The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Several years ago, after the birth of my 3rd baby, a good friend brought over dinner with the most amazing enchiladas.  They were some of the best I’d ever had- just how I like them, with perfect flavor, cheesy but not too cheesy, lightly creamy insides and an incredible sauce.  I promptly texted her and told her I had to have the recipe and she wrote back, “Oh I’m so glad you liked them.  You can find the recipe on page 28 of YOUR cook book!  We both got a good laugh out of that.  Flash forward a few years and the same thing happened when I was eating dinner at my sister-in-law’s house and complimented the amazing enchiladas my whole family was scarfing up.  “Well I would expect you to like them, it’s your recipe!”  

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

So here’s the thing. When developing recipes for our books, I sometimes make things 5, 10, 15 times to get it just perfect.  And after that process, sometimes you just don’t make them again for a while!  I had completely forgotten how good these were and from then on, they became a family regular.  And I know where to find the recipe now.  Over the years since our Savoring the Seasons book came out, this is consistently a reader-favorite so I felt like it was time I share it with all of you guys, here!  Because everyone needs a great enchilada recipe.  Let me tell you my requirements when I was coming up with this recipe:

1.  From scratch, no condensed soup, canned sauce, or seasoning packets.
2.  With the above being true, it still had to be easy to toss together.  NOT labor intensive.
3.  Using mostly pantry ingredients that I normally have on hand, no specialty weird stuff.
4.  Delicious and indulgent, without being super horrible for you.

You guys, this recipe checks off ALL the boxes.  For me, it’s perfection.  Here’s how you make it!

The sauce takes a little more time than opening tin cans, but honestly not all that long!  It’s easy.  You’ll start by melting a little butter and whisking in a little flour.  This is what will thicken the sauce.  Once that cooks, you’ll whisk in chicken broth until it’s smooth and creamy.  

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

I’m using all dry spices so there’s no need to chop onion or peel garlic.  Just add powdered garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, pepper, and chili powder. 

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Whisk it together and then stir in just a little sour cream.  Sauce done!  Only takes about 5 minutes.

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

For the filling, I combine just a little low-fat cream cheese and mild green chilies.  You can add hot chilies if you like heat!

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Then stir in a little of that sauce you just made.

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Cooked shredded chicken (see my notes at the end of the printable recipe about this) and cheese go in, 

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

And just a note about cheese:  you can use any kind you like.  I call for Monterey Jack in the recipe, but pepper jack or cheddar is just fine too.  We are always telling you guys to avoid bagged shredded cheese in recipes (and I stand by that for the most part) but I do have a couple of exceptions.  This is totally un-sponsored opinion here, just products we love.  This Tillamook farmstyle is a game-changer.  It’s not weird waxy stuff that doesn’t melt.  It’s shredded from the blog, HUGE shreds, and works so great in recipes- I love this Mexican blend!  I also love the giant bags of Tillamook shredded cheddar from Costco and the Kirkland brand equivalent.  All of those melt beautifully and taste great.  

The best chicken enchilada recipe

And that’s it.  Flavorful, creamy, cheesy, but not so much that the chicken gets lost.

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Now you know the drill.  Spread out some sauce on the bottom of the pan and then stuff and roll.  I personally like flour tortillas. I also really like them saucy.  Because of this, flour tortillas get really soft, but some people dislike that!  If you’re in that camp, feel free to use corn tortillas!

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Top with the rest of the sauce and more cheese and you’re good to go.  This can be baked right now, OR popped in the freezer!  This is a great thing to make in disposable foil pans.  You can stock your freezer or share with friends. You just extend the baking time by a bit but everything else remains the same. 

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

To serve, I find it much easier to to cut it right down the middle so each tortilla is cut in half.  Then you don’t have to attempt to pull out a whole long tortilla on one skinny spatula.  You guys know what I’m talking about.

Also, this fabulous turquoise baker is one of my favorites, and the last few times I’ve used it in photos I’ve gotten lots of messages asking where it’s from- so here ya go!  I love everything Fiesta makes.  Gorgeous and crazy durable. 

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

I like my enchiladas really saucy, but if you don’t- you can always just use part of the sauce on top.  

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

These will be so cheesy and creamy and flavorful.  I can almost guarantee your family will love these like mine does!

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Make it a meal! We’ve had so many requests of what to serve WITH main dishes, so we’ll try to include this little feature for you!

