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How to Make Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

Transform dinner when you learn how to make chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce. Easy 5-minute sour cream sauce will change your life.

plate of chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce

What makes an easy enchilada recipe? Leftover chicken and a 5-minute sauce. Learn how to make chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce using all my shortcuts.

This delicious family favorite will turn into one of your most requested dinner recipes.  

What are chicken enchiladas? Chicken enchiladas are rolled tortillas stuffed with a tasty chicken filling, drenched with sauce, and baked until piping hot.  

Easy!  

Making enchiladas might seem daunting the first time you try it. However, this is an easy enchilada recipe that doesn’t take a long time to prepare. Especially when you have leftover chicken or if you open a can of Costco chicken.      

Why You Will Love Simple Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

bite sized pieces of sour cream chicken enchiladas
  • Quick and easy sour cream sauce. Some recipes start with a roux base. Or call for a can of cream of chicken soup. But you don’t need it here. Make an amazing sour cream sauce in just 5 minutes.

    The simple ingredients in this sauce make it healthier and tastier than any condensed soup sauce. The best sauce makes the best sour cream enchiladas.
  • Effortless to make a double batch. Taking dinner to an overwhelmed new mom? A sick friend? The new neighbors? A potluck Cinco de Mayo celebration?

    It is a breeze to double the recipe and make two pans of this easy chicken enchilada recipe.
  • A simple recipe for new cooks. No special skills are needed here. Stir, roll, pour, bake. Anyone can do it.

Let our family’s favorite chicken enchilada recipe slide into your dinner rotation.  

Are Chicken Enchiladas Authentic Mexican Food?

plate of sour cream enchiladas with seasoned rice

Chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce originated in Mexico through the influence of Spaniard and Swiss immigrants.  

Spaniards introduced wheat, and the Swiss introduced sour cream.

In Mexico, most enchiladas are made with corn tortillas. However, in the United States, corn OR flour tortillas are used in chicken enchiladas.

Corn was abundant in early Mexico, and tortillas were made exclusively with maize. However, when Spaniard colonists introduced wheat and grew it in Mexico, tortillas evolved.

With the abundance of wheat, people began making flour tortillas.

Swiss immigrants in Mexico started using sour cream in enchilada sauce. Early Swiss immigrants worked in Mexican dairies. They produced milk, cheese, and Mexican sour cream (crema).

Using crema, the Swiss Mexicans created enchiladas suizas with a cream-based sauce. Creamy white chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce are the adaption of enchiladas suizas.

We really are a global foodie world. Adapting, changing, and tweaking every recipe.

What Goes Inside Chicken Enchiladas?

A hearty chicken filling goes inside chicken enchiladas. Make the filling with chicken, salsa verde, green chilies, cilantro, green onions, and cream cheese.  

Chicken Filling

Chicken is the main ingredient in simple enchiladas. Leftover chicken is perfect for chicken enchiladas. Rotisserie chicken is a tasty choice too.  

However, if you want an easy enchilada recipe, choose canned chicken. Costco canned chicken makes the tastiest sour cream chicken enchiladas.  

You can cook chicken from scratch too, if you have time. There are several ways to get tasty chicken for enchiladas, including cooking chicken on the stove or in the Instant Pot.

3 Methods to Shred Chicken  

How do I shred chicken for enchiladas? Cook the chicken before you shred it. After it cools for a few minutes, remove any skin or bones. Then shred it in a food processor, blender, or by hand.

Shredded chicken makes a better filling than cubed chicken. It fills out the tortilla better and has a wonderful texture.  

#1 Shred Chicken in a Food Processor

A food processor is the easiest way to shred chicken.

  1. CUT the cooked chicken into pieces that can fit into the food processor. Only fill the container about ⅓ full.
  2. PULSE to shred.
  3. POUR the chicken into a bowl when it is shredded the way you like it.
  4. ADD more chicken pieces to the food processor and repeat the procedure until all the chicken is processed.

#2 Shred Chicken in a Blender

Using a blender is similar to using a food processor. The only difference is that the blender is less efficient.

