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Beef Enchiladas

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This Tex-Mex-inspired beef enchilada recipe is richly seasoned, easy to make, and always such a crowd fave!

Beef Enchiladas

One of my longtime favorite recipes to whip up for a big dinner party, wrap up in a casserole dish to bring to friends, or bake up on a regular old weeknight here with just the three of us — say hello to my favorite beef enchiladas! ♡

These delicious Tex-Mex-inspired enchiladas are loaded up with with tender ground beef (or we often make ours nowadays with plant-based meat), green chiles, onion, garlic, beans, cheese, your choice of tortillas, and my favorite red enchilada sauce. And when baked to warm and melty perfection, then served up with a few slices of avocado and perhaps a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and crumbled cotija, I can tell you — after a decade plus of serving these enchiladas to loved ones — that they are always, always such a hit.

They’re perfect for prepping ahead of time, making this recipe a great option for easy entertaining or popping in the oven after a long day of work. And they can also easily be made gluten-free with corn tortillas and my homemade sauce, if you’d like.

I’ve made this beef enchiladas recipe more times than I can count and know we’ll certainly be enjoying it in our house for many years to come. So if you have yet to give it a try, it’s time!


Beef enchilada filling spread on a tortilla with cheese and red enchilada sauce

Beef Enchilada Ingredients

Detailed instructions for how to make beef enchiladas are included in the recipe box below. But before we get to the recipe, here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need…

  • Beef: I typically use organic lean ground beef for this recipe. But if you happen to have leftover cooked diced or shredded beef on hand (such as shredded beef barbacoa), it will work well in this recipe too.
  • Onion and garlic: We will sauté these until softened to help season the filling.
  • Diced green chiles: I typically toss a small can of diced green chiles into the filling. But you could sauté a diced jalapeño with the onion if you would like to amp up the heat even more.
  • Beans: I love adding beans to enchilada fillings for extra protein, and pinto beans or black beans are my preference with this recipe. But white beans, lentils or chickpeas would also work well here too.
  • Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditionally used in Mexican-style enchiladas, but I usually use flour tortillas in this recipe (which are more commonly used in Tex-Mex and American-style enchiladas) because they are much easier to roll. That said, any type of tortillas that you prefer can work in this recipe.
  • Cheese: I most often use Pepper Jack or a Mexican-blend of shredded cheese for these enchiladas, but feel free to use whatever variety of cheese that you love best.
  • Cumin, sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper: These will serve as our the basic seasonings for the beef filling, but the enchilada sauce will add much more flavor too.
  • Toppings: When it comes to enchiladas, I vote the more toppings the merrier! Any combination of chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, diced red onion (or quick pickled red onions), sliced radishes, fresh or pickled jalapeños, sour cream or Mexican crema, and/or extra cheese would be delicious here.
  • Enchilada sauce: Finally, you can use any type of enchilada sauce that you prefer for this recipe, but I highly recommend using my favorite homemade enchilada sauce. It only takes a few extra minutes to prep and can simmer on the stovetop while you prepare the rest of the enchiladas. It’s made with basic pantry ingredients and tastes a million times better than the store-bought canned stuff.

Uncooked beef enchiladas in pan with cheese

Optional Variations

This homemade beef enchiladas recipe is incredibly flexible, so please feel free to customize it to your liking! For example, feel free to…

  • Use corn tortillas: To make Mexican-style enchiladas, use corn tortillas (homemade or store-bought) in place of flour tortillas. Since corn tortillas are typically smaller, you will likely need to use nearly double the quantity of tortillas. (Just arrange them in the pan however you’d like.) Then to bring out that toasty corn flavor and prevent the corn tortillas from tearing, I recommend either flash-frying the tortillas for about 10 seconds per side in a skillet that has been lightly drizzled with oil. Or alternately, you can just dip the tortillas briefly in the warm enchilada sauce before rolling them up.
  • Use green enchilada sauce: Instead of red enchilada sauce, try making green beef enchiladas with my homemade green enchilada sauce recipe. It’s easy to make and adds the most delicious savory green chile flavor to this dish.
  • Use different beans: As I mentioned above, white beans, lentils or chickpeas would also work well here in place of pinto or black beans.
  • Make vegetarian enchiladas: To make these vegetarian enchiladas, simply use plant-based ground beef or sausage. (We usually make ours nowadays using Beyond beef.) Or alternately, you can replace it with extra veggies (such as roasted cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, etc), extra beans, or any other vegetarian fillings you prefer. To make vegan enchiladas, be sure to also use vegan cheese as well.
  • Make gluten-free enchiladas: To make gluten-free enchiladas, use gluten-free corn or flour tortillas. And also be sure to use a 1-for-1 gluten-free flour blend (in place of all-purpose flour) in the homemade enchilada sauce recipe.
  • Make dairy-free enchiladas: To make dairy-free enchiladas, just use your favorite variety of vegan cheese in the recipe.

