High-Effort, Totally Homemade, & Completely Delicious Green Enchiladas!
This (seriously epic!) green enchiladas recipe comes from my dear friend Elizabeth. Elizabeth, one of my earliest blogging friends, is the award-winning content creator behind The College Housewife. She’s like a modern day Martha Stewart – her recipes are all so fun & delicious (yum!), she has an amazing eye for design (I mean, check out her apartment makeovers!), & she’s an entertaining guru. Elizabeth is the definition of ‘hostess with the mostess’!
Elizabeth’s newest project is a seriously fun & seriously beautiful debut cookbook, Everyday Entertaining. Filled with ‘110+ Recipes for Going All Out When You’re Staying In’, this book is a must-have for anyone who loves to gather with friends & family to share a great meal. I had the privilege of helping Elizabeth test the recipes in the book last summer, so I can personally vouch for the fact that everything is absolutely delicious! I mean, how can you go wrong with Miso Carbonara, Hot Honey Tenders, or Green Suiza Chicken Enchiladas?!
Elizabeth’s Green Chicken Enchiladas are some of the best enchiladas I’ve ever had! Made with beer-braised chicken, zippy + bright green enchilada sauce, & loads of cheese, they deliver deep, rich flavor. They’re so fun to make, too!
Homemade enchiladas are always a bit of a project, & these green chicken enchiladas are no exception. They take about 90 minutes from start to finish, which includes time to make green enchilada sauce from scratch & beer-braised chicken. You’ll be surprised at how straightforward and easy the process is! Consider this recipe a kitchen project that’s high-effort, high-reward, & a total crowdpleaser – the perfect meal for the ultimate Mexican dinner with friends or family.
Green Chicken Enchiladas Recipe Highlights
You’ll love these green enchiladas because they’re (click for shortcuts within this post!)…
- SERIOUSLY CRAVE-WORTHY. Every component delivers crave-worthy flavor – rich & earthy beer-braised chicken, zippy + bright green enchilada sauce, & loads of ooey-gooey cheese! They’ll make your mouth water & your kitchen will smell divine, too!
- SCRATCH-MADE. Between the easy homemade green enchilada sauce & slowly simmered beer-braised chicken, these enchiladas are a high-effort, high-reward kitchen project perfect for a Sunday afternoon or an easy dinner party with friends & family.
- MAKE-AHEAD FRIENDLY! Meal prep-friendly, make-ahead friendly, & freezer-friendly – a comfort food trifecta!
Mexican comfort food is the best comfort food! ♡ Read on to learn more about these Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking, & be sure to order Everyday Entertaining today!
These Green Chicken Enchiladas Start with the BEST Beer-Braised Chicken!
One of the best things about this green enchiladas recipe is the chicken. It’s not just any ol’ chicken (& it’s certainly not dry & crumbly chicken!) – these green chicken enchiladas are made with amazingly rich & flavorful beer-braised chicken.
What is braising? ⇢ If you’ve never braised anything before, don’t be intimidated! It’s simply a cooking term that refers to slowly simmering an ingredient to create bold, rich flavor. For these green chicken enchiladas, we’re braising chicken breasts with spices, onions, chiles, & beer. (If you’re not a beer lover, don’t be deterred – the beer infuses the chicken with rich, complex flavor without tasting especially beer-like, promise!) It’s almost an entirely hands-off job – the stove does all the work!
An overview of the process (full Recipe Directions, with step-by-step photos, provided in the Recipe Card, below):
- SEASON. Dust chicken breasts with some staple Mexican spices – ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, & dried oregano.
- SEAR. Heat a little bit of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or braising pan, then add the chicken. Cook a few minutes per side, until the chicken has a beautiful golden & browned sear. Why? ⇢ Searing the chicken gives it a browned, crusty exterior that adds rich, deep flavor (thanks to the Maillard reaction!).
- SIMMER. Slowly cook the chicken breasts with onion, green chiles, beer, & chicken stock until the chicken is fall-apart tender. This takes 30-40 minutes (& your kitchen will smell absolutely heavenly!).
