Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken

Hey, I’m a planner but this still happens to me! It’s 4:30 and I open the fridge to make dinner and *duh* I forgot to take out the chicken to thaw. The ravenous octogenarians (my folks, or maybe for you, it’s your kids; I’ve been there, too…) and are emitting hangry noises, circling like sharks ready for the kill. That’s when you need Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken.

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga


Seriously, you can take a frozen block of bone-in chicken (the bone adds so much flavor) right out of the freezer and have Mexican Shredded Chicken in about 15 minutes + the heat up and release. That heat up and release took about 14 minutes total. You’ll need just a few more minutes to shred the chicken into the flavorful sauce and dinner is on the table. Just FYI, you might have to microwave the chicken just a bit to get it off the package.

About Instant Pot Chicken Tinga:

This Instant Pot Chicken Tinga is not just any old last-minute toss in the pot chicken dinner that looks (and maybe tastes) like it. Instant Pot Chicken Tinga is a luscious tangle of seriously delish, slightly smoky, slightly spicy,  shredded chicken. It’s just about addictive and so very versatile.

You’ll find a zillion ways to use this Mexican Style Chicken. Instant Pot Chicken Tinga can be a building block for all the usual suspects. Tacos, hard or soft, tostadas, burritos, chimichangas or any other South of the border specialty you’d like to make. Maybe you want to stuff a sweet potato with it, or maybe even stuff a Chili Relleno like my Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Poblanos with Rajas Sauce?

Serve this with whatever sides you’d like. We had a little of my Restaurant Style Mexican Rice, a variety of Salsas, including this Mango Salsa and some Pickled Red Onion. Oh, and cheese, of course! Serving this with refried beans from this quickie How to Make Canned Refried Beans taste like a Restaurant’s, either as a side or as a part of a filling is another great way to stretch a little of the Instant Pot Chicken Tinga into a meal or two.

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga with Pickled Red Onion

Making Instant Pot Chicken Tinga:

I have a great recipe already for Chicken Tinga on my blog, Tinga de Pollo, pictured below, but I’m really loving this adaptation for the Instant Pot. In the spirit of getting dinner on the table in a flash, I’ve really streamlined the prep and cooking – but let that be our little secret because everyone will think you slaved over this!

This really is a great Instant Pot dump recipe. The only strange bit to watch out for is to measure the liquid in the Rotel and add water to make a cup. That way you have control over how much liquid to use in the recipe; while a little leftover liquid is gonna happen, just because it’s needed to cook in the IP, you don’t want too much. Keep the flavor concentrated by using just a cup total. Then use any extra when your Instant Pot Chicken Tinga is done in soup another day.

Tinga de Pollo Mexican shredded chicken, pollo deshrabo, pueblan chicken

Tinga de Pollo – on a Tostada – slather the sour creme or crema down first to hold the chicken

Saving Money on Instant Pot Chicken Tinga:

If you’re budget-minded, think about how you serve this. Tacos or tostadas go a lot further than a big ol’ honkin’ burrito, although any way this is served, it’s going to be delish. 🙂 You’re also going to have about a cup and a half of juices or so leftover. Those flavorful juices can make the start of a great Mexican based Soup. Check out my Menu of Soups, Chowders, and Chilis for some inspiration. Maybe you’d like to add it to a Tortilla Soup along with a smidge of the chicken.

Bone-In breasts can be a great value, especially if you’re interested in making soup or a dish like this, where the bones are adding flavor. I like to buy them at a low in a family pack and divide up into portions my family will use. If they’re at a great price, I buy a lot! See Dealing with Bone-In Breasts in a Frugal Manner. Buy your chicken when it hits a low, usually about once a quarter.

Always watch for sale prices on your Mexican ingredients; check for pantry ingredients like Rotel or the Chipotle Peppers around Cinco de Mayo and stock up. Toss any remaining chipotles and sauce in a Ziploc and label and freeze; they thaw very easily to use in the next dish.

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken


Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken

  • Author: Mollie
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: varies - about 3 1/2 cups of shredded chicken
  • Category: Main Dish Poultry
  • Cuisine: Mexican or Southwestern



Chicken & Broth:

  • abt 2 1/2 pounds bone in, skin on fresh or still frozen chicken breast.
  • 1 large onion, peeled & quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can Rotel, strained & juices reserved
  • 2 to 4 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • small pinch cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

For serving:

  • Tortillas
  • Cheese of choice
  • 1 lime, halved and quartered, Cilantro, Jalapeno, Salsa, Pickled Red Onion as desired for garnish


Chicken & Broth:

Strain Rotel and place the juices in a measuring cup. Add enough water to bring to one cup. Place the remaining Chicken & Broth ingredients, along with the Rotel and the cup of combined juices/water to the Instant Pot.

