Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

So this recipe is from my dad, John Whitbeck. It’s delicious. Also, it’s 2020, and there’s a plague on, so I made some modifications. First, since I didn’t have canned black beans, I learned how to make delicious dried beans in my instant pot ( I had everything else except for canned green chiles. They probably have those at the corner store one block from my house, but these days a quick trip to the corner store could kill someone you love, so instead I substituted some bell peppers I had on hand. Moral of the story: fewer delicious foods are to die for when the dying is literal. This is a resilient recipe. Do what you can.

prep time: 15 MINS, cook time: 45 MINS, total time: 60 MINS, yield: 4 SERVINGS 1X


  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small ½” pieces
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Optional dried red chile flakes
  • 4 LARGE flour tortillas
  • 3 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 batch RED ENCHILADA SAUCE (see recipe below)
  • optional toppings (I’ve never used any): fresh cilantro, chopped red onions, diced avocado, sour cream, and/or crumbled cotija cheese


1.  Prepare your enchilada sauce (separate recipe).

2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

3.  In large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. 

4.  Add diced onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

5.  Add diced chicken and green chiles, and season with a pinch of salt and a generous pinch of pepper.  Assuming you use mild green chiles (I’ve never found any other), dish will be mild. If you want hot, add an appropriate amount of dried red chile flakes now.  Go easy! Sauté the mixture for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, 

6.  Add in the beans and stir until evenly combined.  Remove pan from heat (beans don’t need cooking now) and set aside.

6 ½.  Don’t forget the beans.

7.  Spray inside of large rectangular baking dish with any no-stick spray, or wipe the inside with a little vegetable oil.

8.  To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas in front of you, enchilada sauce at 9:00, chicken mixture at 11:00, cheese at 1:00, and baking dish at 3:00. 

9.  Lay out a tortilla, and spread two Tbl sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  

10.  Add 7/32 of the chicken mixture in center of the tortilla.  Rest is chef’s perk while enchiladas are baking.

11.  Sprinkle with handful of cheese. 

12.  Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

13.  Assemble the remaining enchiladas.  

14.  Then spoon remaining sauce and then remaining cheese on top.  

15. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until the enchiladas are cooked through and the tortillas are slightly crispy on the outside.

16.  Remove pan from the oven and serve the enchiladas while they’re nice and warm, with optional toppings on the side.

17.  Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.  We wrap individual enchiladas in aluminum foil and stick in the fridge.


My all-time favorite homemade red enchilada sauce recipe.  It’s quick and easy to make, and a million times better than the canned stuff!



  • 2 ½ Tbl olive oil (or vegetable oil, or any other neutral oil)
  • 2 ½ Tbl all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 5 Tbl chili powder          (pre-measure these 5 into same small container)
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder   
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 2 ½  cups chicken stock


  1. Heat 2 ½ Tbl olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. When oil is hot, add 2 ½ Tbl flour and whisk together constantly over the heat for one minute.
  3. Stir in 5 Tbl chili powder, ¾ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp oregano, and don’t dawdle getting to step 4; the dry seasonings don’t need dry cooking.
  4. Then gradually add in 2 ½ c stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes (only whisking for a few seconds every few minutes) until slightly thickened.
  5. Now make the enchilada stuffing.

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