Instant Pot Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Tinga

Spicy tomatillo and chipotle sauce envelopes pulled chicken and chorizo in this easy-to-make Instant Pot recipe. Add your favorite taco “shell” and toppings to make this dish both keto and paleo-friendly as well. Taco Tuesday should happen more than once a week.

Best Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Recipe – Low Carb, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Keto, LCHF, Grain-free

About seven years ago, I went to Playa del Carmen over Christmas break. What I appreciated the most about the trip, aside from the weather and the beauty of that area, was the fact that Playa del Carmen does not feel entirely commercialized.

You get a dose of reality when you venture away from the downtown strip and hotel zone. You may also have to actually speak Spanish to use a car service — remind me to tell you about the time that I went to the Mexican equivalent of Wal-Mart on what can only be described as a mishap in translation. I got some amazing locally-made mole sauce, so I suppose the wild ride was worth it.

Tangent aside, one of my favorite doses of reality was wandering down the block to find a tiny restaurant in what can only be described as a garage that specialized in serving seafood. The family restaurateurs would fish that morning and serve everything they caught that afternoon. When they ran out, garage door closed. I had the most amazing platter, fit for a royal feast, full of local seafood for about $12 USD. Those little gems make travel worthwhile.

Another special meal from that trip was Chicken Tinga. Something I had not run into at our local Mexican restaurants, I was pleasantly surprised at this smoky, spicy pulled chicken entree stuffed into homemade corn tortillas.

This is an keto-friendly, low carb Instant Pot Tinga inspired by what I enjoyed on that trip. Why the Instant pot? It’s fast, it makes poaching your own chicken super easy, and it works perfectly for this recipe.

I hope this Instant Pot Chicken Tinga brings you a taste of my memorable vacation.

How to Make Keto Chicken Tinga

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 stems espazote
  • 1-1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lb chorizo
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 4-5 tomatillos, husked
  • 2-3 chipolte peppers in adobo
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 cups fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano , dried
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram, dried
  • salt
  • black pepper

Directions

Marinated Red Onions

Thinly slice red onion and place in small bowl. Squeeze lime juice and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Let rest at least one hour.

lime marinated red onion
Lime marinated red onions should be soft and translucent to ensure that the salt/lime has really done its magic. Start this step first to make certain that you’re not just eating crisp red onions doused in lime.

Poaching the Chicken

Liberally salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Set in the metal insert for your Instant Pot.

Next, roughly chop 1/2 of the yellow onion, set other half aside for later. Crush one clove of garlic.

chicken thighs and aromatics before poaching in instant pot
Poaching chicken thighs in your Instant Pot is simple and packs in great flavor that store bought chicken just cannot provide.

Add onion, one clove of garlic, espazote, and water in the metal insert. Set on high pressure for 20 minutes.

Release pressure valve and remove chicken. Shred immediately. Discard poaching liquid.

Tinga Sauce

In a blender, combine the tomatillos (husked and quartered), whole chipolte peppers, adobo sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, thyme, marjoram, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

The finished product before leaving the pot to become a delicious taco. Heck, just eat it out of the bowl.

Putting it All Together

Using the saute function on your Instant Pot, heat the avocado oil.

Next, chop remaining half of the onion. Remove the chorizo from its casing. Saute both onion and chorizo until cooked through.

Add tinga sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes until sauce is heated. 

Then, add shredded chicken and cook until reheated and incorporated.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve tinga in lettuce wraps or your favorite grain-free tortillas. Garnish with marinated red onion and favorite toppings.

Tips and Tricks for making Keto Chicken Chorizo Tinga

Using store-bought rotissiere chicken is fine in a pinch, but making your own pulled chicken in an Instant Pot is not only fast, but adds wonderful flavor that the chicken would otherwise lack. Take the time to add aromatics to the poaching liquid and you’ll have something special. I might just starting making pulled chicken for everything! Pull your chicken immediately after removing from the poaching liquid. I let it sit once and it was much harder to shred.

This recipe does include making a marinaded red onion to include as a topping. This is clearly not required in order to enjoy the chicken tinga, however, I absolutely adore red onions as a topping for this main dish. If you decide not to do a taco and put this over cauli or regular rice for more of a bowl, the red onion marinade in lime juice adds some nice brightness and tang to the chicken. If you opt in, just remember to make the onions right away. You’ll want a good 45 minutes to 1 hour to let them marinate.

You can easily adjust the heat in this recipe. The chipotle in adobo has some nice smoky heat. If two whole peppers is a bit overwhelming, cut back; if you need more zip, drop in another pepper. If you have zero tolerance for heat, you can simply just add the adobo sauce.

Toppings make the taco. Try the marinated red onions and consider going to get some fresh cotija cheese. This is a dry, crumbly Mexican cheese. It is salty and wonderful, unlike queso fresco which is much more mild in flavor. Be careful to avoid the dehydrated cotija that many stores sell — it is absolutely flavorless in most cases. I may also suggest avocado or sour cream. These tacos do not need salsa. The tinga sauce does all the work.

Other Keto Low Carb Instant Pot Recipes you’ll love

Instant Pot Chicken & Chorizo Tinga
Yield: 8

Instant Pot Chicken & Chorizo Tinga

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Pulled chicken and chorizo get a spicy kick from a tomatillo chipolte sauce. This paleo and keto entree can easily be paired with lettuce wraps or grain-free tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 stems espazote
  • 1-1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lb chorizo
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 4-5 tomatillos, husked
  • 2-3 chipolte peppers in adobo
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 cups fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano , dried
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram, dried
  • salt
  • black pepper

Instructions

Marinated Red Onions

  1. Thinly slice red onion and place in small bowl. Squeeze lime juice and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Let rest at least one hour.

Poaching the Chicken

  1. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Set in the metal insert for your Instant Pot.
  2. Roughly chop 1/2 of the yellow onion, set other half aside for later. Crush one clove of garlic.
  3. Add onion, one clove of garlic, espazote, and water in the metal insert. Set on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  4. Release pressure valve and remove chicken. Shred immediately. Discard poaching liquid.

Tinga Sauce

  1. In a blender, combine the tomatillos (husked and quartered), whole chipolte peppers, adobo sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, thyme, marjoram, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Putting it All Together

  1. Using the saute function on your Instant Pot, heat the avocado oil.
  2. Chop remaining half of the onion. Remove the chorizo from its casing. Saute both onion and chorizo until cooked through.
  3. Add tinga sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes until sauce is heated. 
  4. Add shredded chicken and cook until reheated and incorporated.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve tinga in lettuce wraps or your favorite grain-free tortillas. Garnish with marinated red onion and favorite toppings.

Notes

Topping suggestions: marinated red onion, cotija cheese, radishes, pepitas, avocado, sour cream

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out! Leave a comment below and make sure to join the @noshinandnumnums community on instagram or facebook and tag me in your cooking pictures! 

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