Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

This is my all-time favorite chicken enchilada recipe, made with a simple homemade red enchilada sauce that my friends all love.

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! | gimmesomeoven.com

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! | gimmesomeoven.com

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! | gimmesomeoven.com

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 | gimmesomeoven.com

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! | gimmesomeoven.com

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! | gimmesomeoven.com

…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! | gimmesomeoven.com

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

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! | gimmesomeoven.com

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

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! | gimmesomeoven.com

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! | gimmesomeoven.com

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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 below for 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 large 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)

Directions:

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

In large saute pan, 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.

*If you are using pre-cooked chicken, just leave it out of the saute and cook the onion and green chiles for 1 additional minute (instead of 6-8).  Once you remove the onion and green chiles from the heat, stir in the chicken (which should be shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces).

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

This post contains affiliate links.

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! | gimmesomeoven.com

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  1. Elaine Peach — December 19, 2016 @ 3:43 pm (#)

    Made these enchiladas last night and they are FANTASTIC! The homemade sauce was easy and yummy! Directions were easy to follow and best of all, there were very few dishes to wash afterwards. My daughter can be very choosy with what she likes to eat, and she wanted them for dinner after eating them for lunch! Thanks for the recipe – I’ll be making it again for sure :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 19th, 2016 @ 9:26 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Elaine — we’re so happy you and your daughter enjoyed the sauce and the enchiladas! :)

  2. Jamie — December 20, 2016 @ 5:11 pm (#)

    I absolutely love this recipe. My husband doesn’t like Mexican food and he actually loves this and helps me make it. If you have any more Mexican food recipes that you can give me I would love hearing from you. Thanks. Merry Christmas

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 28th, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

      We’re glad to hear you and your husband enjoy these, Jamie! :)

  3. Carey — December 27, 2016 @ 11:49 pm (#)

    I made these for my husband and they were a hit. I had never made enchiladas before so I was a little nervous. They definitely need a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper added when making the sauce, if you want a kick. We will be making these again!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2017 @ 9:10 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us, Carey — we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed them!

  4. Tracy in Texas — December 28, 2016 @ 3:07 pm (#)

    I’ve made these before with Corn tortillas. Simple & satisfying. But using flour tortillas isn’t really an enchilada. What you have here is baked soft tacos or skinny burritos. Lol just sayin’

  5. Charlotte — December 28, 2016 @ 7:05 pm (#)

    Love this recipe! I’m looking to make it ahead of time and freeze it (trying to get the freezer stocked since I have a little one in the house). What changes would I make to the cook time? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2017 @ 8:28 pm

      Hi Charlotte! They can either be baked and then frozen once cooled, or assembled,(unbaked), then frozen and baked later. If you’re freezing them after assembling, just leave off the sauce and cheese that go on top. If you bake these and then freeze them (again, just make sure they’ve cooled completely before popping them into the freezer), top with the sauce and cheese, and bake (covered) for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown). We hope this is helpful!

  6. G. O. Busler — January 4, 2017 @ 4:37 pm (#)

    the absolutely best chicken enchiladas ever! and I use only YOUR recipe for enchilada sauce. always have to end up making twice as many so everyone is happy. thank you for the great recipes.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 12th, 2017 @ 12:17 pm

      Thank you so much, we’re so happy you loved them!

  7. Lyndsey — January 6, 2017 @ 8:15 pm (#)

    I made these tonight but made a couple of changes. I also increased the recipe as I am feeding a family of 8. I put six chicken breast in a crockpot. I poured some salsa and green chilis on top. I cooked them on high for two hours. The chicken remains moist and a fork shreds the meat flawlessly. I then add a can of cream of chicken to add flavor and let the chicken sit in the crockpot on warm for 10 minutes. I put some enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish and formed my enchiladas and placed them in the pan. I omitted the black beans, and I also used Monterrey jack cheese instead as it goes perfect with chicken. I put a liberal amount of enchilada sauce and cheese on top. I also then topped them with a little cilantro and a small bit of mint. I also cooked them at 300° for 25 minutes, and it allowed the tortillas to absorb the enchilada sauce without the ends of the tortillas being dry. All six of my children and my husband devoured two full pans of them. I also made homemade Mexican rice with corn to go on the side. A simple and tasty meal, that is quick to make.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2017 @ 1:49 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us, Lyndsey — we think your change sound great and we’re glad you and your family enjoyed these!

