Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

My all-time favorite chicken enchilada recipe — easy to make, totally customizable with your favorite fillings, and made with the hands-down best homemade enchilada sauce!

Chicken Enchiladas

This year will mark the tenth (!!!) anniversary that my favorite chicken enchilada recipe has been hanging out here on the blog.  And all of these years later — including dozens and dozens of batches baked up in my own kitchens, thousands more in yours, and literally now millions of pageviews on this little corner of the blog later — I stand by my original title.

These really are the best chicken enchiladas ever! ♡

I was first introduced to the magic of this enchilada recipe by my good friend, Liisa, back when we were living together as roommates in Kansas City.  Liisa hailed proudly from New Mexico — and even had a string of chiles hanging from our kitchen ceiling to prove it — and was equally as obsessed as I was with all forms of Mexican food.  And once she introduced me to her favorite chicken enchilada recipe, I instantly adopted it as my new favorite as well.

At first glance, these enchiladas are totally typical — just sautéed chicken and onion and green chiles, rolled up with beans and cheese in your choice of tortillas.  But the second anyone takes a bite, they come to find that the magic lies completely in this extra-special homemade enchilada sauce.  It packs the most delicious, rich and complex flavors that make these enchiladas taste like you’ve been working on them all day.  But in reality, this simple sauce only takes a few extra minutes to prep, and it’s made with a handful of everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

I memorized this recipe long ago and make it regularly for dinner in our house.  (Or for my vegetarian husband, I’ll make this roasted cauliflower version.)  And while I’m at it, I usually make a double batch as well to freeze, or to bring to whatever friends might be needing a hand that week.  And I can vouch — over the course of a decade, no less — that people go crazy for these enchiladas.  I always get requests for the recipe.  And I always point people back to this post.

So with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I thought it was time to bump this one back to the top of the blog.  Because if you’re looking for a killer chicken enchilada recipe to add to your repertoire, this one won’t let you down.

Chicken Enchilada Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Chicken Enchilada Ingredients:

As I mentioned above, this easy chicken enchilada recipe is extremely flexible when it comes to ingredients.  So feel free to get creative and customize your chicken enchiladas however you like!  In general, you will need:

  • Chicken: I typically just use diced boneless skinless chicken breasts.  But feel free to use pre-cooked chicken (such as a shredded rotisserie or any leftover baked chicken) if you would like to save time.
  • Onion and diced green chiles: Which we will add to the filling for seasoning.
  • Beans: Black beans, pinto beans, white beans, or lentils would all work great here.
  • Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditional in enchiladas, but I typically use flour tortillas since they are much easier to roll.  Any of your favorite tortillas will work though.
  • Cheese: I like to use either Pepper Jack or Mexican-blend shredded cheese for these enchiladas.  But cheddar, Monterrey Jack, or other shredded cheeses would also do.
  • Toppings: Chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, diced red onion, sour cream, crumbled cotija, or whatever else sounds good!  When it comes to enchilada toppings, the more the merrier.

Finally, there is one more very important ingredient we must discuss…

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

The BEST Enchilada Sauce Recipe

The Best Enchilada Sauce:

this homemade enchilada sauce. ♡♡♡

It is my all-time favorite enchilada sauce, and it is quite literally the secret sauce that makes these enchiladas the hands-down best.  It tastes a million times better than anything in the can.  It’s quick and easy to make on the stovetop while you prepare the rest of the enchiladas.  And it’s made with super-simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry — oil, flour, a handful of spices, salt and stock.

Thousands of our readers have made this enchilada sauce over the years and agree that it’s the best.  So it’s definitely worth the extra few minutes to whip up a batch from scratch.

How To Make Chicken Enchiladas

How To Make Chicken Enchiladas:

Alright, now that we have our ingredients all ready to go, let’s talk about how to make enchiladas.  For this recipe, simply…

  1. Prepare your sauce.  Get your homemade enchilada sauce simmering in a separate saucepan while you prepare the rest of the enchiladas.
  2. Prepare your filling.  Sauté the onion, followed by the diced chicken and green chiles.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then (recipe update!) go ahead and stir in the black beans to complete your filling.
  3. Assemble your enchiladas.  Lay a single tortilla on a flat surface.  Spread a generous spoonful of enchilada sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Then spoon your filling mixture in a line down the middle of the tortilla, roll it up, and…
  4. Arrange the enchiladas in a baking dish. You can either place the chicken enchiladas seam-side-up or seam-side-down.  Then pour any remaining sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle on some extra cheese.
  5. Bake the enchiladas. Bake uncovered until the enchiladas are cooked through and the edges of the tortillas get slightly crispy.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with your favorite toppings, and…
  6. Serve warm.  And enjoy!

How To Make Enchiladas

What To Serve With Chicken Enchiladas:

Looking for some delicious side dishes to round out your meal?  Any of these Mexi faves would be delicious served with these easy chicken enchiladas.

Or as always, feel free to check out our Mexican recipe archives here on the blog for more inspiration.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

More Favorite Chicken Enchilada Recipes:

Easy Chicken Enchilada Recipe

¡Buen provecho, everyone!  

Best Chicken Enchiladas

Print
Chicken Enchiladas
4.9 from 183 reviews

Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

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

Description

My all-time favorite chicken enchilada recipe — easy to make, totally customizable with your favorite fillings, and made with the hands-down best homemade enchilada sauce!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce
  • optional toppings: fresh cilantro, chopped red onions, diced avocado, avocado, sour cream, and/or crumbled cotija cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce.
  2. In large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add diced chicken and green chiles, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Sauté the mixture for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Add in the beans and stir until evenly combined.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  3. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Add a generous spoonful of the chicken mixture in a line down the center of the tortilla, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Assemble the remaining enchiladas.  Then spread any remaining sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas, followed by any extra cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until the enchiladas are cooked through and the tortillas are slightly crispy on the outside.  Remove pan from the oven and serve the enchiladas while they’re nice and warm, garnished with lots of toppings.
  6. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

This post contains affiliate links.

Chicken Enchiladas from Gimme Some Oven

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1,370 comments on “Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!”

1 2 3 18
  1. 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. I can vouch for these! Love them!

  3. 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. 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. Thank YOU!! I will be making these tonight!

  6. 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.

    • 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. 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. Thanks, Ali! Making these tonight!

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

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

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

  12. 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. 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!

    • 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. 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. 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. 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?

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

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

  20. 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. 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. 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. 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. made these tonight…….fabulous!

  25. 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. nice recipe and looks yummy :)

  27. 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. 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. Pingback: gimme some oven » Blog Archive Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. Pingback: gimme some oven | Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

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

  35. Pingback: Chicken Enchilada Cups | Gimme Some Oven

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

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. Pingback: (Re) Meet Ali! | gimmesomelife.com

  43. Pingback: Chicken Enchilada Casserole (a.k.a. "Stacked" Chicken Enchiladas)

  44. 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

  45. 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.

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

  47. Oooohhh this sounds so good! And if it is your best recipe ever, I am sure it is! Thanks for this, I will definitely be pinning right now! 

  48. These DO look like the best chicken enchiladas ever! Especially with that homemade sauce. YUM!

  49. Love these enchiladas. And you are brave…I HATE going through my archives. Love your updated photos — gorgeous!

  50. I love seeing the old photo. And your point about the garnishes is taken, though possibly more notable would be the “gorgeous lighting phase” you’re going through. Thank you for reviving this one. It looks like a keeper.