Enchiladas Verdes: in a Tomatillo Sauce


Enchiladas Verdes: in a Tomatillo Sauce

Now that Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, friends are asking me what we will be eating to celebrate…and what I am craving most are Enchiladas Verdes. The perfect yummy family food that stays messy on the casserole.

Even though most native Mexicans know that Cinco de Mayo isn’t a big celebration in Mexico (as a matter of fact, it is mostly celebrated in Puebla), we embrace it outside of Mexico with all our hearts without really knowing why. I guess it is a great excuse to celebrate what we love and miss about Mexico- like the tomatillo. A native Mexican ingredient that is the corner stone of so many dishes.

Enchiladas Verdes 1
The tomatillo, like Cinco de Mayo, has been adopted in the U.S. It can now be found in most supermarkets and it seems to me it will grow big time in American kitchens as it is such a spectacular ingredient.

While on the outside it isn’t the most appealing ingredient because of the papery and dusty husk, once you peel it, rinse it and try it, you will see what a gorgeous jewel it is,
both in looks and in flavor!  Most people know it from it being used to make salsa verde, which is exactly what these enchiladas are covered in. You can also find cans and jars of ready made salsa, but it is so easy to  make at home, that you should give it a try. It’s tastier too.

To make the salsa, simmer the tomatillos in water with the garlic, until they are soft and pale green.  Then transfer the tomatillos and garlic to the blender and puree with the jalapeño or serrano chiles, cilantro leaves, onion and salt.

Enchiladas Verdes 2

Then to make your enchiladas the best they can be, one at a time, pass each corn tortilla through already hot oil until they change color and soften.  This will prevent them from breaking as you roll them.  The oil also makes the tortillas resilient, so they will hold on to that yummy tomatillo sauce.

Enchiladas Verdes 3

Place some of the shredded chicken into each of the corn tortillas and roll them up.  I like them chunky. You can cook the chicken at home or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, they both work great here!

Place the rolled tortillas seam side down in a casserole dish.  Pour the tomatillo sauce, generously, over the top. Then bake them for 10 to 15 minutes.

Enchiladas Verdes 4

When they are out of the oven, drizzle Mexican cream over the top. Mexican cream has a tangy flavor, and when it hits the warm enchiladas, it will warm up, become melty, and become even more creamy, and at the same time it will add some fresh notes to the dish.

Enchiladas Verdes 5

Crumble up some queso fresco on top too. It will keep on crumbling right in your mouth as you eat it.  Add some onion for a nice crunch…   Then they are ready to go!

Enchiladas can be made with many different sauces and fillings.  This take has the traditional salsa verde or green tomatillo sauce and chicken, but you can play with the fillings.

Enchiladas Verdes 6

If you have extra tomatillo salsa left over…  Try serving it over tilapia filets, baked in the oven; or served on top of sunny side up eggs in the morning.  This tomatillo sauce is truly limitless.

You can eat Enchiladas Verdes like me, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But you can also eat them everyday. After all, everyday is worthy of being celebrated, with a Mexican excuse or not.

Enchiladas Verdes in a Tomatillo Sauce

Enchiladas Verdes
6 to 8 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Antojos, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Antojo, chicken, Enchilada, Recipe, salsa verde
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Enchiladas can be made with many different sauces and fillings. This take has the traditional salsa verde or green tomatillo sauce and chicken, but you can play with the fillings.


For the sauce:

  • 2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 serrano chiles, or to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon safflower or corn oil

For the enchiladas:

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, home cooked or rotisserie works great!
  • Oil for frying the tortillas
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Mexican style cream, can substitute for heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco, farmers cheese, cotija or mild feta
  • 1/3 cup white onion, chopped, for garnish

To Prepare

To make the sauce:
  • Place the tomatillos and garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from bright to pale green, are cooked through, and are soft but not coming apart.
  • Place the tomatillos, garlic and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree. Add the chiles serranos, cilantro leaves, onion and salt, and puree again until smooth. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until it thickens and deepens in color. Taste for salt and add more if need be.
To make the enchiladas:
  • In a large saute pan over medium heat, add enough oil to have about 1/2 inch depth. Let it heat about 3 minutes. Gently "pass each tortilla through the oil," one by one, for about 15 seconds on each side, they will soften and become resilient. You should be able to fold them without breaking them. Transfer them to a paper towel covered plate.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken inside of each tortilla and roll them up. Place them, seam side down on a baking dish. Cover, generously, with the green sauce. Place them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese, the cream, and the chopped onion. They are very satisfying with a side of rice and/or beans, as well as with a light green salad.
  • Eat the enchiladas while they are hot!

