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  • Writer's pictureAmy Lippert, NTP

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)

Updated: Apr 24

Tender, mouthwatering slow-cooked chicken that boasts smoky and spicy flavors is perfect for tacos, salads, burritos, and more! This is one of my favorite weeknight meals because it is so easy to make, is awesome as leftovers, and is a fantastic dish for your next get-together or Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

Authentic Chicken Tinga Recipe

Chicken tinga is a tantalizing Mexican primarily dish known for its bold and savory flavors. It typically consists of shredded chicken that has been slow-cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce, which gives it a smoky and slightly sweet taste. The rich and flavorful sauce in this recipe is made with a Paleo chipotle pepper sauce*, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. The chicken is then simmered in the sauce and is infused with the spicy and smoky flavors, ready for dinner!

*Most chipotle pepper sauces are not Paleo/Whole30 compliant, check your ingredients. Click HERE for the one I use in this recipe!


Why Chicken is So Good For You!

We all know that chicken is a tasty and fantastic source of protein, but do you know why it is so good for you? Chicken, along with many other sources of animal protein, such as beef, eggs and fish, are a complete source of protein. This means that all nine essential amino acids are present and available to you when you eat these foods. When it comes to nutrients, anything labeled as "essential" means that your body cannot make or synthesize this nutrient, so it must be provided to your body by the foods you eat.

As mentioned above, there are nine essential amino acids that we must eat everyday to provide our bodies energy as well as the building blocks necessary in everyday functions such as growth and repair, immune support, and in the synthesis of our hormones and neurotransmitters.

The nine essential amino acids and their roles are [1]:

  1. Histidine: necessary for the production of histamine and also plays a role in nervous system health

  2. Valine: necessary in energy production as well as muscle growth and repair

  3. Phenylalanine: building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), and in the production of other amino acids.

  4. Leucine: necessary in stimulating wound healing, muscle repair, and blood sugar regulation.

  5. Isoleucine: necessary in immune function and energy regulation.

  6. Tryptophan: necessary building block for serotonin.

  7. Methionine: necessary in detoxification, metabolism, and in your body's ability to absorb selenium (supports thyroid health) and zinc (necessary in production of HCl in your stomach).

  8. Threonine: necessary in skin and connective tissue health.

  9. Lysine: necessary in hormone production and your body's ability to absorb calcium (bone, heart, muscle and nerve health.)

So grab some chicken and let's get cooking!

Paleo Chicken Tinga Recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga Ingredients

Serves 4-6

2-2.5 lbs. Split Chicken Breasts

2 tsp Avocado Oil

1 Onion, finely diced

1 Poblano Pepper, finely diced

½ Jalapeño, finely diced (opt)

3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced

2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 tsp Dried Oregano

½ tsp Ancho or Chipotle Powder (opt)

1 Bay Leaf

14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes

¼ cup Tomato Paste

¼ cup Chipotle Paste

2 tsp Kosher Real Salt

1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

1. Dice the onion and poblano pepper and sauté over medium heat with the avocado oil for 7-9 minutes until softened and it starts to lightly caramelize.

2. Turn off the heat to the onion and pepper and add all the spices, tomatoes, bone broth, tomato paste, chipotle paste, and garlic, stir well to mix.

3. Add to split breasts to a crock pot and cover with the pepper and onion mixture, mixing well to coat the chicken.

4. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

5. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and allow it to cool for a bit. Remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken.

6. Return the shredded chicken to the sauce, stir and serve!


Watch the Video HERE

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Q: Can I use chipotle peppers instead of the chipotle paste to make chicken tinga?

A: You can, however, most canned chipotle peppers are not Paleo or Whole30 friendly, so be sure to check your ingredients.

Q: Is chicken tinga really spicy?

A: It does have some heat to it, that's for sure! If you want to temper the heat, do not add the diced jalapeño and you can reduce the amount of chipotle paste. If it's still a little to spicy, you can either add some pure honey or maple syrup or fresh lime juice as sweet or acid will temper the heat.

Chicken Tinga Burrito Bowl Recipe

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy


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