Green Chile Enchiladas

If you were to ask me what my favorite food was in the whole world, I would most likely respond, enchiladas. And not the exotic, wonderfully complex authentic enchiladas from Mexico, but the cheesy casserole American version my mom made for us growing up. Just smelling the tortillas being lightly fried (to soften them so they roll up easily), and my tummy will leap for joy knowing that enchiladas will be ready shortly. This is the scent of my childhood, my mom in the kitchen, the family around the table. We always make enough for leftovers because as my father will happily tell you, there is nothing better than my mom’s enchiladas, re-heated for breakfast.

My tomatillo plants are still producing, as is the Anaheim green chile plant, so I decided to do a green chile salsa verde version of my mom’s enchiladas. Note that this recipe can be much easier to prepare than what I’ve shown here. If this weren’t tomatillo season, and if I had only half an hour to prepare a meal for the family, I would use prepared tomatillo salsa, instead of roasting my own, and prepared canned chiles too if I didn’t have fresh chiles or time to roast them. Then it’s just a matter of frying the tortillas in a little oil, rolling them up with cheese and chiles, assembling them in a casserole, covering with sauce and cooking until the cheese melts. (Speaking of which, I used half a pound of Jack cheese, which is on the light side. My mother would typically use a pound.)

Green Chile Enchiladas Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

You can easily substitute prepared canned tomatillo salsa verde for the tomatillo sauce (you'll need two cups), and canned whole Anaheim green chiles for the chiles (remove the seeds and stems if still in the chiles).

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 3 cloves garlic, still in their peels
  • 2 jalapenos
  • Salt
  • 3-4 large Anaheim chiles
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 pound to a pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated (quantity depends on how cheesy you want the enchiladas to be)
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro

Method

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1 Prepare the tomatillo sauce. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Rinse off the tomatillos. Cut them in half and place them cut-side down on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Place the garlic and jalapeños on the pan with the tomatillos. Broil on the top rack on the oven for 5-7 minutes until the tomatillos are lightly charred. Remove from the oven and let cool to touch. Remove garlic from the garlic skins, discard the skins. Cut open the jalapeños and remove and discard the seeds and the stems. Place tomatillos, cooked garlic, the jalapeños, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a blender, pulse until well puréed. Set aside. (You can make several days in advance and store in the refrigerator.)

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2 Prepare the Anaheim chiles. If you have a stove-top gas burner, you can roast the chiles directly over the flame of the burner (see How to roast chile peppers over a gas flame), otherwise use a broiler and broil the chiles in a roasting pan, turning them until they are blackened all over. Place the blackened chiles in a small brown paper bag. Close the bag and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Then remove the chiles from the bag and peel off and discard the blackened skin. Slice open the chiles and remove and discard the seed pod, any seeds (they're hot!) and the stems. Slice the chiles into strips.

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3 Cook the tortillas. Heat a couple tablespoons of canola or grapeseed oil in a frying pan (cast iron works well) on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add a corn tortilla to the pan. The tortilla should sizzle as it hits the pan. Turn it over and let it cook until little pockets of air start to bubble up in the tortilla. Then use a metal spatula to remove the tortilla from the pan, shaking off any excess oil, to a plate lined with paper towels. Continue to the tortillas this way, adding more oil as needed, separating the tortillas that are cooling with paper towels.

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4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread a little of the tomatillo sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole pan. One by one, place a little grated cheese and a strip or two of green chiles in the center of the tortillas, roll them up, and place them in the casserole. Once you have filled the casserole with the rolled tortillas, spread the remaining tomatillo sauce over them, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

5 Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F, until cheese is melted

Serve with sour cream (thinned with some water) drizzled over, and some chopped fresh cilantro. Also good with it is thinly sliced iceberg lettuce that has been sprinkled with cider or white vinegar and salt. Makes for excellent leftovers, will keep in the refrigerator for days.

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40 Comments

  1. Stephanie

    Gorgeous photos! Just curious – what brand of corn tortillas do you use? They look delicious.

    The Trader Joe’s here in Sacramento carries some good corn tortillas. Don’t know about TJs in other parts of the country. ~Elise

  2. SMITH BITES

    I make enchiladas and prefer using a green chili sauce vs the red sauce. What I’ve never done, is to actually place a piece of whole chili inside the tortilla so I’m having one of those smack yourself on the forehead, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moments! Drooling and it’s only breakfast – when’s dinner?

