Sanborns’ Swiss Chicken Enchiladas

Sanborns’ Swiss Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas de Pollo Suizas Sanborns
6 Servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken, corn tortillas, Enchilada, Oaxaca cheese, pati's mexican table, Recipe, serrano chiles, tomatillos
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Sanborns’ Swiss Chicken Enchiladas, from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 7, Episode 12 "Photographic Food Memories"


  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked, scrubbed and rinsed, and quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeding optional
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, and upper part of stems
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or vegetable broth, or water, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 cup Mexican style cream, Latin-style cream, or heavy cream
  • 12 Corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 3 cups Oaxaca or Muenster cheese, grated

To Prepare

  • In a blender, combine the tomatillos, garlic, onion, chiles (start with 1 and add another if desired), cilantro, salt and water. Puree until completely smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the pureed tomatillo mixture, being careful as it will sear and splutter. Cover partially with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and darkens, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the broth, cover partially, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Set aside.
  • Prepare the tortillas for enchiladas by either heating them on a comal or passing them through hot oil.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pour about 1 cup of the cooked salsa verde into a 9”x13” baking dish. One by one, place a tortilla on a plate or cutting board and arrange about ¼ cup shredded cooked chicken down the middle. Roll up into a soft chubby enchilada and place seam down in the baking dish. Continue with the rest of the tortillas.
  • Pour the remaining cooked salsa verde over the enchiladas and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted and begun to lightly brown.

104 comments on “Sanborns’ Swiss Chicken Enchiladas

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  1. Hi Pati,
    I made this yesterday and it was a hit. The Sanborns’ Swiss Enchilades were delicious. They brought back memories from my childhood in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Do you happen to have the recipe in Spanish? I would love to share it with my mom. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipes. Hugs from Dallas.

  2. Pati! These look great, I would always go to Sanborns when working in Mexico with my friends there. Why do you use RAW instead of roasted tomatillo? Thanks

    1. Is just the way this recipe goes, but if you roast the tomatillos before blending you would be adding an extra layer of delicious flavor, good idea Marlen!

  3. Pati! I have such a huge admiration for you and all of the Mexican Mamas and Papas out there, making delicious food! I made this last night. I made homemade corn tortillas and followed your recipe exactly, except, I used shrimp instead of chicken. I sautéed the shrimp (that I seasoned with Chile powder, a bit of cumin, a bit of salt and pepper) with finely diced red bell pepper, onions, and garlic. Then I proceeded with your recipe. It was amazing. I have to say, though, it took me about an hour and a half to finish prep for the oven. I think because I made my tortillas from scratch. Like I said, HUGE admiration for what all Mexican cooks do to feed their familias. You guys rock! Especially you, Pati! I love everything you do and so enjoy your show!!!❤️❤️❤️

    1. Thank you Mary Beth so much for your kind words! Sanborns Shrimp Enchiladas? Yes please! I will have to make YOUR recipe soon 🙂

  4. Hi Pati!
    I’m curious why the cheese on top and not inside the enchiladas?
    I’m planning to make these to take to an event and hoping they are a good choice as something that may not be eaten immediately after prepared. It’s likely it will be several hours before they are served and I don’t think I’ll have a way to heat them. I’m grateful for any advice you may have.

    1. Hi Ryan! The beauty of the Sanborns Enchiladas is that they are stuffed with chicken and the melted cheese on top is what make them “Swiss” 😉 Maybe once you cook your Enchiladas, you could keep the baking dish in a heating bag to keep them as warm as possible, but to be honest with you, these are still delicious when they are room temperature. Good luck!

  5. Hi Pati,
    I’m going to try this dish, but on TV I could have sworn that you put the Mexican cream on top of the sauce, and then put on the cheese? Reading the recipe, it doesn’t say to do that. Can you clarify? Thanks!

    1. Yes Karen, you are absolutely right! I am just such a Mexican Crema lover that I want to add it to everything 🙂 You can go ahead and pour it or not on top of these Enchiladas, is entirely up to yo, enjoy!