Beef enchilada closeup with avocado and sour cream

Make-Ahead and Freezer Instructions

Make ahead instructions: If you would like to prep these enchiladas up ahead of time, go ahead and prep them through Step 4. Then cover the baking dish tightly and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Bake as directed.

Freezer instructions: You can freeze enchiladas either before or after they have been cooked. For optimal texture, I recommend freezing enchiladas before hand, which will allow the tortillas to crisp up perfectly in the oven and avoid sogginess. But either option will work. Simply…

  • Freezing uncooked enchiladas: Prep the enchiladas in a freezer-safe pan (foil pans work well) through Step 4. Cover the dish very tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. (If you don’t have an extra pan, you can line a basic baking dish with parchment and freeze the enchiladas until firm. Then gently lift the frozen enchiladas up from the pan, quickly transfer to a large freezer bag, squeeze out any extra air, then seal and freeze.)
  • Freezing cooked enchiladas: Prep the enchiladas through Step 5. Cover the pan very tightly with foil or transfer the enchiladas to a freezer bag and squeeze out any extra air. Freeze for up to 3 months.

How to reheat frozen enchiladas: If the uncooked enchiladas are completely frozen, bake covered at 350°F for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes or until cooked through. If the uncooked enchiladas are thawed, bake as directed in the recipe below. Frozen cooked enchiladas can be baked uncovered at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until warmed through. You can also heat frozen cooked enchiladas in the microwave, but note that the tortillas may dry out and become rubbery.

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Beef Enchiladas

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

This beef enchiladas recipe is made with a delicious (and easy!) homemade red enchilada sauce, and it’s guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Prepare the enchilada sauce. Prepare the enchilada sauce according to recipe instructions.
  2. Sauté the beef filling. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef and cumin and sauté for 5 minutes or until completely browned, crumbling the beef with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir in the beans and green chiles until combined. Season the mixture with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Prep oven and baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly along the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Assemble the enchiladas. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beef filling, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla. Add a generous spoonful of the beef filling in a line down the center of the tortilla, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place it in the prepared baking dish. Assemble the remaining enchiladas. Spread any remaining sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas, followed by any extra cheese.
  5. Bake. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the enchiladas are cooked through and the tortillas are slightly crispy on the outside. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack.
  6. Serve. Serve the enchiladas immediately while they’re nice and hot, garnished with lots of your favorite toppings. Enjoy!


Notes

Tortillas: See notes in the post above if you would like to substitute corn tortillas.

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Recipe rating

192 comments on “Beef Enchiladas”

  1. I’m going to try these tonight. Wish me luck.

  2. Yummy ? and super easy!!

  3. I want to make this as a freezer meal, what would the directions be for this method?

  4. My family loved chips and Salsa. I haven’t made your sauce yet but I definitely intend to do so! My question is could you use it as a salsa for chips? I may make several recipes and can it!

    • I made these with canned enchilada sauce to save time but didn’t realize how quick and easy this recipe was! It was delicious and my husband was very excited to come home to these. I will definitely try the homemade sauce next time because I am sure it makes all of the difference. I will be saving this recipe as an easy, delicious weeknight meal!

  5. I made these Enchiladas tonight, I replaced the beans with brown rice. Used can of diced tomatoes & green chilies. I used taco seasoning on the hamburger. Let me tell ya they were delicious.

  6. This is so yummy and interesting beef enchiladas recipe. I tried this kind of recipe before but this is unique. Thx for sharing!

