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Taco Tuesday got a whole lot more exciting! You will love this slow cooker chicken tinga recipe, made with juicy chicken thighs and spicy chipotle peppers!

slow cooker chicken tinga

An easy win dinner? Yes please. I’ve got a few great recipes coming at you over the next few weeks that I hope will make your weekday life a little easier! 

How was the weekend? 

My Mom was in town for a few days and the kids loved having Oma around. Hattie spent 85% of the time following around my Mom’s dog and exclaiming “DOG”! Like thanks Hattie, we hadn’t noticed. Hah!

We made the most delicious salmon on Saturday night and yesterday cooked up a pork tenderloin. This week I’ve got this slow cooker chicken tinga on the menu for a great use of the chicken thighs I’ve got in the freezer!

If you’ve had Mexican shredded chicken before, you’ll know what to expect with this one.

What do you need for Mexican chicken tinga?

While you could certainly use chicken breasts, I find chicken thighs to be SO much more flavorful and juicy. For this recipe I’d buy boneless, skinless thighs, along with:

  • diced tomatoes
  • diced onion
  • chipotle peppers (adjust the amount based on how much spice you want)
  • tomato paste 
  • tomato sauce
  • chicken stock
  • garlic
  • spices (oregano, chili powder, paprika, pepper)

Is this a dump-and-go slow cooker recipe?

Basically, yes, BUT I like to brown the chicken thighs first in oil before adding them to the crockpot. Browning the chicken adds extra flavor to the end product! Once the chicken is browned and the onion and garlic is sautéed, you will need to whip up the Mexican tinga sauce in a food processor or blender, then add it into the slow cooker, on top of the chicken.

Now, the GO part. Set it and forget it! Dinner will be ready for you in 5-6 hours. You can cook it longer, on low, for up to 8 hours as well if you’re setting this before you jet off to work.

The hardest part of this whole recipe is not making yourself full before you actually serve the dinner…I can’t resist shoving forkfuls of this flavorful chicken into my mouth as I shred it apart!

slow cooker chicken tinga

What do you serve with this Mexican chicken tinga recipe?

You can serve Mexican shredded chicken over rice, or even cauliflower rice to keep it low carb. Our favorite way of eating it is in taco form! We top them with cilantro, feta cheese, lime and avocado. So, so good!! 

If you’re using corn or flour tortillas, wrap them in foil and heat them in the oven on low before serving. Nothing like a warm taco after a long day!!

How spicy is this shredded chicken?

The nice part about this recipe is that you can totally customize the spiciness depending on your level of tolerance! If you like it quite spicy, I would recommend 2-3 chipotle peppers in the tinga sauce, and maybe an extra dash of chili powder. If you like to keep things on the more mild side, keep the chipotle peppers at 1!

I hope you’ll add this chicken tinga to your weeknight meal plan! You won’t regret it!

slow cooker chicken tinga

slow cooker chicken tinga

For some other easy family dinner recipes, check out:

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slow cooker chicken tinga

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga


  • Author: Katherine | Love In My Oven
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x

Description

Taco Tuesday got a whole lot more exciting! You will love this slow cooker chicken tinga recipe, made with juicy chicken thighs and spicy chipotle peppers!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
  • 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 13 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • optional: flour tortillas, avocado, cilantro, feta, lime for serving

Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to a medium frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat (or use your slow cooker insert, if possible). After a few minutes, add the diced onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and fry for an additional minute, then add the chicken thighs. Brown the chicken thighs on one side for 4-5 minutes before turning and browning on the other side for the same amount of time. Scrape everything into the slow cooker, or if using the insert, place the insert back into the base. Add the diced tomatoes.
  2. In a food processor or high powered blender, combine the remaining ingredients and blend on high until pureed and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture in the slow cooker, and give everything a stir. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 6-7 hours (or 3-4 on high).
  3. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, and using two forks, shred it into long strands, returning it to the slow cooker. Stir everything together and cook on low for an additional 10-15 minutes, then serve over rice, couscous, or quinoa with a bit of lime and feta; or, serve as chicken tinga tacos with warmed flour tortillas, feta and cilantro.

Leftover chicken tinga can be kept in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Notes

* You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe but the meat will not be as juicy.

**For a meat that’s mildly spicy, use 1 pepper. 3 peppers will be fairly spicy (that’s how we like it best)!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: mexican

Keywords: slow cooker chicken tinga // Mexican slow cooker chicken // chicken tinga taco recipe

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

About Katherine

Heeey! Thank you for stopping by! I like 30-minute dinners and giant peanut butter cups made with only 3 ingredients. I LOVE food! If you do too, you're in the right place.

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37 Comments

  1. its been a while i’ve been through this site and i love learing from your site every recipe has it own taste and this right here is a master piece really love that i used to make these going to try it out again thanks for such great recipe 🙂

  2. We love spicy chicken and usually make more than required to have for the next day office lunch for me. Your recipe guarantees no leftovers for me ! 🙂

  3. We cannot have enough easy, one pot chicken recipes. Better yet, Mexican recipes like this one packed with so much flavor. Looks so delicious Kathy:)

  4. Chicken tinga is one of my favorites and I’m loving your rendition of it!! So delicious! I love that you can just throw it all into the pot and peace out! Hello delicious warm dinner when I walk in the door!!

  5. Love this recipe, Katherine! Nothing better than fall-apart chicken thighs in a spicy sauce! I could eat it in any of those ways you mentioned, including on the way from the pot to the serving bowl! Ha!

    1. Hahah I have a hard time not just shuffling it into my mouth while I shred it apart! Thank you Laura!

  6. I just love any excuse to break out the slow cooker, and this chicken tinga is going on this week’s menu now. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Colleen!! I love the slow cooker too, I’ve been using it a lot lately!!

  7. LOVE chicken tinga. You’re bang-on about browning the meat too – it has a huge impact on the flavour of the final dish. I like to put some extra adobo sauce in too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m so glad you agree, Sean!! Such a big impact on the chicken’s flavor! Mmm love the idea of extra adobo too!

  8. This is so yummy! It’s definitely in rotation at my house now. Put it in lettuce wrap with cheddar cheese and even the hubby liked the “healthy” version. One question though.. was I supposed the put the adobo juice from the canned habanero into the mixture?

    1. Hi Dana!! I’m so happy to hear that. We really love this recipe too! You wouldn’t pour the juice in directly, no. Just take the peppers as they are from the can! 🙂 If you did pour in the juice it would really spice things up, if you wanted to!!