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Chicken Enchiladas

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My favorite chicken enchilada recipe is easy to make, customizable with your favorite fillings, and made with my favorite homemade enchilada sauce. It’s always a crowd fave, and perfect for meal prep and freezing too!

Chicken Enchiladas

Say hello to my all-time favorite chicken enchiladas. ♡

This chicken enchilada recipe was actually one of the first-ever posts that I shared here on Gimme Some Oven back in 2009. And now, more than a decade later, it still continues to be one of the recipes I make most often for dinner here in our house — and one of the recipes that our readers make most often too! I’m so happy you all continue to enjoy it!

For those of you who are new to this recipe, these Tex-Mex style chicken enchiladas are easy to make with a basic filling of sautéed chicken, green chiles, onions, beans and shredded cheese. Then they are rolled up in your choice of either flour or corn tortillas, baked until hot and melty, and sprinkled with lots of fresh toppings. But I have to say that the real magic of this recipe lies in the homemade red enchilada sauce that brings it all together. This red enchilada sauce only requires a few extra minutes of prep time, but the flavor that it adds to these enchiladas is major. Sooo much better than the canned stuff!

I’m also a big fan of these homemade chicken enchiladas because they are easy to make ahead (perfect for meal prep), the leftovers freeze beautifully (which is why I usually go ahead and make a double batch while I’m at it), and they are also a wonderful meal to pack up and bring to friends who may be in need of some cozy comfort food (another good reason to make and freeze a second batch ♡). This recipe can also easily be adapted to be gluten-free or customized with your choice of protein, beans or cheese. And if you’d really like to make the prep quick and easy, I’ve included a few additional time-saving shortcuts below too.

Bottom line, these chicken enchiladas have been one of my go-to recipes for years and years, and they are always a hit when we serve them to friends and family. So if you have yet to give this recipe a try, I say that it’s time we make some enchiladas together!

Chicken Enchilada Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

The History of Enchiladas

We have the rich food traditions of Mexico to thank for bringing enchiladas to the world. ♡ Historians believe that the origins of enchiladas actually date back to Aztec times, when the tradition of rolling or folding food into corn tortillas is believed to have begun. (The word enchilada is derived from the Spanish verb enchilar, which means “to season with chili.”)

In the centuries and decades since, dozens of different varieties of enchiladas have become traditional in different regions around Mexico, as well as in various nearby countries in Latin America (such as Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala). And of course, they have also become wildly popular in the United States as well, especially in New Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

This particular chicken enchilada recipe probably most closely aligns with Tex-Mex and New Mexican styles of enchiladas, especially being made with flour tortillas (although you are welcome to use corn tortillas), filled with green chiles and soft shredded cheese, and made with a tomato-free red chile sauce. But if you are looking to try authentic Mexican-style chicken enchiladas, I would encourage you to consider this traditional recipe. So many delicious enchilada recipes to try!

Step by Step of How To Make Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchilada Ingredients

Before we get to the full recipe below for how to make chicken enchiladas, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this easy chicken enchilada recipe…

  • Chicken: I typically sauté diced boneless skinless chicken breasts for the enchilada filling. But feel free to use pre-cooked chicken (such as a shredded rotisserie or any leftover diced/shredded baked chicken) if you would like to save some prep time.
  • Onion and diced green chiles: White, yellow or red onion will work for the enchilada filling sauté. Then I always like to add in a can of diced green chiles too for extra flavor.
  • Beans: I typically add a can of black beans or pinto beans to the filling for extra protein. But white beans, lentils or chickpeas would also work well here.
  • Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditionally used in Mexican-style enchiladas, but I typically use flour tortillas (which are more commonly used in Tex-Mex and American-style enchiladas) since they are much easier to roll. That said, just about any style of tortillas will work in this recipe.
  • Cheese: I most often use either Asadero, Pepper Jack, or a Mexican-blend of shredded cheese for these enchiladas. But feel free to use any type of shredded cheese that you love best.
  • 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!
  • 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 simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry (oil, flour, a handful of spices, and chicken stock). But most importantly, it’s incredibly delicious and tastes a million times better than the store-bought canned stuff. Thousands of our readers have made and loved it over the years, so I highly recommend giving it a try!

