Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

chicken-enchiladas

It’s one thing to have great friends who love to cook.  And then it’s another to get to live with great friends who love to cook!  For nearly two years after moving to KC, I was privileged to do just that with my friend, Liisa.  (Until a certain someone fell in love with her and asked her to tie the knot!)  :)  Oh, how I loved coming home after a long day at work to amazing smells filling the house.  And even more, loved the amazing food for the sharing!!  I think the part we enjoyed most, though, was all of the fun evaluating the recipes after either of us cooked — about what was a success, how new ingredients did/didn’t work, why in the world certain recipes tended to set off our smoke alarm(!!), and on and on…  :)  Ha…those were definitely good years.

Anyway, one of the best things I learned from Liisa – who grew up in Arizona cooking/eating all sorts of Tex-Mex and Mexican food – was how to make these fantastic enchiladas.  Oh. My. Word.  I could eat these things for days.  (And since I usually make a double- or triple-batch to freeze or give away….often I do!)  The sauce is undoubtedly the best part, with a strong, smoky flavor that is muy deliciosa!

Thus, with Liisa’s blessing, I pass the goodness on to you. Since she tries to avoid using dairy products, the original recipe didn’t include cheese (which is why she added the beans to give them some extra substance).  While this is a great option, I like mine with at least a little cheese.  However, I still always include the beans as well, since they provide great texture and flavor (and fiber – yay!).  You could, of course, also substitute in cooked beef or pork instead of the chicken, or go without and make them “vegetariano”.

Enjoy!!

chicken-enchiladas-prep

Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 Tbsp. oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can mashed lentils or black beans, drained
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese8-10 flour tortillas

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish. (I used a 9 x 13 glass pan.)
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add in the first six ingredients to the oil and stir for 1 minute. Then add chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.

In small skillet on the side, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and green chiles. Saute until onions are cooked and translucent. Turn off heat and add chicken to mixture. (Or if you are beginning with raw chicken, feel free to cook alongside the onions and chiles. Then dice or shred the meat afterwards.)

To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, sauce, beans, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread a spoonful of sauce in a line down the center. Then add beans on top of the sauce, then some chicken mixture, and cheese. Roll up tortilla and place seam-side down in baking dish. Once all enchiladas are made, pour extra sauce over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove dish and foil and sprinkle extra cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes more until tortillas begin to brown slightly around the edges and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

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!

chili-powder

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Comments

  1. Alyssa — July 24, 2009 @ 9:33 pm (#)

    Ali….I am hooked!!! I just bookmarked your site and I am in LOVE with it! I have recently discovered that I love to cook! (part of that may be that when Adam comes over, he keeps 3 yo Kristina out of the kitchen) I’m excited to try these recipes. Keep ‘em coming!!

  2. Cass — July 26, 2009 @ 7:54 am (#)

    I can vouch for these! Love them!

  3. Meredith — August 12, 2009 @ 5:31 pm (#)

    These look YUMMY!! I have one question…. in the recipe directions you state to add the first six ingredients into the melted butter, but you don’t give us the measurement of butter to use. Or is it there and I can’t see it? It wouldn’t be the first time, I’m blind as a bat!! Can you help me out and give me the amount? Thank You!!

  4. ali — August 12, 2009 @ 8:13 pm (#)

    Thanks, all! :)

    And Meredith — thank you, thank you for catching the typo! I meant to write “add the first six ingredients to the oil” (not butter — oops! — although you could probably use that if you prefer). But yes, just the 2 Tbsp. of oil that you initially heat in the skillet should be sufficient.

    Thanks again – hope that helps! Would love to hear what you think of the enchiladas! :)

  5. Meredith — August 13, 2009 @ 10:23 am (#)

    Thank YOU!! I will be making these tonight!

  6. Melina — September 2, 2009 @ 12:05 pm (#)

    You say to use cooked chicken – how do you cook the chicken? Is there a certain way, or certain spices I should use, for best results? Thanks for the recipe, it looks awesome.

    • ali — September 2, 2009 @ 12:19 pm (#)

      Hi Melina!

      You can pretty much do whatever you’d like with the chicken! The sauce provides so much flavor that it would be ok to use just about anything — from leftover rotisserie chicken (one of my favorite ways to keep shredded chicken on hand), to a chicken breast that has been either baked, broiled, or cooked on the stove. If you end up doing the latter (which is what I did when I made this recipe the last time), you could season the chicken with some cumin, chili powder, and salt+pepper for an extra little kick.

      Long answer! But basically, I don’t think you can go wrong. :) So be creative if you’d like!!

  7. rita in mi — September 5, 2009 @ 5:27 pm (#)

    hi, i made these tonight and thought they were fabulous! followed the recipe to the tee, and i wouldn’t change a thing. thanks for posting such a great recipe!

  8. Melina — September 7, 2009 @ 5:37 pm (#)

    Thanks, Ali! Making these tonight!

