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Easy Ground Chicken Tinga

This ground chicken tinga is an easy one-pan spin on the traditional Mexican shredded chicken dish. Ground chicken is cooked with onion and a flavorful red sauce made up of fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle chiles in adobo, garlic, and spices.

Every 4-ounce serving has 85 calories, 11 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, and 3 grams fat. That leaves plenty of room for baked tostadas, low fat refried beans, queso fresco, and all your favorite fixin’s.

And since it makes a big batch and reheats really well, you can make a week’s worth of meals out of this recipe!

ground chicken tinga in a skillet with pickled onions, queso fresco, and refried black beans

Ground Chicken Tinga Ingredients

This is a simple recipe. Here are the basics, followed by everything you’ll need for the sauce:

using an immersion blender to mix tinga sauce

For the Chicken Tinga Sauce

  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes – The added flavor of fire roasted is important for a quick cooking sauce like this.
  • Chipotle Chiles in Adobo – While traditional sauce isn’t overly spicy, you can adjust your sauce’s punch by adjusting this ingredient.
  • Garlic Cloves – You could also add more fresh onion to your sauce.
  • Chili Powder – Feel free to add other spices and herbs like ground cumin, dried oregano, and maybe a pinch of ground cinnamon or cloves (like my Mexican shredded chicken).
  • Chicken Broth – Any liquid will work.

You’ll be blending the ingredients for this sauce together. So the style of tomatoes and other ingredients doesn’t matter all that much. Just don’t use pre-minced garlic!

Bonus tip: Check out my ground beef quesadillas recipe for a look at how to incorporate hidden veggies like spinach and kale into your sauce.

Low Calorie Chicken Tinga Tostadas

chicken tinga tostada

Chicken tinga is used for all kinds of dishes, but it’s traditionally served on tostadas with refried beans. I used my easy refried black beans and baked tostadas like the ones from my Mexican pizza recipe. But any refried beans, black or pinto, and tostadas work fine with this ground chicken tinga.

For garnish, I went with cilantro, queso fresco, fresh lime juice, and pickled onions (bring a 1/2 cup of water and vinegar to a boil with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of kosher salt before pouring over a sliced red onion).

More Ideas for Using Leftovers

I love a clever name, and I stumbled across these tingadillas (chicken tinga quesadillas). And as evidenced by my chicken bacon ranch quesadillas, ground chicken definitely works for quesadillas. I’d also recommend my air fryer quesadillas or baked chicken quesadillas (if you wanted to make them in bulk) recipes for alternative cook methods.

air fried quesadillas on a plate

You could also mix the chicken with black beans, peppers and onions, and chopped corn tortillas in a skillet, top with cheese, and bake for an elevated version of something like my easy chicken taco casserole.

And don’t forget the basics like taco bowls, chicken tinga enchiladas, chicken tinga nachos, and chicken tortas.

However you end up serving your ground chicken tinga, I’d love to hear about it in a recipe review or comments. You can leave any recipe or ingredient questions in the comments below as well. I hope you enjoy it!

ground chicken tinga tostada with refried black beans, pickled onions, cilantro, queso fresco, and lime wedges

Ground Chicken Tinga

Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Extra lean ground chicken and onion cooked in a fire roasted tomato and chipotle chile sauce.


  • 1 pound Ground Chicken (97/3)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion, finely diced
  • 15 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 3-4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo (whole 3.7 oz can for extra spicy)
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 8 oz Chicken Broth or Water


  1. Add the tomatoes, chipotles, chili powder, garlic cloves, and chicken broth to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Brown the chicken on one side before breaking apart and pushing to one side of the pan.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the onion to the other side of the pan. Cook until the onions start to pick up a little color and soften before mixing in with the ground chicken.
  4. Continue mincing until the chicken is fully cooked.
  5. Add the sauce and continue cooking until it thickens, about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Serve on tostadas with refried beans and garnish with queso fresco, cilantro, and pickled onions, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: about 4 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 3gCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 11g

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