126 comments on “Enchiladas Verdes: in a Tomatillo Sauce

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  1. Hi Patti,
    My husband and I love your show, recipies and the meals we make with your recipies. I have made this sauce many times and absolutely love it. I am trying to lose my CoVid weight (like everyone else) and trying to cut carbs, this green sauce has saved my taste buds. I make this sauce and store it in a jar in the fridge. Pour it on my somewhat bland roasted veggies, chicken and/or black beans (sometimes all at the same time) with some tart thick homemade fat freegreek yogurt (sub for cheese). Makes for a very healthy meal yet so flavorful that i almost feel guilty.
    Thanks for your wonderful show and generosity to share your talent with us.

    1. Thanks so much Ruby for sharing these ideas for cutting carbs, I am sure we all need them during these difficult times. Take care and stay strong!

  2. Pati, I have to say, my wife and I LOVE your show, and everything we’ve made from your recipes has turned out wonderful! This one is no exception — so much better than the restaurant ones in my opinion, and that chile verde — mmmm que rico, SO good! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Chris to you and your wife for following the show; the new season is premiering early this October, hope you will enjoy it!

  3. Hi Patti
    Do you put any sauce in the bottom of the pan before you put the rolled enchiladas? I am afraid if I do they will brake in the middle. Or any oil perhaps?
    Do you cover them pretty much with sauce on top only?
    Please help. I have to make for 20 people tomorrow.
    By the way, everything you make is perfect. Thanks.

    1. Hi Ana, it is a good idea to pour some sauce on the pan before rolling your enchiladas, not a lot, just to keep them moist. Good luck making them for 20!

  4. What if I want to prepare everything in the morning and serve at night .. do I cook them when I’m preparing or wait to when we are ready to eat dinner ?

  5. I can’t wait to try these!! I love me some tomatillos!!

    However, my lovely wife is craving enchiladas with beef, cheese, and red sauce. Sounds like it’d be easy but I have no idea what I’m doing. Do you know of a recipe I could use?

    1. Hi Mikki, gotta please the wife right 😉 Here is my basic recipe for enchiladas in red sauce https://patijinich.com/enchiladas-in-red-tomato-sauce/, just instead of folding the tortillas after dipping in the sauce, fill them with shredded flank steak or cooked ground beef and cheese, roll them in the traditional enchilada way, add more sauce and top with crumbled queso fresco, Mexican crema and sliced white onion. Hope you guys enjoy them!

  6. Hi Pati,
    Love your recipes and your show! Could the tomatillos be roasted instead of boiled in this recipe?

    1. Of course Erica! Roasting them will give to this recipe an additional layer of flavor, go for it 😉

  7. Hi Pati,
    Love your recipes and your show! Could the tomatillos and garlic in this recipe be roasted in the oven instead of boiled?

  8. Hi Pati🙋,
    This is my very first time cooking Green Enchiladas, I wanted to learn how to do them and Thanks to you I did! Your instructions were easy to follow and They were a hit!
    Thank you once again😀🌼🌺
    Oh and I love love love your show!

    1. Thanks Susan for the kind words! Love to read that the Enchiladas were a success. Stay tuned because the new Season of the show will be out in the fall 😉

  9. Everytime I make your recipes I fall in love with Mexican food even more. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes you have a gift.

  10. Came across your show about 3 months ago. The best discovery ever! I have been taping them and so far I have 23. I am watching them for all the great recipes you have and how you present the history of the dishes. l love your style! I have wished for a Mexican food show, exactly like this, for a very long time not being completely satisfied with others I have seen through the years. Yours is perfect-the best! Love your on-location trips. Wonderful! I plan on making these enchiladas verdes tonight for a young man (Leonel) who just came from being in the hospital for 3 weeks (as well as his large family). When I asked what he would like upon arriving home he requested enchiladas verdes. Thank you so much!

    1. Oh I hope Leonel is doing better, and that everyone enjoys the enchiladas, Susanita. And thank you so much for all of the kind words!

  11. Que rico! I only made the tomatillo sauce and not the enchiladas. I really enjoyed this sauce and plan on making it often. Pati, it is a pleasure to watch you interact with people on your show and of course watching you cook. I feel like I’m right there with you in your kitchen. I could talk to you for hours about cooking; and I’m not a talker. =) Keep up the good work and enjoying life!

  12. Pati,I love😍your show!!I am going to try this recipe and your tomatoe bean soup recipe this week.I am so excited for this!Thank you for sharing your recipes with us.

