Chicken Enchiladas with Verde Sauce

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This post is kindly sponsored by Pacific Foods, but the recipe, photography, video, and opinions are 100% ours.

We absolutely love everything about Mexican cuisine. It is steeped in history and loaded with amazing flavor.

This dish is just bursting with amazing taste and texture. Roasting the vegetables for the verde sauce as well as the chicken delivers superior flavor. And of course, relying on quality ingredients, including our favorite Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Broth, makes this one of our favorite Mexican dishes of all time.

A 9'x13' white baking dish filled with chicken enchiladas with verde sauce topped with chopped tomatoes and cilantro, alongside a metal spatula and festive napkins.

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH VERDE SAUCE

This recipe delivers authentic restaurant-quality taste but honestly is not difficult to prepare.

The verde sauce can be made in advance, and the chicken can be roasted and shredded in advance, too.

Assembly is a snap and lots of fun!

MAKING VERDE SAUCE FROM SCRATCH

The process of roasting the vegetables for the homemade verde sauce is key to creating that delicious, deep taste that we’re looking for.

Roasting softens the vegetables and also concentrates them to intensify the flavor profile.

EXPERT TIP: Tomatillos are an important ingredient for classic verde sauce. They are typically found in the produce section of most well-stocked supermarkets or at your local produce market. Be sure to remove the outer skin before roasting. We include two serrano chilies in our sauce, too. Remove the stems and seeds to reduce the heat. For less heat, only use 1 serrano. For more heat, don’t remove the seeds.

2 stacked photos, the top a baking sheet filled with tomatillos, serrano peppers, and sliced onions, and the bottom photo of the same vegetables after being roasted.

After the vegetables have roasted and have started to blister a bit, it’s time to puree them.

Carefully transfer them to your blender or food processor, and blend (or pulse), until smooth.

The smell is already incredible.

2 stacked photos, the top a view looking into a blender filled with roasted tomatillos and pepper, and the bottom image the same blender with the vegetables puréed.

QUALITY INGREDIENTS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

Fresh vegetables are a must to produce a delicious verde sauce. Quality chicken, tortillas, and cheese are important, too.

It is essential that chicken broth be flavorful and good quality.

That’s why we always turn to Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth for our authentic verde sauce. We love it because it’s the perfect blend of organic free-range chicken, sea salt, and just the right amount of seasonings that results in a broth that is rich and full of flavor.

A box of Pacific Food Chicken Broth in front of a silver skillet filled with verde sauce with a whisk in it and a measuring cup pouring in the broth.

Now to the roasted chicken. We always go with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because they’re just loaded with flavor.

Roasting the chicken allows the juices from the skin to seep into the juicy thigh meat.

EXPERT TIP: After about 45 minutes in a 400°F oven, the chicken should be fully cooked with an internal temperature of 165° to 167°F. Let the chicken rest until cool enough to shred with a fork. You can certainly substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, however, you’ll need to reduce the roasting time to about 30 minutes. A rotisserie chicken from the supermarket will work in a pinch.

2 stacked photos, the 1st a hand holding an instant-read thermometer in cooked chicken that reads 167°F, and the bottom two hands using forks to shred the chicken.

HOW TO FORM THE ENCHILADAS

Authentic Mexican enchiladas almost always are made with corn tortillas. In order to form the enchilada, you need to soften the tortillas first.

A common technique to do this is to quickly place them in a small skillet filled with hot oil and then transfer them to the verde sauce.

EXPERT TIP: For this recipe, we simply dampen a couple of paper towels and then place the corn tortillas between them, and then microwave them on HIGH for about 1 minute, or until they are soft. Then transfer them to the skillet filled with the prepared verde sauce to coat. The flash-fry technique often makes the tortillas so fragile that they fall apart when attempting to remove them from the dish. The microwave method is a bit healthier, too.

3 stacked photos, with the 1st a hand dipping a corn tortilla into a skillet of verde sauce, the 2nd a hand placing chicken inside the corn tortillas in a baking dish, and 3rd the same hand folding over the tops of the enchilada.

For topping the chicken enchiladas with verde sauce, you’ll want to choose a good melting cheese.

Shredded cheddar, Monterrey Jace, or Mexican Chihuahua are all great choices.  A combination of them is even better!

