If you’ve followed Beyond Mere Sustenance for awhile, you may be aware of my respect for Rick Bayless, arguably the premier American voice on Mexican cuisine. I have 2 of his many cookbooks, and follow him online. The inspiration for these tostadas tinga was Mexican Everyday and Authentic Mexican. The recipes were both for tinga stew, and while both specified pork, they varied in complexity, and method. I will always give credit where credit is due!
When I started working on a recipe for tostadas de tinga, I knew I wanted to do shredded chicken breast. Poaching chicken takes only about 20 minutes, but you can shortcut the chicken by using the breast of a rotisserie chicken. I have written the tinga recipe with time-saving suggestions for the chicken and the tomatoes. If you have the time, I highly recommend poaching the chicken and roasting the tomatoes. The caramelization of the tomatoes adds depth and complexity to the finished stew. See the Ingredients section for more information.
What is tinga?
Tinga is a traditional Mexican dish originating in the state of Puebla. There are many variations using chicken, pork, beef (and probably others), but they all typically include chipotles, tomatoes, and onion. It is not a tricky dish to make (similar to making beef stew), and can be served like stew with warm tortillas, or as a filling in tostadas, tacos, and burritos.
I typically make a good-sized batch for the two of us, and we get 3 healthy meals out of it. Sounds like a win, right? Let’s get cooking!
📋 Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- cooked chicken – If using for tostadas tinga or tinga tacos, shredded chicken works best. Rotisserie chicken is a great time saver. Shred the breast meat. If I’m cooking the chicken, I simply poach the chicken breasts about 15 minutes in water with aromatics (bay leaves, onion, thyme or marjoram, and Mexican oregano). I like to use my hand mixer to shred the chicken.
- tomatoes – I highly recommend roasting the tomatoes. The caramelization deepens their flavor. Roma tomatoes are super easy, but on photo day, I had these gorgeous vine ripened tomatoes. If you don’t want to mess with that, you can boil them for about a minute. Cool them, and slip off their skins. Alternatively, you can substitute 28 ounces of good fire-roasted tomatoes, and skip the step altogether.
- chipotle – Chipotle chiles are smoked jalapeños. In this preparation, we’re using canned chipotles in adobo. I specify 2 chipotles and 4 teaspoons of adobo. If you have crushed chipotles, 3 tablespoons is a good place to start unless you’re really not into any heat (or have littles).
- potatoes – Not all tinga recipes include potatoes. We like them a lot, and if you’re eating the tinga solo (or with a tortilla), the potatoes make it more substantial. I like Yukon gold or Texas gold potatoes, but use your preferred potatoes. A small dice makes them easier to handle in tostadas or tacos.
- chorizo – Chorizo is optional, but we love the depth of flavor it adds. Many versions do not include it. Choose a lean Mexican-style chorizo rather than the orange tube of chorizo that may have sketchy ingredients and a lot of fat. If you’re highly motivated, take a look at my healthy chorizo recipe.
- ground cumin
- Mexican oregano – If you don’t have it, substitute Mediterranean oregano (or omit it).
- water or chicken broth – If you poach your chicken, use the poaching liquid. If not, use chicken broth.
- corn tortillas – You can buy tostada shells if you prefer, but I bake or air fry them.
- toppings and garnishes – As shown in the photos, I suggest quick pickled onions, sliced avocadoes, and crumbled cotija. I garnished with sliced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges. Try avocado crema, queso fresco, shredded cabbage or lettuce, etc. Be creative!
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🔪 Tostadas Tinga Step-by-step Instructions
Make the Tinga
- This tinga recipe starts with cooked, shredded chicken. See FAQ below for recommendations.
- If you don’t want to mess with roasting the tomatoes, you can either boil them before peeling, or substitute a 28 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes. I roast them if I have time because caramelization deepens the flavor of the tinga!
