Learn how to make Sour Cream Enchiladas with cooked chicken, a homemade smooth green chili sour cream sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, and flour tortillas. With easy prep the night before, this recipe comes together quickly at dinner time. Double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for a convenient freezer meal.
I grew up eating Southwest cuisine, specifically Sonora-style Mexican food found in Arizona. One of my favorite meals was sour cream enchiladas with chicken and green chili sour cream sauce, also known as creamy chicken enchiladas.
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Time Saving Tip: Cook the chicken ahead of time.
Sour cream enchilada ingredients include:
- Green Chili Sour cream Sauce
- Chili peppers
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Flour tortillas
Roll the ingredients together in a flour tortilla and drizzle Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce and cheese on top. Bake in the oven until sauce is bubbly. Serve with guacamole, salsa, green onions, or roasted corn.
How Sour Cream Enchiladas Recipe Evolved
The modern sour cream enchilada recipe was adapted from enchiladas suizas (Swiss style enchiladas). Although the sour cream enchiladas of today bear little resemblance to enchiladas suizas of the past, the evolution of the recipe began with the Swiss immigrants who lived in Mexico.
Some early Swiss immigrants in Mexico worked on dairies and produced milk, cheese, and crema, a type of Mexican sour cream. Using crema, the Swiss Mexicans created an original enchilada, unique to this Swiss immigrant community using crema.
Corn or Flour Tortillas in Enchiladas?
In Mexico, virtually all enchiladas are made with corn tortillas. Unlike the corn tortillas used in enchiladas suizas, easy sour cream enchiladas recipes in America usually call for flour tortillas. So why do we use flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas?
Early Spaniards introduced and began growing wheat in Mexico. Today 40% of the wheat grown in Mexico is grown in Sonora, Mexico (located on the United States/Mexico border). Because of the wheat commodity, the people in Sonora began making flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas. Flour tortillas migrated north of the border because flour is cheap and tortillas keep and ship well.
As the sour cream chicken enchilada recipe migrated to the United States, more adaptations were made. Sour cream replaced crema. Canned chilies replaced fresh chili peppers. But the most tragic adaptation came when condensed soup was used to make the sour cream sauce.
Condensed Soup and Sour Cream Enchiladas
Dr. John Dorrence invented condensed soup for Campbell Soup Company in 1897. In the early 20th century, Campbell Soup Company marketed their condensed soups as a base for easy sauce-based recipes.
As condensed soups became a popular ingredient in recipes, sour cream enchilada recipes suddenly called for a can of cream of chicken soup. The condensed soup made a quick and easy sauce. I grew up in the 1980’s when virtually all the recipes for casseroles (and many other dishes) called for a can of condensed soup.
However, condensed soups are not as nutritious as foods made without additives. In addition to additives, such as monosodium glutamate, flavoring (very nonspecific), soy protein isolate (beware soy food allergy), and sodium phosphate, condensed soups have a large amount of sodium and fat.
How to Make Healthier, But Still Quick and Easy Sour Cream Enchiladas
You know that eating whole foods and avoiding preservatives whenever possible is a healthier choice. That is why relying on condensed soup in a creamy chicken enchilada recipe is alarming.
My mission: make a healthier, but still quick and easy sour cream enchilada recipe. Making a real sour cream sauce was the key.
Now, I promised easy chicken enchiladas, and that is what you will find in my recipe. Creamy chicken enchiladas are easy to make, even without using condensed soup. It takes just over 10 minutes to make a delicious thick and creamy sour cream sauce that tastes better than any recipe using condensed soup. Sour cream sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to use it.
This sour cream chicken enchilada recipe calls for Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce and flour tortillas. You will find that this creamy enchilada recipe reminds you of what you may have eaten growing up, but it will taste a lot better than any condensed soup recipe you have tried. Best of all, it will not have preservatives, additives, or other unnecessary ingredients, best avoided in your diet.
You Will Need These Kitchen Pans and Tools When Making Sour Cream Enchiladas
- Saucier pan or sauce pan
- Cutting board and knives
- Cheese grater
- Prep bowls or zip top bags (if prepping ahead of time)
- Saucinator Whisk or other whisk
- Kitchen scale or measuring cups and spoons
- Large plate or cutting board for assembly
- Casserole dish
Prep Work for Sour Cream Enchiladas
Save time and energy at dinner time by doing some or all of this prep work earlier. Do it either the night before, or in the morning before you head off to work. You will never regret prepping ahead of time. Dinner will be on the table more quickly, with the least amount of energy.