  6. Thank you, Pati, for this recipe! We watched the episode where you have this recipe, last night. My wife and I decided to make it today. It was a simple but so mmmm mmm mmmm… (a la Pati) That’s how we grade our dishes now, by the way. We made two changes. We had a turkey mid section, so we pressure cooked it and used it as our filling. The other ingredient that we changed was the stock. We had vegetable stock and decided to use that. Other than that, we left the recipe as it is. With some frijoles and arroz rojo, it was perfect. We will be making this recipe many more times. Saludos from El Paso!

    1. Mmmm Mmmmm 😀 😀 thanks so much Jesus, your enchiladas filled with Turkey must have been delicious. Abrazos!

  7. I lived and taught in Mexico for several years, and Sanborn’s enchiladas Suizas were one of my favorites! I’ve made this recipe a couple of times already and they are perfect! Love your show and your recipes!

    1. Hello Pascual, here is my recipe to prepare Chicken broth, which you can use for this recipe together with the chicken. Hope you give these enchiladas a try 😉

  8. Hi Pati! I have recently found your program and every time I watch, I drool and dream to be a guest eating your beautiful food. Today I made this recipes along with your recipe for homemade corn tortillas (which turned out perfect). I wish I could share with you my photos and the beautiful scents of my home! I did like you showed and cooked my chicken and used the stock in the sauce, the only substitute was cream for the crema because that is not available in my area. Thank you for sharing your memories, gifts, & recipes! Everything is so very delicious! This was easy to make and will become a regular dinner for my family to share and enjoy! Sincerely, Sandy from Michigan

  9. Pati, you have inspired me!
    I have cooked more in the past five weeks than I have in the last five years!
    I have been so intimidated by making enchiladas, but your recipe was so easy to follow! I couldn’t find tomatillos, so I substituted a jar of fresh salsa verde; still came out delicious!
    I love your show! Keep bringing love through your presence and recipes.
    Muchas gracias!

    1. Good job Elizabeth, in these difficult times we just have to use what is available. Glad you love the enchiladas!

  10. I remember having Sanborns enchiladas suizas when I was a little guy living in Mexico City 1964, must get to making a batch. Love catching you on tv here in Australia.

    1. Greetings all the way to Australia Bo, thanks for reaching out! The Sanborns enchiladas have been around for many, many years and they are always delicious. Enjoy 😉

  11. My husband was raised in Mexico City.. every time we visit we must go to Sanborn’s for their Enchilada Suizas. Many restaurants serve them here in California, but they never measure up. Well, I have to make them once a week now and increase my visits to the gym. They are perfect and so easy to make. I wanted to try them without chicken so I use the Roasted Anaheim Chili’s from your visit to Tucson and Boca taco’s. I lay the chili on the tortilla and more cheese in the middle. roll them up.. and wow.. … They are fantastic. Ps… The Shredded Chihuahua Cheese is so good in these Enchiladas

    1. Absolutely Jamie, cheese enchiladas are awesome as well. Now, use vegetable broth instead of chicken and there you have a vegetarian dish! Thanks for the ideas!

  12. Your recipe sounds delicious! Can I use flour tortillas instead of corn? And if so, do I still pass them thru hot oil? Are most enchiladas made with corn tortillas? Thanks, Patti!

    1. These are really meant to be made with corn tortillas, but if you like to experiment with flour go ahead! I wouldn’t fry them or pass them through oil though.

  13. Pati,
    My family made these enchiladas for Noche Buena and they were outstanding. We used Havarti, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella cheese, as the Oaxaca got left behind, otherwise the recipe was followed exactly as presented. I can’t wait to make them again.

  14. Que delicia! Yo tambien recuerdo mis dias de Sanborn’s y siempre pedia enchiladas suizas. Se pueden congelar? Me gustaria hacerlas y tener un refractario listo en el congelador.