Favorite Side Dish Options with this:
– Simple side salad with this Creamy Tomatillo Ranch, Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette 
– Fresh Fruit
– Regular or Brazilian Style White Rice with Black Beans (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, or Quick version)

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

An easy and delicious from-scratch recipe for cheesy chicken enchiladas. From the Cook Book: Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 15-ounce cans chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 shakes Tabasco (or similar hot sauce), Optional
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese (low fat is fine)
  • 1 7-oz can mild green chilis
  • 14-16 ounces cooked, shredded chicken (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, divided
  • 8-10 medium flour or corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Wen butter is melted and bubbly, add flour and stir to combine. Continue cooking, whisking continuously until mixture is light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. SLOWLY add chicken broth, whisking constantly, until smooth.*note, if this part ends up a disaster and your sauce looks lumpy and clumpy- it's not ruined! Just pop the entire sauce in a blender to smooth it out, then back in your pan and continue 🙂
  3. Whisk in garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer and stir until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream and hot sauce. Add salt to taste and set aside.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave until it's easily stirred. Add green chilis and 1/2 cup of reserved sauce. Stir to combine and add chicken and 2 cups cheese.
  5. Tip: If needed, to make the tortillas easier to roll, place between damp paper towels and microwave until warm (20-30 seconds).
  6. Pour about 1 cup sauce into the bottom of prepared pan and spread out evenly. Place about 1/3-1/2 cup chicken mixture on each tortilla and roll tightly. Place tortillas snugly in pan. Pour remaining sauce on top and top with remaining 2 cups cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly throughout and cheese is melted.

by

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54 comments

  1. I seriously JUST made these last week after having your cookbook for years and never trying them! My picky, never-eats-anything-with-sauce (or flavor…) 7-year-old asked for seconds. SECONDS! These are sooo delicious!

  2. Apparently there is some weird mystique surrounding this recipe…
    I made these once and they were SO GOOD…and then I couldn’t remember where in the heck I had found the recipe (I went to your site first, of course, but couldn’t find them on there) and tried 10+ different so-so recipes trying to find my way back to this one. I was so sad, and thought I was destined to never have these fantastic enchiladas again. Turns out…I HAVE the Savoring the Seasons cookbook and obviously made them when I first got it. Then I moved, and my cookbooks have never made it back out of the boxes :hangs head in shame: – thanks for reminding me where to find this great recipe AND giving me the motivation to dig those books out of storage (not that I necessarily have to now that you’ve kindly posted this recipe here…but who knows what else I’m missing out on!!)

  3. I am wondering if you meant to put garlic powder twice in the list of ingredients. I read through the recipe and could only find it mentioned once in the recipe. These look so delicious. I am definitely going to make these for my family.

  4. My family loves these!!! I have a nephew who wants them every time he comes over. I honestly haven’t made any other enchiladas since I got your book.

  5. Hi! This looks great. I just had one question. You have garlic powder listed twice at 2 different amounts. Is that right?

  6. I am always looking for meals to deliver and this looks so perfect … I have the savoring the seasons cookbook but somehow missed this one as I was cooking my way through so thanks for the introductory story on this one >>> marking this one in my book now 🙂

  7. These look great! I’d love to print this for easy use but I don’t see a printable version button (I’m using my phone and usually you have one available). Am I missing it? Thank you!

  8. Have you ever made these enchiladas with corn tortillas? Gluten allergies prevents use of the flour ones, dang it. I’ll try them regardless, but wanted to ask.

  9. Have you ever tried these with corn tortillas? I think my family would like taste and texture better than flour when they are baked.

    1. Yep! I just added that note. I’ve actually never made them with flour, because I like how the flour ones get super soft, but I’ve had lots of people tell me they work great with corn!

  10. My family loves this recipe! It is so easy and delicious! There are only 3 of us, so I always make the full recipe and split it into two 9×9 pans. I cook one that day and freeze the other one for an easy dinner later.

  11. When you make & freeze this dish, do you freeze it with the sauce on the bottom of the pan & poured over the top? What about the cheese topping? And do you bake it uncovered straight out of the freezer? Thank you.

  12. These look amazing and I will definitely be making them! I’m attempting to get my macros on, so do you think it would work well with no-fat cream cheese? And could I substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream? Or is it best to just stick with the original plan? Thanks!!

