Chicken Tinga Enchiladas

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Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Enchiladas features tender chicken breast braised in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce, served enchilada style in flour tortillas with plenty of melty cheese and your favorite toppings.

horizontal photo of a white plate with Chicken Tinga wrapped up in a flour tortilla and topped with melted cheese, salsa, sour cream, and two avocado slices. On the upper left of the plate is mashed black beans and chips and the lower right features green rice with an avocado wedge and a cilantro garnish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This chicken enchilada recipe has it all: juicy chicken, beans veggies, a flavor-packed sauce, and of course, melty cheese. And it comes together in your Instant Pot for a low-maintenance, freezer-friendly meal.

We’ve been making this hearty chicken enchilada recipe for family dinners for years, and we think you’ll love it as much as we do!

It has all of the elements of a great meal, and it’s worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make your own tinga (chipotle-tomato sauce). 

We always serve these enchiladas with our Instant Pot Green Rice, which has a creamy avocado sauce. Not a fan of avocados? Try our Cilantro Lime Rice or our Shortcut Salsa Rice.

Update: This recipe is adapted for the pressure cooker from our friend’s Burritos cookbook! We’ve updated this tried-and-true recipe with new tips, tricks, and photos to make things as easy as possible. 

an overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make chicken tinga served enchilada style in a flour tortilla.

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED

Here’s what you need for the best chicken tinga in your Instant Pot:

  • Oil. Use vegetable oil, which has a neutral flavor, to saute your veggies.
  • Onion and garlic serve as the flavor base of the tinga sauce
  • Tomatillo. If you can’t find a green tomatillo, you can use a tomato instead.
  • Spices. Flavor your enchiladas with ground cumin and dried Mexican oregano.
  • Tomatoes. We love fire-roasted diced tomatoes, but regular diced tomatoes will work in a pinch. 
  • Chiles in adobo sauce. Find these in the International section of the grocery store. 
  • Cayenne pepper sauce. This adds a wonderful kick that’s not overwhelming. 
  • Chicken. We use breasts cut into bite-sized pieces. 
  • Beans. You can use black or pinto beans. 
  • Tortillas. We prefer flour, but corn will also work. 
  • Cheese. Cheddar is a great melter, but any melty cheese works great. 

How to Make Chicken Tinga Enchiladas in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

To make your chicken tinga, select Sauté to heat the pressure cooking pot with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring it regularly, until the oven is softened and translucent. Next, add the garlic and cook for a minute, until it’s nice and fragrant. 

Now toss in the tomatillo, cumin, oregano, and salt. Stir everything well and cook for about 3 minutes, until the tomatillo is starting to get juicy.

Now you’re ready to puree the sauce. You can do this right in the pressure cooking pot using an immersion blender. Or transfer the contents of the pot to a regular blender and puree that way. Then return the puree to the pressure cooker. 

Add the chicken to the pureed sauce and secure the lid. Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes, then release the pressure with a quick pressure release. 

Select Sauté again and simmer the sauce until it’s thickened and coats the chicken. Meanwhile, mash your beans with a potato masher or fork in a medium bowl, until they’re chunky.

Now you’re ready to assemble your enchiladas! Do so by spooning the chicken mixture onto the tortillas. Add a scoop of beans and sprinkle the top with cheese. Roll the tortillas up, burrito-style, and enjoy!

An overhead horizontal shot of a round flour tortilla sitting on a white, round plate, with cheese, beans, and chicken tinga in three vertical layers side by side. Plus cilantro lime rice, sour cream, avocado, and salsa in small brown bowls arranged on the upper left and upper right sides of the photo.

Important Tips for Making Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

  • You can skip the first saute step with the onions and garlic if you’re short on time, but your tinga won’t have as much flavor. 
  • To make your dish less spicy, omit or use less of the cayenne pepper sauce. 
  • You can use corn tortillas for gluten-free enchiladas.
An overhead shot of a white bowl filled with a creamy chicken tinga filling, garnished with torn cilantro leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chicken Tinga Enchiladas 

How should I store leftovers?

After cooling, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. 

Can I freeze chicken tinga?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to six months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or in the Instant Pot from frozen.

Can I use chicken thighs?

Yes, feel free to swap the diced chicken breasts for chicken thighs. You don’t need to make any changes to the recipe. 

What should I serve with chicken tinga?

We like to serve this dish with our Mexican Green Rice on the side. You could also serve the shredded chicken over a salad or chips for nachos!

a close-up vertical overhead photo of a shallow white bowl filled with a wrapped chicken tinga enchilada covered with melted cheese, tomato salsa, sour cream, and avocado garnish, with a lime wedge and a cilantro garnish on green rice.

MORE Instant Pot Mexican Recipes

Try these other Mexican-inspired dishes next:

A 45 degree photo of chicken tinga with black beans and rice in front of an Instant Pot on the background left and a serving bowl of chicken tinga enchilada filling on the right.

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An overhead horizontal shot of a round flour tortilla sitting on a white, round plate, with cheese, beans, and chicken tinga in three vertical layers side by side. Plus cilantro lime rice, sour cream, avocado, and salsa in small brown bowls arranged on the upper left and upper right sides of the photo.

Chicken Tinga

Servings: 6 -8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes
Course: Chicken
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Dinner, Mexican
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Enchiladas are saucy and spicy, with a homemade chipotle-tomato sauce served up wrapped in a flour tortilla with your favorite toppings.
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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large tomatillo diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can 15 oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce minced
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce we used Frank’s Red Hot
  • 3 large uncooked chicken breasts diced

For serving

  • 1 can 15 oz black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 to 8 12- inch flour tortillas warmed
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese grated
  • Favorite toppings including avocado salsa, extra adobo sauce, chips, rice, or beans

Instructions

  • Preheat pressure cooking pot. Add oil and onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatillo, cumin, oregano, and salt and cook, stirring constantly, another 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, chipotles, and cayenne pepper sauce. Puree mixture until it’s very smooth. (I used my immersion blender and pureed it in the pressure cooker pot.)
  • Stir in chicken. Select high pressure and 4 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  • Select Saute and cook, stirring occasionally and gently, until sauce clings to the chicken and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Mash beans with a potato masher or fork, until chunky.
  • Assemble burritos by spooning the chicken mixture onto tortillas. Add beans and sprinkle with cheese. Roll burritos as desired.

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