  13. Hi Pati — I absolutely love all your food and reminds me of my childhood! All your recipes are amazing and a huge hit with my family and friends! Quick question regarding these enchiladas…Can I fully assemble these ahead of time and then bake them the following day? Or is it better to roll up the enchiladas the day before, then add the sauce the following day and bake?? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  14. Pati,
    Just wanted to drop a line and let you know my husband and me watch your show every chance we get and love it! You are the topic of conversation at supper on many nights at our house. We are constantly discussing and deciding what to try next. You need to come on over to Nashville! Tennessee LOVES Mexican food.

  15. I saw Hatch chiles today in the market so I brought them home and roasted them. I’m going to substitute the serrano chiles for the serrano chiles. Hoping it works out.

  16. I absolutely adore you and your show and I watch every chance I get! What I also love are your family values, and the pride in your culture and heritage that you display!!! We need more of that these days! Bless you and your family Patti!

  17. I will like to go to your show and learn how to cook a few of your great recipes!
    What a dream come true 🙂

  18. Pati, I watch you show every day it’s on. I have made so many of your recipes and they are all wonderful! Thank you!

  19. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I LOVE your show, and after a recent trip to Mexico City, have a deeper appreciation for it and you! Thank you for sharing your love for Mexican cooking and culture. 🙂

  20. First recipe that I’ve tried with Pati .
    I watch her all the time .
    Love, love, love this green Verde sauce with the chicken enchiladas.
    Thank you Pati

  21. Hi Pati
    Just made these for my husband. He is a tough critic he is from Nuevo Leon and thinks he knows it all around the kitchen….he loved them!!! Thank you as it will be a regular dish in our house

  22. Hi Patti, are tomatillos slightly toxic if raw? I was thinking of pureeing all the veggies raw and pouring it over the enchiladas right before they go in the oven to save time.

  23. I just made these for my best friend’s family. I added some lime juice and Cajon to the chicken, and we loved them. Thanks, Pati!

  24. I just used this recipe to make chicken and white bean enchiladas and they were amazing. This is a great recipe and very easy to execute! I look forward to trying more of your recipes in the future!

  25. These enchiladas look so good! Can’t wait to try this recipe.
    I love watching you show Pati,you are an amazing cook!

  26. I just made the sauce in preparation for enchiladas (I like to make spinach and mushroom enchiladas, although the chicken ones sound delicious). I’m so excited!! The sauce is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

  27. Hi Pati… I made these while making a couple of other dishes. I cooked my own chicken in the way some might for tortilla soup. I browned it first, then put it in the left over tomatillo water with half an onion, covered it and cooked it for 20 minutes over medium heat. After I shredded it I added a pinch of salt and pepper and zested a medium lime over the chicken. As i was assembling the enchiladas I thought, What if I’ve made these too tart. When we ate I found I hadn’t. The lime zest added a whole new dimension of awesome to this fantastic recipe. Thanks for posting it.

  28. Thanks for sharing your recipe! After reading all the great reviews, I was excited to try it, but my sauce came out kind of… sour. Since it’s pretty much just tomatillos with a touch of onion and other things, I’m wondering if it’s to do with the tomatillos I chose? They looked like the pictures, but I’m definitely not a tomatillo expert! Or is the sauce supposed to taste sour (and not like much of anything else)? It doesn’t taste like the enchilada sauce I’ve had anywhere across the US, or in Mexico City, where I used to live, which makes me think maybe there’s something wrong. Then again, different regions, different flavors. What do you think? Thanks for your advice, and for sharing your recipes!

    1. Hola Liz, Thank you for trying my recipe! It may have been the batch of tomatillos. I like to peak under their husks in the store to make sure they are really fresh and a nice bright green. You can also try cooking the tomatillos a little less next time — just until they begin to change from bright green to pale green.

      1. Thanks for your advice Patti! Sounds like sour isn’t supposed to be the main flavor, so I will get myself back to the store with someone who knows tomatillos better than me, try your tip about shorter cooking time and try it again soon!

  29. Hi Patti, I really enjoy your cooking style because it is authentic.
    I would like to try your green enchiladas but would like to know what is a good type of tortilla (ingredients wise) to make them.
    I have tried making enchiladas before and the tortillas break which is really bad when cooking for my relatives or company.
    Please recommend which tortillas work best.
    Thank you,

    1. Fatima,
      Thanks! I like Mission and El Milagro as well, but depending on where you live, there may be different brands. Try a few, and see which you like best. Remember before you stuff and roll them you have to either pass them through very hot oil quickly or heat them in a skillet, so they will be malleable.