  7. I loved this recipe! However, I altered it slightly. Instead of greasing the pan, add about 1/3 of your enchilada sauce to the bottom of your pan. Also, season your meat with a traditional Mexican spice blend instead of adding any sauce to it.

  8. You are the only other person to make enchiladas like I do. I make my red sauce almost exactly like yours. We also prefer flour tortillas . I and everyone who has ever had my enchiladas Love Love Loves them. I think the secret is no tomatoes. We have tried them at alot of Mexican Restaurants and my family and friends like mine better. I have not made this recipe but can say that you should try these because they will be the best enchiladas you have ever had. I was so happy and excited to see this recipe.

  9. The sauce was definitely too spicy. I ended up throwing half away and topping with more broth. The enchiladas recipe was fantastic!!! I don’t think I’ve made this more than once in my life and I don’t recall it being so delicious. I did have some poblano peppers so I roasted them and added them to the beef. Came out awesome.

  10. Trying these as we speak!?

  11. I didn’t make it, but I did use it in a fanfiction, and it was really fun to write about, so there’s that. 5 stars because they fell in love more because of it.

  12. I made this recently for Taco Tuesday – I’m trying to expand from “just tacos”. It was quite tasty even with my adjustments. I omitted the green chiles because of my 10 y.o. I used about 3/4 can of black beans rinsed well and I mashed them with a fork while cooking in the ground beef to blend the textures. Even after adding the enchilada sauce, I did need to add more seasoning to the ground beef including abt 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (which I add in my regular taco meat) – personal preference. I made the enchilada sauce included in the recipe. It had a good flavor and was the perfect amount for the recipe as written. Oh, I only made 4 enchiladas for the 3 of us. I didn’t want left overs to get soggy. I used the meat mixture and some prepared queso sauce as nachos for my 10 y.o. the next day.

  13. This is my go
    to recipe. My grandkids love it, and the sauce is great! No changes on my end. Thank you.

  14. The red sauce is excellent- the beef prep is great- but when you make enchiladas with FLOUR tortillas, you lose people who are true Tex-Mex chefs.

  15. This is my usual recipe I use for beef enchiladas. I just recommend adding seasoning to the beef while cooking. I like to add minced garlic & cayenne. Also i would recommend putting the enchiladas in plain for 10 to 15 min for a little bit of a crunch since the sauce kinda makes it soggy.

  16. These were just wonderful! Loved them with lentils, also added sautéed diced green peppers with the onion. I’m for sure making these again!!

  17. Used two lbs ground sirloin, like lots of meat. Also black beans and 4 cups cheese. 2 tbsp hot chili powder with 2 tbsp. regular. Baked an extra 10 minutes for the extra meat and cheese. They were awesome. Makes a ton of enchiladas. 5 left over to freeze for me & the Mrs.

  18. I made one change that I would suggest to others. Rather than tortillas, I used egg roll wraps. I have used tortillas before and never liked the results.Maybe just me, but give it a try. Other than that, the recipe was very good.

  19. Hi Ali, What is the estimated protein ratio?

  20. I made this tonight. I chose not to use the green chilies or the black beans. Trying to make kid friendly and I personally don’t like beans. I added fajita seasoning. Also I am from south Louisiana. Diced about 1/8 bell pepper and mixed in.

  21. So yummy!! I used your recipe for enchilada sauce as well, and even my mom (who is so dang picky) went back for seconds. I only had small corn tortillas, so I layered it like a casserole and it worked great! Will definitely be making this again!

  22. I like putting sliced avocado on top after they are cooked.

  23. Delucious!! Made enchilada sauce from scratch! Delish!! This recipe is a keeper. Thanks!

  24. Enchiladas are made with corn tortillas. Otherwise you’re just making burritos.

    • I agree. Burritos or soft tacos. I use corn tortillas but the only problem is that the store bought ones only come in one small size. I started using the white corn Fiesta brand and they are slightly better than the yellow corn ones.

  25. Excellent! Top notch Saturday night meal for the family.

  26. 1st time I ever made these, any recipie. They are incredible. I also made your sauce which was also the best I’ve had. It’s a keeper.

  27. I’ve made this recipe twice, and it’s honestly been great each time. It’s so delicious and is my go to for enchiladas!

