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Tostadas de Tinga

  • 4 min read

Tostadas de Tinga: An Introduction

One of the many treasures of Mexican cuisine is a dish that is as fun to eat as it is to say: tostadas de tinga. These delicious, tangy, and spicy delights are perfect for a light lunch, a main course, or even as party food. If you haven’t tried them yet, you’re in for a treat.

Tostadas de tinga are made by layering refried beans, a rich and flavorful chicken tinga, fresh toppings, and a generous dollop of sour cream or “la crema” on a crispy tostada shell. The chicken tinga, or “tinga de pollo” as it’s called in Spanish, is a mouthwatering mixture of shredded chicken, tomatoes, and onions, simmered in a delicious sauce of adobo and chipotle chiles.

Preparing the Chicken

Creating the perfect tostadas de tinga involves making the chicken tinga from scratch. This might seem intimidating, but it’s straightforward and well worth the effort. To begin with, you’ll need chicken breasts. While you can use rotisserie chicken or even leftover chicken, using fresh chicken breasts is preferred as it ensures the tinga sauce permeates the meat fully.

Place your chicken breasts in a pan with chicken broth and simmer until no longer pink. Once cooked, remove the chicken and let it cool. Keep the broth – you’ll need it later. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it using two forks. This technique ensures you get the perfect texture for your chicken tinga.

Creating the Tinga Sauce

While your chicken is cooling, start on the tinga sauce. In a separate pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Next, add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Then, add tomatoes, chopped chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and a bit of the chicken broth you saved earlier. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens and the flavors meld together.

Now, it’s time to bring the chicken back into the mix. Add the shredded chicken to your tinga sauce and stir, ensuring each shred is generously coated. If the mixture seems too dry, add more chicken broth. Remember, you want your tinga to be moist but not soupy. Let it simmer for a bit more so the chicken can soak up the beautiful flavors of the tinga sauce.

Assembling Your Tostadas

The construction of your tostadas de tinga begins with a crispy tostada shell. Layer on a helping of refried beans. Next, generously spoon your chicken tinga onto the beans. This meat mixture is the star of the show, so don’t be stingy.

Now, it’s time to get creative with your toppings. Shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, queso fresco or cotija cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice are traditional favorites. However, you can use whatever you fancy or have on hand.

Finally, finish off with a dollop of sour cream. If you want a lighter alternative, you can use plain Greek yogurt instead. It gives the same creaminess and tang but with fewer calories.

Serving and Storing

Et voila, your tostadas de tinga are ready to serve! Enjoy them immediately for the best taste and texture. If you have leftover tinga, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It can be quickly reheated for another round of tostadas or even used as a filling for tacos or burritos.


Cooking tostadas de tinga at home can be a wonderful culinary adventure. The process is part of the joy – the simmering sauce filling your kitchen with an enticing aroma, the satisfaction of assembling your tostadas, and of course, the delicious result. It’s a great recipe to have in your repertoire, perfect for impressing your friends and family with your culinary prowess.

Tostadas de Tinga

Course: MainDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Tostadas de tinga is a delicious and popular Mexican dish made with shredded chicken, chipotle peppers, and tomatoes. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for a light lunch or a hearty snack.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 (4 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, drained and chopped

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • Shredded cheese, for serving

  • Sour cream, for serving

  • Cilantro, for serving

  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • To assemble the tostadas, spread the chicken mixture on the tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. Serve immediately.


  • For a spicier tinga, use more chipotle peppers.
  • If you don’t have chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, you can substitute a combination of 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  • To make the tostadas ahead of time, assemble them and then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to eat, heat the tostadas in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
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