Weeknight-style Crockpot Crispy Chicken Tinga Tacos with Avocado Jalapeño Crema. Chicken seasoned up with smoky chipotle peppers and enchilada sauce, then mixed with cheese, stuffed into tortillas, and oven-baked. Each tinga taco is crunchy on the outside, but spicy and cheesy inside. Serve with a creamy, salty, honey-lime avocado crema sauce, and a mix of your favorite toppings. These come together easily and are so delicious. The perfect crispy taco that everyone loves!
It’s definitely no secret that we love Mexican food, especially tacos. Honestly, anything Mexican is a go for my family. Spicy, cheese, lots of flavors, avocado, and cilantro. These are some of our favorite flavors/foods.
I have told the childhood taco story here one too many times, so we’ll skip that today. But if you’re new, basically I grew up on my dad’s crispy, cheesy hard shell tacos.
His were very basic, but to this day my brothers still request them. Hard not to love any kind of taco, you know?
But today we have chicken tinga tacos, one of my very favorite flavors. If you’re not familiar with Chicken Tinga, it’s a Mexican dish consisting of shredded chicken in a tomato-based chipotle sauce with sliced onions. Like a lot of popular Mexican dishes, it’s pretty simple. The flavors from the chipotle peppers are KEY and what’s most traditional with any Tinga dish.
I’ve done a few variations now, but this is probably the most traditional. Well kind of, I use a shortcut in the sauce to save a little time!
The quick details
They are easy you guys. I want to start out by saying you can make these in either the crockpot, instant pot, or on the stove. We all love options when it comes to dinner, so use whichever method suits you best! They will all give you the same outcome.
For the crockpot, just add all the ingredients for the chicken right into the crockpot. So the onions, chipotle, enchilada sauce, and the seasonings. Let it all slow cook, then shred the meat. Done.
The very same with the instant pot, except the cooking time is much, much shorter (just 8 minutes).
And for the stove-top, there is slightly more involved, but it’s still easy. Just cook the chicken in a skillet until seared. Add the onion, then everything else. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Then shred the chicken and that’s that.
For the crispy shells
Instead of using store-bought taco shells, I like to take corn tortillas and stuff them with the chicken tinga and cheese. I throw them into the oven to bake until the tortillas are crispy.
This method is my favorite and I use it every time I make tacos for my family. We love the crispy oven “fried” shells and melty cheese. It’s the best when some of the cheese melts out onto the pan and gets crispy too. Delicious.
And finally the crema
Do you all remember the creamy jalapeño sauce I made with my Cuban quesadillas? Well, that sauce uses pickled jalapeños. Ever since making those I’ve been using pickled jalapeños in everything.
For this crema, I whipped avocado in a food processor with the jalapeños and lots of cilantro. I added garlic and a little honey to balance the heat, and then some sea salt.
It is so creamy, and the pickled jalapeños make it so delicious. Spicy, but not SPICY. Serve up the crema on each taco, then add whatever other toppings you love most. I always recommend a pineapple salsa or mango salsa. I love a good fruity salsa.
Looking for more simple, Mexican recipes? Here are a few favorites:
Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup with Salty Lime Chips
Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado
Mushroom Al Pastor Tacos with Garlic Lime Special Sauce
Healthier Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme
Crispy Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Ranch
Lastly, if you make these Crockpot Crispy Chicken Tinga Tacos with Avocado Jalapeño Crema, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Crockpot Crispy Chicken Tinga Tacos with Jalapeño Avocado Crema
Calories Per Serving: 517 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup red enchilada sauce
- 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12-16 corn tortillas, warmed
- 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- shredded lettuce and pickled onions, for serving
- 2 large avocados, halved
- 1/4-1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 limes (juice from)
- flaky salt
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- 1. In the bowl of your crockpot, combine the chicken, onion, enchilada sauce, chipotle, oregano, cumin, and salt. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.2. When finished cooking, shred the meat and toss with the sauce. Preheat the oven to 425° F.3. Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave, until pliable. On a baking sheet, rub the tortillas with olive oil. Lay each tortilla flat and then layer evenly with cheese and chicken. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling, gently pushing to adhere (see above photo). Transfer to the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes, then flip and cook another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp. 4. Meanwhile, make the Avocado Crema. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt.5. Serve the tacos topped with avocado, lettuce, limes, and any other desired toppings.
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.2. In the bowl of your instant pot, combine the chicken, onion, enchilada sauce, chipotle, oregano, cumin, and salt. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Once done cooking, release the steam. 3. Follow the directions as directed above for steps 2-5.
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken. Cook until 2-3 minutes, then flip and add the onion. Cook another 3-5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the enchilada sauce, chipotle, oregano, cumin, and salt, and 1/3 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the chicken cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat.3. Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave, until pliable. On a baking sheet, rub the tortillas with olive oil. Lay each flat and then layer evenly with cheese and chicken. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling, gently pushing to adhere (see above photo). Transfer to the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes, then flip and cook another 5 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp. 4. Meanwhile, make the Avocado Crema. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt.5. Serve the tacos topped with avocado, lettuce, limes, and any other desired toppings.
This my daughters favorite meal and she wants me to make for her graduation party. Any tips on making ahead of time and serving later.
Love to hear this Jess!! I would just have everything ready to go in the crockpot and keep on warm. For easiness, I would just use store bought tacos shells so you don’t have to worry about those! I hope this helps! xT
This is the first recipe of yours I made and these were amazing! It was easy and quick but also so delicious! I could not get enough of the crema! This is going to be made again on taco nights!
Amazing!! So glad to hear that this dish was enjoyed and thanks a bunch for making it! xx
Are these just spicy, or hot too? Do you have a suggestion on how to scale back the spice if they are on the extreme side?
These really aren’t all that spicy, just reduce the chipotle peppers in adobo for less heat:) I hope you love this recipe, let me know if you give it a try! xT
I first had the tinga at a bachelorette party— all of us asked for the recipe! I have made the chicken for my own meal prep tons of times since. I use the Frontera Grill red enchilada sauce and it’s so good! I’m looking forward to properly making this in the crispy shells for a Mother’s Day lunch next weekend.
Wonderful!! So glad to hear that this recipe was a hit:) I hope it turns out well for you on Mother’s Day! xT
These are fantastic! Love the crockpot shortcut as opposed to my 2 hour tinga labor of love that I would never attempt on a weeknight. I increased the ingredients and we used the leftover chicken all week in burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls etc.
Happy Monday!! So glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it:) xT
This recipe was a huge hit for a high school baseball team. I multiplied the recipe by 5 and made the taco meat with the sauce in a crockpot. Instead of chopping up the chipotles, I added four whole and a few tablespoons of sauce to avoid too much spice. The boys ate them over nacho chips and rice.
Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! xx