If you prep the night before, store all of the prepped ingredients separately, either in an airtight container or in a zip top plastic bag. Don’t forget to label your food.
*Note: This recipe calls for cooked chicken, either shredded or cubed. I’m assuming that you already have cooked chicken, specifically ready for meals like this (cubed, bagged, and frozen) or cooked chicken leftover from another meal. If you do not have cooked chicken, cook the chicken as part of the prep work.
- Chop the onions
- Mince the garlic
- Shred the cheese.
- Make the Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce
Start the Sour Cream Sauce with a roux. A roux is the base for a thick and creamy sauce.
- Melt butter in the pan.
- Add the onions and cook for three minutes, until they are softened.
- Add the flour and whisk using the saucinator whisk (my favorite tool to use when making a roux or any other sauce). The flour and butter will bubble.
- Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until it is a light tan color.
- Pour in the chicken broth a little at a time and whisk until the broth is Incorporated before adding more broth.
6. Add the remaining chicken broth and whisk until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for two minutes, so the sour cream won't curdle when it is added to the pan.
7. Whisk in the sour cream and continue to whisk until smooth and creamy.
8. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to your taste.
9. Add ½ cup of Monterey Jack cheese and the green chilies.
10. Stir sauce until smooth.
How to Assemble Sour Cream Enchiladas
- Lay out your assembly work station: Tortillas, chicken, warm Sour Cream Sauce, cheese, and baking dish.
- Spread some sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. This helps prevent the enchiladas from sticking to the pan.
- Spoon ¼ cup of chicken, 1 tablespoon Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce, and 1 tablespoon of cheese into the tortilla. (I like to keep the ingredients close to the edge of the tortilla where I begin to roll to prevent ingredients from leaking out.)
- Roll the tortilla into a cylinder, keeping the filling inside. Lay the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. For an easier time dishing and serving the enchiladas, keep a space between each enchilada. Then you will be able to remove whole enchiladas without tearing adjacent enchiladas.
- Repeat these steps until all the tortillas are filled and in the baking dish.
5. Spoon the remaining sauce over the enchiladas in the pan. Top with shredded cheese.
6. Bake in the oven at 375° Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. These easy sour cream enchiladas are finished when the cheese and sour cream sauce are bubbling.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.
8. As you dish the enchiladas onto a plate, garnish with guacamole, salsa, green onions, and roasted corn.
Quick and Easy Sour Cream Enchiladas With No Condensed Soup
- 1 ½ ounces 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ ounces 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 4 ounces 1 can green chilies
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ cup onions diced
- 2 cups chicken cooked and cubed or shredded
- 10 flour tortillas
- Cilantro fresh leaves, chopped
- Green onions sliced
- Roasted corn
- Sour cream
- Make the Sour Cream Sauce
- MELT butter in saucier pan on medium low heat.
- ADD onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- WHISK in flour and continue to whisk until butter and flour are combined. This is your roux.
- COOK roux for 5 minutes on medium low heat, until it turns a light tan color.
- POUR in ¼ cup of chicken broth and whisk until you have a paste.
- SLOWLY ADD the remaining chicken broth, whisking until smooth before adding more broth.
- MIX in the sour cream and green chilies. Stir until smooth and creamy.
- SEASON with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- SPRINKLE in ½ cup of shredded cheese. Mix until smooth.
- PREHEAT oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Assemble the Enchiladas
- LAY out items in work area: tortillas, chicken, sour cream sauce, cheese, and baking dish.
- SPREAD a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the baking dish.
- SELECT a tortilla.
- SPOON ¼ cup of chicken two inches from the edge.
- DRIZZLE 1 tablespoon of sour cream sauce on the chicken.
- SPRINKLE 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese on top.
- ROLL the tortilla into a cylinder.
- PLACE the rolled tortilla seam side down in the baking dish.
- ROLL the remaining tortillas and place side by side in the baking dish, keeping a small space between each enchilada so they don't stick together when baking.
- POUR the remaining sour cream sauce over the enchiladas.
- SPRINKLE with the remaining cheese.
- BAKE the enchiladas at 350° Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese and sauce are bubbly.
- REMOVE from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- GARNISH with guacamole, salsa, corn, and cilantro.