We also use crumbled Cotija cheese as a garnish which can usually be found in the specialty cheese section of most well-stocked supermarkets.

A hand sprinkling shredded Mexican cheese over the tops of chicken enchiladas with verde sauce in a white baking dish.

After the enchiladas have baked for 25 minutes, the cheese will have melted and the sauce will be bubbling.

We love to garnish the dish with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, Mexican crema, and as mentioned, crumbled Cotija cheese.

Talk about a Mexican fiesta right in your very own kitchen!

A close-up view of a white baking dish filled with chicken enchiladas with verde sauce.

RELY ON PACIFIC FOODS’ COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

This bears repeating: Going with high-quality ingredients will elevate this dish to amazing culinary heights.

Pacific Foods uses time-honored recipes and just a few simple ingredients, showcasing each ingredient’s true flavor and inherent nutrition. There are no additives or preservatives in their food.

They like to say: “We’re out to Nourish Every Body.” And we couldn’t agree more. Some of our other favorite dishes that star Pacific Foods’ amazing array of products include our

Gourmet Beef Stroganoff
Air-Fryer Cordon Bleu Loaf with Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives
Pappardelle Bolognese

But for now, let’s get back to these amazing Chicken Enchiladas with Verde Sauce!

An overhead view of a 9'x13' baking dish filled with chicken enchiladas with verde sauce next to a box of chicken broth and fresh cilantro and cherry tomatoes.

We are big-time lovers of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Cal-Mex cuisine.

If you and your family are as well, then this is the dish for you.

Deep in flavor and truly restaurant quality. Right in your very own home!

A white plate filled with two chicken enchiladas with verde sauce topped with chopped tomatoes, cilantro and Mexican cheese, with a fork on the side of the plate.

Ready to make the best plate of enchiladas this side of the Rio Grande? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and @pacificfoods!

A 9'x13' white baking dish filled with chicken enchiladas with verde sauce topped with chopped tomatoes and cilantro, alongside a metal spatula and festive napkins.

Chicken Enchiladas with Verde Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas with Verde Sauce is one of our all-time favorite dishes. Roast the tomatillos, peppers, garlic, and onion for a deep rich flavor. We also bake the chicken thighs for about 45 minutes for amazing flavor. Baked to perfection. Muy beuno!!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree, Mexican
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword: authentic chicken enchiladas recipe, easy chicken enchiladas recipe, how to make verde sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Roasting time (veggies and chicken): 57 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 670kcal

Equipment

  • 9"x13" baking dish

Ingredients

FOR THE VERDE SAUCE

  • 1 lb tomatillos fresh, husks and stems removed, rinsed
  • 2 serrano chiles stems and seeds removed
  • 4 slices white onion each about 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup cilantro fresh, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Pacific Foods Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth
  • ¾ cup Mexican crema or crème fraîche, or heavy cream
  • Kosher salt

FOR THE ENCHILADAS

  • 3 lb chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • cups cheese Shredded: Monterey Jack and/or Mild Cheddar
  • 1 cup tomato chopped, for garnish
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped, for garnish
  • ½ cup Cotija cheese crumbled, for garnish

Instructions

MAKE THE VERDE SAUCE

  • Position a rack under your broiler, and turn on high. Arrange the tomatillos, chiles, onion slices, and garlic in a shallow baking/roasting pan.
  • Broil, until the tomatillos are soft and slightly charred, about 12 minutes, turning the pan halfway through.
  • Transfer vegetables to a blender and add the cilantro. Blend until smooth.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillo mixture and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of the broth and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the Mexican crema (or crème fraîche or heavy cream) and 1 teaspoon salt. Let cool slightly before assembling the enchiladas

ROAST THE CHICKEN

  • While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Rub the vegetable oil (1 tablespoon) over the chicken thighs, and then sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Bake the chicken thighs until cooked through with an internal temperature of 165°F. (Approx. 45 minutes for bone-in, 30 minutes for boneless).
  • Remove the thighs and let cool slightly. (You can turn the oven off, or leave it on...you will be cooking the enchiladas at the same temp shortly). Remove the skin and discard it. Shred the meat with a fork. Lightly salt and pepper the shredded chicken. Set aside.

