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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

198 comments on “Beef Enchiladas”

  1. This has become one of our family’s favorite meals. We use the homemade red sauce. They prefer that over the green.

  2. I used baked jalapenos instead of canned chilies for more heat. Great recipe, fast and easy. Thank you!

  3. Do you have a recipe for shredded beef enchiladas? And, maybe you can do the beef in a crock pot or insta pot?

  4. Best enchiladas ever, better than many restaurants! I only had a pound of ground beef and 7 tortillas on hand so that’s what I used but it still made plenty. I also used shredded Colby jack because that’s what I had and I feel like it melts better than the Mexican cheese blends I have tried. These are very filling, one with a side of rice and salad was a great meal so I think it would be good for a crowd. I will make these regularly for sure!

    • Omg I made a Vegetarian version of this for my Family and they LOVED IT!!! The homemade enchilada sauce was Delicious!

      We subbed the beef for Veggie Crumble by Gardein.

  5. I accidentally got corn tortillas, ended up with 11 smaller enchiladas. Didn’t look anything like the photo but those flavors were amazing! I made the enchilada sauce from scratch which I highly recommend! I didn’t have enough chili powder so used a mix of chili, paprika, and chipotle with a dash of cayenne. I love your recipes and this was another great one! When I’m looking for something specific and I see your site has one I usually try that one first.

  6. This recipe is a keeper! I have made it probably 3 times now. I make the enchilada sauce from scratch as recommended. I like that you can control the spiciness. I usually do 2-3 T of chili powder. We usually have leftovers – which is a treat for lunch over the next few days! I have served this when my boys have sleepovers and all the kids love it. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us!

  7. I just made the home made red enchiladas sauce n my husband loves already, I’ll be making this for tomm dinner. Thank u 4 sharing ur recipes. The sauce is superb. ???

    • I used homemade sauce and skipped the beans because I wasn’t in the mood for them. Had Mexican rice on the side. Everyone in the family enjoyed it.

  8. I have never reviewed a recipe. I’m here to say this was AMAZING! I had searched through the comments to see if anyone tried it with thinly sliced steak, and no one had, so we just tried it. Yum!

  9. It was delicious. I adapted it to what was in my pantry. I used chili pinto beans and chicken bouillon cube to make the broth. I also added a little tomato paste to the sauce. I halved the chili power, but plan to up it to 3 tablespoons next time I make it. I also added fresh garlic. Thank you.

  10. I made these last year for a teacher’s appreciation luncheon and they went NUTS over them. My friends works there and said everyone was raving about it the next day. I am making them again to take on our vacation to the cape next week…I’m freezing and cooking at our rental house. I also wanted to say thanks so much for making the handy feature to double the recipe! It makes things so easy to double or triple a recipe with no math…a big plus for me haha. Thanks again for an awesome recipe. Love this website.

  11. First time making beef enchiladas. The recipe was perfect and they were delicious! The red enchilada sauce is also a must. Will definitely be adding to our rotation!

  12. Awesome

  13. I guess I’ll just feed the beans to the dog?

  14. I made this recipe just as it is, I tend to want to add my own touch to a recipe but decided to leave it as is, and I have to say it was very good and the sauce recipe was awesome so much more flavor than store bought sauce. My company also enjoyed it very much, will be making this recipe again!

  15. I admit – haven’t done these ground beef ones yet; HOWEVER, did make the chicken version. My Five Stars are for the sauce. A while back, I was preparing to make some chicken enchiladas and happened to actually taste the canned sauce (never did that the several times I had made them before for some odd reason)…Yuck!@#? The canned sauce had ABSOLUTELY NO taste at all! I’m going to try these beef ones next week, but thought I should pay respect to your enchilada sauce recipe. Great recipe that any person can easily “tweek” for their particular palate, and actually compliments a Mexican dish, rather than just simply adding color – which is all the canned stuff does, really. Thank You Very Much.

  16. I am trying these today. I make the chicken enchiladas all the time. Instead of rolling individual tortillas I layer them like lasagna. just because they were not staying tightly tucked. Just as good and a little easier.

  17. I have made your enchiladas (chicken and beef) so many times. It’s a great recipe!!! Especially your sauce, I’m nearly a pro at it now . Thank you for sharing!

  18. So yum! I love your tip about lentils, as I have canned lentils and they were a nice change from black beans.

  19. Making this tonight (again) and my 28 yr. old son said, “please! Make extra! The brown sauce is the best!”

  20. This was easy, I used corn tortillas and 1 pound of cheese. Make the enchilada sauce also. Husband was impressed said they was really good. My first time to make them.. He said we gotta make sure we have all the ingredients on hand.

  21. Love this recipe! I’ve followed the recipe to a t a couple of times and the whole family enjoys them! Pretty quick and easy to make. The first time I used the suggested enchilada sauce recipe but I had to tweak it and it ended up being a lot of work so I just got store bought the second time and it was just as good.

  22. Today, I used your recipe to make ground beef enchiladas and of course, like most people, made small changes. I added roasted corn for a little bit of sweetness to go along with the heat. The kidney beans mixed well with the ground beef. The beef was moist and turned out just perfect.