  8. Sayuri — January 8, 2017 @ 2:30 pm (#)

    I’ve used this several times and I appreciate it. I actually boil my bone in chicken breasts in seasoned water and then shred it and use that broth for the sauce. If I need to, I add a bit of bouillon and then I have fresh and moist chicken and no boxed broth. I appreciate this because real enchilada sauce shouldn’t use tomato sauce. Thank you so much!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

      Thanks, Sayuri — we’re glad you enjoy the sauce and the enchiladas! :)

  9. Delcie — January 9, 2017 @ 6:00 am (#)

    Sorry for the last email,my computer is giving me major issues I would like to print these two recipes but can’t find the print button.Would you point me in the right direction please…….thank-you
    :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2017 @ 12:32 pm

      Hi Delcie — if you scroll down to the recipe box, you’ll see a little “print” icon right underneath the small, round photo of the recipe (in the upper righthand corner of the recipe box).

  10. Sharon — January 9, 2017 @ 8:35 am (#)

    Have you tried making ahead and keeping refrigerated until next day? or make ahead and feezing?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 10th, 2017 @ 9:37 pm

      Hi Sharon! We haven’t, but we think that would be fine for most of the day, but any longer and it might get soggy or dried out. For freezing, they can either be baked and then frozen once cooled, or assembled, (unbaked), then frozen and baked later. If you’re freezing them after assembling, just leave off the sauce and cheese that go on top. If you bake these and then freeze them (again, just make sure they’ve cooled completely before popping them into the freezer), top with the sauce and cheese, and bake (covered) for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown). We hope this is helpful!

  11. Vickie — January 10, 2017 @ 12:18 am (#)

    This is a good recipe for chicken enchiladas.  Not the best I’ve had, but good. I dont use flour tortillas for enchiladas, so I substitute  corn because I like them better for this dish and you will never find a flour tortilla enchilada anywhere in Mexico…they just don’t do that. Its considered a huge no no, but I think if that’s what you like, then that’s what you should do.
    I lightly toast both sides of the tortillas on my comal, or cast iron skillet if you don’t have one,  until they looked slightly charred and bubble up a little, which adds tons of flavor. You can fry them in a little bit of  oil if you want but it’s really not necessary if you don’t want the extra calories.  Then I dip them in the enchilada sauce before filling and rolling them. I’m also not a huge fan of enchilada sauce make from only chili powder so after dry toasting the chili powder and flour in my skillet for a few minutes, I add a can of tomato sauce, then add the chicken stock and seasonings. I let that simmer for about 20 minutes or so until it thickens to the desired consistency. This is a personal preference but I really feel it makes a better sauce and I get tons of compliments whenever I make it. I also love to garnish the top of each enchilada with a dollop of sour cream and sliced fresh green onions after they’re baked and before serving. Again, not traditional but oh, so good!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 10th, 2017 @ 6:05 pm

      We appreciate your feedback, Vickie, and we like your suggestion of dry toasting the chili powder!

  12. Helen — January 11, 2017 @ 4:07 pm (#)

    My family loves these. Really hits the perfect note, plus it is quick and easy. I make my own chili powder using Alton Brown’s recipe, and usually a homemade chicken broth.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 16th, 2017 @ 10:35 am

      We’re so glad to hear that, Helen! :)

  13. Melodi Steinberg — January 16, 2017 @ 5:11 pm (#)

    Can this recipe be made gluten-free with corn tortillas?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 16th, 2017 @ 8:49 pm

      Hi Melodi! Yes, you could definitely use corn tortillas for this. We hope you enjoy!

  14. Antics — January 19, 2017 @ 4:59 pm (#)

    This is an excellent recipe. First time I made it I did as you did with the chicken. I just finished another batch except I used beef with onion, bell pepper, jalepeno, and the green chilis. The sauce recipe is great as well. Canned sauce has always seemed pretty bland to me.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 19th, 2017 @ 8:15 pm

      Thank you, we’re so glad you enjoy it!

  15. Michelle — January 27, 2017 @ 8:48 pm (#)

    Made these this week. Absolutely delicious!! Followed the recipe to the tee, and made the enchilada sauce to boot!! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 30th, 2017 @ 11:24 am

      We’re so glad you enjoyed both the sauce and the enchiladas, Michelle! :)

  16. Jessica — January 30, 2017 @ 4:45 pm (#)

    This really is the best chicken enchilada recipe ever. My s/o doesn’t eat beans, so I make rice to replace it. Also, you can get away with halving the amount of chicken. Sometimes I add a spoon of salsa to the filling, and sometimes I drizzle queso sauce on top and that turns out really well. I don’t use green chilis and it still tastes great. My pan fits about 8 enchiladas comfortably and everything turns out nicely.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 2nd, 2017 @ 9:09 am

      Thanks for your sweet words, Jessica — we’re so happy you enjoyed these!

  17. ChicagoGal66 — January 31, 2017 @ 11:47 am (#)

    I made these for my husband a couple of weeks ago while trying to mix up my meal plan a little. He loved them and has asked me to make them again. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight? I love using rotisserie chicken. This dish comes together so easily and is delicious 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 31st, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us, we’re so happy you both enjoyed these!

