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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes

Pati Jinich

Tinga de pollo
Makes about 5 cups (serves 4-6)

3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
1/2 white onion, slivered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 Roma tomatoes, or 2 lbs, rinsed
2 tomatillos, or 1/4 lb, husked and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 whole chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional
5 cups cooked shredded chicken

To Serve (quantities as desired):
Corn tostadas, store bought or home made
Refried beans
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Queso fresco or cotija, crumbled
Mexican avocado slices

Place tomatoes and tomatillos in a medium saucepan, cover with water. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes and tomatillos are soft, thoroughly cooked and mushy but not falling apart.

Remove tomatoes and tomatillos with a slotted spoon, and place them in the jar of a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat; once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the onion and garlic mixture becomes fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Pour the tomato/tomatillo sauce on top and add the oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, black pepper and the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (if you want more heat add an entire chipotle chile in adobo sauce). Let it simmer, stirring now and then, until it seasons and deepens to a deep red color, about 10 to 12 minutes. You may want to partially cover the pan as the sauce will want to jump out onto your burners.

Add the shredded chicken and combine it with the sauce. Let it cook, occasionally stirring, until the chicken has absorbed almost all of the juices and the mixture is moist but not juicy.

To assemble the Tostadas: Spread refried beans on a tostada, add the chicken tinga mixture, top with shredded lettuce, avocado slices, crumbled cheese and, if you want some, cream too. You may also serve with salsa verde on the side.


Thanks for another great recipe! I have a hard time finding authentic Mexican recipes. I may have to buy your cookbook! Muchos Gracias!

Hi Pati, I been wanting to make Tinga using your recipe, but I haven’t been able to get marjoram. I live in Compton, CA, and being in So.Cal. I’d think I’d find some. Do you know if I could replace marjoram with another herb?

Hi Susan, You can substitute oregano — it’s very similar to marjoram!!

Great recipes…I absolutely love watching the show and eating the food. Thanks

Love the authentic mexican recipes on your show ! For purposes of a busy life, can you substitute canned, diced tomatoes for this recipe instead of boiling your own ? If so, what quantity ?

Hi Dawn, Of course, you can substitute canned tomatoes! You should also be able to find canned tomatillos in the international section of your grocery store. I would use a 28 oz can of tomatoes and half of an 8 oz can of tomatillos. Thank you so much for watching the show!!

You and your show are so much fun! My wife and I like to spend quality time together making meals I’ve seen on your show (It’s only on T.V. at 2 am which is too late for my wife). We made the chicken tinga for Christmas dinner at our house this year and everyone loved it! I love your enthusiasm and also loved the show you did with your sister. Thank you Pati and I hope you can make it to Wisconsin for your book tour this spring. We’d love to have you!

Thank you so much, Michael! Plans for my book tour are still shaping up. Check my website for updates!!

I just saw your show for the first time today and I really enjoyed it! Especially the parts showing the pottery in Pueblo, I believe. I can’t wait to try the Chicken Tinga.

Barbara, Thank you so much for writing!! I’m glad you found the show!

This recipe is outstanding. I didn’t have the marjoram but I’m not sure I missed it? It’s soo incredible and full of flavor. First time I’ve ever used tomatillos and I LOVE them! Next…chicken ala trash!

Ohh, thank you so much!! Tomatillos are so lovely, aren’t they?

Pati thank you for showing us how to cook nopales in a way that gets rid of all that slime. I like your recepies specially the Creamy Poblano Soup is delicious

Thank you, Elsa!

Hi Pati, I would love to try Chicken Tinga! My daughter is a vegetarian, what could I substitute for the chicken?

Any vegetable of your choice!!! Pottaoes or zucchini sound good to me… Green beans too!

Hey Pati –

Wow! This is a wonderful recipe, thanks for sharing. My girls really enjoyed the taste as did I. I loved the smokey flavor of the chipotle chile with the freshness of the tomato/tomatillo based sauce. I will be making this again…….and again……and again.

P.S. Love your show!!!


Hi Mark, I’m glad to hear everyone is enjoying the tinga! Thank you for trying it.

Hola Pati! just wanted to let you know, that I made this recipe for new years eve. It was a success!!! My husband and little girl love it, and when I say, love it, is more like LOVE IT!!! Just make this today again. I have some left overs and tomorrow will be making quesadillas with it. I remember that in the show you said it could be used in quesadillas too. Thanks for this recipe.

I’m glad everyone is enjoying it, Lorena!! Yes, try it in quesadillas. It is such a versatile recipe!!

Hello Pati,

Thank you for showing us how to make the Chicken Tinga dish. When I put this mixture onto a tortilla chip, it reminds me of Chicken Chilaquiles. Where did the name Chicken Tinga come from and what does it mean? Thanks.


Thank you for this delicious recipe. Every year my family goes to a Latin American Festival and head straight for the stall that sells tinga. Now it doesn’t have to be a once a year treat! This was so easy and so delicious. You are wonderful!

Thank you, Melanie! I’m glad you found this recipe. Tinga is a staple in my house. 😉

Can some one help me I had found a recipe for Chilaquilles and now can not find it , it is made with tomatillos Thank you

I just made your Chicken Tinga and will have it for dinner for the next few nights. Its delicious!! Thank you for such easy and interesting recipes, Pai.

So glad you liked it Jilly!! It is my pleasure.

Hi Pati, loving your recipes.. One question, where i live in Brazil it is impossible to get Chipotles, fresh, dried or in adobo sauce.. No jalapenos here either.. Will this recipe be ok without the chipotle and the adobo sauce? or what can i possible do to substitute?


Yes of course it will work! The Chipotles are traditionally used and give a great flavor to the dish, but if you can’t find them that shouldn’t stop you. Are there any chiles that you can find? even in powder or maybe red pepper flakes?

Yes i can find some normal red chilis (not sure what they are called, they are more like a Thai Chili) and Habaneros i can get sometimes, but they almost killed me last time i ate them :)

Pati, just to add, i just found Tobasco Chipotle sauce here at a market.. that should work fine i’d guess :)

Hi! Can you tell me where to buy the large, red pan you used for this recipe? Thanks!

Hola Mat, The pan is made by Bialetti. Thank you for watching the show!

I couldn’t find any of the tomatillos, fresh or otherwise in my local store. I was wondering if I could use jarred salsa verde as a substitute or would the flavor not be the same?

If you can’t find the tomatillos, you can skip them: tinga will still be delicious. Whenever you find tomatillos, add them on!

Hola, hice la receta de tinga de pollo y me quedo, mmm deliciosa; a mi familia le encanto. Gracias Pati ♥

Gracias, Rosa!

Hi Patti. I am making chicken tinga tonight, again, and can’t wait to eat. This is SO good. My daughters BF, Carlos, loves this a lot too. Imagine that. Here in Seattle we have lots of Mexican stores and I love to shop at them and find goodies that I see you use on your show. I am thinking about visiting Oaxoca this winter too! Cheers

Hi Scott, Thanks for you message! I’m glad you like the chicken tinga; we eat it almost every week in my house! Hope you make it to Oaxaca!!

Made the Chicken Tinga recipe and loved, loved, loved it – so did my husband, my sister and several friends. Please include more recipes like this – absolutely wonderful.

Hola Pati,

Gracias por la receta, it’s deeelissshhh!! My husband loved it

Never saw your show, but if this recipe is an indication of what’s on it, I need to look for it. This was easy & delicious. None of the Mexican restaurants here in Cola, SC have this, I was introduced to it in PA. I’m looking forward to the next pot luck I attend so I can wow the neighbors. Thanks.

Thank you so much for trying the recipe!

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