    This recipe can be adapted depending on the meat or other ingredients on hand. I love it and will be using this recipe. Next step is to make ground turkey enchiladas.

    This certainly is a repeat recipe!

  23. Can you use refried beans in this recipe?

  24. I love this recipe for beef enchiladas, it is the best I’ve ever made and make the enchilada sauce because it is MUCH better than what you buy in the store. Thanks for this great recipe.

  25. My husband and I loved this recipe! I have one question though. I substituted corn tortillas instead of flour because my husband can’t have much flour. However, the corn tortillas fell apart as I tried to roll them. It didn’t affect the taste of course but we had to eat the enchiladas in bowls! Do you have any tricks for keeping this from happening, or is it just the price of using corn tortillas?

    • heat some oil in a pan over med to med-hot.With a set of tongs place a corn tortillia in the hot oil and make sure the oil covers it. Let it sizzle for a few seconds but don’t let it get crisp but bring it to where it begins to firm up. Drain on paper towels and when it is cool enough you roll up your enchiladas without the tortilla falling apart.
      Enjoy!

  26. I’m going to make these as a freezer meal for a family about to have a baby. If these are frozen, how long would you suggest cooking them. My thought is probably an hour, but if you have done it I would love any feedback!

  27. I made these, using flour and corn tortillas. Didn’t add the beans, but it did not detract from the recipe. They were delicious. The red sauce is lovely. Tastes very authentic. I will certainly make this recipe again.

  28. This is the very best enchilada recipe. If you follow the instructions, you can’t go wrong. The red sauce on this site is a must. My family loves them.

  29. This was an easy perfect recipe or a Sunday. I added corn . Thank you !!

  30. I’ve never tried or made enchilada sauce until I made yours and its so good, I have never tried another because I can’t believe anything else could be better ? I made these beef enchiladas, and added mushrooms, peppers, and a can of refried beans to stretch the meat. Also added some Chipotle in adobo in place of diced green chilies, so so so so good ?

  31. I found what looks like a great green enchilada sauce recipe on this site. But when I followed the link to some of the enchilada recipes, may jaw fell of. Enchiladas using flour tortillas? I walked out of a wannabe Mexican restraunt because they served me that. That’s pretty darn gringo there. Corn is the way to go with enchiladas.

  32. Delicious and quick!?

  33. Your red enchilada sauce is my go-to-every-time recipe ever since I discovered it a couple years ago. Seriously, I’ve used canned enchilada sauce since and it just does not compare! Now I’m making this recipe with it. It’s in the oven and it’s starting to smell pretty good!

    The only changes I made were, I didn’t have a can of diced green chilis so I diced up half a yellow bell pepper (would’ve used green but didn’t have one, oh well) to add with the onion, and I had left-over filling after filling/rolling the flour tortillas so I just added it as a layer on top then poured over the enchilada sauce & covered w/cheese. I’m betting that won’t hurt anything. :)

  34. Delicious!! I added some chopped green pepper and a little minced garlic

  35. Where does it sat to use broth and if so how much

  36. This recipe is always a hit in our home. I ran out of red onions, so I substituted the white portions of green onions. Also had to sub in sweet red peppers and added some finely chopped canned Chipotle peppers for some kick.

    This is a consistent winner and we make it at least every couple of weeks now.

  37. I have been making this for several occasions !!! Including my daughters 50th Birthday!!!This was during COVID!!! She wanted a meal from a local Mexican restaurant!! Could not do it!!!! So my granddaughter and I decided to surprise her with a Birthday party!!!
    I made this dish and everyone just Loved it!!! I just added a little cumin and tarragon to it!!!
    Referring to the beef enchiladas recipe!!!! Of course!!!❤️

  38. Does this recipe freeze well?

  39. Hi I was wondering if I wanted to make several pans and freeze of this for family members, should I cook it first after assembling or freeze and have them bake it? Thank you in advance!

  40. This was really good. Made the enchilada sauce, will never buy store bought again.

    Thank you!

  41. Good flavor in the enchiladas, but the amount of sauce as per the recipe was far too little to have some in each tortilla + some in the bottom of the casserole dish= hardly any for the top. Next time I will double—or triple—the recipe for the sauce. . .

  42. I have made this many times to rave reviews! While caring for a friend after surgery we realized she ordered the taco-sized tortillas so I made this as a layered casserole. It. Was. Outstanding! And easier to assemble…no that’s my only way of making this yumminess!!

  43. This was really good! My husbands pretty particular with food and him and our kids loved this! Will be making again.

  44. Use corn tortillas, forget the beans. Midwesternized Mexican food.

  45. So dang good! We at on it for THREE days, it was the best by day 3 too! Thanks for sharing

  46. This is my go-to recipe. Have made it frequently – last serving in the fridge right now. I use black beans in mine and sometimes add a can of whole kernel corn. I always double the recipe. Easy and quite to make and so delicious!

  47. Awesome homemade sauce! I am not a fan of beans so with my hamburger, onions, and chilis I also added finely cut mushrooms, red peppers, and sun dried tomatoes. I topped it off with some green onions and it was superb! I used a mix of cheddar and pepperjack cheeses.

    Thanks for the recipe!