Bathed in homemade roasted salsa verde, stuffed with smoky shredded chicken and black beans, and smothered in melty monterrey jack cheese, Enchiladas Verdes really hit the tex-mex spot. By roasting everything on one pan, these made-from-scratch enchiladas come together with a little bit less effort than your average homemade enchilada recipe. And do I even need to address how delicious they are?? So so good.
If you take a deep dive into our tex-mex archives, you’ll quickly see enchiladas are the cornerstone of the category. It wasn’t something purposeful, we just really really adore enchiladas. In there you’ll find our favorite Classic Chicken Enchiladas that have become a cult hit amongst readers (just take a look a the comments). My personal favorite, Shredded Beef Enchiladas which combine rich shredded beef with an equally rich and delicious ancho Chile sauce. We even have out-of-the-box options like these Chipotle and Pomegranate Chicken Enchiladas for those that crave something a little different
It didn’t dawn on me until the other day that we don’t have a recipe for the counterpart to our traditional chicken enchiladas – enchiladas verdes – so here we are. And guys, we have been missing out! Our Enchiladas Verdes are everything I hoped they would be. Tangy, creamy, ever-so-slightly spicy, packed with flavor, and of course, cheesy (a must in all enchiladas).
Instead of using a tomato or red-based sauce, enchiladas verdes uses a green-based salsa made with tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime. The sauce itself is tangy, spicy, creamy, and all things wonderful. Pairing the zippy salsa with flavorful shredded chicken, hearty black beans, smoky cumin and gooey cheese brings these enchiladas verdes recipe full circle.
Making homemade enchiladas can be notoriously time consuming, so we’ve streamlined the process so the chicken and veggies roast on the same pan to cut down on time and pans dirtied. (If you’re looking for something even more effortless, give our 5-Ingredient Chicken Enchiladas a go.)
Enchilada Verdes Sauce
Tomatillos. These adorable green little guys may seem unassuming, but their petite size packs in a burst of almost citrus-like tang and flavor. When roasted, the zippiness becomes even more pronounced, with hints of sweetness as well. Because of the combination they make the perfect ingredient to be the base of the enchiladas verdes sauce.
I usually find them in the produce section nestled with the jalapeños and poblano peppers. You’ll need to take the skin off and if you’re not lazy like I am, give them a quick rub down with a wet paper towel to rinse of any residue left by the skin.
Jalapeños. Every salsa needs an element of heat and our salsa verde is no exception. We like to use one whole jalapeño and leave the seeds and membranes in, but you can also use a Serrano pepper as well. Remember, you can always add more heat, but you can take it away.
Onion + Garlic.
Lime. Even though tomatillos have quite a bit of acid in them, I still like to add a little bit of citrus in as well.
Cilantro. I go heavy on the cilantro, for me it’s an integral part of the verdes sauce, but if you like to be a little less aggressive, you can reduce it by a little bit.
Chicken Stock. The main difference between a salsa verde and an enchilada verdes sauce, is we add liquid to the sauce to make it a thinner consistency. You could use water, but I like to add flavor where I can so we use a low-sodium chicken stock. Salsa is also typically left raw, whereas enchilada sauce is cooked.
Chicken. For maximum flavor, we like to use chicken thighs. If you’re really opposed to chicken thighs, chicken breast also works. If you do use chicken breasts, be sure to use a meat thermometer to cook them to the proper temperature, as they make cook slower than the other ingredients.
Black Beans. I wanted to add in a meat-free protein factor to our enchiladas verdes, so I threw in a handful of black beans. You could also add pinto beans or sautéed peppers and onions as well.
Spices. I absolutely hate when I bite into an enchilada and the filling has no seasoning whatsoever. We mix the chicken and beans with a little bit of smoky cumin, salt, and pepper. It’s a small addition that makes a big difference in the end.
Tortillas. Traditional enchiladas verdes use corn tortillas, but they can be notoriously hard to work with. I’ve actually discovered a mix of corn and flour tortillas I’m quite enamored by, so that’s what we used here. They’re pretty easy to find as just about any grocery store, but if you have trouble, regular flour or corn tortillas will work great. (I’ll list instructions below for corn tortillas as they take a little bit more work.)
Cheese. When making enchiladas, I almost exclusively use Monterrey Jack cheese or Oaxaca cheese. Both of them are a mild, cheese that melts wonderfully. Monterrey Jack tends to be a little more pocketbook-friendly, so a lot of times, that’s what I’ll reach for.
Sour Cream. For me, enchiladas verdes aren’t complete without a generous drizzle of crema or sour cream. To make the sour cream loose enough to artfully drizzle over the enchiladas, add a little bit of cream or milk until you get a more loose consistency.