After pulsing, some of the chicken may be perfectly shredded. In contrast, some lumps of chicken may not reach the blades. Don’t worry. I have a solution for you.

  1. CUT the chicken into pieces that can fit into the blender. Only fill the container about ⅓ full.
  2. PULSE to shred.
  3. PULL out the chicken pieces that weren’t processed.
  4. POUR the shredded chicken into a bowl.
  5. RETURN the chicken pieces back to the blender.
  6. REPEAT the procedure until all the chicken is processed.

Be careful not to blend for so long that you end up with a soupy ball of chicken. Pulse. Don’t blend.

#3 Shred chicken by hand.

Use two forks to shred chicken by hand. A fork shreds best with freshly cooked chicken. Cold chicken is difficult to shred by hand.

  1. HOLD the chicken piece in place with one fork.
  2. PULL apart strands of chicken with the other fork.

Fork shredding is okay if you do not have a food processor or blender. However, the shredded chicken will not be as uniform as it would be with a food processor or blender.

What Cheese to Use for Chicken Enchiladas

plate of 5 different cheeses shredded or crumbled

Monterey jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, or cheddar cheese are popular in chicken enchiladas. If you prefer crumbly cheese, try Cotija or queso fresco.  

Use Monterey jack cheese in the sour cream sauce to keep the sauce white.

The Best Sauce for Chicken Enchiladas

The best sauce for simple sour cream chicken enchiladas is sour cream sauce. This sauce is made with sour cream and chicken broth.

Use cornstarch to thicken the sauce instead of flour and melted butter (called a roux). Cornstarch does not add flavor or color, and it is easy to use. This is perfect for a white sour cream sauce.  

Other good sauces to try with chicken enchiladas are green chili sauce, red sauce, or tomatillo cream sauce.  

Additional Fillings

What if you don’t quite have enough leftover chicken to make the recipe? Maybe you want to sneak something healthy in. Perhaps you need to stretch your dollar.  

No problem. Beans are delicious additions to the enchilada filling.  

Seasoned black beans or baked pinto beans are excellent to pair with chicken in enchiladas. White beans are a good choice too. After all, they work in white bean chicken chili.        

Chicken Enchilada Ingredient List

ingredients for chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce
  • Flour tortillas: Flour tortillas are soft enough to roll without heating. I recommend the mid-sized soft taco size. This recipe will fill up to 12 tortillas.

    You can do the large burrito-sized tortillas if your pan is big enough. Fill up to 10 larger tortillas.

    If you prefer corn tortillas, use them instead. Heat corn tortillas in the microwave with a damp paper towel, or else they will break when rolled.
  • Chicken (cooked and shredded): Simple chicken seasoned only with salt and pepper is perfect for this recipe. However, you can season with chili powder, cumin, and paprika if you would like.
  • Green chilies: Canned green chilies are easy to use. You can roast your own chilies, then peel and chop them if you have the time. I always pop open a can.
  • Salsa verde: ¼ cup of salsa verde (optional, but it adds a mildly sweet flavor to the chicken filling).
  • Cream cheese: Soft cream cheese makes the filling creamy and taste just as good as the sauce. If you want to go lighter, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to cream cheese you can use.
  • Green onions: Slice a couple to go into the enchilada. Save some to garnish the top.
  • Monterey Jack cheese (or your favorite cheese): We use cheddar as often as Monterey Jack. Cheese goes in the filling, sauce, and on top of the enchiladas before baking.

  Sour Cream Sauce Ingredients

  • Chicken broth: Use your favorite brand of chicken broth. Better than bouillon is my go-to chicken broth. Mix one teaspoon of bouillon for every cup of water.
  • Sour cream: Regular sour cream will give you the best results. However, you can use low-fat sour cream and even nonfat Greek yogurt to save some calories. The sauce will be slightly thinner.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt (if needed). Simple.
  • Cornstarch: Whisk the cornstarch with water or broth before pouring it into the sauce. It thickens quickly as it heats.
  • Cheese: Use Monterey Jack cheese to keep the sour cream sauce white. But always use your favorite cheese.

    You may want to sprinkle some cheddar on top before baking the enchiladas. It adds color and flavor.