  3. Anna Lewis

    This is very similar to how my mom made chicken enchiladas. I love the idea of putting the pepper strip inside, though. That’s new to me! My mom is the only one I know who makes her own tomatillo sauce and it is SO worth it!

  4. Kristy

    My cheat for making enchiladas for weeknight dinners is to just layer like lasagna instead of rolling. I pour a little sauce in to cover the bottom of the dish, layer corn tortillas with overlap so the bottom is covered, layer filling, cheese, and a light drizzle of more sauce, then repeat layers, top with more tortillas and cover with sauce. Cover with foil and bake, and the tortillas absorb the sauce and cook perfectly with no oil. Try it, it’s fabulous!

  5. Monica

    Green chile enchiladas are one of my favorite foods, too! I grew up in New Mexico, and my dad overnights freshly roasted Hatch green chiles (from Hatch, New Mexico) when they hit his small town each summer. They arrived last week, and I made a green chile sauce. We don’t use tomatillos where I came from. Here’s my green chile sauce: 2 c. chopped roasted green chiles, 1/2 c. sauteed chopped onion, 2 sauteed garlic cloves, 2 c. chicken stock, 1/2 t. kosher salt, 1/4 t. white pepper, 1 t. Mexican oregano, thickened with 2 T. cornstarch mixed with 2 T. water. Pour this over cheese and/or chicken filled rolled corn tortillas. Bake at 400 for 15-20 min. Yum!

    Sounds fabulous, thanks! ~Elise

  6. Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

    Fresh green chilies and tomatillos in your garden. I am so jealous. The season is so short in the north it is hardly worth it, except of course, this year!

  7. Darren

    I’m going to have to try this. I still have about a bushel of Hatch Chile in the freezer but the Fresh Market here (Virginia) has some fresh Hatch Chiles. Now I just need to find some decent tomatillos.

  8. Lindsay

    Oh my gosh! I can’t wait to make these, so simple and so flavorful. What would you recommend as a side dish?

    The best accompaniment to this kind of enchiladas is thinly sliced iceberg lettuce (it must be iceberg) sprinkled with vinegar and salt. That and some chopped up avocados. These are great served with eggs in the morning, or pinto beans for dinner. ~Elise

  9. JC

    This is for sure a Californian dish. A true Grn Chile Enchilada (native to NM, not Mexico ) is made pancake or casserole style, not individually rolled. Made in a homemade cream or canned Crm soup sauce. This dish does look kinda yummy. But for sure not a Native NM Grn chile dish. Don’t want anyone getting confused. Thank you for the recipe, but being from NM I can’t imagine making anything but the authentic Grn Chile Enchiladas. Happy cooking!

  10. Venkat

    Love Mexican food, especially in the way you prepared from basic ingredients.

    We live in SF bay area, where can I buy Tomatillo plants in spring time? Thank you.

    I got mine at a local nursery in Sacramento and the plants have been reseeding themselves every year since. I would just call around to nurseries in the spring, about the time that the tomato plants come in. ~Elise

  11. Barbi

    Elise, I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve been making your regular cheese enchiladas frequently and they are my oldest son’s FAVORITE dinner. Every year on their birthday my kids and husband can choose either to go out for dinner to their favorite restaurant or they can request their favorite meal that I will prepare for dinner. This year my oldest requested your mom’s cheese enchiladas. We LOVE them and I have a sneaky suspicion that this is going to become another favorite at our house as well!!!

  12. Beatriz

    Guess what I’m making tonight? You’ve tempted me with your beautiful photos. And how much better with fresh ingredients from your garden. Thanks for sharing those childhood memories and recipes. I’ll be making mine with a little pork chile verde. Provecho.

  13. Sarah

    Forgive me if this is some Yankee nonsense, but could you put some beans inside the tortillas with the cheese and pepper? Or would it be best to serve beans on the side? I ask because my SO will eat beans if they are mixed with other things, but will not eat just a pile of them on his plate, so I gotta be a little sneaky about it.

    You can put whatever you want in the tortillas, just as long as they are already cooked – shredded chicken, beans, sautéed zucchini, whatever. ~Elise

  14. Caroline @ A Cozy Kitchen

    I definitely have to try this recipe, although I may use cotija cheese instead since it’s a bit milder. Thanks!