  15. Mi querida Pati,
    Gracias por siempre inspirame a cocinar para mi familia. Las enchiladas me quedaron riquísimos! Y me sobró salsita que vertí encima una vez que salieron del horno – increíblemente delicioso!

    1. It can, Bob! Make it ahead, and store it in an air tight container in the fridge. I then like to reheat it in a pan over medium low heat.

  16. Hola Pati! Watching this recipe on the DVR right now. Do you have a recommendation on what could be used in place of the cilantro. Gracias!

    1. You can go for epazote or parsley or chives, Laura… they will all add different kinds of flavors but will still be delicious.

  17. Followed recipe exactly. So excited to try but when we cut into it the tortillas had disenigrated completely. So sad. Help?

  18. Hi. The recipe is delicious. I had a few questions. Do you recommend a brand of corn tortillas in Midwest USA? The ones we used turned out mushy. Also, the tomatillo salsa was still coarse and not smooth. Any recommendations on what to substitute or do?

    1. You can try different brands of corn tortillas, and see which you like best, Hareet. But no matter what brand, so they don’t become mushy, make sure you heat them very well on a comal or griddle until they lightly toast, before filling and saucing the enchiladas. As for the salsa, it sounds like you just need to puree it a bit more…

  19. Gracias Pati! I made these to my Canadian roomates and they loved them. They went to Mexico City for gay pride and had them at Sanborns but of course they said mine were better.

  20. Hola Pati, I just made and enjoyed your enchiladas Suiza de pollo. They were amazing ! My wife and I enjoyed them so much. The left over enchiladas are being saved for my daughters , each getting an equal amount, as they’ll be coming over tomorrow. I know that this a dish that will I will be asked to make for the whole family , maybe even for the guys at my fire station . I will thoroughly enjoy making them with a whole lot of love. Muchas gracias por la receta.

  21. Reminds me of going on Sat. to Sandborns on the Reforma for these wonderful enchiladas…but i also like the simple ench. swissa’s i ate almost daily in a small restaurant on the n.e. corner on the plaza in Oxaca City. They were 4 tortillas folded twice cover in tomatilla sauce, sliced white onions and Oaxaca crumbley cheese. Oh the tortillas had Oaxaca cheese melted on inside. A big delicious meal with a side of Oaxaca black beans. Makes me want to get on the plane and go their today. Well, this recipe is transportive so i ‘ll just close my eyes eat and pretend i am on the plaza…..gracias Pati.

  22. These are, by far, the BEST enchiladas ever! The first time I made one pan and we almost finished the whole thing…the remainder was gone by breakfast the next day! Now I make two pans to make sure there is enough for everyone. We love you Pati! God bless you and your beautiful family!

  23. Hi Pati,
    These enchiladas are very delicious. Glad to have tried your recipe. I fried the tortillas slightly in oil. The texture when baked was just right. The sauce was slightly tangy with a bit of sweetness. Used Munster cheese. I used sour cream but will try to get the cream next time. Thanks and love your show.

  24. I made these tonight. The tomatillo sauce was absolutely wonderful, but my enchiladas came out mushy. As if they absorbed all the liquid and didn’t leave any behind. I cooked them according to the directed time. They were still flavorful and good, but turned out more like a casserole. I love watching your show and want to figure out what I did wrong. Any advice? Thank you!

    1. Sometimes it has to do with the tortillas, Jennifer! Did you heat them and/or pass them through hot oil before saucing? That helps!

    1. Yes, the sauce can be made ahead and stored. And you can reheat it, Shelton. I am not a microwave expert as I don’t have one… you can try and see what it does to the taste. I reheat in a sauce pan over medium low heat and it works great.