PREPARE THE ENCHILADAS

  • Place moist paper towels around the corn tortillas and place in the microwave on high for 1 minute. The tortillas should be soft and pliable. Microwave for another 30 seconds, if necessary.
  • Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray. One by one, dip the tortilla into the prepared sauce, just enough to coat the tortilla. Lay the sauced tortilla into the dish. Fill the center of the tortilla with a heaping tablespoon of the cooked chicken, and then roll in the side of the tortilla, sealing them shut at the top. Spoon some of the sauce over the tortillas to keep the enchilada sealed. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Pour 1½ cups of the sauce over the tortillas. Top with the cheese and bake until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and crumble Cotija cheese, if desired. Serve at once!

Video

Notes

We love the flavor of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.  However, you can certainly go with skinless, boneless thigh or breasts.  The bake time will typically be about 15 to 20 minutes less.  When fully cooked, the juices will run clear and the internal temperature is 165° to 170°F.
A shredded rotisserie chicken is an okay substitute, you won't get quite as much flavor, but it's still a fine option.
Serrano peppers will add some heat to the sauce.  We remove the stems and then slit the peppers in half to remove in the seeds and ribs on the inside.  Consider wearing gloves to do this, or wash your hands and don't touch your eyes!  For more heat, leave the seeds in, or increase the peppers to 3.  For minimal heat, only use 1 pepper.  For not heat at all, omit the peppers.  
1 fresh jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, can be substituted for the serrano peppers.
The verde sauce and the chicken can be prepared several days in advance.
The cooked enchiladas will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.  And though they can be frozen, the texture of the enchiladas will be compromised somewhat if frozen for up to 1 month. 

Nutrition

Calories: 670kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 78g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 212mg | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 1439mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1584IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 571mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

 

10 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Good morning Wesley & Kris,
    It is 10:00 a.m. and I am eating these absolutely amazing enchiladas. We had them for dinner last night but I had to have more. I think they would be wonderful for a Mexican brunch, don’t you? Kris, that verde sauce is to die for! Can’t wait to make it for friends and bask in their praises.
    Was wondering, would your cilantro lime rice go well with this or do you have another suggestion? I always like it when you mention what other dishes to serve with the recipe you’re focusing on. And I love that your recipes and videos are so informational.
    Thank you for reawakening my love of cooking. Hugs to you both

    • Darlene!! First, please forgive the late reply here. Second….this is so amazing to hear!!! Enchiladas for breakfast are AWESOME! Even if they are leftovers! And yes! There isn’t thing we love much more than a Mexican-themed brunch! The cilantro lime rice would be great, but so would our Best-Ever Mexican Rice….it’s classic, and sooo good! Thank you so much for your kind words and it just fills our hearts with joy to know we can help you out in the kitchen!! Sounds like you are already top notch!!! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the FABULOUS review. That truly means the world to us! Please stay in touch! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Hey Guys!

    These were plate lickin’ yummy! My question is, can I quickly pan sear & then stuff flour tortillas in lieu of corn in the future? I know the traditional way is the corn tortilla route, but I truthfully don’t like them. I don’t like the mushy corn texture and the flavor is off putting for me. Plus, they’re hard to work with and stuff (too small) and they’re hard to find where I live.

    • Hi Lonnie!! Please forgive our delayed response!! You can absolutely go with flour tortillas. Just heat them up in the microwave to make them nice and pliable and then dip in the sauce, and follow the recipe as written. We do love flour tortilla enchiladas, too. Let us know if you make it with the flour tortillas and let us know what you think!!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Very nice recipe, I made this tonight for dinner and the family loved it! I had to scale back the peppers in the verde sauce cause it was way too hot for children as written but other than that it was delicious thanks for another good recipe!

    • Hi Chendria! Totally understand about having to dial back on the pepper for the kiddos. But it sounds like you prepared the dish perfectly! So glad you enjoyed it and thank you SO MUCH for letting us know and the wonderful review. That always means so much to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • I recently found your blog through Twitter and am thoroughly enjoying it! I’ve pinned a scad of your recipes which look so decadent but most seem so doable for a novice like myself! Your photos are simply gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hi Karen! Thanks so much! We really like your site http://www.klmarkertphoto.com/, beautiful and very thought-provoking. we love that. And hey! We’re fellow Texans! (well, Kris, that’s me, is). I grew up in the D/FW area, and Wesley is an honorary Texan. We’re signing up for you newsletter. See you again soon! Kris & Wesley

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