Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

I know that food bloggers are never prone to hyperbole.  ;)

But with these enchiladas, I stand by the title that I gave to this recipe when I first blogged about it in 2009.  These seriously are the best chicken enchiladas ever!

Actually, I’m ok saying that because I actually learned how to make this recipe for enchiladas from my friend, Liisa.  She was my roommate for a few years back in my early twenties when I was learning how to cook.  And let’s just say that I won the foodie roommate jackpot getting to live with a friend like her.  She not only cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner for herself almost every day, but she equally as obsessed with Mexican food as I was.  And these chicken enchiladas were her specialty.

Nowadays, most of my friends would probably tell you that these chicken enchiladas are my specialty.  I can’t even begin to count the times that I have made them.  They are my go-to dish to bring to friends in need, they are my favorite freezer meal, they are perfect for Cinco De Mayo, and they are the epitome of a crowd-pleaser whenever I bring them to a gathering.  Even just last night, I made a batch to take to a World Series watch party (#goroyals!), and when I went to grab the pan afterwards it was completely empty and washed and dried and waiting for me.  (Yes, my friends know that doing my dishes is my love language.)  ;)

So since this recipe has been buried in the archives for years, I thought I would pull it back up today to share the enchilada love with you.  Because I’m pretty positive you need these in your life now.


Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

First off, here’s a photo of the enchiladas that I snapped back in 2009.  Fun fact, this was actually the third recipe ever posted on Gimme Some Oven.

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

And here they are today.  Same enchiladas, but I’m going through a garnishing phase now, so they get a little sprinkle of cilantro.  ;)

Really, these enchiladas are pretty simple.  They are filled with a chicken/onion/green chile mixture, black beans, and shredded cheese.  But the secret ingredient which is an absolute must is…

Red Enchilada Sauce |

The special sauce.  Oh, this sauce.  After the first time I tried it, I knew that my store-bought red enchilada sauce days were over.  It is a New Mexico-style sauce (where Liisa is from), and it basically turns any enchilada dish you make into pure gold.  And, it’s super easy to make using spices and ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

Trust me.  You won’t regret taking the extra time to make this red enchilada sauce.  (And while you’re at it, make a double or triple batch and freeze or can or giveaway the leftovers!)

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

So to make the enchiladas, just spread a generous amount of sauce on each tortilla, then add on some black beans (they are a great protein-packed “filler”), the chicken/onion/green chile saute, some shredded Mexican cheese…

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

…and then roll ‘em up and place each enchilada in a large baking dish.  Then pour the extra enchilada sauce on top, and add on some extra cheese for good measure.  And gimme some oven!  I mean, bake it on up.  :)

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

20 minutes later, a steaming pan of delicious enchiladas will be ready to go.

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

You can garnish it with some fresh cilantro (a la 2014) if you’d like.  ;)

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

But you’re probably just going to want to dive right in.  Because as good as these puppies look, they smell and taste 10 times better.

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

Ok, actually enchiladas in a single serving aren’t the prettiest.  But hey, at least they taste good.

Seriously, I can’t recommend this recipe enough.  Biggest thanks to Liisa for teaching me how to make it so many years ago, and even though we now live half a country apart, I love that I still think of her whenever I make them.  That’s what happens when good food and friendship come together, right?

Enjoy everyone!

Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

No kidding. These seriously are the best enchiladas ever, and it's all due to a special (and easy) homemade enchilada sauce that will rock your socks off.


  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small 1/2-inch pieces (*or see substitution using pre-cooked shredded chicken)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans or lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 8-10 flour tortillas
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce, or 1 can store-bought enchilada sauce
  • (optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add diced chicken and green chiles, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Add beans in a line down the middle of the tortilla, then add in a spoonful of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

I read recently in Cooks Illustrated that, in their extensive taste-tests of chili powder, the brand that ended up being the hands-down favorite was actually a normal grocery store brand - Spice Islands!  They said it had "a 'sweet', 'smoky' flavor that is 'much more potent' than the other competitors."  So I picked some up at the store, and couldn't agree more.  Highly recommend it!

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

Leave a Comment:


  1. Matt Robinson — October 29, 2014 @ 9:12 am (#)

    It’s 7AM but I want nothing more than these today, they do indeed look perfect!

  2. Millie l Add A Little — October 29, 2014 @ 11:46 am (#)

    Perfect comforting dinner for a crowd!

