Salsa Verde Enchiladas with Chicken Carnitas

These enchiladas are the perfect accompaniment to one too many margaritas. They’re stuffed with smoky, tender, slow cooker chicken carnitas (note below), covered with tangy tomatillo salsa, and smothered in cheese that gets perfectly browned and bubbly in the oven.

*If you’re looking to cut back on time and turn this into a weeknight meal, you can sub the slow cooker chicken carnitas for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You’ll lose the smoky flavor but still super delicious. Alternatively, the chicken carnitas can be made 1-2 days ahead.


For the chicken carnitas:

  • 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

For the enchiladas:

  • 1 lb shredded chicken (approx 3 cups)
  • 1 16-oz container salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • Optional toppings: diced red onion, mexican crema, jalapeno slices, crumbled cotija cheese, chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large saucepan, add the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and toss to coat. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown on the edges. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add garlic. Stir occasionally until onions start to caramelize, approx. 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, chicken, liquid smoke, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt to a slow cooker. Set to high and cook until chicken is cooked through, tender, and shreds easily with a fork, approx 3-4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 8 x 10 baking dish with nonstick spray when you’re ready to prepare the enchiladas. *If you don’t have a 8 x 10 dish, it’s fine to use a 9 x 13, you’ll just have a bit of room on the end of each enchilada.
  4. Remove chicken into a large bowl and shred. Add sour cream, 1 1/2 cups jack cheese, green chiles, and cilantro. Mix together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the salsa to a wide-rimmed bowl – it just needs to be large enough so that you can dip the tortillas into the salsa to coat the tortilla on both sides.
  6. Working one at a time, dip the tortillas into the salsa to coat. Spoon approximately 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture into the tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Top the enchiladas with the leftover salsa verde and the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese.
  7. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is browned and bubbly on top, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with additional toppings as desired.