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White Chicken Enchiladas with Chipotle

When it comes to enchiladas, this is one meal you don’t want to miss out on. This recipe for white chicken enchiladas with chipotle is a real crowd-pleaser! It’s filled with chicken and cheese, spiced up with green chiles and chipotle, smothered in a rich, creamy white enchilada sauce, and topped with more cheese.

This comforting dish will have your family asking for seconds (and maybe thirds).

A partially eaten chipotle chicken enchilada.
Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

These creamy chipotle enchiladas are made from scratch (no canned soup here) and they are quick and easy to make. You can use either fresh or canned green chiles.

Here is why this recipe works

  • You can use canned chipotle or powdered chipotle, whichever you have on hand. 
  • Chipotle adds smokiness and a little heat to the dish.
  • You can adjust the heat level to your taste.
  • The creamy enchilada sauce mellows the spices.

If you like this recipe you will like our enchilada casserole with layers of chicken enchilada filling and polenta.

A casserole dish with white chicken enchiladas.

The Ingredients

For the Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

  • Cooking oil
  • Onion and Bell pepper
  • Green chiles. You can use canned green chiles or make your own roasted poblano peppers
  • Cooked chicken. Use leftover roasted chicken, a rotisserie chicken, or toss some frozen chicken in the Instant Pot if you forgot to thaw out your chicken. 
  • Cumin powder, dried oregano, and salt.
  • Chipotle. Use either chipotle powder or canned chipotle in adobo sauce. If you use the canned chipotle, do not use the whole can. You only need 1 to 3 whole peppers, depending on how spicy you like things. 
  • Cheese. We used a blend of Monterey Jack cheese, Pepper Jack, and cheddar cheese. 
  • Tortillas. Traditionally, enchiladas are made with corn tortillas but it works just fine if you use flour tortillas. You can even make some easy sweet potato flatbread.

For the Creamy White Sauce

  • Butter. You can use salted or unsalted butter.
  • Flour. Regular all purpose flour. You will mix the flour and butter to make a roux which will thicken the sauce.
  • Broth.
  • Milk. Whole milk will give the sauce a richer flavor but you can use reduced fat if that is what you have.
  • Cumin powder, salt, pepper.
  • Sour cream. Use full fat sour cream for the best results. Reduced fat sour cream tends to separate and get watery in the sauce.
  • Monterey Jack cheese. The cheese sends this enchilada sauce over the top. It adds richness, flavor, and body.

Freshly cooked chicken enchiladas in a creamy white sauce.

How to Make It

Here is a quick overview of the recipe so you can get an idea of the process for these white chicken enchiladas. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Make the filling. Saute the veggies. Add them to the peppers, chicken, and spices then stir in most of the cheese.
  2. Fill the enchiladas. Place some filling on each of the tortillas and roll them up. Place them in a baking dish.
  3. Make the white enchilada sauce. Make a roux with butter and flour then whisk in the broth. Add the milk, spices, sour cream, and cheese.
  4. Bake. Pour the creamy white sauce over the chipotle enchiladas. Top with additional cheese and bake.

Recipe Tips

  • One chipotle pepper is equal to approximately 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder.
  • Adjust the spice level to taste. One chipotle pepper will make the enchiladas mildly spicy and two peppers will give them a medium spice level.
  • Using chipotle. Canned chipotle is easy to find but a small can will have more than you need. Ground chipolte lasts longer and keeps in the pantry but it is harder to find. We use Spiceology ground chipotle.
  • Add some extra smokiness. If you use the canned chipotle peppers, add a tablespoon or two of adobo sauce to the enchilada filling.
  • If you want a gluten-free dish, use corn tortillas and make the sour cream sauce that is listed in the note section of the recipe card.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
White chicken enchiladas on a plate.

These creamy chipotle chicken enchiladas are easy to make and taste delicious.  There is plenty of rich, cheesy sauce to spoon over rice. 

You can make a batch of Instant Pot Spanish rice while the enchiladas cook in the oven. Just add an easy wedge salad, Instant Pot pinto beans, warm tortillas, and flan for dessert.

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A casserole dish with white chicken enchiladas.

White Chicken Enchiladas with Chipotle

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

White chicken enchiladas that are spiced up with chipotle and green peppers then smothered in a creamy, rich white sauce.

Note: If you use canned chipotle peppers, do not use the whole can. You will only need about 2 to 3 whole peppers from the can. You can freeze the rest of the peppers.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 cans (7 ounces) diced green chiles
  • 3 cups cooked and chopped chicken
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 chipotle peppers from a can, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 tortillas, flour, or corn

For the White Enchilada Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 cups broth
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Coat an oven-proof 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and red bell pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the green chiles, chicken, cumin, oregano, chipotle, and salt. Toss to combine and set aside.
  5. In a medium-size bowl combine the three types of grated cheese. Reserve one cup of shredded cheese and mix the remainder into the chicken mixture. Toss to combine well.
  6. Place 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place in the casserole dish, seam side down.

Make The White Enchilada Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet or saucepan.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. It will look like a paste.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the broth, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until smooth, bubbly, and slightly thick.
  4. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in the cumin, salt, and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat whisk in the sour cream then stir in the cheese.
  5. Pour the creamy sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly on top.

Notes

If you use canned chipotle peppers, do not use the whole can. The recipe only needs 2 to 3 peppers from the can. You can freeze the rest of the peppers.

For an extra smoky flavor, add a tablespoon of adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers to the chicken mixture.

If you like your food extra spicy, you can use an extra chipotle pepper from the can or use an extra 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder.

For the creamy enchilada sauce: When you add the broth to the flour and butter mixture, pour slowly and whisk constantly. If it starts to get lumpy, stop adding the broth and whisk until it smooths out then begin pouring the broth again.

For an alternate white sauce that is gluten-free and a bit healthier, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 441Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 535mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 26g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This recipe was originally posted on April 29, 2015. We updated the photos and did some housekeeping. One of the original photos is below

Chipotle Chicken Enchilada
Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas!

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John@Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 29th of April 2015

Love enchiladas! And chicken and green chile is such a terrific combo. This looks wonderful -- thanks so much.

Pat

Thursday 30th of April 2015

Thanks, John.... :)

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