Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!

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

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

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.

Chicken Enchiladas Recipe Video (1 Minute)

Alright, let’s talk about how to make these.

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

This recipe itself is actually pretty simple — tortillas filled with a chicken/onion/green chile mixture, black beans, and shredded cheese.  But the secret ingredient that kicks this particular recipe up a major notch is…

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! |

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! |

…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! |

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

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

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

Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

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! |

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!

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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.


  • 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)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
  2. 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.  Sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).

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Seriously The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever! |

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1,170 comments on “Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever!”

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  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!


  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!


  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!


  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.


  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.


  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.

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  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.