  18. Farrel — February 1, 2017 @ 9:48 pm (#)

    I made this tonight for dinner and hubby and I both loved it.  I did cut the chili powder in the sauce in half, to 2 TB, and for us, that was a good choice.  I served it with cilantro lime rice and it made for an excellent dinner.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 3rd, 2017 @ 7:24 am

      We’re glad to hear that, Farrel!

  19. Nancy — February 2, 2017 @ 5:07 pm (#)

    I made the enchilada sauce today for a party I’m having tomorrow night. However, while making the wonderful sauce, I let it simmer too long and it became too spicy. I added more chicken stock until I achieved the spiciness I wanted. this would probably work for others who think the sauce is too spicy

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 9:03 am

      Hi Nancy! We’re sorry this turned out a bit too spicy for you. Chili powders can differ (some are stronger than others), so definitely feel free to scale back a bit next time if you want. We hope the enchiladas are still a hit with folks!

  20. Rick Franceschini — February 4, 2017 @ 2:14 pm (#)

    These were rediculously good. Followed the recipe (sauce too) exactly as written. I fixed it for three of us and we devoured it. Always wanted a really great enchilada recipe, now I’ve got one. Oh, had most of the ingredients on hand. Went to the store for the chicken and Modelo beer. All in all a cheap meal that will really impress.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 8:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us, Rick — we’re so happy you loved these! :)

  21. Amy Miller — February 5, 2017 @ 7:54 am (#)

    These are  the best! The red enchilada sauce is simply awesome. Making these okay for our Super owl party!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 7:50 pm

      Thank you, Amy — we’re so happy you enjoy them and we hope you have a wonderful party!

  22. Roland — February 7, 2017 @ 8:59 pm (#)

    I found these recipes interesting, but feel they must come from southern New Mexico. The use of chili powder rather than dried red chiles (note the spelling difference) and the addition of cumin and some other ingredients indicates something closer to Tex-Mex red sauce than the traditional red chile sauce of the north. It would use dried red chile pods, stemmed, usually with seeds and stems discarded, toasted lightly in a dry skillet and then steeped in boiling or hot water. They would then be pureed with some garlic and salt (and maybe a tiny pinch of Mexican oregano, not Italian). It might or might not have a roux base. (Some recipes call for the sauce to be simmered until thickened.) Further, in traditional New Mexican cooking, I have never had enchiladas made with flour tortillas. Yellow corn, white corn and especially blue corn are usually the carbs of choice for enchiladas. Flour for burritos and other dishes.

    Having said all of that, there is always room for new twists on old standards. As a native New Mexican who does appreciate many cuisines, these look very tasty and I might have to give them a try. Keep on blogging. You do a great job. Also, keep up your music; it will feed your soul.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 7th, 2017 @ 9:05 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Roland, and we appreciate your sweet words! :) Feel free to adapt these however you like if you want (we know they’re traditionally made with corn tortillas, we just prefer flour ones, but definitely use corn if you like)! We hope you enjoy them if you give them a try! :)

  23. Olga — February 8, 2017 @ 9:43 pm (#)

    This recipe looks amazing! I love working with tortillas and cheese. Always works for breakfast and even lunch or dinner. I’m definitely trying this recipe either tomorrow or on the weekend! 😋😊

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 9th, 2017 @ 2:58 pm

      Thanks, Olga — we hope you enjoy these!

  24. Jana Gana Mana 52 seconds — February 9, 2017 @ 8:38 am (#)

    One of our favorites ate them last night for dinner!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 9th, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

      We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe!

  25. Marion Eddy — February 9, 2017 @ 9:44 pm (#)

    Have just made your Red Enchilada Sauce and it looks nothing like yours. What makes it red pls???

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 11th, 2017 @ 9:46 pm

      Hi Marion! Some chili powder blends are redder than others, and also the lighting when these images were shot made it appear redder than it actually is.

  26. Jessica — February 10, 2017 @ 1:59 pm (#)

    I love this recipe and your website! If I make these in advance and put in the refrigerator for a few hours,  how long would you suggest I bake? Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 11th, 2017 @ 10:07 pm

      Thank you, Jessica — we’re happy to hear that! :) If you assemble these a few hours in advance, and refrigerate, we think your baking time would still be about the same (if it’s just a few hours). You might find you need to bake them 5-10 minutes more (at the most, just check them). We hope you enjoy!

  27. Danabee — February 17, 2017 @ 8:09 am (#)

    These  enchiladas, along with your homemade sauce, were fabulous.  Easy to make too. We will be having them a lot.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 17th, 2017 @ 10:16 am

      Thanks for sharing, Danabee — we’re so happy you enjoyed both the recipes!

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