  3. Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy — October 29, 2014 @ 1:30 pm (#)

    It’s Friday Night Mexican Night every Friday night at our house. Will be adding this to the rotation. My stomach literally just growled while I was typing this, ha!

  4. Carol at Wild Goose Tea — October 29, 2014 @ 4:13 pm (#)

    I am taking your word for it, mainly because there is nothing like a tried and true and tested over time recipe. I believe you about the sauce. Because as the French tout—It’s all in the sauce.

  5. Jenny Flake — October 29, 2014 @ 7:03 pm (#)

    Fabulous enchiladas ! Favorite dinner around our house!  xoxo

  6. Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks — October 29, 2014 @ 9:21 pm (#)

    I love that you don’t have to slow cook chicken before making these enchiladas. I am definitely inspired to make these this weekend – I may try whole wheat tortillas!

  7. Krystle(Baking Beauty) — October 29, 2014 @ 9:46 pm (#)

    These look delicious. I could really use some mexican cheesy goodness this week! Pinning to try soon!

  8. michele — October 30, 2014 @ 12:46 am (#)

    ewwww…. FLOUR tortillas?  gummy and just all wrong…   burritos are made with flour tortillas because they are not exposed to a lot of sauce.  enchiladas are CORN CORN CORN…

  9. Alison Z — October 30, 2014 @ 12:09 pm (#)

    I plan to make these for dinner Saturday and would love to freeze some. Should they be frozen before baking or after? I’m really looking forward to these!

    • Ali — November 9, 2014 @ 9:48 pm (#)

      You can freeze them at either time, actually. Just know that if you freeze the unbaked, they will need to be thawed before baking again. Enjoy!

  10. Tiffany | offbeat + inspired — October 30, 2014 @ 2:48 pm (#)

    OH wow. These look SO good!! Definitely giving them a try!! 

  11. Amanda — October 30, 2014 @ 7:23 pm (#)


  12. Denise — November 2, 2014 @ 2:39 am (#)

    I tried making this sauce, I live in Australia, and I like food hot, but my god it nearly blew my socks off!!!  That was from just tasting it in the saucepan couldn’t imagine what it would be like smothered over food.  I am wondering if our chilli power in Australia is of a different strength to American because it was not pleasant at all.  Am very disappointed, was looking forward to it so much ended up get a jar of enchilada sauce from the shop.  Please advise how I could adapt this recipe for Australian measurements and heat…


    • Ali — November 9, 2014 @ 9:43 pm (#)

      Oh no!!! I’m so sorry about that. Hmmm, I wonder if what we call chili powder in the States is actually more of a cayenne powder in Australia? I looked online but don’t see any immediate info on what’s available in Australia. Sorry I’m not more of a help. Hope that you can find traditional chili powder for next time!

  13. Jamie | My Baking Addiction — November 2, 2014 @ 6:06 am (#)

    Enchiladas is a family favorite for sure and these look wonderful! 


  14. kimber — November 3, 2014 @ 11:24 am (#)

    Made these for my small group last night. They were a huge hit. About 1/2 way through the meal I remembered the fresh cilantro {still in a bunch} in the fridge.
    Oh well.
    Sharing your recipe/blog post with the ladies in our group. 
    Big time YUMS all around the table.
    Thanks for helping me look like Martha Stewart/Betty Crocker.

  15. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — November 3, 2014 @ 1:49 pm (#)

    Yummity, yum, YUM!

  16. Karen — November 5, 2014 @ 11:35 am (#)

    Tried these last night for dinner and we loved, loved, loved them!  They were so easy and so tasty. My husband asked me to put them in our “regular rotation.”  Thanks for sharing!

  17. HeatherHR — November 6, 2014 @ 8:25 am (#)

    Made these and loved them! even though my family makes Mexican food regularly (Grandma is Mexican), enchiladas have never really been on the radar. I made these and was thrilled. Even though I did the lazy way with canned enchilada sauce, they were easy and great and I still have a pan in the freezer, waiting to be thawed and reheated to crispy tastiness. Thanks!

  18. Sharie — November 10, 2014 @ 4:39 pm (#)

    I just got done making these and my mother in-law LOVED it! She said it’s the best enchiladas she’s had!! She was the first one to try them since my fiance was rushing to work today (he usually is the first one to try all my home-cooked meals). But he is going to do a cart wheel when he tries them tonight!! Thanks for sharing an awesome recipe! :) 

  19. Haley — November 11, 2014 @ 7:08 pm (#)

    Made this tonight…my husband said they are the best he ever had.  The sauce is delicious! I replaced the flour with arrowroot powder/starch.  Will definitely make again.