Enchilada Garnishes

The best garnishes for chicken enchiladas are fresh and sliced. Here are some ideas.

  • Warm sour cream sauce
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced green onions
  • Cubed avocado
  • Crumbly cheese 

How to Make Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

Step 1: Shred the chicken.

shredded chicken for sour cream chicken enchiladas

If you have leftover chicken, perfect. Just shred it. If you start from scratch, cook 2 to 3 chicken breasts, and then shred the cooked chicken.

Step 2: Do the prep work.

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Spray the bottom of the pan with nonstick cooking spray and put the pan in the oven to heat.

    Preheating the pan helps prevent soggy enchiladas. Don’t forget the cooking spray, or it will be challenging to get the enchiladas out of the pan.
  • Shred the cheese and chop the green onion and cilantro.
  • Pull the cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften.

Step 3: Make the sauce.

steps showing how to make sour cream sauce for chicken enchiladas
  • Make a cornstarch slurry by whisking 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch with ½ cup of cold water or chicken broth. Set the slurry aside.
  • Whisk the remaining chicken broth and sour cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the seasonings.
  • When the mixture is about to boil, slowly add the cornstarch slurry a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
  • Reduce the heat and then add the cheese and stir until it melts. Take the sauce off the heat.

Step 4: Make the chicken filling.

chicken filling for sour cream enchiladas
  • Pour 2 cups of shredded chicken into a large bowl.
  • Stir in the undrained canned green chilies, green onion, cilantro, softened cream cheese, salsa verde, and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  • If the filling is too dry, add some sour cream sauce to moisten it. There is enough filling for 10 to 12 tortillas (soft taco size).

Step 5: Roll the enchiladas.

steps showing how to make chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce
  • Remove the casserole dish from the oven.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in a line near the bottom of the tortilla. Tortillas are easier to roll without the filling escaping if the chicken mixture is near the bottom rather than the center of the tortillas.
  • Starting with the bottom of the tortilla, roll the tortilla into a cylinder.
  • Place seam side down in the bottom of the warm casserole dish.
  • Repeat until all the enchiladas are rolled. Do not overfill the casserole dish.

Step 6: Pour the sauce.

  • Pour a cup of the sour cream sauce over the enchiladas.
  • Spread the sauce to the end of the tortillas. This helps prevent them from cooking too fast and burning before the middle of the pan is finished cooking. Add more sauce if needed.
  • Keep the remaining sauce warm to serve with the enchiladas.
  • Sprinkle cheese on the enchiladas.

Step 7: Bake.

pan of baked chicken enchiladas

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The green chicken enchiladas are done cooking when the cheese has melted and the creamy white sauce is bubbling.

Step 8: Garnish and serve.

2 chicken enchiladas on a plate with lime wedges and avocado cubes

Serve the leftover sour cream sauce as a garnish. Provide other fresh toppings like avocado, cilantro, and green onions.

Can You Freeze Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream?

rolled enchiladas in a freezer bag

It is best to freeze chicken enchiladas without the sour cream sauce. The sauce texture changes when it freezes.

Fill, roll, and freeze the enchiladas. But don’t make the sauce until you are ready to bake the dish.  

The good news is that rolled chicken enchiladas freeze perfectly in gallon freezer bags. Be sure they lay flat for the first hour in the freezer. That way, they won’t unroll if the pack is shuffled around.  

Can Chicken Enchiladas be Made Ahead of Time?

pan of baked chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce

Creamy enchiladas can be rolled ahead of time. However, if you want to prevent soggy tortillas, don’t pour the sour cream sauce on them until you are ready to bake them.  

  1. SPRAY the bottom of a casserole pan.
  2. FILL and roll the enchiladas.
  3. LINE them up in the bottom of the dish.
  4. COVER with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  

Ready to bake the creamy chicken enchiladas? Take the pan out of the fridge 20 minutes before baking. Make the sauce while you preheat the oven. Then pour the sauce over the enchiladas, sprinkle on some cheese, and bake.    

