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Chicken Tinga – Instant Pot

4.86 from 7 votes

Tender, juicy, and packed with flavor, I’ve given this Chicken Tinga Instant Pot recipe a makeover. With bigger, bolder flavors and just the right amount of sauce, this classic dish goes so well in tacos, on nachos, in quesadillas, or just next to your favorite Southwestern-inspired sides. Dust off your Instant Pot and let’s get cooking this traditional Mexican dish!

chicken tinga instant pot in a serving dish

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Instant Pot chicken recipes cook up so fast, and with flavor infused in every bite, I love how I can get cooked-all-day flavor in a fraction of the time.

This easy peasy recipe is so flavorful and so versatile that you’ll be making it again and again. I always have enough leftover for a second meal, and it freezes beautifully so pop those leftovers into the freezer for a quick weeknight meal.

Ready to get started? This is what you’ll need to make Chicken Tinga in the Instant Pot.

What you’ll love about this recipe


  • It’s easy and packed with flavor
  • Leftovers freeze fabulously making this a great pick for meal prepping
  • It’s versatile! See below for all my suggestions

Ingredients To Make Chicken Tinga – Instant Pot

  • Cooking oil – I use olive oil
  • Onion – fresh yellow onion works best
  • Garlic – use fresh garlic cloves in this recipe
  • Diced tomatoes – canned are fine
  • Chipotle powder – this is dried and ground chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos)
  • Tomato paste
  • Ground cumin
  • Chicken broth
  • Chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper

Tools You’ll Need to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

How To Make This Easy Chicken Tinga Recipe

For a full list of ingredients and instructions to make this easy Instant Pot Chicken Tinga recipe, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

  1. Set the Instant Pot to saute. 20 minutes is plenty of time.
  2. Sautee the diced yellow onion and garlic in the oil, until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the sauteed onion and garlic to a food processor along with the diced tomatoes and pulse until it is well blended. Alternatively, add the diced tomatoes to the Instant Pot and use an immersion blender to puree the tomatoes and onions.
  4. Add the chipotle powder, tomato paste, cumin, and chicken broth to the Instant Pot with the tomato-onion mixture. Mix well to combine.
  5. Add the trivet to the instant pot and season the chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Set the chicken breasts on the trivet.
  6. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure: High for 15 minutes. Seal the lid and press start.
  7. Manually release the pot and remove the chicken to shred it. Using two forks or my favorite shredding claws make short work of this.
  8. Remove the trivet from the IP and set the IP to Sautee: High, 10 minutes. Let the sauce come to a simmer and simmer it for 3-4 minutes or until it has reduced by a bit and concentrated the flavors. Adjust the seasoning and mix the chicken back into the sauce.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

How To Use the Trivet In the Instant Pot

I LOVE using the trivet in the Instant Pot, and because I use it so much, I’ve never had a burn warning or burned anything.

The trivet, or steamer basket, is just like a metal shelf that goes into the IP. It sits about an inch off the bottom of the IP so that ingredients can cook without resting on the bottom of the IP.

I use it in dishes like this Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, or whenever I have small dishes that I want to cook inside the IP.

It’s a very handy tool! Just drop it into the bottom of the IP and make sure that the handles are sticking upright. That’s it!

a closeup of chicken tinga instant pot in a serving dish

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • I used boneless skinless chicken breast in this recipe. You can use skin-on but your sauce will be fattier. If you use bone-in, make sure to remove all the bones while shredding.
  • If your sauce is really runny (some chicken gives off more liquid) keep reducing it until it has thickened up some.
  • Use chicken thighs instead of breasts, but reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
  • Frozen chicken breast will work but add about 10 minutes of cooking time and check to see that they’re cooked (165-F internally) before shredding.

How To Serve This Chicken Tinga Instant Pot Recipe

We love serving this low-carb Chicken Tinga recipe in tacos topped with lettuce and cheese. Or, serve it on tostadas, in quesadillas, on top of nachos, or in a big burrito or burrito bowls.

You can also just eat this tasty dish like it is, topped with avocado slices, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro. Or, pair it with sides like Baked Spanish Rice or Texas Corn Succotash.

Can You Freeze Chicken Tinga?

You bet! I use a vacuum sealer to seal portions of this. They will keep forever in the freezer (at least up to a year) without freezer burn. Just make sure to freeze some of that yummy sauce along with the shredded chicken!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chicken tinga spicy?

This recipe is about a low to medium level of spice. You can adjust the seasoning up or down, buy increasing or decreasing the amount of chipotle powder you use.

Is chicken tinga dairy-free?

Yes! Chicken Tinga is dairy-free, and this is also a gluten-free Chicken Tinga Recipe. Not only that, but this Chicken Tinga is keto, too!

What to do with Chicken Tinga?

Put it in enchiladas, burritos, or make chicken tinga tacos topped with cotija cheese, or serve it on nachos. We also just like eating it by the forkful! You could also make chicken tinga empanadas with this recipe. Yum!

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Step By Step Process

chicken tinga instant pot recipe in a serving bowl
Print Pin
4.86 from 7 votes

Chicken Tinga – Instant Pot

Tender and packed with big and bold Southwestern flavors, Chicken Tinga is a classic recipe that turns our perfectly every time.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword chicken, chicken recipes, chicken tinga, chicken tinga instant pot, instant pot, instant pot chicken recipe, tex-mex
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 179kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken breast boneless, skinless
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Set the Instant Pot to Saute: High. 20 minutes is plenty of time.
  • Sautee the diced yellow onion and garlic in the oil, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the sauteed onion and garlic to a food processor along with the diced tomatoes and pulse until it is well blended. Alternatively, add the diced tomatoes to the Instant Pot and use an imersion blender to puree the tomatoes and onions.
  • Add the chipotle powder, tomato paste, cumin, and chicken broth to the Instant Pot with the tomato-onion mixture. Mix well to combine.
  • Add the trivet to the instant pot and season the chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Set the chicken breasts on the trivet.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Pressure: High for 15 minutes. Seal the lid and press start.
  • Manually release the pot and remove the chicken to shred it. Using two forks or my favorite shredding claws make short work of this.
  • Remove the trivet from the IP and set the IP to Sautee: High, 10 minutes. Let the sauce come to a simmer and simmer it for 3-4 minutes or until it has reduced by a bit and concentrated the flavors. Adjust the seasoning and mix the chicken back into the sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • I used boneless skinless chicken breast in this recipe. You can use skin-on but your sauce will be fattier. If you use bone-in, make sure to remove all the bones while shredding.
  • If your sauce is really runny (some chicken gives off more liquid) keep reducing it until it has thickened up some.
  • Use chicken thighs instead of breasts, but reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
  • Frozen chicken breasts will work but add about 10 minutes of cooking time and check to see that they’re cooked (165-F internally) before shredding.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 626mg | Potassium: 552mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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By Chef Jenn