  9. Sarah — September 15, 2009 @ 6:39 pm (#)

    Yum. Loved the chilis in the enchiladas. They added so much flavor!

  10. susie — October 2, 2009 @ 3:02 pm (#)

    How thick should the sauce get. I am doing mine right now and it doesn’t seem to be getting thick.

    • ali — October 4, 2009 @ 12:07 pm (#)

      hi susie!! sorry for the late reply – i’ve been out of town this weekend.

      but the sauce only gets somewhat thick. probably similar to a gravy or slightly thinner, but still thick enough that it should definitely be able to add a little texture to the insides and tops of the enchiladas. hope that helps, and that you enjoyed them! :)

  11. Christina — October 5, 2009 @ 10:07 am (#)

    Wow, incredibly simple sauce! I’m definitely considering this for dinner tonight.

  12. Vibi — October 19, 2009 @ 8:56 pm (#)

    I’m not sure they were the best ever, for I’ve never had so many to compare with… but I made them last week, and have to admit, they were pretty darn excellent!

    I changed a couple small things, but I don’t think it change much of anything.

    Thank you very much for sharing!

  13. dara — January 24, 2010 @ 6:28 pm (#)

    made these tonight for the first time- a couple of questions:

    one- how do you reheat them if you don’t serve immediately? and
    two- whats the reheating directions if you freeze them?

    They smell yummy and look great- can’t wait to try them…

    thanks Ali!

    • ali — January 25, 2010 @ 10:39 pm (#)

      Hi Dara!

      So glad you gave these a try! You can really reheat these however. I prefer to pop them in the oven (or toaster oven) to make them a little more crisp. But you could microwave them as well.

      After freezing, if you have the time, would definitely recommend letting these thaw in the refrigerator for awhile before heating. But if not, I’ve also had a craving and popped them straight from the freezer into the microwave for a bit to defrost, and then to the toaster oven.

      Hope that helps!

      ~A

  14. noffy — February 5, 2010 @ 3:43 am (#)

    amazing. if that one word could describe how awesomely tasty, and super delicious this is. i made it earlier tonight, the step by step made it easy, and like i said AMAZING!!! love your website, love your food. already book marked it once i found it.

  15. Erin — February 25, 2010 @ 3:34 pm (#)

    Okay, I admit I was skeptical at first. However, after making these recently, I am in agreement…. they ARE the best enchiladas ever! They were soooo good – especially the sauce. I used rotisseree chicken in mine, so I just cooked the onions and green chilis before I started my sauce. I used the same pan, so they became incorporated with the sauce instead of the chicken. It still tasted great! I will make these again soon. Thanks!

  16. susie — April 19, 2010 @ 4:12 pm (#)

    Another question. :) I have a bunch of the sauce left over….not sure why. Can I save it? For how long in the fridge? Or should I freeze it?

    • ali — April 19, 2010 @ 8:12 pm (#)

      Hey Susie!

      Sometimes I have some sauce leftover too! I imagine you could definitely freeze it, or probably keep it in the fridge for 4-5 days (or maybe a week…but I’m always paranoid about keeping things in the fridge!). Good luck!

      ~A

  17. Heather C. — July 14, 2010 @ 4:41 pm (#)

    I love these enchiladas!

    I made them for the pickiest five and nine year old and they loved them too.

    We really liked the heat and we started to shred the chicken and marinaded them in lime juice and mint (a little mojito!) That experiment is tonight, and we’ll tell you how it went.

    Enchiladas are so good!

    Thanks!

  18. Cynthia — July 30, 2010 @ 2:40 pm (#)

    YUM!
    I just made these tonight for my dinner party! The guests went back for seconds!
    delicious meal. =)

  19. Al — September 24, 2010 @ 7:12 pm (#)

    Wow, awesome recipe. Delicious and easy to make. Sitting on the couch now recovering from a feast.

  20. Chelsea — December 10, 2010 @ 1:54 pm (#)

    I’ve made this recipe 3x now!! They are the best enchiladas i’ve ever had. I love the home-made sauce. I only use one bullion cube though. 2 makes it SUPER SUPER crazy salty. I have forwarded this recipe to everyone i know as well =)

  21. Heather — January 26, 2011 @ 12:52 pm (#)

    This is the best enchilada recipe.

    We used it so much that we had to take a break and are always changing it around.

    Your blog is great and we’re really thankful for the recipe.

    Thanks!

  22. Corina Hakkarainen — May 21, 2011 @ 9:31 am (#)

    Could you give more info on your freezing of this recipe? If we are planning on making these to freeze and use later would we bake them in the oven first? Or is it possible to put them all together freeze them, then bake them in the oven for 20 minutes later when we plan on eating them?

    Thanks a bunch! Love your website

  23. Susan — June 8, 2011 @ 5:26 am (#)

    Oh my goodness. Made these for the first time last night and they really were “the best chicken enchiladas ever”!!! Thank you so much!

  24. ann — July 27, 2011 @ 5:13 pm (#)

    made these tonight…….fabulous!