Let’s make Enchiladas Verdes
Roast the veggies and chicken. Add the chicken thighs to one side of a large baking sheet. Add the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeño to the other side. Drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to coat everything in the olive oil. Sprinkle everything with a generous amount of salt and pepper (more than you think you’ll need!). Pop in the oven and roast until the veggies are soft and caramelized, and the chicken is cooked through.
If your chicken thighs have been butterflied from being cut off the bone by the butcher, they make cook a little bit faster than the vegetables. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to check on the chicken periodically. If it reaches an internal temperature of 165-degrees before the tomatillos and other veggies are fully roasted, pull them out. Let them rest for a few minutes before shredding them.
Make the enchiladas verdes sauce. Transfer the hot tomatillos, onion, garlic, and half of the jalapeño (you can add more later), to a high-powered blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt, and water. Blend until smooth.
Mix the filling. Shred the chicken on the same sheet pan you roasted everything on. Add black beans, salt, pepper, and cumin. Toss. Again, feel free to use pinto beans or anything else you want to add in. A little bit of chipotle chili powder and garlic powder would also be a nice addition to give a flavor boost.
Assemble! Pour a little bit of sauce into a greased 9×12 baking dish. Place a generous amount of filling on to each tortillas. Sprinkle with a little bit of cheese. Roll up tightly and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas! Pour the sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese and pop into the oven!
Can I use store-bought salsa verde
Salsa verde and enchiladas verdes sauce are very very similar, but the one difference is enchiladas verdes sauce has more liquid and is cooked. You can swap out store-bought salsa verde, but make sure it’s a similar consistency to enchilada sauce and a smooth texture. Honestly though, the homemade verdes is what makes these enchiladas so delicious, so I really wouldn’t skip it! If you skip anything, skip cooking the chicken and purchase a rotisserie chicken.
Can I make enchiladas verdes in advance?
The best way would be to make the enchiladas verdes sauce and filling in advance and then assemble right before you want to eat. If you make them from start to finish aside from baking, you do risk the enchiladas becoming soggy, which I’m actually 100% okay with, it just depends on what you prefer. If you use flour tortillas, they will keep better, If you use corn tortillas, you will not be able to make them ahead of time as the corn tortillas tend to fall apart. Also, enchiladas verdes reheat BEAUTIFULLY! So good the next day!
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you want to use corn tortillas, make sure to make them pliable before rolling. To do that, we heat about 1/4 cup of canola oil in a medium skillet. One the oil is hot. Dip the corn tortillas in the oil very quickly. Blot the tortillas with a paper towel. Let it cool, then fill and roll. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Remember, you can always add spice to your verdes sauce, but you can’t take it away. Start by adding 1/2 of the jalapeño. Taste and add more if you’d like.
- Swap out chicken thighs for chicken breasts.
- To make “crema” add a little bit of milk or cream to the sour cream until you get a consistency that is easily drizzled.
Here are more ways to use tomatillos!
- Our Chilaquiles Verdes is a classic Mexican breakfast and perfect for Sunday brunch at home.
- These Shredded Beef Tostadas are another favorite tex-mex dish we have on the site.
- While we don’t roast our own tomatillos in this Chile Verde Soup, it still has all of the same flavor profiles we love about salsa verde.
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 lb tomatillos, skin remove and halved
- 4 large garlic cloves, peel on
- 1/2 large onion, peel on
- 1 large jalapeno
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream + 2 tsp milk or cream
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- sheet pan
- Baking dish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease a 9x12 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add the chicken thighs to one side of the pan. Add the tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, and garlic to the other side. Drizzle everything evenly with olive oil. Use hands to evenly coat chicken and vegetables with olive oil. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly over the chicken and vegetables. Flip and sprinkle with another 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
- Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast until the tomatillos, onion and jalapenos are roasted and caramelized and the chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. At the 20-minute mark, check to see if the chicken is done. If an instant read thermometer reads 165, the chicken is done. Pull the chicken off the sheet pan and set aside. Continue to roast until tomatillos are caramelized. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.
- Halve the jalapeno and remove the seeds and stems. Remove the peel/skin from the onion and garlic. Transfer the tomatillos, onion, garlic, 1/2 the jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lime juice, 1/4 cup of the chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, garlic powder, and cilantro to a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and see if you want to add any more jalapeno. Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take it away. If needed, add a little more chicken stock to get to desired sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Shred the chicken on the same sheet pan you cooked it on. Add remaining teaspoon cumin, black beans, and salt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spread enough sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish to lightly coat the bottom. Place filling on a tortilla. Sprinkle with a heaping tablespoon of cheese. Place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
- Once all the enchiladas are in the baking dish, cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and hot, about 25 minutes.
- While the enchiladas bake, mix sour cream and milk or cream together. For a pretty presentation, transfer the cream mixture to a small ziplock bag. Cut off the tip and drizzle over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese.