Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

These Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are Patrick’s #1 FAVORITE ENCHILADAS!

This Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are a tantalizing combination of robust seasonings, tender chicken and sweet and tangy heat infused and smothered with Pepper Jack cheese.  They are my most requested recipe and about to become YOUR most requested easy chicken enchilada recipe!  This chicken enchiladas recipe can be prepped in the morning and baked at night, made in mass quantities, and/or frozen for later.  They also make terrific leftovers – even with eggs for breakfast!

salsa verde chicken enchiladas in a white casserole dish with cilantro

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  This Memorial Day, Patrick and I also celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary!  I won’t get too mushy and gushy, because you can read all of that in “Our Love Story,” but I have to say, I am more madly in love with my husband than ever before – especially after this crazy last year (I’m still updating my Next Chapters) starting with finding out I would need a kidney transplant (January 2013), almost going into a diabetic coma and Patrick saving my life (April 2013), Patrick rushing me to the hospital for appendicitis (June 2013), my mom being disqualified as my kidney donor (July 2013), supporting me through my iron infusions, no energy, and crazy swollen legs and feet (because my kidneys weren’t flushing out the fluid) – so swollen I could no longer wear jeans and only wear 1 of my MANY pairs of shoes that still fit (summer – October 2013), and finally through my kidney transplant and recovery (October 2013).

All the craziness reminds me of the line in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”  when Maria is pinching herself that she and Ian are getting married and she jokes that any day he’s going to say, ” Yeah, right, you’re so not worth this.”

I don’t know how I got so lucky for him to think I am worth this – but I will take it!  And treat him right with the BEST Chicken Enchiladas on the planet!

easy chicken enchiladas

salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

I am A HUGE chicken enchiladas fan – because practically everything tastes better in a tortilla smothered with cheese and sauce! I’ve shared Jalapeno Chicken Enchiladas,Barbacoa Beef Enchiladas,Sweet Chili Chicken Enchiladas, Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas and Breakfast Ham and Cheese Enchiladas – but this Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas recipe is still our go-to favorite and Patrick’s #1 favorite…EVER!!! So, I thought it fitting I share Patrick’s favorite food while I celebrate my marriage to my favorite man!

The honey and salsa verde are a match made in heaven -its a tangy sweet dance of perfection.  This chicken is sweet from the honey, slightly spicy from the salsa verde, pepper jack and spices (which you can tone down to your taste), with a burst of fresh citrus from the lime.  I absolutely adore this flavor combination.  I love it so much that this recipe was my inspiration for my Honey Lime Chipotle Fajita Burrito Bowls with Chipotle Lime Crema (a must try if you love honey lime or Mexican food!).

Now, there are many recipes out there with this combination, but what sets this recipe apart is the seasonings and 10 minute marinade. The chicken is combined with honey and lime juice and seasonings just for 10 minutes – you will be AMAZED at the flavor shredded, cooked chicken can soak up in 10 minutes!

These Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas recipe will do such a show stopping flavor tap dance on your tongue that you won’t be able to quiet the applause of your taste buds!

Ingredients for Salsa Verde Enchiladas

  • Chicken: Use chicken breasts to make your own rotisserie chicken or use 3 ½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Salsa verde: Use one 16 oz. jar salsa verde, like Herdez brand, or 2 cups Homemade Salsa Verde.
  • Tortillas: I’ve gone with flour tortillas in this recipe so the flavor doesn’t compete with the filling. If you really want to use corn, then make sure to use quality corn tortillas so they don’t tear, or I recommend lightly toasting them in a skillet first.
  • Cheese: A combo of both pepper Jack cheese and Monterey Jack cheese will give you buttery creaminess with the most flavor without being too spicy.
  • Honey: You’ll want to use 1/3-1/2 cup honey depending on how sweet you want the salsa verde chicken enchiladas. I recommend starting with less and adding more to taste.
  • Lime juice: You can use fresh or bottled lime juice.
  • Seasonings: A combination of chili powder,onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, chipotle pepper and cayenne pepper enliven these salsa verde chicken enchiladas with FLAVOR! You can customize the heat by using more or less chipotle pepper and choosing whether or not to add cayenne pepper for more heat.

Is Salsa Verde the same as green enchilada sauce?

For this recipe you will want a jar of salsa verde or homemade salsa verde- which is NOT the same as green enchilada sauce.