- SHRED. Once the chicken is fall-apart tender, the last step is to shred it into bite-sized pieces for the green chicken enchiladas. Quick & easy shortcut for shredding chicken! ⇢ My favorite kitchen hack is using a trusty stand mixer to shred chicken. The paddle attachment does all the work, creating the perfectly pulled chicken.
How to Make Green Enchilada Sauce (Completely Homemade!):
The other thing that puts this enchiladas recipe over the top is a completely homemade green enchilada sauce. I’m not above a jarred or pre-made shortcut every now & then, but they pale in comparison to homemade. Elizabeth’s green enchilada sauce recipe is easy to prepare & has the best zippy + bright flavor!
This green enchilada sauce recipe calls for simple, fresh ingredients, like tomatillos, onion, jalapeño chiles, pantry spices, & loads of cilantro.
Ingredient Spotlight – Tomatillos! ⇢ If you’ve never worked with tomatillos before, you’re in for a treat – they’re one of my favorite Mexican ingredients! Tomatillos look like green tomatoes but they’re actually a Mexican fruit with bright, tart flavor. You can find tomatillos (they will be encased in a papery husk) in the produce section at most conventional grocery stores near the chile peppers. Simply peel back the husk & give them a quick rinse to wash away the sticky sap on the surface of the fruit.
Making homemade green enchilada sauce is a really straight-forward process, with 2 main steps:
- Roast: Pop tomatillos, onions, & chiles on a sheet pan. Drizzle with a little oil, then roast 15-20 minutes, just until the tomatillos are tender tender & golden.
- Blend: Add the roasted veggies to a high-speed blender with spices, cilantro, & lime. Blend until smooth, pouring in some chicken stock or water as needed to thin the mixture out.
That’s it! The easiest homemade enchilada sauce! You can use it immediately or store it for later use – see Recipe Notes, below, for storage guidance.
How to Make Green Enchiladas – Assembly & Serving.
With the chicken & sauce prepped, all that’s left for these chicken enchiladas with green sauce is assembly, baking, & serving. Pretty simple!
Quick Enchilada Tips & Tricks:
Enchilada assembly tips: When prepping enchiladas, I find it easiest to arrange an assembly line with all of the components within arm’s reach. Pour some of the green enchilada sauce in a shallow bowl – this makes it easier to dunk the tortillas in the sauce before wrapping them around the beer-braised chicken & cheese filling. Transfer the green enchiladas to a baking dish & repeat until all of the chicken, sauce, & tortillas are used up.
Baking: Because all of the components of these green chicken enchiladas are fully cooked, they bake really quickly – you just want to warm them through & melt the cheese. For an extra toasty touch, I like to finish these green enchiladas under the broiler for just a couple of minutes – there’s nothing better than golden brown & bubbly cheese!
Serving: Enjoy these green enchiladas immediately! I like topping them off with a drizzle of crema (or sour cream), sliced avocado, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro & diced red onion, & a big squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve them alongside your favorite enchilada night sides – chips, guacamole, & a big ol’ margarita are a must!
I can’t wait for you to try these Green Chicken Enchiladas. We’re totally obsessed – I know you will be too! If you do, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. Also, snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE seeing your PWWB creations!
Love Mexican food? Uh, same here! 🙌🏼💃🏻 Be sure to try this Sheet Pan Pollo Verde, these Crispy Baked Chicken Carnitas, or these Chicken al Pastor Tacos next. Happy cooking! ♡Print
Green Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Green Sauce
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: serves 4-6 1x
- Category: Tacos, Burritos & Enchiladas Recipes, Main Dishes
- Method: Baked, Braised
- Cuisine: Mexican & Tex-Mex
These Green Chicken Enchiladas are a total crowdpleaser! Fall-apart tender beer-braised chicken breasts are wrapped in corn tortillas, doused with zippy, spicy, & bright homemade green enchilada sauce made from tomatillos & chiles, & covered in ooey-gooey melted cheese. See Recipe Notes for meal prep & make-ahead instructions.
