Carol’s White Enchilada Recipe

White Enchiladas

Sometimes when I miss my mom, I make enchiladas.

No, not the red-sauced cylinders with spiced ground beef inside.  They are white. They are ooey and gooey. They are rich and decadent. They just scream out “MOM” from the very first bite.

Carol created this recipe over a period of 30 years, making slow baby-step changes as time went on until they became the perfect creaminess with a spike of green chiles and green onions just to wake up your mouth while you are moaning with pleasure from the sheer rich gooeyness of her signature dish.

When I was tall enough to let my elbows rest on the counters without a step stool, Carol taught me the secrets of her famous White Enchiladas.

Don’t skip frying the tortillas until they’re soft, Carol insisted, or your tortillas will turn to mush when baking. The green onions have to be sliced thin, Carol cautioned. The sour cream must be fresh, Carol warned.

She was right, of course, about all of it: the most perfect comfort foods have a warm, filling feeling, with just a touch of something different to make them your own.

A delicious dish, like a delicious life, has a harmony of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. The joyful as well as the bittersweet, in every bite, in every day life.

This recipe is the one thing my children must help make before taking flight from the Kelly nest. This is the signature recipe from my side of the family, and all children must make it and swear an oath to teach it to coming generations.

The generations to come may not be able to meet Carol, but they will know her a little better through her enchiladas.

— posted by Donna

P.S. from Anne: This was another recipe that Donna emailed to me in our early getting-to-know you, getting-to-know-all-about-you phase, and in that email she had explained the origin of the recipe via her own mother. And as you might well guess, this is now one of my very favorite recipes when I want something savory and indulgent. I use rice flour for the sauce to make it gluten-free, which works very well. It is one of the first dishes Donna and I made together, a nod to my biological family and to my birthplace – Tucson, Arizona.

Make Carol’s enchiladas for a Meatless Monday feast!


(also known as Sour Cream Enchiladas)

Prep: time 15 min.  Serves 6 to 8

18 corn tortillas

Vegetable oil

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

16 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated

4 ounces unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

1 can (16 ounces) veggie stock

8 ounces light sour cream

1 can ( 4 ounces) diced green chiles

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Soften the tortillas by dipping them in the oil for only a few seconds on each side.  For faster results, dip two at a time. This will also prevent the tortillas from getting crisp too quickly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.  When it begins to foam, add the flour. Stir and cook until the flour is absorbed, but not browned.  Add green chilies and veggie stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Thin with a little water if necessary to reach a gravy consistency. Add salt to taste.

Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan. Place about 1/3 cup of cheese and a little onion in the center of each tortilla and roll up enchilada style. Place rolled enchiladas in the pan on top of sauce, completely filling pan. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.


Bake at 350 for about 35 to 45 minutes, until bubbly.

Check out some other food blogger sour cream enchiladas:

Homesick Texan

The Kitchn

In Good Taste

Gimme Some Oven

Recipe Season

Sense and Sensibility

Manger a Trois

— posted by Donna


  1. Autumn Dahy says

    Yum! I love enchiladas. I still remember the day my sister picked out an enchilada recipe and made it. It was really good! Now, we have them often. This one looks absolutely delicious and a good candidate for meatless mondays. :)

  2. says

    What a yummmy white enchilada tradition, a recipe with a multi-generational story.

    We enjoy stacked our white enchiladas filled with chicken or crab, the sauce thickened with a bit of cornstarch instead of flour, stacked in a pie pan and then served in wedges. Tonight’s version was chicken and 3 cheeses, but without any family story for seasoning.

  3. says

    Mom’s Sour Cream Enchiladas are a tradition in my family, too. I remember that Mom let each of us choose what we wanted for our birthday dinner every year. And, every year, I chose Mom’s Sour Cream Enchiladas.
    I’m so glad you have shared them with Anne and in turn, I hope Lilly will love them, too.

    • says

      Sandy – I have carried on the tradition of letting each kid pick their birthday dinner. Kate always picks these enchiladas!


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