Keto Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)

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Keto Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo) is not only a Mexican classic recipe, but it is also a delicious low-carb dish! We had never really heard about Chicken Tinga until we moved to the Southwest. Once we relocated here, Mexican influence on our recipes was inevitable. The dishes are so tasty! This low-carb recipe is one we enjoy often. We know you will love it!

Chicken Tinga Plated with Avocado!

Our hearty Keto Chicken Tinga is perfect for tacos, burritos, tostadas, or even as a main dish over cauliflower rice. We even enjoy it plated with a side of sliced avocado. The flavor is bold and smoky, with just a touch of heat. The combination of tomato, sliced onion, garlic, and chipotle adobo sauce renders a chicken dish that is definitely Tasty Low Carb! It can even be made with shredded beef or pork instead of the classic shredded chicken.

Keto Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)


Shredded chicken is the low-carb protein in our recipe. We use chicken breasts that have been boiled for 10-15 minutes and when cooled are shredded using a simple two-fork pull-apart method. If you have easy access to market purchased rotisserie chicken you can make our Keto Chicken Tinga even easier. You can also use the same technique for shredded beef (chuck roasts work well) or shredded pulled pork.

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We blend tomatoes and tomatillos to make our sauce. The tomatillo adds just a bit of “green tomato” flavor that really makes the recipe authentic. It is not really a green tomato. You generally see the tomatillo used to make Salsa Verde. If you have trouble locating a tomatillo where you live, use a bit more tomato and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

Adobo Sauce Makes the Difference!

Chipotles in adobo sauce are found canned in most grocery stores in the Latin American section. They are basically marinated chipotle peppers. The marinade is called adobo sauce. That is the smoky flavor you are looking for in our Keto Chicken Tinga. This is one that you should not substitute. If you have trouble finding adobo sauce, click the link. A blend of garlic and oregano are the spices that finish the dish.

Preparation Tips

The first Chicken Tinga recipe we found when we moved to the Valley of the Sun came from Pati Jinich. Our recipe only varies slightly from her recipe, so credit-where-credit-is-due. We love her television show. She is delightful and such an excellent Mexican-American chef. She is a James Beard Award Winner! Her technique of par-boiling the tomatoes and tomatillos before processing is a key preparation tip. It just makes all the difference in freshness and taste! Thank you to Pati Jinich – we have such admiration for her work and talent.

Top with Cilantro and Queso Fresco!

We suggest slivering the onions about 1/4 inch thick or thicker so they do not cook away. In addition to the flavor, you do want some onion in every bite. We also suggest tasting the sauce throughout the process to make sure you have the right amount of smoky flavor and heat. We use adobo sauce a lot and it is such a flavorful addition to Low Carb Chicken Tinga.

Taco Tuesday Anyone?

Keto Chicken Tinga – Perfect for Tacos

Keto Chicken Tinga is perfect for Taco Tuesday! Combine with simple toppings of cilantro, avocado, red cabbage, Queso Fresco, and a low carb taco and you have a go-to small plate for family or guests! Serve it over cauliflower rice or with a side of our Spanish rice. Enjoy!

Keto Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)

Classic recipe for Chicken Tinga for tacos, tostadas, burritos, or over cauliflower rice. Low carb, delicious, and easy!
5 from 5 votes
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CourseMeat, Small Plates
KeywordChicken Tinga
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Net Carbs5g
AuthorJoanie and Chris


  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 White onion (slivered)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 4 Plum tomatoes (about a pound)
  • 2 small Tomatillos (husked )
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Adobo sauce
  • 3 cups Chicken breast (shredded)
  • Cilantro (chopped)


  • Cook tomatoes and tomatillos in water over medium heat for 10 minutes until softened. Allow to cool slightly and place in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  • Heat the olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Add the onion slivers and cook until softened (3 minutes). Stir in the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Add the sauce to the pan. Then add the oregano, salt, pepper, and adobo sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes and taste. Add additional adobo sauce per your taste and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the shredded chicken to combine. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes and taste. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.


If you prefer a hotter and more smoky flavor add one chipotle chile from the can of adobo sauce to the food processor. Boil chicken breasts in water for 15 minutes, cool, and shred with two forks. You can also use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken for shredding.


Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 1507mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 10.2mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.8mg | Net Carbs: 5g
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