  25. Susanna — November 8, 2011 @ 7:42 pm (#)

    I first used this recipe a year and a half ago. Ever since then this has been one of my favorite regular recipes in my house. My husband is a picky eater and he loves it. Just wanted to let you know how much I love it!

  26. Ramy — November 17, 2011 @ 5:54 am (#)

    nice recipe and looks yummy :)

  27. Katrina — January 14, 2012 @ 10:35 pm (#)

    My husband decided to make the dinner for a change and realised after hr had filled the enchiladas that he used uncooked chicken when the recipe calls for cooked chicken. How can I remedy this?! Help.

  28. Whitney — February 22, 2012 @ 11:42 am (#)

    Ali, thank you for this receipe! These are the BEST enchiladas EVER!! I was a bit nervous making this for my husbad because enchiladas are his favorite and he considers himself an “exchilada expert”. He absolutely LOVED them. He actually asked that I make them again. Thanks again!!!

  29. Rachelle — November 24, 2012 @ 7:55 pm (#)

    Ali,

    I just have to say that I’ve been making this recipe since you first posted it in 2009, and it is still one of the favorite dishes I make at our house. My husband LOVES the leftovers – there’s usually none left for me!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  30. Liz — January 28, 2013 @ 3:56 pm (#)

    Great recipe. I shredded my chicken. Also Ali, I want to give you another great spice. Badkia Colette seasoning is amazing. I get chicken breasts and put in foil pouch in oven with oil and this seasoning. They come out really moist and ready to shred. Also try adding a tablespoon of cocoa to the sauce when making. True South American dishes add that.

  31. Cindy — January 31, 2013 @ 6:51 pm (#)

    Just wanted to give you a shout out for such an easy and wonderful recipe to put on the table! We make this at least once a month…thank you!

  32. Lee — March 26, 2013 @ 9:50 pm (#)

    Can this be assembled early in the day and put in the fridge until you want to have supper?

    • Ali — March 26, 2013 @ 10:42 pm (#)

      Absolutely – I do that a lot! :) Just cover and refrigerate and bake them the next day.

  33. Mitzi — May 27, 2013 @ 5:41 pm (#)

    These turned out great. I am always looking for good “leftover chicken” recipes, and this one fit the bill. Thanks.

  34. Ian B — November 13, 2013 @ 10:56 pm (#)

    Tip for shredding the chicken: Throw it in the stand mixer with the paddle and let ‘er rip.

  35. Maru — December 16, 2013 @ 2:36 pm (#)

    IF YOU MAKE ENCHILADAS OR CHILAQUILES WITH FLOUR TORTILLAS. THAT IS NOT MEXICAN AT ALL. YOU must AND SHOULD USE CORN TORTILLAS. THE CORN TORTILLAS GIVES A SPECIAL TASTE. I AM FROM MEXICO CITY AND THE BEST ENCHILADAS COME FROM GUADALAJARA.

  36. pam — January 8, 2014 @ 6:11 pm (#)

    We got 10 enchiladas from this recipe. Two things – 1. the sauce was on the salty side, so I would cut the salt in half — 2. one can of black beans is a stretch, I used two cans. Yes these were good, but I have another recipe I like better, so I won’t be doing these again.

  37. mary — February 11, 2014 @ 1:34 pm (#)

    If you use corn tortillas, fry them in a small amount of oil just until they start to get crisp. You still want to be able to roll them up. Then dip them into the enchilada sauce before adding the filling. This gives the best flavor to the enchilada. I learned this from an older Mexican woman years ago. Thanks for this recipe. I am going to make it tonight.

  38. Jim — March 27, 2014 @ 6:44 pm (#)

    I made these for the first time and am a little dissapointed. The reviews were great, the recipe easy. However, I must say these are much spicier than I expected. I love heat. I’m a medium plus Thai food spice level, but the heat overpowered the potential flavor. I followed the recipe exactly, as I always do on first new recipes. Maybe 1/2 the chili powder next time? Or maybe add some sour cream to the sauce to calm the spice? Sorry, but I just didn’t like these as much as the other people that have commented.

  39. Lynette — April 29, 2014 @ 4:35 pm (#)

    Since living near San Antonio we LOVE our Mexican food. I’ve made a recipe very similar to this, but tear the tortillas and put the ingredients into layers. Little of this and a little that. Top with the extra cheese and sauce. It is easier for me since I am gluten-free and use corn tortillas.
    Thanks for posting, a good reminder it is time for Mexican Food!
    ~ Lynette

  40. Sarah — May 5, 2014 @ 3:48 pm (#)

    I made these for the first time last night and we didn’t care much for them. The chili powder really overpowered the dish. I may try making them again with a lot less chili powder and maybe some sour cream, as another reviewer suggested. It was a relatively simple recipe though, so maybe worth a try if you like spicy food.

  41. Andrea — June 29, 2014 @ 7:42 am (#)

    I was sad when I realized this is not a sauce as described.

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