    Cotija won’t melt, and this recipe is designed for a melty cheese. ~Elise

  15. Hannibal.TX

    First of all use Long Green Staple #4 instead of Anaheims. Luther Burbank took the spavined, shriveled chiles that the Spaniards took from New Mexico to California, and worked for over a decade to make it grow in the soil of SoCal. He got it grow as big as the New Mexico Long Greens, but they don’t have the same savory flavor. The epicenter of Long Green Staple #4 is the Hatch Valley on the Rio Grande in south central New Mexico. Try stuffing the chiles with Munster or a soft jack cheese for an added treat. That is usually done for one of the only haute cuisine Tex-Mex dishes, chile rellenos. Enchiladas are simpler to make and are delicious. The way they are made in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque are the true way to make them. This recipe is close, but I strongly suggest you use New Mexico or Texas Long Green.

  16. Catherine

    We don’t have Anaheim chiles in the UK. I don’t think we have tomatillos either! How hot are the Anaheims as I was wondering about substituting them with something else I have seen here, but only in the summertime. And do you have any suggestions for subs for tomatillos. I realize it wouldn’t be same of course!

    Hi Catherine. You can’t make this recipe without tomatillos or green chiles. There is no substitute for tomatillos. You can use poblanos instead of Anaheims. You might look at some of the other enchiladas recipes on this site for ideas. ~Elise

  17. Sandy

    Sounds fabulous! Elise, can you can or freeze excess tomatillos, or do you have to make something with them (for instance, salsa) in order to keep them a long time?

    Thanks for any info.

    No idea on the freezing. I will can the tomatillos once I make salsa verde with them. ~Elise

  18. Julie

    I think enchiladas are one of my favorites as well! I am going to substitute “big Jims” chili from Hatch, NM for the anaheim chilies. Now that fall is here, the warmth of the chilies will be welcome. Thanks for the recipe.

  19. Jane

    We LOVE roasting our own chiles! We do it right on the stovetop, too. Anaheims, poblanos, red peppers, jalapenos–you name it! We’ve even developed a “chile relleno casserole” that is a regular in our meal rotation: YUM.

    I don’t often make enchiladas because I (sorry, hard to admit) don’t love corn tortillas. I have made enchiladas with flour tortillas, but they get a little slimy under the sauce. This recipe, though, looks so great that I am going to give it a shot! I like how the tortillas are fried first…must impart a really nice toasty flavor.

    Thanks, as always, for making my stomach growl!

  20. Vivian Haren

    Jane, I favor flour tortillas as well. When I make enchiladas, I prepare and roll, place in baking dish and bake. I add the sauce on the top the last 15 minutes. No slimy mexican. Take Elise advice and only put cooked items in the enchildas. Good luck

  21. DL

    That ain’t no New Mexico enchilada.

    Doesn’t claim to be. ~Elise

  22. Espahan

    We call these ‘gringo’ or non Spanish, enchiladas and we love them. Mom made the traditional New Mexico enchiladas but when she was in a hurry she made something similar to these. I believe in keeping the traditional recipes, and I handed them down to my boys and girls, they all like to cook, but I was never a slave to tradition and often made these enchiladas, sometimes with red chili. As is usual, your great photos make the recipes very tantalizing.

  23. Beth

    Elise, Would unripe green tomatoes (not heirloom ripe green tomatoes) plus some lemon/lime juice work for the woman in the UK looking for a sub for tomatillos? It’s not exactly the same taste, but it might be close enough.

    This recipe sounds fabulous, and I think it will be tomorrow night’s dinner. Fortunately, we have no trouble getting tomatillos here, although it’s easier to get poblanos than Anaheim chiles.

    Totally different flavor. I would just use ripe tomatoes if I were to use tomatoes. But then again, what do I know? Sure, try it with green tomatoes if that’s what you have. The point is to work with what you have available. I have a bunch of tomatillos which is why I’m making these with them. ~Elise

  24. Merry K Blankenship

    Hi great recipe! One thing I do that might make this recipe easier is I roast the anahiem pepers in the broiler just like you do the tomatillos so you can do those all at once, and it works great! I put a piece of jack cheese inside the peper and put it in the tortilla.

    thank you for sharing
    like that homemade sauce!

  25. Karen

    Green chile enchiladas are a big hit with my kids and also my clients – delicious!