  20. nana — November 18, 2014 @ 3:34 pm (#)

    REAL enchiladas never use flour tortillas, never, not in Mexico, not in Texas, not in New Mexico.  You will never find any enchilada made with other than corn tortillas…red, yellow, or white corn….but never flour.  Also, we do not stuff enchiladas with beans.  We stuff them with cheese and onions only, cheese, only, chicken, and, nowadays, sometimes, shrimp, at fancy restaurants, not at home, but, they are always made from corn tortillas.

    You have concocted more of a burrito, California style, than any enchiladas we know, pouring an enchilada sauce over a burrito.  I’m sure it tastes good, but the are not enchiladas.

  21. nana — November 18, 2014 @ 3:43 pm (#)

    Sorry, but, here I am again, having read the comments.  Enchiladas are a common dish in the Southwest, ie, Texas and New Mexico, and they are not “a big deal”.  We serve beans and rice “on the side”, chop up some iceberg lettuce, and top the enchiladas with the lettuce on our plates.

    Using corn tortillas, if you want to freeze a pan of these, soften the corn tortilla in a skillet with a bit of oil, “sauteing” it briefly to crisp it ever so slightly for easier handling and rolling up.  Do them all at once, drain on paper towel, and stack them on a plate.

    Then stuff and roll them, they are smaller so will not handle all the stuffing in this recipe, just use your head.  Line them in the dish, cover w/ foil, and freeze.  When you want to serve, take the pan out a day ahead and place in refrigerator to thaw.  Then, before putting into the oven to bake, add more grated cheese….we use Colby, Longhorn, Monterrey Jack, grated/shredded……and your sauce.  

    Freezing with sauce will only make them soggy.

  22. nana — November 18, 2014 @ 3:47 pm (#)

    I should clarify.  After rolling up each one, place them in baking pan.  Before putting into the oven , sprinkle w/ cheese on top of the enchiladas in the pan; then pour the sauce over and bake.

    Some people dip the “slightly crisped corn tortilla” in a pan of warm sauce before filling and rolling, but, I have found the tortilla gets too soggy that way, whether you elect to freeze them or eat them same day.

    I have tried and tried to make good homemade sauce for “enchies”, to no avail.  I will try the recipe for the sauce given here; looks good.

  23. Kristina — November 20, 2014 @ 8:06 pm (#)

    Just put 2 trays in the oven and I made the special sauce which I think will be the star ingredient!. smells like authentic Mexican enchiladas.  I’m sure this dish will be a hit for sure ! Cannot wait to try this!  Will comment back for final review. 

  24. Danielle — November 28, 2014 @ 11:16 am (#)

    These looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try them. Cilantro is never optional to me;)

  25. Jen G — November 28, 2014 @ 9:10 pm (#)

    Tried these today! Really delicious. I used leftover thanksgiving turkey. Only change I made was when I made the red enchilada sauce I used butter instead of oil. Great recipe! Will be repeating often!

  26. Tricia — November 28, 2014 @ 9:57 pm (#)

    Well, I cheated, but these are still best enchiladas ever. I used Las Palmas enchilada sauce, but am looking forward to making the sauce from your recipe when I get the chance. I really liked the black beans and the cilantro on top. I put together a second set after the remaining chicken, green pepper, and onion mixture cooled, and froze them for a future meal on a night when I don’t want to cook. Although now that I’m thinking about them, I want them right now.

  27. Monica — December 2, 2014 @ 11:45 am (#)

    Hi Lena:

    Do you think it would be possible to use coconut oil rather than canola or vegetable oil

    • Ali — December 2, 2014 @ 1:28 pm (#)

      Sure, you could. You may get a slight coconut flavor in the enchiladas, though.

  28. Joann — December 10, 2014 @ 4:41 pm (#)

    I couldn’t find your note about substituting already cooked chicken. I actually buy Chicken breasts with the bone, boil that and then shred for several recipes.

  29. Lindsay — December 15, 2014 @ 7:15 pm (#)

    WOW! These are the BEST ENCHILADAS!!! Thank you so much for posting. I made it with the homemade red sauce and it was FANTASTIC!! I love your blog!! 


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