  • Salsa verde: is typically made of roasted tomatillos, serrano or jalapeno peppers, onion, garlic, lime juice and cilantro.  The ingredients are blended together to create a smooth salsa and left RAW.
  • Green enchilada sauce: contains all of the same ingredients with the addition of flour and chicken broth to create a roux.  The sauce is simmered until thickened which mellows the punch of the ingredient.

If all you have on hand is green enchilada sauce, I’m sure that will work fine, but next time go with salsa verde-after all, they are Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas!

top view of salsa verde chicken enchiladas in a white baking dish

HOW SPICY ARE THESE salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS?

These Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas can be as mild or as spicy as YOU would like.  No matter how spicy you would like the end result, I suggest starting with a jar of MILD salsa verde.  This way you can add heat, but if you start with a jar of HOT salsa verde, you can’t take it away!

The customizable heat in this chicken enchiladas recipe comes from the chipotle chile powder and the cayenne pepper.  If you know you don’t like very much heat, you can use just ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder and omit the cayenne completely. For the spiciest enchiladas, you can use up to 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder and 1/ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

MAKE EASY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH ROTISSERIE CHICKEN!

You can use your own shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken for this easy chicken enchilada recipe.  I love using rotisserie chicken because it is lightly seasoned and juicy.   You will need about 3 ½ cups shredded chicken for this recipe.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SHREDDED CHICKEN

While I love rotisserie chicken, I often don’t have one – or a whole, uneaten one on hand, so I usually make my own shredded chicken for chicken enchiladas.   It is super easy and all you need is chicken and chicken broth!

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add one-pound chicken breasts pounded thin (2-3 breasts) and cook 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown on one side.
  3. Flip chicken and add 2 cups chicken broth.  Cover and reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, then flip chicken over and continue to cook 5-10 minutes or until chicken is tender enough to shred.  You may need to add more chicken broth if it is already absorbed when you flip your chicken over.  You may substitute the chicken broth with water, but chicken broth will infuse your chicken with more flavor.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet and let rest 5 minutes before shredding.
salsa verde chicken enchiladas with pepper jack cheese

HOW TO MAKE salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

To make these the BEST chicken enchiladas, the flavors don’t just “sit” on the chicken, they penetrate the chicken!  By soaking the shredded chicken for just 10 minutes in a bath of  honey, lime, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, chipotle powder, garlic, etc., plain chicken transforms into out of this world chicken.

While your chicken is “marinating,”  lightly toast your tortillas.  This step is optional but we highly prefer the texture of toasted tortillas.  They still soften in the chicken enchiladas, but they don’t become mushy. Now, all that’s left to do is assemble the salsa verde chicken enchiladas by topping each tortilla with pepper jack cheese, optional 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese then rolling up and smothering salsa verde and more cheese. Then sit back and relax while the honey, lime, salsa verde, cheesy chicken deliciousness bubbles into golden cheesy bliss.

HOW LONG TO BAKE ENCHILADAS?

Bake chicken enchilada at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the enchiladas are bubbling.  You can broil the top until the cheese is golden in spots, but take care not to broil for too long or the cheese won’t be as gooey – and we all want GOOEY cheese!

HELPFUL TIPS TO MAKE salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS 

  • Use jarred mild salsa verde as opposed to canned green enchilada sauce.  They are similar but not the same.
  • You can use flour or corn tortillas.  If you use corn tortillas, just be aware they tend to fall apart more easily.  You will need to microwave the corn tortillas before using: working in batches, place 6 tortillas on a microwave safe plate, cover with a moist paper towel and microwave 40 to 50 seconds so they are warm and pliable. You can also lightly pan fry in a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet.
  • You can make easy chicken enchiladas in a flash by using rotisserie chicken or making your own shredded chicken in advance and keeping it in the refrigerator or freezing it, then thawing it the night before making chicken enchiladas.
  • Shred the cheese yourself! Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-clumping chemicals which makes it harder to melt.
  • You can prep the salsa verde enchiladas ahead of time in steps:  make/shred the chicken, fry the tortillas, marinate the chicken, OR completely assemble and refrigerate. See prep ahead instructions.
  • Toppings!  Top chicken enchiladas with all or some of your favorite toppings such as sour cream or Greek yogurt (highly recommend), cilantro, jalapenos, avocados, tomatoes, black olives, etc.
  • If you’re not sure how much cayenne pepper and/or chipotle pepper to add, use less heat and add hot sauce to spice up individual servings.
up close of half eaten salsa verde chicken enchiladas

salsa verde ENCHILADAS variations

I love these salsa verde enchiladas simple with chicken and cheese, but you can customize them in SO many different ways:

