Tender, shredded pork covered in a delicious, well seasoned, tomato based sauce sitting on a crispy tortilla, this tostada is like none you have ever had before. Tinga is a Mexican dish that is a sure crowd pleaser!
Tinga is a great meal to get you out of your dinner rut. It’s fun, flavorful, and festive, and does not require too much hands on time. This is great for weeknights, make ahead for busy days, or even serve guests. It is that good. Plus you can customize it with toppings, so everyone ends up happy.
While I love a yummy meal like Carnitas Tostada (Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork), or Beef Enchiladas for a refreshing change, using pork can be a lot of fun. And tinga is a dish with a zesty flavor profile you will love.
What does “Tinga” Mean?
“Tinga,” means a stew made from tomatoes, onion, garlic and chipotle, with oregano, bay leaf and thyme. It often contains a slightly sweet undertone from piloncillo sugar if you’re able to find it. But this recipe skips that in order to keep it ezpz. Everything you need to make this pork dish can be found at your local grocery store, you won’t need to go to any kind of specialty store to get what you need. But you will love the authentic flavors.
What You Need to Make Tinga
With a handful of spices, meat, and a few other ingredients, you will have everything you need to make a fabulous meal!
- Boneless Pork Butt Roast
- Garlic Cloves
- Fresh Thyme Sprigs
- Olive Oil
- Dried Oregano
- Can of Tomato Sauce
- Ground Chipotle
- Chile Powder
- Bay Leaves
- Vegetable Oil
- Corn Tortillas
- Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese
- Fresh Cilantro Leaves
- Sour Cream
- Diced Avocado
- Lime Wedges
Tools Needed to make Tinga
How to Make Tinga!
The total time to make this dish is about 2 hours and 25 minutes. But much of that is time spent simmering. The hands on time is far less. So plan ahead, but don’t worry, it is eazy peazy, and not too labor intensive.
Get ready to make a dish that you are going to love! Here is the simple breakdown of how to make it.
- Cook and simmer the pork and spices.
- Drain and shred.
- Simmer some more with added liquids etc.
- Fry tortillas
- Assemble tostadas.
Step one: Cook Pork.
In a large saucepan, simmer quartered onion, 3 cloves smashed garlic, thyme, and pork in 6 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt for 1 to 1 ½ hours.
After elapsed time, drain the pork of the liquid, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Go ahead and discard the rest (onions, garlic, and thyme).
Now you are going to want to return the pork to the saucepan or a large bowl and, using forks, shred pork until all of the pork is shredded into rough ½-inch pieces.
Step two: Cook Pork Until Crispy with Additional Spices
Heat oil until shimmering. Add oregano, shredded pork, and remaining chopped onions. Cook and stir often until pork is browned and crispy on the outer edges, about 7-10 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Step three: Add Sauce, More Spices, and Simmer.
Stir in tomato sauce, chipotle powder, bay leaves, and reserved pork liquid. Simmer until liquid has evaporated, 5-7 minutes. Discard bay leaves and season with salt to taste.
Step four: Heat Tortillas.
Fry tortillas one at a time in a skillet over medium heat (350 degrees). Using a fork, poke the center of the tortilla 3 or 4 times.
Step five: Assemble Tostadas and Enjoy!
Now you simply let each person assemble their tostada as they see fit, with the toppings and garnishes they like best. For me, I add all the things. I love it!
Tips and Tricks
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy, but here are a few tips and tricks to get the best results and the most flavor.
- Tailor the garnishes to your personal preferences: While cilantro, sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges are excellent garnishes, other classic Mexican garnishes will work too, for example pickled radishes, onions, or tangy cabbage slaw. So feel free to make it your own.
- You don’t have to serve Tinga on a tostada: Although serving on a tostada is the traditional method, it also marries well with rice or served in a taco or burrito. I love it on salad too!
- Another option, bake the tostadas: Bake your tortillas to make them crispy for a slightly healthier version. Bake instead of fry, if you prefer. Brush both sides of the tortilla with vegetable oil and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.
- In a pinch, sub minced canned chipotle chiles for chipotle chili powder: I prefer the complexity of flavor of the chipotle chile powder, but canned chipotle chiles will suffice.
- Use a potato masher to shred the pork: The easiest way to shred the pork is to get a potato masher and shred it that way. Or pop it in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Forks work too though!
Make Ahead and Storage
How to make this recipe ahead of time:
This is a great recipe. It stores well and makes for a great freezer meal too!
- Tinga will last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in an air tight container.
- When ready to eat, reheat in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Cover with a paper towel to prevent splatter.
- Cook for a minute or so and stir. Continue to cook until heated through.
- Prepare tostadas and serve.
- Follow the instructions, except don’t do anything with the tortillas.
- Once meat is cooked and shredded, let it cool.
- Transfer meat into a gallon sized freezer bag.
- When ready to eat, defrost meat in the fridge the day before.
- Take meat out of the bag and transfer it to a baking dish.
- Bake meat in a preheated oven at 350 for thirty minutes or until heated through.
- Then proceed to follow instructions for tostadas.
- Plate and enjoy!
Eat Tinga now or later. Either way it tastes great!
Other Great Recipes:
- Tacos Al Pastor
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
- Shredded Pork Mole Tacos
- Navajo Tacos
- Baked Chicken Tacos
- Large Saucepan with lid simmering pork
- Fine-mesh strainer for draining pork
- Potato masher for shredding pork
- 12 inch non skillet for preparing tinga
- Paper towels for raining tostadas
- 2 pounds boneless pork butt roast trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 onions 1 quartered, 1 chopped (divided)
- 5 garlic cloves 3 smashed, 2 minced (divided)
- 4 springs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 ounce tomato sauce 1 can
- 1 tablespoon ground chipotle
- 1/2 tablespoon Chile powder
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 12 corn tortillas
- Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Sour cream
- Diced avocado
- Lime wedges
- Dice pork, and place pork, 1 onion, quartered, 3 smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, 1 teaspoon salt and 6 cups water in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to simmer in over medium high heat. Cook pork until tender, 1 to ½ hours.
- After elapsed time, check pork for tenderness, and continue cooking if needed. Otherwise, drain the pork of the liquid, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid to use later. Discard the onions, garlic, and thyme.Shred the pork in a large bowl or back in the dutch oven, using forks. Continue to shred until pork is shredded into roughly ½-inch pieces.
- In a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium high, heat oil until shimmering. Add oregano, shredded pork and the remaining chopped onion. Cook stirring often until pork is well browned and crisp. 7 to 10 minutes. Once browned, add minced garlic (2 cloves) and cook until fragrant for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomato sauce, chipotle powder, bay leaves and reserved pork liquid and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated. About 5 to 7 minutes. Then, discard bay leaves and season with salt to taste. Set aside.
- Heat oil in 8 inch skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using a fork, poke the center of each tortilla 3 or 4 times. Fry one at a time, on both sides, until crisp and golden brown, then set aside.
- To serve: Spoon small amount of shredded pork onto center of each tostada (fried tortilla) and serve with the garnishes and toppings.
The cheese, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges are excellent garnishes but other classic mexican table accompaniments are appropriate too, including pickled radishes or onions and a tangy cabbage slaw.
If you prefer not to fry tostadas, use the oven method, arrange tortillas in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Brush both sides of each tortilla with vegetable oil. Bake on upper middle and lower middle racks in 450 degree oven until lightly browned and crisp about 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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