What to Serve with Chicken Enchiladas

cilantro lime rice

What goes with chicken enchiladas? Some of the best side dishes for easy chicken enchiladas are Mexican or Tex-Mex recipes. Here are a few favorite recipes.  

  • Mexican rice. Cook rice with tomato sauce and spices to create copycat Taco Bell seasoned rice. It is a great recipe for any enchilada or burrito meal. Remember not to stir the rice EVER, or it will stick to the pan.
  • Refried beans. Creamy mashed and fried pinto beans pair perfectly with a sour cream enchilada recipe. If you don’t have time to start from scratch, make canned beans taste like restaurant-style with a few easy tricks. You will think you are eating at a Mexican restaurant.
  • Chopped salad. Nothing is simpler than chopping lettuce and a few seasonal garden vegetables into a salad. Drizzle your favorite dressing on top, and you have a fresh side.
  • Strawberry banana pudding. Treat yourself to a sweet dessert after serving your famous sour cream chicken enchiladas recipe.
bite slices of chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce

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Yield: 10-12 servings

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

2 chicken enchiladas on a plate with lime wedges and avocado cubes

Transform dinner when you learn how to make chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce. Easy 5-minute sour cream sauce will change your life.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

Sour Cream Sauce

  • 1½ cups of chicken broth, separated
  • 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1½ cups of sour cream (full fat or light)
  • ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of onion powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1½ teaspoons of fresh lime juice, to taste (about ½ lime)

Chicken Filling

  • 2 cups of shredded chicken (leftover, rotisserie, or Costco canned)
  • 1 (4 oz.) can of diced green chilies
  • ¼ cup of salsa verde
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, minced
  • 8 oz. of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (Monterey jack or cheddar)
  • 10-12 flour tortillas (or corn tortillas, softened)

Instructions

    Prep Work

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
  2. Spray the bottom of a casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray. Put the pan into the oven to warm for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften.
  4. Shred the cooked chicken to make 2 cups.
  5. Chop the cilantro and green onions.
  6. Grate the cheese.

Make the Sour Cream Sauce

  1. Make a cornstarch slurry by whisking 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch with ½ cup of cold chicken broth. Set the slurry aside.
  2. Whisk the remaining chicken broth and sour cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the seasonings.
  3. When the mixture is about to boil, slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the heat.
  5. Add the cheese and stir until it melts.
  6. Take the sauce off the heat.
  7. Stir in the lime juice, to taste.

Make the Enchilada Filling

  1. Pour 2 cups of shredded chicken into a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the undrained canned green chilies, salsa verde, green onions, cilantro, softened cream cheese, and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  3. If the filling is too dry, add some sour cream sauce to moisten it.

Roll the Enchiladas

  1. Remove the casserole dish from the oven.
  2. Spread 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in a line near the bottom of the tortilla.
  3. Starting with the bottom of the tortilla, roll the tortilla into a cylinder.
  4. Place the rolled enchilada seam side down in the bottom of the warm casserole dish.
  5. Repeat until all the enchiladas are rolled. Do not overfill the casserole dish.

Finish and Bake

  1. Pour a cup of the sour cream sauce over the enchiladas.
  2. Spread the sauce to the end of the tortillas. Add more sauce if needed. Keep the remaining sauce warm to serve with the enchiladas.
  3. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The green chicken enchiladas are done cooking when the cheese has melted and the creamy white sauce is bubbling.
  5. Serve warm with the leftover sour cream sauce as a garnish. Provide other fresh toppings like avocado, cilantro, and green onions.


Notes

All images and content are ©TheTastyTip.com. If you want to use this recipe and techniques, please take your own photos, write your own description, and link back to this page. Thank you.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1 enchilada

Amount Per Serving Calories 406Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 72mgSodium 637mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 17g

Nutrition information is an estimate only and may vary based on individual ingredients added and cooking methods used.


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Craving More Chicken Recipes?

  • Try salsa verde chicken chili when it is cool outside. The salsa verde, cream cheese, and lime juice combine to make the perfect broth with just the right amount of flavor.
  • Your family will love chicken enchiladas lasagna. It combines everything you love about enchiladas and lasagna. The fresh sauce is the best part.

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