Jill Levenhagen

…faith, creativity, humor and real life

Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

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These chipotle chicken enchiladas have a spicy kick and creamy shredded chicken filling! This recipe starts with a big pot of veggies and peppers that purees into a sauce that you can’t buy in a can!

Dish filled with Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas.

This is by far the best recipe I have ever created…like all by myself.  But there is a back story.

Eons ago…Maybe 6 years?  I can’t remember.  Anyway, eons ago, Philadelphia Cream Cheese came out with their line of Flavored Cooking Cream.  One flavor was Santa Fe, and on the package was a recipe for “Easy Chicken Enchiladas”.

These enchiladas were divine!  I remember even going away for a vacation in a beach house once and I put them on our menu for the week.  But when I went shopping at our location, that grocery wasn’t carrying the Santa Fe flavor!  Sadness!

We ate these over and over and over for a few years.  And then…it started disappearing.  And soon…they announced they were discontinuing it.  <Drama> up in this house.  Oh my…how to live without them?  That was not just any old taco flavoring.  It had some depth.

Probably after a year passed, I found a new recipe in my new Braising cookbook to try for dinner.  It was for pork, and the braising base was chipotle, red pepper and tomatoes, etc.  When I tasted the pork, I was tasting the flavors of the Enchiladas!  OMG!  I got online and googled the cooking cream to find an image of the ingredients.  And low and behold, the first three ingredients after cream cheese were chipotle, red pepper and tomatoes!

I got to work the next day on a recipe for enchiladas!  I made the “flavor base” of all fresh ingredients…red pepper, tomato, chipotle, onion, garlic and spices…yum!  After cooking, I pureed it and worked on combining it with regular cream cheese to find the perfect recipe!  We had our Enchiladas again!

I don’t yet feed these to my kiddos yet…my kids like cheese burritos.  meh!  These enchiladas are spicy!  So I make my flavor base, and freeze about half of it and make half the recipe, because this recipe makes a lot and my husband and I can’t eat all that.  The flavor base recipe makes 4 cups, so I freeze 2 cups. It is really easy to freeze and keep for a quicker meal the second time!

Dutch oven filled with veggies and peppers to make the chipotle base sauce for Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas.

To get started, I spend just 5 minutes rough chopping everything into large pieces into a large dutch oven.  You don’t need any additional liquid.  Just turn on the burner, put the lid on and get this stewing.  When it gets going, just adjust to a simmer and let it sit for an hour, or so…just until everything is mushy and ready to be pureed.

Dutch oven filled with Chipotle Sauce Base after pureeing the cooked veggies and peppers with a stick blender.

That is the liquid yum right there!  Behold my Chipotle Flavor Base.

Here’s a Tip:  You won’t use all the chipotle peppers in the can, so freeze them individually in ice cube trays to use to make some kicked-up Chipotle Mayo (mashed chipotle pepper, mayo, some lime juice and salt)…or save it for the next time you make Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas!

And last, if you don’t use up all the creamy chicken filling for tonight’s dinner, don’t just make more enchiladas. Keep the extra filling in the fridge to make enchiladas for lunch.  Just wrap in a tortilla, cover with sauce and cheese and bake. The filling keeps better than already baked enchiladas will! The flour tortillas don’t hold up well to refrigeration after baking.  I use the filling up to 4 days after making it.

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Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

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  • Author: Jill Levenhagen
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 20 Enchiladas 1x


These chipotle chicken enchiladas have a spicy kick and creamy shredded chicken filling! This recipe starts with a big pot of veggies and peppers that purees into a sauce that you can’t buy in a can!


Units Scale

INGREDIENTS for Chipotle Flavor Base

1 lb. tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper

1 serrano pepper

1 red bell pepper

2 medium onions

3 cloves garlic

2 chipotle peppers from can

1 T. adobe sauce from chipotle can

1 t. dried oregano

1 t. ground cumin

1/4 t. ground cloves

1 t. salt

1 T. cider vinegar

INGREDIENTS for Enchilada Filling

4 cups Chipotle Flavor Base

8 oz. cream cheese

1 can red enchilada sauce

1 medium onion

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast

1 t. lime juice

1 cup shredded cheddar

INGREDIENTS to roll and top Enchiladas

6” Flour Tortillas

Reserved mixture of Flavor Base, Cream Cheese and Enchilada Sauce

Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese


Rough chop all the vegetables and put them in a large Dutch oven. Add the spices and turn the burner on medium high until it starts boiling. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Towards the end of cook time, cut up an onion in small slivers (like you would for Chinese stirfry). Sauté onions in oil until translucent, but I like to crisp them up a bit for flavor!

Puree mixture with an immersion blender.

If you plan to freeze some for later, remove that part before the next step.

Add cream cheese, stir and let it melt.

When cream cheese is all melted, remove 1 cup of mixture to a separate bowl. Add ¾ cup red enchilada sauce to this and reserve for later.

Now add the onions to the Chipotle mixture. Also add in chicken, lime juice, and cheddar cheese. Simmer at medium for 15 minutes just to reduce the sauce.

At this point, you can refrigerate the enchilada mixture to make them later if you want.

Using whatever size baking dish you need for the amount you are making, spray with cooking oil and cover the bottom of the pan with a thin coat of the Flavor Base mixed with Cream Cheese and Enchilada Sauce that you set aside earlier.

Use about ¼ cup of Chicken mix for each tortilla. Roll up and place seam down in the baking dish. When finished, cover enchiladas with the rest of the reserve sauce, then top with pepper jack cheese.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.


Flavor Base can be made ahead and frozen, or make just half the recipe and freeze half the flavor base for next time. Tip: You won’t use all the chipotle peppers in the can, so freeze them individually in ice cube trays to use to make Chipotle Mayo…or for the next round of Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas! If you don’t use all the filling for tonight’s dinner, keep it in the fridge to make enchiladas for lunch. I use it up to 4 days after making it!

Prep Ahead: Everything can be prepped ahead. I make the flavor base and then the filling, earlier in the day, refrigerate, and pull out the filling and roll the enchiladas for dinner time!

Every recipe here is my creation. The only ones I publish are those that you can’t find anywhere else!

I love cooking, and believe that technique is the key to making all food better! I was a basic “meat and potatoes” cook until I actually started being brave enough to taste foods I thought I didn’t like. That has inspired my desire to bring more flavor to all the food I love, and use more ingredients I never ate before!