  25. Business took me to Mexico City on many occasions and always found the opportunity to go to a Sanborns to eat, my favorite being the Enchiladas Suizas. I love to cook (and watch your show on PBS) so your recipe brought back fond memories. My daughters and their families all enjoy my version of Enchiladas Verdes but it lacked the familiar flavor of Sanborns. Has to be the cheese! I am going to try with the Queso Oaxaca next time. Keep those delicious recipes coming as I look forward to trying more. Thank you

  26. Hola Pati,
    I tried this recipe,NOT substituting nothing, and it was loved by all thank you! I enjoy your show so much and hope to but a cookbook soon! As a 63 year old mother, Abuela we are never to old to learn something new!

  27. Hi Pati,

    I can’t wait to try these – we had a restaurant called La Paz here in Laguna Beach, CA, that served Sanborn Enchiladas -but I think they had ground pork in them – when the restaurant closed, we pleaded for the recipes, but Mrs. Sanborn (we called her that) wouldn’t give an inch -so my girlfriends and I are going to try these soon. I love watching you cook…and then eat and enjoy your tasty dishes!

  28. I haven’t seen you for awhile Pati. I have to try those frosted flake cookies, they sound delicious!!!
    Also, I have made so many types of enchaladas, but not with mexican cream. I will try this. Thank you for being on the WCVE show today! It was a Blessing!
    Have a great 2019 year!!

  29. This is Pete I just want to let you know that I love watching your show. I love to cook and I use a couple of your recipes and they are truly awesome you have a great show keep it up

  30. Patti, I am trying this dish today. My mom only made red chili enchiladas. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I completely enjoy your show. Could you please mention where you buy your beautiful blouses and jewelry. I feel that so much of this embroidered work is absolutely beautiful and just like cooking, it is an art. I love the Historical perspective associated with the foods you make. Gracias,for showing the world how multifaceted Mexican cooking is. I look forward to watching your cooking show.

  31. Thank you for this recipe. I made this but did not have quite the success I hoped for. The sauce was great but when I used the local corn tortillas I found that they were too thin. I later found your recipe for the tortillas and think this would have improved my outcome. I also noticed that I should have cooked the sauce longer (more than 5 minutes) to reduce it and thicken it. Lastly it would have been better if I did not add the 1/2 cup of water. I will try this again with my changes since the taste was fantastic. Just a note. I poached the chicken breast and this really made a difference in the quality and taste of the enchiladas. Really enjoy your show.

  32. This was very delicious, but my corn tortillas turned to mush. I followed the directions to a T and fried them as suggested in your cookbook (which is great BTW). Any ideas? Saw you for the first time over the weekend on PBS and immediately bought the cookbook :).

    1. I’m so glad you found me on PBS, Steven! The trick to not getting your tortillas too fall apart is to heat them really well before dipping and stuffing and rolling them.

  33. I will certainly be making this dish as it looks absolutely fabulous. So happy to see your new season on Amazon and I will be leaving a great review. Your show is awesome!

      1. I like to chop the leftovers, heat them in a bit of oil till the edges are crispy; and toss those into a big green salad. Great lunch!

  34. Hi Patti,
    Why call this dish Swiss, you don’t use Swiss Cheese? The comment from Ana about the red tomatoes was very helpful. I am going to try both! You are a joy at late night TV. Walt

    1. Oh the Swiss comes from Suizas, a word often used to name Mexican dishes that include copious amounts of cream and cheese…like in these enchiladas.

  35. Great Balance of flavors with the tomatillos sauce. Prepped the corn tacos in an iron skillet before stuffing with chicken and rolling. Surprised that all rolled tacos split open after being placed in the baking dish before the sauce and cheese were added. So, cook the tacos longer, or less stuffing?

    1. I’m so glad you liked the flavors, John! The tortillas need to be really well heated before being stuffed and rolled, so they don’t split. It may also be the brand of tortillas.

  36. Hi Pati! Making these today and all I have is red tomatoes. I did not find the green tomatillos, therefore can you make the exact same salsa with red tomatoes? Will it still be as good in flavor?

  37. Thank you for sharing this recipe. The first time I tasted Enchiladas Suizas was at the Sanborns de los Azulejos in Mexico City when I was a child. I have very fond memories. Love your show – I never miss an episode.