Spice up your evening with this hot and cheesy, Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole. Torn corn tortillas, cooked chicken, and shredded cheese get folded into a luscious sour cream sauce flavored with salsa verde.
This enchilada casserole is one you can whip it up in a flash—and make an extra to freeze.
This Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a quicker version of rolled chicken enchiladas. Instead of filling corn tortillas with a chicken and cheese filling, the tortillas are torn into bite-sized pieces and mixed with the sour cream sauce and filling ingredients. It’s all loaded into a pan, topped with more cheese and baked. So good!
Why Make This
It’s simple. With just a handful of simple ingredients, this chicken enchilada casserole is fuss-free. Most of the ingredients you can buy already prepped so it’s just a matter of assembling them into a casserole.
It’s hearty. Loaded with chunks of chicken, tangy cheese, corn tortillas, and a rich sour cream sauce, this dish is stick-to-yer-ribs kind of fare. No one will leave the table hungry.
It’s super quick. Prep time is just 15 minutes which gives you plenty of time to put your feet up and relax with a cool drink while the casserole bakes in the oven.
One of the things I love about this recipe is that all the ingredients are real food: chicken, cheese, sour cream, salsa, tortillas, onions, olives, and spices.
In contrast to my Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole that calls for cream of chicken soup, this enchilada bake features a sauce made of sour cream and salsa verde. So good!
This is the same magic sour cream sauce you’ve seen in some of my other recipes: Cilantro Chicken Rice Bowls, Creamy Chicken Salsa Verde, and my very favorite Poblano Chile Enchiladas. It’s so easy to make and yet packs so much flavor into dishes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
sour cream – I always use full fat sour cream, so I can’t verify that other varieties will work.
salsa verde – I use either Herdez or the Hatch Valley Salsa at Trader Joe’s as I think they have the best flavors and no sugar. Recently, I’ve found that the smaller 7-ounce Herdez cans are cheaper per ounce than the larger glass jar, so that’s what I’ve been buying.
taco seasoning mix – I make my own taco seasoning mix as it’s more affordable. Be sure to use chile powder that is just ground chiles, not a “chili powder” with salt and other ingredients added. That will make your taco seasoning mix too salty.
corn tortillas – Traditionally, enchiladas are made with corn tortillas. In my opinion, this is the best way and what I use in enchiladas as well as enchilada casserole. (Flour tortillas tend to get very gummy when sauced.) There are lots of opinions on which tortilla is better, though. Do what you will.
cooked, cubed chicken – You can cook your own chicken or use a rotisserie chicken. The cost of the chicken is comparable to a whole chicken uncooked—and they taste great! Plus, the work is done for me. You can also use cooked turkey if that’s what you have on hand.
cheddar cheese – Feel free to use jack or pepper jack if that’s what you have.
onion – You can use brown or white onion as well as green onions or shallots. Remember to shop your kitchen whenever possible.
black olives – Olives are one of those fun things, but also count as expensive ingredients you can avoid. If you have them, use them. If not, they can easily be omitted.
cilantro – This fresh herb adds a nice southwest touch, but you can omit it as well if you don’t like it or don’t have any.
1. In a large mixing bowl, place the sour cream, salsa, and taco seasoning.
2. Whisk the sauce ingredients well to combine.
3. Add the tortilla pieces, chicken, 2 cups of cheese, and the onion to the bowl of sauce.
4. Stir well to combine.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it to distribute it evenly in the pan.
7. Top the casserole with the remaining 1 cup cheese.
8. Scatter the black olives over the surface of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over top before serving, if desired.
Promptly store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. They’re really good with eggs for breakfast the next day.
Once you’ve got the ingredients set up, assembly happens in just minutes. It makes sense to prepare 2-3 pans of it so that you can freeze extras for later. It’s so nice to pull a bubbly hot casserole from the oven on busy nights!
To freeze the casserole: use cold ingredients and assemble as the recipe instructs. Instead of baking, cover, label, and freeze the dish. Store in the freezer for up to two months.
To prepare individually frozen portions of the enchilada bake, use 1-cup Soupercubes. Once frozen, you can pop the frozen casseroles out of the mold and store them in an airtight freezer bag or other container.
To serve: Thaw overnight and bake as directed.
This sour cream chicken enchilada casserole is delicious served with pico de gallo, salad, beans, rice, or Mexican food dishes, such as tamales, tacos, or chimichangas.
You can easily add this dish to a Mexican food buffet for an easy dinner that allows your diners to mix and match the elements they like best.
You can bake this recipe in a standard 9×13-inch baking dish or in single-serve gratin dishes.
I also prepare it in these plastic meal prep dishes. Packed this way, enchiladas and enchilada casserole make for a great meal prep. The only difference is that to bake, you’ll need to cook the dish in the microwave instead of the oven. To cook a single serving in the microwave, cover loosely and heat for 2 to 3 minutes until hot.
Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a fantastic dish to freeze. It comes together quickly so making more than one batch is super simple. Chill the dish completely before wrapping well and storing in the freezer. You can also divide the recipe into smaller containers for single-serve portions.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- sour cream – $2.00
- salsa verde – $1.50
- taco seasoning – $0.15
- tortillas – $0.72
- chicken – $0.99
- cheese – $1.50
- onion – $0.38
- olives – $0.25
- cilantro – $0.10
Shopped at a mid-range supermarket at non-sale prices, this chicken enchilada bake costs $7.59 or 63 cents per serving.
Conversely, the one similar commercially frozen product available costs $4.99!
How to save even more:
Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on sour cream, I’ll buy 4-5 containers, depending on their expiration dates.
- Use a whole chicken! Cooking a whole chicken (or buying one that Costco roasted for you) can be more economical than buying chicken pieces. Plus, you can use the carcass to make homemade stock. You can easily make this Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole with turkey when the whole birds go on sale in the fall.
- Make your own taco seasoning. It only takes a few minutes and it’s much cheaper than those little packets. Tastes better, too.
- Omit the pricier ingredients. While delicious, you can live without the olives or even the chicken. This makes a delicious vegetarian dish, similar to my Chile And Cheese Enchilada Casserole.
More Great Chicken Recipes
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Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe
- 1 16-ounce container sour cream
- 1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning mix
- 12 corn tortillas torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cup chicken (cooked and cubed)
- 12 oz cheddar cheese (shredded) can also use jack, pepper jack cheese, or a mixture (3 cups)
- 1/2 onion chopped for 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, salsa, and taco seasoning. Stir in the tortilla pieces, chicken, 2 cups of cheese, and the onion. Stir well to combine.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with the remaining cheese and black olives. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over top before serving.
- The casserole can be frozen or refrigerated, prior to baking. Add a few minutes to the cooking time to allot for a cold pan.
This post was originally published on August 20, 2016. It has been updated for content and clarity.