    2. I have found Romero brand the best. They don’t fall apart and are also great for tacos. Mission tend to fall apart. There is also a brand Guerrero. Not as good as Romero.

  30. I made these last night I just made the sauce extra spicy and added shredded Monterey jack cheese inside and a bit outside before baking they were delicious I want more 🙂 they were so easy. Made two batches

  31. Hola Pati!
    I just made the green sauce for the enchiladas verdes and I’m in tears… the aroma brought me back to my childhood and warmed my heart. I come from a Mexican-American family from San Diego and I currently live in Vermont; authentic Mexican food can be hard to find. I did, however, find freshly harvested tomatillos from a local farmer. I plan on going back to his farmstand to buy him out of his tomatillos! I’m planning on making a ton of enchilada verde sauce to freeze for winter. Can you suggest the best way to do this? Muchisimas Gracias!!!

    1. Hola Jen, So happy to hear the salsa verde brought back good memories! Just make sure the salsa is sealed very tight in a tupperware or zip lock bag when you freeze it & give plenty of time for it to thaw before eating.

  32. Hello! I decided to try to make salsa verde and enchiladas for the first time ever tonight. I used your recipe and the results were amazing!! I live in Mexico City, and I swear these enchiladas are just as good, if not better than, the ones made at my local lonchería.

  33. Hi Pati, i have a quick question.. i recently tried making Flautas at home and had alot of trouble rolling my white corn tortillas.. they always broke on me and i was never able to get a good one..
    After reading this article, i am wondering if i would be better off doing the same as you have here with making your enchiladas, by passing the tortilla through hot oil before rolling them up?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Heat your tortillas in a skillet or a comal. A lazy way the microwave. Not highly recommended , but I can not lie I have done it. Once warmed the tortillas, tightly roll your taquitos. And when you deep fry, place the seam part down so that will fry first.
      Hope that helps!

  34. For whatever it’s worth, Tomatillos are relatives of the tomato, and can be grown in any home garden where tomatoes are grown…

  35. Hello Pati!

    Just like everyone else I LOVE your show Well, i’ve only seen one episode but I’m sure if I were to see more I would still love your show. Lol. I tried this and the sauce was as easy as 1 2 3! I forgot to simmer the sauce Lol. The sauce had a wonderful kick to it since i didnt cook it. I added reg sour cream, queso fresco and garnished with white mexican onions. My boyfriend approved Cant wait to try it again with the cooked sauce. Thank you for an awesome recipe. Its definately a keeper just like you!xoxo natali from so.california

    1. Hi Natali, So happy you found the show!! Thank you for trying the enchiladas. Let me know if you ever have any questions about the recipes.

  36. This recipe came out so well. So delicious – thanks for sharing your culinary genius with us. I need to buy your cookbook!

  37. I love your blog! I love your show! I’ve made you pickled jalapeno recipe and my husband loves them! No more salty canned jalapenos!

    I wanted to share this because I’ve always had a hard time with heating tortillas for enchiladas in oil. I alway break them with the tongs trying to get them out, or burn my fingers, and I hate dealing with the oil cleanup afterwards. I found a way to make the enchiladas without having to heat up a large amount of oil. I bought one of those bottles you can fill with oil and pump to spray it. I heat up a comal and spray the tortilla on each side with the oil enough to coat it and heat them on the comal. I stack them up and when I’m done I flip the whole stack over. They are soft and rollable and absorb the sauce well! I will definitely try this recipe next time I make them.

  38. Okay Pati. We have been patiently waiting. And now it is 2012….so….WHEN will your cookbook be out? Where to buy? We love you!

    1. Thank you so much Lynnita! The manuscript is finished, and publishing it is taking longer than I thought. The book is in production now and will be out early 2013. I will keep you posted!

  39. Great show.
    Best thing is – your recipes actually work!
    I’m a light-weight when it comes to heat though, but I just substitute a pasilla or aneheim chili for serrano or jalapeno and it works great for me.
    Thanks, and keep it going.

    1. Thanks and great idea Michael! I believe its best to adjust any recipe to your own liking and can use mine as an inspiration for your own creativity 🙂

    1. Beth, it may have been the tomatillos themselves. Sometimes they are more acid than others. They tend to be less acid, when they are fully ripe and shinny green…

  40. Pati,
    I lived in Southern California for many years and fell in love with traditional Mexican cuisine. Moving back to the Northeast has made finding traditionally prepared dishes a challenge so I’ve been learning to do it myself.
    But, seeing your show for the first time yesterday, I was blown away. Went right out and got a big bag of tomatillos!
    The show is great and I can’t wait to catch it again. Website is awesome. I’ll be in line for your cookbook with all the others commenting here.
    Thank YOU!!