  • Add beans:  pinto beans, black beans and even refried beans are yummy!
  • Add vegetables: corn, zucchini, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, spinach, olives, jalapenos, etc.  Pick your favs!
  • Add rice or quinoa: add cooked rice or cooked quinoa directly into the filling for yummy texture.
  • Cheese: use more or less cheese depending on your cheesy desires. If you know you love spicy, then consider using all Pepper Jack cheese.
  • Swap protein:  although this recipe is salsa verde chicken enchiladas,” the recipe works well for shredded beef, ground beef, ground turkey, and ground chicken as well. You can also use any of my Mexican proteins (and skip the step of seasoning the protein in the recipe) such as  Chipotle Sweet Pulled PorkCrockpot Mexican Chicken10 Minute Mexican ChickenSalsa Verde Chicken, Beef BarbacoaCarnitas, or Mexican Ground Beef.

WHAT TOPPINGS FOR salsa verde ENCHILADAS?

These salsa verde enchiladas are stand alone addicting, but as is the case with all Mexican food, whether it’s tacos, burritos, fajitas, tortilla soup, they are even better with toppings!   Here are some of our favs for this recipe:

  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt:  the bright tangy creaminess cuts through and compliments the earthy flavor profile.
  • Tomatoes: quartered cherry tomatoes or seeded, chopped Roma tomatoes or skip the plain tomatoes and use pico de gallo.
  • Pico de gallo:  is fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness.  You can use my homemade pico de de gallo recipe or store bought. You can make the pico de gallo ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Cilantro:  if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead for a fresh, zesty flair.
  • Guacamole:  use my homemade guacamole recipe (amazing!) I use in my Street Tacos, your favorite recipe or even use store bought.
  • Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and add a wonderful creaminess. You might want to add a splash of lime juice if you use plain avocados.
  • Hot Sauce: pass around the hot sauce so individuals can customize the heat.
  • Jalapenos: you can also amp up the heat with chopped or sliced jalapenos or pickled jalapenos.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS?

These salsa verde chicken enchiladas are steal-the-show fantastic, they don’t need many sides. In fact, we love them just with rice and a big green salad.  If you’re looking to get a little more creative, they are also delicious with:

up close of a forkful of salsa verde chicken enchiladas

HOW TO REHEAT salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS?

You can reheat individual servings of Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas in the microwave until heated through or you can reheat the entire pan in the oven. To reheat enchiladas in the oven, cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees F until heated through, approximately 30-35 minutes.

HOW LONG ARE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS GOOD FOR?

Chicken Enchiladas should be covered tightly in plastic wrap or foil and stored in the refrigerator.  When stored correctly, these Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are good for about 5 days.

HOW TO FREEZE salsa verde CHICKEN ENCHILADAS?

While some enchiladas don’t freeze as well due to a cream-based sauce, these Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas freeze great!   You can even double the recipe so you can enjoy one casserole now and one later. I like to freeze my chicken enchiladas in a disposable pan for easy cleanup, but any 9×13 pan will also work.  To freeze enchiladas:

  1. Assemble enchiladas up to the point of adding the cheese on top.  You can add the cheese, but the cheese will have a better texture if you add it just when you’re ready to bake.
  2. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap a couple times then then cover with foil.  Label and freeze for up to three months.
  3. When ready to eat, let enchiladas thaw in the fridge overnight.
  4. Add cheese, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or completely heated through.
  5. Alternatively, you can bake enchiladas from frozen at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until heated through.

I hope you love these Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas as much as we do!

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up close of taking a bite of salsa verde chicken enchiladas

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Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

This Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are a tantalizing combination of robust seasonings, tender chicken and sweet and tangy heat infused and smothered with Pepper Jack cheese.  They are my most requested recipe and about to become YOUR most requested easy chicken enchilada recipe!  This chicken enchiladas recipe is can be prepped in the morning and baked at night, made in mass quantities, and/or frozen for later.  They also make terrific leftovers – even with eggs for breakfast!
Servings: 6 -8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts (1 ½ pounds)
  • 2 cups Homemade Salsa Verde (or 1 16 oz. jar like mild Herdez)
  • 8-10 flour tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese (optional for EXTRA cheesiness)