Seal Instant Pot and using the poultry setting, set for 10 minutes for fresh chicken, 17 minutes for frozen. When the time is up, allow Instant Pot to go to the warm setting for 10 minutes & then manually release any remaining pressure. Check the chicken for doneness. Depending on the size and shape of the chicken, the amount of cooking time may vary. If not completely cooked, bring pressure back up and cook for an additional three to five minutes.

Remove chicken from pot and allow to rest and cool until it can be handled. Strain the juices, reserving the juice and solids. Add the solids to a blender along with about a cup of the juices, or enough to get the blender going. (Save the remainder of the juices in case the final dish needs to be moistened a bit.) Place the blended juices back into the Instant Pot on Saute and heat until the sauce is reduced and thickened to about the consistency of a spaghetti sauce, three to four minutes. In the meantime, shred the chicken. Turn off the sauce, combine with the chicken.

When a spoon is run through the chicken mixture, it should be dry enough that it leaves a trail that doesn’t fill in immediately. If necessary, moisten a bit with the reserved juices or if too moist, simmer gently for a few more minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more of the Chipotle, vinegar, salt and/or spices if desired.

Serve with tortillas garnished as desired.

Note: You’ll likely end up with about a cup and a half of juices leftover. These make a great base, along with a little chicken broth for all kinds of Mexican or Southwestern leaning soup.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Chicken, Chicken Breast, chicken tinga, Chipotle, Freezes Well, Hot Peppers, Instant Pot, Mexican or Southwestern, tortillas

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I’ll be posting Instant Pot Chicken Tinga at Fiesta Friday. If you’re a food blogger, join in – Angie has a great group of bloggers joining her every week. If you’re just visiting, click on the link and see all the best of the Fiesta Friday food bloggers this week!

I’m proud to announce that I was featured with this recipe on Fiesta Friday!


24 thoughts on “Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #175 - Fiesta Friday

    • It was the 6 qt duo for me, because I wanted the yogurt maker – but if price were no obstacle, I’d probably get the one you can control with your phone…although who am I kidding, I can barely work the phone anyway, lol!

  2. All of this looks phenomenal!! I just had some chicken tinga tacos over the weekend and am now obsessed with the idea of making them at home. I love how colorful these are, too!

    • I love chicken tinga and feel the same way – they’re a little different everywhere so it’s always a fun surprise – and gives you a lot of latitude in tinkering with your own flavors. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Instant Pot Chicken Tinga, Mexican Style Shredded Chicken | My Meals are on Wheels

  4. Seriously Mollie– you come up with the most practical (and delicious) recipes! We do Mexican at least once a week and would love this! (but alas, no instapot) so I’ll have to look up your old school chicken tinga. Your parents are so lucky to benefit from your culinary explorations! Hope you’re having a great weekend– what’cha doing?? we have lots of family in for a couple bridal showers. take care! xo

  5. I may be one of the few people how doesn’t have an instant pot but I’m sure this would be good cooked low and slow on the stove top.

    • Karen, It would be just great.

      I’ve used a regular stove top pressure cooker for years, but I go back and forth from the parents, so it kind of made sense (and I do love to buy a kitchen gadget, lol) to buy one for the folk’s house. I’m glad a did, that chicken that I threw in the pot frozen came out so succulent and moist.

    • Oh, yes, it would be! I’m normally a big fan of prepping ahead…I’m helping out my Dad and Stepmom a lot, and she throws everything out. * sish* She’s 90, so she comes from a different era, I guess. 🙂

  6. I LOVE doing shredded chicken in situations just like you explained! People think boiling meat makes it tough (which it does)… but it you give it an insta pot or a long time on the burner it actually pushes past being tough and back into being tender! I actually don’t have an insta pot but just set it to boil and reduce forever in some chicken broth and season it once the liquids have cooked off.

    • The instant pot’s just a little different because I used it as a pressure cooker, but you’re so right. Sometimes when I have leftover chicken or whatever and I think it might be too tough or dry to serve I toss it on the stove with a little water or broth and cook it down till it’s all tender and juicy again.

      Great point about seasoning AFTER everything is reduced. 🙂

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