  41. Hi Pati,
    We just finished watching your show for the first time and absolutely loved your cooking style and passion. We are looking forward to cooking your Chicken with Chipotle and Piloncillo tomorrow, Sunday. Do you by chance plan to include a Capirotada recipe or caldo de fideo recipe on a future show? Both are food comforts from our childhoods. We look forward to watching many more of your tv shows. Gracias, Elvia.

    1. Hola Elvia, Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I love receiving requests and will look into featuring these two recipes in upcoming seasons. 🙂

  42. thanks for the recipe.. I have been looking for an enchilada recipe that I prove to my husband (mexican) that i can cook him out of the kitchen.. can’t let him win this won…

  43. Hi Pati,
    I absolutely love your recipes and show! You have opened up my desire to cook more authentic mexican food via your recipes and will in the future purchase your cookbook/s. Thank you for your attention and opening up this avenue for all of cooks who desire to increase our desire to cook new foods. You are absolutely fabulous. Don’t ever stop airing and cooking and teaching us how to cook the foods that You LOVE!!!

  44. My husband and I love your show, i tried one of your recipe and my husband loved it. Can wait for your cook book. You are wonderful in the kitchen, congratulations!

  45. Hola Pati; I continue to watch your show and enjoy your way of making something I would have thought so complex so easy. The use of the fresh ingredients makes my mouth water. Tonight we are having your Street Corn. I can’t hardly wait. I love the guacamole recipe and to be honest I love all the dishes you cook. Today aired the show about the Mexican Revolution and the Cowboys and their food. My DH can’t wait for me to make some of the dishes. I have grown to love this food more the Tex-Mex style but you bring it all together in your show. Thanks so much for your wonderful presentations. When you get that recipe for the Semita de Neuz I would absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It is one of my obsession foods. So the sooner the better. Again thanks so much for your wonderful recipes and your presentations they are both a joy to watch and delicious to make.

    1. Lynda, Your comments made my day! You are incredibly sweet and generous with your words! Did you get a chance to make the street corn? It is one of my favorites, and for m e it always brings back warm memories of my home. I’d love to hear how it went! Keep cooking. One of my favorite parts of cooking is stumbling upon a new dish, or flavor that you realize you adore. It is always a treat when that happens. I hope you continue to enjoy each and every dish. I will do my best to get more delicious recipes your way 🙂

  46. I have been lurking here trying to decide which dishes to try. They all look sooooo delicious! I’m married to a wonderful hispanic man (dad & grandparents are from Mexico, but he was born in the U.S.) and I love to try and cook Mexican food for him. Your website has helped me so much! Thank you for sharing your recipes with us! It’s such a joy to learn from you!

    1. Hola Emerald, I know I am biased, but I think many of the dishes are tasty! I so hope you continue to enjoy the website and the recipes provided. There are so many flavors and textures to explore with Mexican cooking. I truly thank you for your support!

  47. I made the tomatillo mermelada and it was so good!
    Thank you for sharing it. I look forward to watching your shows and continue making more food.

    1. Hi Vereniz, I am working to get my cookbook ready as fast as I can… I’ll let you know as soon as it’s finished! Thanks for asking about it!

  48. Ms Pati,
    u r a lovely lady and i enjoy watching u cook your yummy recipes
    they remind me so much of mi abuelas recipes when i used 2 help her in the kitchen
    once u have your cookbook ready, please do let us know; i will run 2 the store 2 buy it
    4 now i print the recipes on the website

  49. May 20, 2011. Patti, I am first-born Mexican American but I love and enjoy cooking Mexican food. However, I don’t know many authentic receipe other than Rick Bayless. I love the information you shared with the audience especially about the pure brown sugar. Whenever I saw the cone, I thought it was candy. Thanks, for educating me. Teresa

  50. Hi pati
    I love your show and the recipes. I totally understand your approach to food and how easy you make it for all. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hola Kara,
      Thanks so much for asking about my cookbook! I’m actually still working on it, and it should be out by 2012. I’m getting it to you as fast as I can! It makes me so happy that you are loving the recipes!

    2. HI PATI,

  51. NO COMMENTS???!!! These are one of the top ten at home for breakfast!!! I don’t bake them though (but will try it) Visiting your blog makes me sooo hungry! un abrazo.