10 Minute Marinade

Garnish

  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • Avocados

Instructions

  • To easily cook and shred the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Flip the chicken over, then add 1 cup of chicken broth to the skillet. Cover and reduce heat to medium and simmer 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked though and tender enough to shred, adding additional chicken broth/water if the liquid evaporates too quickly. Remove chicken from skillet and let rest 5 minutes before shredding.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the 10 Minute Marinade ingredients then add the shredded chicken. Let marinate 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and pour ¼ cup salsa verde evenly over the bottom (it will barely cover), reserving the remaining salsa verde.
  • Lightly toast tortillas in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, about 30 seconds per side. (Optional but recommended)
  • After chicken has been sitting 10 minutes, remove chicken to a plate, letting excess marinade drip back into the bowl. To the remaining marinade, whisk in the remaining salsa verde. Set aside.
  • Begin assembling enchiladas by filling each tortilla evenly with chicken filling and 2 cups pepper jack cheese and optional 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese (for the cheese lover). Roll up each tortilla and place, seam side down, in the salsa verde coated baking dish. Repeat process until all tortillas are filled.
  • Pour the remaining honey/lime/spice/salsa verde sauce over the enchiladas and cover with remaining 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese and optional 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes then broil until cheese is golden.

Notes

SPICE LEVEL

*If you are not adding any cayenne pepper and only using ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder, then only add ⅓ cup honey. The sweetness of the ½ cup honey balances out the extra spice of the cayenne and 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder.

MAKE AHEAD CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

These Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are a great make-ahead dinner! Just keep in mind, that the longer the tortillas sit, the softer they become, which doesn’t bother us at all, but I just want you to be aware.
  1. To make chicken enchiladas ahead, prepare them according to directions, cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  2. You can bake the enchiladas straight from the refrigerator and increase the baking time by approximately 10 minutes or until they are hot and bubbly and completely heated through.

HOW TO FREEZE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

  1. Assemble enchiladas up to the point of adding the cheese on top.  You can add the cheese, but the cheese will have a better texture if you add it just when you’re ready to bake.
  2. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap a couple times then then cover with foil.  Label and freeze for up to three months.
  3. When ready to eat, let enchiladas thaw in the fridge overnight.
  4. Add cheese, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or completely heated through.
  5. Alternatively, you can bake enchiladas from frozen at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until heated through.
 
 
 

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141 Comments

  1. Meredith Edelhauser says

    Could you use the slow cooker honey lime chicken for these enchiladas?

    • Jen says

      Hi Meredith, you can use the chicken for the shredded chicken but you would still want to follow the recipe because the “marinade” also gets used in the sauce and it has more concentrated flavor than the slow cooker juices. Sorry!

  2. Kara T says

    Do you know where I could find chipotle powder?

    • Jen says

      Hi Kara, you should be able to find it any grocery store and even Walmart and Target. It is either called chipotle chili powder, ground chipote (powder) and even even Chipotle Chile Pepper (but you can obviously tell it is ground). I hope that helps!

  3. Angela Scrivens says

    I have made this so many times and realize I’ve never commented on how much we enjoy it! Sometimes I make the whole recipe and sometimes I just make the marinated chicken and use it in other recipes. The flavors all together – mind boggling! You have a way of putting spices and flavors together to make everything taste gourmet!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment Angela, I’m so happy to hear these enchiladas are a favorite at your house and that you are loving my seasonings/flavors! I honestly have never just made the chicken – I’m going to have to try that!

  4. Kelly says

    I made these last night and they were delicious! Thank you for sharing. So easy to make and no need to change anything. My husband loved this as well. This is for sure a keeper and repeat recipe.

    • Jen says

      Yesss! Thanks so much Kelly, I love hearing these enchiladas were a big winner and a new repeat favorite!

  5. Jo says

    What is your favorite brand of flour tortillas for this recipe?

    • Jen says

      Hi Jo, I like Guerrero Tortillas, enjoy!

  6. Sue says

    I have made these with flour tortillas and I’m family has loved them! Have you ever tried these with corn tortillas? Do you think that would work as well?

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy these enchiladas are a favorite! I think the corn flavor might be a little distracting here but it could still work. If you decide to go corn, you can follow my flash fry or microwave method like in my enchiladas verdes: https://carlsbadcravings.com/enchiladas-verdes/ Good luck!

  7. V says

    What size tortillas do you use for this recipe…Fajita, taco?

    • Jen says

      I use taco size but you really can use whatever works for you. Enjoy!

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