Chicken Tinga Tacos with Salsa Fresca

Bone-in chicken is simmered with fragrant spices, tomatoes and chipotle chiles for a deeply flavorful taco filling. Both the filling and the salsa hold up well in the refrigerator and make great leftovers for lunch the next day.
Dutch Oven Cooked Chicken Tinga Tacos

Chicken Tinga Tacos with Salsa Fresca

Native to Mexico, tomatillos have a dry, lantern-shaped husk (which should be removed prior to eating) covering their bright, tangy green fruit. They can be consumed raw or cooked – as they are here for the taco filling sauce – and are a good source of vitamin K, which helps support strong bones as well as cognitive and heart health.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8Servings


  • 2½ lb (3 large) bone-in, skinless chicken breasts

  • ¾ tsp sea salt, divided

  • ½ tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander and oregano flakes

  • ¼ tsp each smoked paprika and ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp safflower oil

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped

  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced, divided

  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

  • 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, with juices

  • 2 tomatillos, husks removed, diced

  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

  • 6 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 16 4-inch corn tortillas

  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch mixed with 1 tbsp water

  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Step 1

Step 1: Chicken Tinga Tacos

Step 1: Season chicken and cook until browned

Arrange racks in lower half of oven; preheat oven to 350ºF. Dust chicken with ½ tsp salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika and black pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a medium (3.5 quart) Dutch oven on medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken, flesh side down, and cook, flipping halfway, for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned. Transfer chicken to a plate. Reduce heat of burner to medium. 

Step 2

Step 2: Chicken Tinga Tacos

Step 2: Roast chicken and vegetables..

Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add half of garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in chipotle peppers with adobo. Add broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add diced tomatoes, tomatillos and 1 tbsp lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Return chicken to pot, pressing to submerge. Cover and transfer to oven; roast until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, 30 to 40 minutes.

Step 3

Step 3: Chicken Tinga Tacos

Step 3: Assemble the salsa

Meanwhile, assemble salsa: In a small bowl, combine Roma tomatoes, 2 tbsp cilantro and remaining 1 tbsp lime juice, half of garlic and ¼ tsp salt. Toss to coat and set aside.

Step 4

Step 4: Chicken Tinga Tacos

Step 4: Shred chicken meat with forks

Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken, discard bone and shred meat with 2 forks. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. Bring sauce to a simmer then add tapioca mixture; simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until thickened slightly. Return chicken to pot and toss to combine. Stir in remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Serve chicken with tortillas, lettuce, cheese and salsa.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 2 tacos
  • Calories: 283
  • Carbohydrate Content: 16 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 95 mg
  • Fat Content: 10 g
  • Fiber Content: 3 g
  • Protein Content: 31 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 4 g
  • Sodium Content: 359 mg
  • Sugar Content: 3 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content: 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content: 2 g