Homemade Enchiladas Unbaked In Pan

Chicken Enchilada Recipe Variations

As I mentioned above, this chicken enchilada recipe is incredibly flexible, so please feel free to customize it however you would like! 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 chicken enchiladas with my homemade green enchilada sauce recipe. It’s also very simple to make and brings the most delicious savory green chile flavor to this dish.
  • Use a different protein: I most often make these enchiladas with chicken, but they would also be delicious with ground or shredded beef, shredded pork (especially carnitas), shrimp, or any other protein that you prefer.
  • 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 omit the chicken and replace it with veggies (such as roasted cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, etc), extra beans, or any other vegetarian fillings you prefer. To make vegan enchiladas, use a vegetarian filling as well as vegan cheese.
  • 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.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Cheese

What To Serve With Chicken Enchiladas

Looking for some recommendations for side dishes to round out your meal? Feel free to check out our Mexican recipe archives for inspiration, or consider some of these favorite recipes…

Easy Chicken Enchilada Recipe

More Favorite Enchilada Recipes

Looking for more awesome enchilada recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves…

Best Chicken Enchiladas

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Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

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

Description

My all-time favorite chicken enchilada recipe! See notes above for possible ingredient variations.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 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, sour cream, and/or crumbled cotija cheese

Instructions

  1. Prep oven and enchilada sauce. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce.
  2. Sauté the filling mixture. 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. Assemble the enchiladas. 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. Assemble the remaining enchiladas.  Then spread any remaining sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas, followed by any extra cheese.
  4. Bake. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until the enchiladas are cooked through and the tortillas are slightly crispy on the outside.  Transfer the baking dish to a wire baking rack.
  5. Serve. Serve the enchiladas immediately while they’re nice and hot and melty, garnished with lots of fresh toppings. Enjoy!


Notes

Storage instructions: Leftover (cooked) enchiladas can be transferred to a sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Make ahead instructions. If you would like to make a pan of enchiladas in advance, follow the recipe instructions through step 3 (assembling the enchiladas). Wrap the pan tightly with foil. Then you can either refrigerate the enchiladas for up to 3 days, then bake as directed. Or you can freeze the enchiladas for up to 3 months, then let them thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake as directed.

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Recipe rating

1,842 comments on “Chicken Enchiladas”

  1. It’s 7AM but I want nothing more than these today, they do indeed look perfect!

  2. Perfect comforting dinner for a crowd!

  3. It’s Friday Night Mexican Night every Friday night at our house. Will be adding this to the rotation. My stomach literally just growled while I was typing this, ha!

  4. I am taking your word for it, mainly because there is nothing like a tried and true and tested over time recipe. I believe you about the sauce. Because as the French tout—It’s all in the sauce.

  5. Fabulous enchiladas ! Favorite dinner around our house!  xoxo

  6. I love that you don’t have to slow cook chicken before making these enchiladas. I am definitely inspired to make these this weekend – I may try whole wheat tortillas!

  7. These look delicious. I could really use some mexican cheesy goodness this week! Pinning to try soon!

  8. ewwww…. FLOUR tortillas?  gummy and just all wrong…   burritos are made with flour tortillas because they are not exposed to a lot of sauce.  enchiladas are CORN CORN CORN…

  9. I plan to make these for dinner Saturday and would love to freeze some. Should they be frozen before baking or after? I’m really looking forward to these!

    • You can freeze them at either time, actually. Just know that if you freeze the unbaked, they will need to be thawed before baking again. Enjoy!

  10. OH wow. These look SO good!! Definitely giving them a try!! 

  11. I tried making this sauce, I live in Australia, and I like food hot, but my god it nearly blew my socks off!!!  That was from just tasting it in the saucepan couldn’t imagine what it would be like smothered over food.  I am wondering if our chilli power in Australia is of a different strength to American because it was not pleasant at all.  Am very disappointed, was looking forward to it so much ended up get a jar of enchilada sauce from the shop.  Please advise how I could adapt this recipe for Australian measurements and heat…

    Cheers

    • Oh no!!! I’m so sorry about that. Hmmm, I wonder if what we call chili powder in the States is actually more of a cayenne powder in Australia? I looked online but don’t see any immediate info on what’s available in Australia. Sorry I’m not more of a help. Hope that you can find traditional chili powder for next time!

  12. Enchiladas is a family favorite for sure and these look wonderful! 

    -Jamie

  13. Made these for my small group last night. They were a huge hit. About 1/2 way through the meal I remembered the fresh cilantro {still in a bunch} in the fridge.
    Oh well.
    Sharing your recipe/blog post with the ladies in our group. 
    Big time YUMS all around the table.
    Thanks for helping me look like Martha Stewart/Betty Crocker.

