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.
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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