Chicken Tinga Chalupas

Chicken Tinga Chalupas are not like the fast food chain offering, rather they’re flat bottomed crispy chicken tacos with a made from scratch sauce.
Chicken Tinga Chalupas

Chicken Tinga Chalupas

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

This week for Sunday Supper the blogging group is sharing recipes for easy Cinco de Mayo meals. For my recipe, I decided to do a chicken tinga chalupa. You might recognize the name chalupa from foods at the Taco Bell restaurants, which have a fried wheat tortilla that is more like a Navajo taco, but the more authentic versions have a corn tortilla fried in something more of a boat shape. So in many ways they can be  quite like a taco, but they tend to stand up on  their own.   Sometimes  I have been served these where they shape the tortilla into a little crimped bowl  and fry it crisp that way.

Chalupas don’t usually have ordinary taco meat (ground beef) as a filling as far as I can tell. Chicken is more common, so I decided to do a filling of chicken tinga, which is a shredded chicken filling seasoned with an easy to make chipotle sauce. The tinga would usually be served up on a crispy tostada with the type of toppings I offer here. But these are much easier and less messy to eat using the type of shell that I have, which is called a Fiesta Flat, but you can pretty much use any type of stand up taco shell, and there are several that you can  buy and just heat for a few minutes in the oven.

My family adored these as an alternative to the usual taco. I liked that the meat was saucy enough that it didn’t require an extra dose of taco sauce. I loved the chicken with the freshness of avocado, radishes, and fresh jalapeno with a couple of fresh tomato dice. The cotija is great, but the thing that put it over the top was the lime. I don’t suggest serving these without the squeeze of lime. Otherwise the chalupas might seem a bit naked.

Chicken Tinga Chalupas

I did want to offer a couple of tips on choosing and keeping avocados. I remember seeing Emeril LaGasse struggle with avocados many times on tv, first finding them a bit black inside, and also not being able to scoop them out. You notice how beautiful  and perfect my avocado slices are, and it’s no accident.

When choosing avocado, choose firm ones with the stem still attached. Pull the stem off and make sure it is very light colored beneath the stem. The ones that are dark under the stem will have black streaks running through the green flesh. And if the stem is missing from the get go,  there is only a 50:50 chance of picking a good one.

Bring the avocados home and let sit at room temperature for a day or two, until when you  press lightly on the skin it gives ever so slightly. Then just pop those into the fridge, and they should stay that way for a few days. Nothing is worse than trying to time an avocado to make guacamole and get it to the perfect ripeness, not be ready to use it, and then have to toss it when you finally are ready for it. The fridge will stop them in their tracks for a little bit.

To prep an avocado, you want to run your knife along the sides all the way around, then holding it,  give it a twist. One half should contain the seed. Give that a light tap with a sharp knife so that the knife goes into the seed a tiny bit, then twist the knife to loosen the seed, and discard. Using a  serving sized spoon, run a spoon as close to the skin as you can and scoop  out the half. From that point you can slice it or mash it for guacamole. If you do make guacamole, pack it in freezer ziplocs and squeeze out all the air to keep it from oxidizing much, adding a little lime juice to the mashed avocado for that stay-green boost.

But I hope you enjoy the chalupas and find these avocado tips helpful. Join me all this week as I post fun and festive recipes for Cinco de Mayo. Monday I’ll be posting Mexican Restaurant rice followed by Cheese Enchiladas Rojas on Tuesday, and a few more after  that. Join me each and every day so you don’t miss a single one!


Chicken Tinga Chalupas

Chicken Tinga Chalupas

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chicken Tinga Chalupas

Tinga Sauce:

  • 8 ounces fresh tomatillos, husks removed and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 ounces passata or chunky tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cooked chicken, shredded (I use rotisserie)
  • 12 flat bottom corn taco shells  or boats (I use Ortega Fiesta Flats)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema or thin sour cream
  • 3/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 4-6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh lime, cut into wedges
  • fresh cilantro


  1. Place ingredients for tinga sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer twenty minutes.
  2. Allow mixture to cool 5-10 minutes, then puree in a food processor or with a stick blender.
  3. Return puree to heat and cook 20 minutes more, uncovered.
  4. Add shredded chicken to the sauce and stir gently; continue to heat 5-10 minutes more or until chicken is hot.
  5. While the chicken in sauce heats, crisp up your Fiesta Flat taco shells.
  6. Divide chicken among shells, and top each with a drizzle of crema, some cotija cheese, and an avocado slice.
  7. Also serve with radishes, jalapeno, cilantro and lime as desired.

From the kitchen of

Chicken Tinga Chalupas

Sunday Supper

Easy Cinco de Mayo Recipes




Sides and Sauces



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5 responses

  1. Hi Sue Lau, love these chicken tinga chalupas, I have had something similiar to these before, also the toppings look like the perfect choice.

  2. I’ve never had a chalupa, nor knew what it really was so thanks for that and for the avocado lessons. I’ll be using those tips for sure!

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