This recipe is reprinted, with permission, from my friend Elizabeth Van Lierde‘s fantastic new cookbook, Everyday Entertaining: 110+ Recipes for Going All Out When You’re Staying In, available wherever books are sold on August 10th.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 cup light beer of choice (e.g. lager, pale ale)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
for the homemade green enchilada sauce:
- 8–10 small tomatillos, husked & rinsed (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1–2 jalapeño chiles, deseeded as desired
- 1–2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 handful cilantro leaves & tender stems (about 1 cup packed)
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
for green chicken enchiladas assembly & serving:
- 8–10 medium corn tortillas (see Recipe Notes, below)
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- for serving, as desired: sour cream or crema, chopped cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeño, avocado, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Gather & arrange ingredients.
- Sear the chicken: Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with lid over medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once the oil is hot & shimmering, carefully add the seasoned chicken to the pot. Sear 3-4 minutes per side, until browned & golden, then transfer to a plate & set aside. (The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point – that’s totally fine!)
- Braise the chicken: Add the onion to the same pot used to brown the chicken. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, just until softened & translucent. Deglaze the pot by pouring in the beer, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pot. Add in the seared chicken, green chiles, lime juice, & chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to combine, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover & simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Roast the tomatillos & chiles: Meanwhile, as the chicken braises, prep the homemade green enchilada sauce. Place the tomatillos, onion, & jalapeños on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top & toss to coat. Roast 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatillos are tender & golden.
- Blend the green enchilada sauce: Carefully add the roasted tomatillos, onions, & chiles to a high-speed blender with the cumin, garlic powder, cilantro, lime, & chicken stock. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Taste & adjust seasoning as desired.
- Shred the chicken: Once cooked, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces – you can do so using 2 forks, or my favorite trick: pop the braised chicken directly into in a stand mixer & let the paddle attachment do the work for you (I swear this works!). Transfer the shredded chicken back into the braising liquid, tossing to combine.
- Assemble the green chicken enchiladas: Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F & begin enchilada assembly. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with 1/2 cup of the green chile enchilada sauce. Pour remaining enchilada sauce in a shallow bowl, then prep a small assembly line with tortillas, enchilada sauce, shredded chicken, & cheese. Lightly dip each tortilla into the sauce, the fill with a small handful of cheese & 1/4-1/2 cup shredded chicken. Roll each tortilla around the filling, then place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Once assembled, top the enchiladas with any remaining sauce & an even layer of shredded cheese.
- Bake the enchiladas: Transfer to the oven & bake 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted & golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving, topped as desired with sour cream, chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeno, & sliced avocado. Enjoy!
- Corn tortillas: When making homemade enchiladas, I always have the best luck using corn tortillas that have a good balance of sturdy & delicate texture. You don’t want to use really thick corn tortillas, but you also don’t want them to be too delicate & flaky. I’ve had great success using La Perla’s corn tortillas, which is a local Minnesota brand that I love.
- Make-Ahead, Storage & Reheating:
- Make-Ahead Option #1 – Partial Prep: My suggested make-ahead approach! Prep the beer-braised chicken according to Steps 2-3 & 6, storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Prep the homemade green enchilada sauce according to Steps 4-5, storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. At dinnertime, simply assemble & bake according to Steps 7-8.
- Make-Ahead Option #2 – Fully Assembled: Once assembled (through Step 7 of Recipe Directions, above), these green chicken enchiladas will keep, stored covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. To finish, bake according to Step 8 & serve immediately.
- Storage & Reheating: Leftover enchiladas will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
Keywords: best green chicken enchiladas, homemade green enchilada sauce, chicken enchiladas with green sauce, easy, homemade, Mexican, comfort food
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
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can’t wait to make these…going on the menu for next weekend. I have never use fresh tomatillos before so this should be fun! thanks for sharing this one.
Yayyy! Can’t wait to hear what you think, Susan! 🙂
Hi Mary! Thanks so much for sharing, we are so glad you loved it! If you liked this one – check out these Beer-Braised Carnitas next!