  28. Made these last Friday for company. They were outstanding. I also used the enchilada sauce recipe. Next time I would double that to have extra sauce. Everyone ranted about how good these were!

  29. Wonderful and flavorful dish.Easy prep! I made it for a family dinner and it was a big hit.

  30. Six enchiladas are in the oven. Two days ago I made chicken enchiladas with Vrede sauce and we loved them. It’s hard for me to cook spicy stuff because my wife doesn’t like things too spicy. Me, on the other hand, I like it when my scalp gets damp and sweat runs down my neck.
    I am sure they’ll be delicious. I made this recipe for the sauce, of which I sampled everything and it all tastes very good.
    I have lots of leftover ingredients.
    I only drained the frijoles a little. Why throw perfectly good food away?

  31. I love trying new recipes and tonight I found this! OMG! Delicious and even did the homemade enchilada sauce you posted. Will be a new staple for a long time.
    We used every thing exactly but we ended making 2 trays of 5 and froze one. Wife and I could barely finish 2 each.

    Thanks for showing us this recipe’

  32. Where is recipe for homemade red sauce?
    This sounds wonderful!

  33. The use of black beans in so many recipes seems to be a hipster trend. I just don’t care for beans in any of my foods. The only beans I really like are pintos or even limas slow cooked with plenty of my seasonings.

  34. These truly were the best enchiladas I’ve ever made. When I was making the sauce, some friends stopped by so it simmered for about an hour instead of 15 minutes . And I used flour tortillas. The sauce is what takes these to the next level!

  35. Delicious! Made as directed (with 2 lbs ground beef, 1 drained can of mild Rotel in place of green chilies I didn’t have on hand, and red kidney beans in place of black beans) including from scratch enchilada sauce and it was amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Will be making again. Whole family loved it.

    • I’ve made your recipe a few times now, along with the red sauce. I really love these and so does everyone I’ve fed! I do suggest doubling the sauce recipe because you will need extra. Excellent!! Even though corn tortillas would make this more authentic, I prefer flour. Just like the tacos we are used to eating with crunchy corn shells aren’t authentic – it doesn’t matter because yummy is yummy!!

  36. These truly were the best enchiladas I’ve ever made. When I was making the sauce, some friends stopped by so it simmered for about an hour instead of 15 minutes . And I used flour tortillas. The sauce is what takes these to the next level!

  37. This recipe is SOOO good. Had so many friends try my leftovers and they all LOVED it too. Making it again tonight :) Thank you!!

  38. I’m making these right now!

  39. Admittedly, I modified the recipe slightly for my 12 year old – and he LOVED it! Super delicious. It was my first time making homemade enchiladas and I like these better than anything I’ve had at a restaurant. Definitely adding this to our monthly menu!!

  40. Delicious melt in your mouth enchiladas, had to force myself to stop at two

  41. it’s delicious

  42. Very good. A keeper for me.

  43. Amazing! These were so good with the homemade sauce! Will be making these again!

  44. Great recipe! My husband loved it!

  45. Have made this recipe, with your delicious sauce several times for my family! 5 star rating from all of us. Easy to assemble! I made the sauce in the AM. Browned the meat and added fire roasted diced jalapeños, garlic powder and my favorite cajan spice “Slap Ya Mama!” Please try the cajan spice, I put it on everything…eggs, burgers, veggies, seafood….yummy1

    Thank you so much for all your recipes, love them. This one, and, as I said, that delicious sauce are tops with us.

    Stay healthy, safe, happy and HOME!!!! We will get through this:)

  46. Beans should probably not be in this. Sauce was OK but overall the recipe is far from authentic. It’s not not bad but it’s not good either.

  47. Made them with corn tortillas. I’ve never made enchilada sauce before and it was fantastic!!! And easy. Delicious and easy.

  48. Made these for dinner tonight..there’s so few ingredients but they were very tasty! Followed the recipe to a tee but left out the Beans. Topped with sour cream and cilantro.

  49. Followed to a T . Made the sauce as per your recipe. Delicious. Also followed your enchilada recipe as written. Used 3 tablespoons chili powder and 1 ancho. Had green lentils, which worked well. Thanks , so enjoyed this dish.

  50. This was a great dinner! My family enjoyed ?