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Chicken and black bean enchiladas with green sauce are easy, cozy, and crowd-pleasing. Here’s how to make them.

chicken and black bean enchiladas with green enchilada sauce in a pan
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Why we love this recipe

For many years, our whole family has had a special fondness for my friend Jill’s enchiladas. We met as new moms, and she would make them in disposable foil pans for folks to keep in the freezer — a wildly appreciated gift on harried evenings. Over time I’ve made the recipe my own, but it will always remain an homage to Jill.

These enchiladas are:

  • Comforting and indulgent, but also packed with protein, fiber, and veggies
  • Equally adored by kids and grownups
  • Flexible — see suggested variations below for details
  • Make-ahead and freezer-friendly

I published an earlier enchilada recipe here way back in 2011. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made changes to the recipe itself.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You’ll start with cooked, shredded chicken breast. You can use rotisserie, roasted, to Instant Potsous vide — whatever method you like. Leftover Thanksgiving turkey works too! Here I sautéed some boneless, skinless breasts in a little olive oil and shredded them with two forks while warm. If you’re starting from scratch, keep in mind that you need a pound of cooked meat, so start with at least a pound and a half raw.
  • I like to use an equal mix of extra-sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. They melt well and have a flavorful but not overwhelming vibe. Shred them yourself on the large holes of a box grater to avoid the additives in pre-shredded blends. This recipe has a lot of cheese. No apologies, but you can reduce it if you’d like and sprinkle less on top.
  • This is a great time to use canned black beans, though of course you can cook your own from scratch if you prefer. One can equals roughly 1 3/4 cups cooked beans.
  • One batch of our homemade green enchilada sauce is perfect for this recipe. Or you can buy it.
  • Try to use good-quality 8-inch flour tortillas if possible. Supermarket brands are fine but can be a little doughy, especially when coated with sauce. I don’t call for pre-warming the tortillas, but you can do so one at a time on a dry skillet before assembling if you like, to enhance the flavor and increase pliability. Although the math doesn’t really make sense, I always find that 8-inch tortillas fit well in a standard 9x13x2-inch baking pan, with eight across and two lengthwise underneath.
  • To garnish, you can use sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, or a combination, in any amount you like.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a cozy pan of chicken and black bean enchiladas. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll mix together the ingredients for the filling.
  2. Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Fill and roll the tortillas.
  4. Top with more sauce and cheese and bake until hot and melty. Garnish and serve. That’s it!

Suggested variations

  • This filling also works well with red enchilada sauce.
  • You can substitute corn tortillas. In this case, definitely warm each one on both sides on a dry skillet before assembling, to enhance both flavor and pliability.
  • Try adding two links of Spanish-style chorizo, diced and browned, to the filling.
  • If you’re serving a crowd with some vegetarians and some meat-eaters, you can use two cans of beans and half a pound of cooked chicken. Mix the filling without the chicken, divide it among the tortillas, filling half of them with extra bean mixture, and then add the chicken separately to the other half before rolling.
  • Or you can make the whole batch chicken-only or bean-only by doubling the quantity of that ingredient and omitting the other.
  • As mentioned, these enchiladas make great gifts for new parents or folks going through a tough moment. Use disposable foil baking pans, and let recipients know they can bake them right away or freeze for later.

Expert tips and FAQs

Where do enchiladas come from?

Enchiladas have their earliest roots in Mayan culture, but the many versions we eat today would be unrecognizable to the inventors. It’s worth reading about the history of colonialism that ties inextricably to the way this dish has proliferated and changed over time. It is, to put it mildly, not nearly as delicious as the food itself.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Absolutely. You can prep the entire dish in advance and bake it just before serving. Tightly cover the baking pan with foil and store in the fridge for up to a week, or with plastic wrap followed by foil in the freezer for up to a year. You can defrost first or bake straight from frozen, adding 20 minutes to the baking time and keeping the pan covered with foil for the first 20 minutes. (Be sure to remove plastic wrap before baking.)

More favorite Mexican-inspired chicken dinners

chicken and black bean enchiladas with green enchilada sauce in a pan and on a plate with a fork

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chicken and black bean enchiladas with green enchilada sauce in a pan
4.87 from 15 votes

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Chicken and black bean enchiladas with green sauce are easy, cozy, and crowd-pleasing. Here's how to make them.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound (454 grams) cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 1 15- ounce 425-gram can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) extra-sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) pepper jack, shredded
  • 1 recipe green enchilada sauce
  • 10 8- inch flour tortillas

To garnish, optional

  • Sliced scallions
  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the center.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the chicken, beans, half the cheddar, half the pepper jack, and one cup of the enchilada sauce.
  • Spread one cup of the enchilada sauce evenly over the surface of the baking pan.
  • Divide the filling evenly among the tortillas, making a strip of filling down the center of each tortilla and rolling the tortilla fairly tightly around it.
  • Line up tortillas seam-side down in the pan, packing them in snugly. They should fit with eight across and two lengthwise across the bottom, per the photos and video above.
  • Top evenly with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheddar and pepper jack.
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until melted, hot, and bubbly.
  • Garnish with scallions and/or cilantro and serve. 

Notes

  1. You can use rotisserie, roasted, to Instant Potsous vide — whatever cooked chicken you like. Leftover Thanksgiving turkey works too! Here I sautéed some boneless, skinless breasts in a little olive oil and shredded them with two forks while warm. If you're starting from scratch, keep in mind that you need a pound of cooked meat, so start with at least a pound and a half raw.
  2. One can equals roughly 1 ¾ cups cooked beans.
  3. Try to use good-quality flour tortillas if possible. Supermarket brands are fine but can be a little doughy, especially when coated with sauce. I don't call for pre-warming the tortillas, but you can do so one at a time on a dry skillet before assembling if you like, to enhance the flavor and increase pliability.
  4. You can prep the entire dish in advance and bake it just before serving. Tightly cover the baking pan with foil and store in the fridge for up to a week, or with plastic wrap followed by foil in the freezer for up to a year. You can defrost first or bake straight from frozen, adding 20 minutes to the baking time and keeping the pan covered with foil for the first 20 minutes. (Be sure to remove plastic wrap before baking.)
  5. Enchiladas make great gifts for new parents or folks going through a tough moment. Use disposable foil baking pans, and let recipients know they can bake them right away or freeze for later.

Suggested variations

  • This filling also works well with red enchilada sauce.
  • You can substitute corn tortillas. In this case, definitely warm each one on both sides on a dry skillet before assembling, to enhance both flavor and pliability.
  • Try adding two links of Spanish-style chorizo, diced and browned, to the filling.
  • If you're serving a crowd with some vegetarians and some meat-eaters, you can use two cans of beans and half a pound of cooked chicken. Mix the filling without the chicken, divide it among the tortillas, filling half of them with extra bean mixture, and then add the chicken separately to the other half before rolling.
  • Or you can make the whole batch chicken-only or bean-only by doubling the quantity of that ingredient and omitting the other.

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal, Carbohydrates: 33.1g, Protein: 31.9g, Fat: 12.4g, Saturated Fat: 5.1g, Fiber: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Mexican-Inspired
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.87 from 15 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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