    1. I’ve never tried either of those subs, but think they should work just fine. In terms of macros, low-fat sour cream is actually a little better (in my opinion) than Greek yogurt. The yogurt has more protein, but very little of that will actually end up in each individual serving. Same goes for the cream cheese- there’s only 4 ounces in the entire recipe, so not too much in a serving. But feel free to play around with it- I think those will work fine!

  13. I just made this for the first time tonight and it’s still in the oven. I’m just wondering, is the sauce supposed to be really runny? I simmered it for a LONG time and it never really thickened up. I have made enchiladas hundreds of times, so I just am not sure if this particular recipe has a really thin sauce or if somehow I botched it. Excited to eat it, though! thx!

    1. How’d they turn out? I’d say it’s as thick as a canned red sauce, so not SUPER thick, but thicker than plain broth if that helps 🙂 Hope they were delicious!

  14. I’m currently in pre-baby freezer meal prep mode. Any hints on freezing and reheating this recipe? It sounds amazing!

    1. Just pop them in a disposable foil pan and freeze immediately. They can go straight into the oven from the freezer, just extend the baking time and cook until hot and bubbly throughout!

  15. I love this recipe!! It is one of my young kids favorite dinner. I love how it doesn’t call for canned cream a chicken. Thanks!

  16. These look fantastic! I would love to try them for a family get together and wondered about how many this would serve?

  17. I am really excited about this recipe. I love enchiladas but every time I make them and put canned sauce on top I’m mad because I know the outcome is going to be an overwhelmingly strong “fake” flavor. Homemade sauce is a game changer for me. Thanks for always for sharing such great recipes.

  18. Can I make these without chicken and just add extra cheese? Two of my kids won’t eat chicken but these look so delicious I have to try them.

  19. I tried this recipe last night. I was SO excited. The chicken and cream cheese mixture was to die for! However, I messed up and put garlic salt and onion salt in (instead of powder). The sauce was so salty we couldn’t eat it. I will make them again and follow the recipe!

  20. Ha ha, I love your stories at the beginning. These are definitely the best enchiladas I’ve ever made/eaten. Thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂 I bet a side of berries with whipped cream would taste good with them too. 😉

  21. These look so tasty! Do you think these could be made vegetarian? Sub in beans for the chicken, perhaps?

  22. Do you think it would work to make these vegetarian? Like sub the chicken for black beans or something like that? Or would that be a total failure? haha

  23. We enjoyed this immensely. My Lazy Version used all your same ingredients, but I threw everything in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours. To make it even easier, I simply layered some sauce on the bottom, followed by ripped corn tortillas, the chicken mixture, repeated, and ending with the remaining sauce and sprinkled with cheese. I don’ t think this would work well with flour tortillas (too gummy in the slow cooker), but it was perfectly tender and firmed up at 4 hours. This will definitely go in the rotation!

  24. Made these tonight! So good! Even got the stamp of approval from my Mexican food-hating husband (I know- WHAT)

  25. I’ve had your Savoring the Seasons book for years, and when I see this recipe claiming to be the absolute “best” chicken enchiladas, my first thought was, “No way. It CAN’T be any better than their other one. I probably won’t even try this.” Imagine my delight when I realized the recipes are one and the same! Truly the best enchilada recipe I have ever used and the ONLY one I ever feed to company!

  26. I made these tonight and realized halfway through that I don’t have any coriander, so I just left it out. When I tasted the sauce to figure out how much salt to add, all I could taste was CUMIN. Like an overwhelming amount. I’m wondering…how much does the coriander change the taste? Do you think it helps to balance out the flavor? Should I buy some and give it another try? Or maybe I just need to add less cumin next time to suit my own taste?

    I ended up adding in an extra scoop of sour cream and the other half of the block of cream cheese to try to help tone the sauce down, and once paired with the enchiladas it worked out okay. Note to self: make sure you have all of the ingredients before making a recipe! Doh!

  27. Great recipe! I made it yesterday and it was delicious! I did run into a problem- I had soo much filling left over! I used small corn tortillas- maybe I should have used bigger ones? I made a couple of pans. Is the filling alone freezable? Thanks!

  28. Been a while. Just made again. Even picky kids were down with this. I halved the amount of broth for stronger flavor and kept the same amount of cheese and sour cream (so wouldn’t be dry). No wonder kids loved it.

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