- Prep the tomatoes – I follow the same procedure as the tomatillos in my salsa verde. I cut them in half lengthwise, and place them cut side up on the baking sheet. I was distracted and in a hurry on photo day, so the cut side is down🤪. (If the stem end is thick, I use a paring knife to cut it out.)
- Roast the tomatoes – Place the tomatoes in a hot oven until they’re wrinkly and have some browning. This takes about 30 minutes depending on size. If you’re really focused, you can speed up the process under the broiler. Allow them to cool before slipping off the skins.
- Cook the potatoes – Dice the potatoes, and cook in salted boiling water until almost tender. They finish in the stew. Rinse and drain. NOTE: A small dice makes the potatoes more manageable if serving the tinga on tostadas.
- Cook the chorizo – Cook the chorizo until it starts to brown. I like this meat masher to facilitate the process.
- Start the tinga – Add a tablespoon of oil to a good-sized skillet (I use my 12″ cast iron) over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until it begins to soften (about 1-2 minutes). Add the garlic, cumin, and Mexican oregano.
- Add the remaining ingredients – Add the prepared tomatoes, potatoes, chorizo, shredded chicken, chipotles and adobo, and broth or water. Stir to combine. Simmer 15-20 minutes to combine the flavors. Check for seasoning, and heat level. Adjust as desired.
- To serve – Using tongs to drain off excess liquid, place the tinga on crisp corn tortillas. Layer on the toppings and garnish as desired. Enjoy!
What’s the best way to make shredded chicken?
Do I have to poach the chicken?
Can I make the tinga in the slow cooker?
The easiest way to shred chicken is with a hand mixer. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl, then use a hand mixer on low speed to break the chicken into shreds. This hack is a complete timesaver, especially if you are making a larger amount.
Chipotles are smoked jalapeños, and thus have a moderate amount of heat. I can no longer handle super-spicy food. I like a medium heat level, and that is how I wrote the recipe. If you’re uncertain, it is easy to stir in some additional chipotle and/or its adobo.
I use one 12″ cast iron skillet to cook the chorizo (remove it), and then cook the tinga in it. I’m always looking for ways to reduce the amount of dirty dishes! You’ll still have a sheet pan if you do the roasted tomatoes, and a small saucepan for the potatoes.
Chicken tinga stores very well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and in the freezer up to 3 months.
Chicken tinga is very versatile. You can serve it as a stew, in a taco, on a tostada, or rolled up in a burrito. I enthusiastically recommend making a large batch, and freezing some for another meal or two!
Chicken Tostadas Tinga
- meat masher to break up the chorizo
- 1.25 pounds cooked and shredded chicken - see Post for more information
- 1.5 pounds tomatoes - see Ingredients in post
- 4 ounces lean Mexican chorizo
- ¾ pound potatoes - small dice; 2 teaspoons salt to cook
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil - any variety is fine.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3 cloves garlic - minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo - sliced thin
- 4 teaspoons adobo
- 1 cup poaching liquid or broth - or more if dry
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- crisp corn tortillas - pre-made, baked, or fried
- chicken tinga
- quick pickled onions
- Cook the chicken if you need to. See Post for more information.
- If you're roasting tomatoes, preheat oven to 425°. Cut them in half lengthwise. Place cut side up, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until they have some nice browning. Cool, then slip off the skins.
- While the tomatoes roast, boil the potatoes. Don't cook them until they're completely tender, but al dente. Drain them.
- Cook the chorizo until you see some browning. It doesn't have to be completely cooked. Drain any fat. Remove from the skillet.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to a good-sized skillet (I use my 12" cast iron). Sauté the onion until it begins to soften. Add the ground cumin, Mexican oregano, and garlic. Sauté another minute or so.
- When the tomatoes and potatoes are done, add tomatoes, potatoes, shredded chicken, broth or poaching liquid, chipotles and adobo, salt and pepper to the skillet with the aromatics. Stir to combine, breaking up the tomatoes a bit. Simmer about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Check for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
- Top the crispy corn tortillas with chicken tinga and desired toppings. Garnish and enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.