    It’s hard to find really good quality corn tortillas where I live in the Midwest, but I just found some at Costco that are a very good replacement for homemade. They’re made by Tortilla Land

  26. missaustin1981

    I used the HEB brand tortillas and it was delicious..I recommend this

  27. Elisha

    I made these for my son’s birthday party. They were simply delicious!!! Everyone LOVED them (even my kids!). I made a vegan version also … for the filling, I added the roasted chiles and some seasoned rice & beans. My vegan friends LOVED them too!! I think the tomatillo sauce is fabulous and how can you go wrong with such a simple recipe? Thank you.

  28. Don

    Hi Elise, do you really only use your bare hands to remove those seeds from the Anaheims? You are tougher than me. That will cause some major pain for days for a lot of folks who will get into the hot ones. As for jalapenos, fuggetaboutit! But maybe I missed where you warned about that and to use gloves.

    BTW, great photos & recipe, as always.

    I never have a problem with the Anaheims, as they tend to be pretty mild. Jalapeños are a different matter. ~Elise

  29. Peggy

    I just discovered your Blog and was happily amazed that your recipe posts are soo attuned to my tastes…”one-stop” shopping recipes!!!

    Regarding your tomatillo sauce. Do you have instructions/suggestions for canning? Could it be canned? It seems that preparing this in bulk and canning would be the best route.

    Thank you for any suggestions!

    I suggest this recipe for canning tomatillos. ~Elise

  30. Karlee Hoffart

    I made these last night, using one jalapeno instead of two, but otherwise exactly as written- soooooo good! My son kept thanking me for making them. Definitely a keeper!

  31. Kristine

    I just made these and they were a huge hit with my boyfriend! I’ve made dozens of recipes from this site but I have to say this is one of my top favorites. Thanks Elise!

  32. Kassandra

    Well, I made these tonight with chicken and they took so long I thought I wouldn’t do all that work again. Then I ate a few and have totally changed my mind. Definitely worth the effort!

  33. kelly s

    Hi, made these tonight and they were AWESOME! I had a bunch of tomatillos from the CSA, along with jalapenos and anaheims so it was a perfect way to use up the last of the season produce. I added shredded chicken (from a previous dinner) inside the tortilla. I did not think it was too much work at all… My only wonder is: The corn tortillas seemed to get soggy after baking. I did fry them ahead of time, but maybe not long enough? Thanks for another great recipe!

    The tortillas should be soft and a bit wet after cooking. Makes them easier to eat. They should not be at all dry. ~Elise

  34. Ray

    I learned to make my own tomatillo sauce years ago from a good friend of ours from Mexico…it’s always been a crowd pleaser. She boils her tomatillos though and uses serrano peppers (boiled with the tomatillos and then blended). I will have to try roasting them and using the Anaheim chiles….looks AMAZING!!! Can’t wait to try this :)

    Yes, you can easily boil the tomatillos instead. Roasting will give you a bit more flavor. ~Elise

  35. athina

    I didnt have Anaheim chiles-(they seem to be unavailable where I live here in ny state) so I used Poblanos instead.My god were they spicy!!- and mind you I have a pretty good heat tolerance.If the peppers had been a bit milder, I would have absolutely loved this dish.I’ve used poblanos for chiles rellenos with no issue before, so not sure as to why they were so hot…maybe I’ll have to use the canned green chiles next time…:/ great recipe!

  36. Rick Barbata

    Had a go with this recipe. Awesome!

  37. Emily

    Hey! I know this is a slightly older blog post, so I don’t know if you’ll see my comment… But first, I want to say that I love you blog! I’ve been quietly reading it for a long time now. Your recipes always give me such a great jumping off point! (I’m much lazier, and less healthy than you…)

    Second, I made my version of these last night, using canned sauce and chiles, but it was amazingly delicious!

    Thanks!!!

  38. Sophie

    I made this for dinner the other night and it was AMAZING. I didn’t have everything the recipe called for, and I also made some changes. I added pinto beans to the cheese and chili before rolling up the tortilla in order to make it more filling. Also, tomatillos are hard to come by where I am, so I just bought a jar of green chili sauce. I served it with homemade salsa and sour cream. Yum! Thanks for this recipe. Next on my radar? Your spinach frittata. Can’t wait.

  39. Susan Sentman

    Why did my corn tortillas get soggy? The dish was good, but those soggy tortillas definitely brought it down a few notches.

    It could be the brand of tortilla. ~Elise

  40. Bracamontes G.

    Esta receta esta encantadora, deliciosa y muy facil de preparar.
    Gracias Simply recipes.
    Gabriel Bracamontes de Guadalajara Mexico.

    De nada, Gabriel! ~Elise

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