  14. Tried these last night for dinner and we loved, loved, loved them!  They were so easy and so tasty. My husband asked me to put them in our “regular rotation.”  Thanks for sharing!

  15. Made these and loved them! even though my family makes Mexican food regularly (Grandma is Mexican), enchiladas have never really been on the radar. I made these and was thrilled. Even though I did the lazy way with canned enchilada sauce, they were easy and great and I still have a pan in the freezer, waiting to be thawed and reheated to crispy tastiness. Thanks!

  16. I just got done making these and my mother in-law LOVED it! She said it’s the best enchiladas she’s had!! She was the first one to try them since my fiance was rushing to work today (he usually is the first one to try all my home-cooked meals). But he is going to do a cart wheel when he tries them tonight!! Thanks for sharing an awesome recipe! :) 

  17. Made this tonight…my husband said they are the best he ever had.  The sauce is delicious! I replaced the flour with arrowroot powder/starch.  Will definitely make again.

  18. omg…..these were amazing!! The roomate had seconds. I used shredded chicken from a roasted whole bird from the other night and it worked well. YUMMIES!

  19. I just wanted to be sure I got back to you to tell you, my son’s college soccer team LOVED these!!!! I wish I had a picture of their faces when they saw them; and the compliments I got after:-) Each time I make them something, and show up to their house, I always feel silly for not making more; what looks like “enough” for the usual 4-6 people, merely whets their appetites!! And I used the homemade enchilada sauce recipe…lordy, it was all beautiful; I don’t eat meat but I had to try; these were GREAT. Will definitely make again and again for them!! Thank you. 

  20. REAL enchiladas never use flour tortillas, never, not in Mexico, not in Texas, not in New Mexico.  You will never find any enchilada made with other than corn tortillas…red, yellow, or white corn….but never flour.  Also, we do not stuff enchiladas with beans.  We stuff them with cheese and onions only, cheese, only, chicken, and, nowadays, sometimes, shrimp, at fancy restaurants, not at home, but, they are always made from corn tortillas.

    You have concocted more of a burrito, California style, than any enchiladas we know, pouring an enchilada sauce over a burrito.  I’m sure it tastes good, but the are not enchiladas.

  21. Sorry, but, here I am again, having read the comments.  Enchiladas are a common dish in the Southwest, ie, Texas and New Mexico, and they are not “a big deal”.  We serve beans and rice “on the side”, chop up some iceberg lettuce, and top the enchiladas with the lettuce on our plates.

    Using corn tortillas, if you want to freeze a pan of these, soften the corn tortilla in a skillet with a bit of oil, “sauteing” it briefly to crisp it ever so slightly for easier handling and rolling up.  Do them all at once, drain on paper towel, and stack them on a plate.

    Then stuff and roll them, they are smaller so will not handle all the stuffing in this recipe, just use your head.  Line them in the dish, cover w/ foil, and freeze.  When you want to serve, take the pan out a day ahead and place in refrigerator to thaw.  Then, before putting into the oven to bake, add more grated cheese….we use Colby, Longhorn, Monterrey Jack, grated/shredded……and your sauce.  

    Freezing with sauce will only make them soggy.

  22. I should clarify.  After rolling up each one, place them in baking pan.  Before putting into the oven , sprinkle w/ cheese on top of the enchiladas in the pan; then pour the sauce over and bake.

    Some people dip the “slightly crisped corn tortilla” in a pan of warm sauce before filling and rolling, but, I have found the tortilla gets too soggy that way, whether you elect to freeze them or eat them same day.

    I have tried and tried to make good homemade sauce for “enchies”, to no avail.  I will try the recipe for the sauce given here; looks good.

  23. Just put 2 trays in the oven and I made the special sauce which I think will be the star ingredient!. smells like authentic Mexican enchiladas.  I’m sure this dish will be a hit for sure ! Cannot wait to try this!  Will comment back for final review. 

  24. These looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try them. Cilantro is never optional to me;)

  25. Tried these today! Really delicious. I used leftover thanksgiving turkey. Only change I made was when I made the red enchilada sauce I used butter instead of oil. Great recipe! Will be repeating often!

  26. Well, I cheated, but these are still best enchiladas ever. I used Las Palmas enchilada sauce, but am looking forward to making the sauce from your recipe when I get the chance. I really liked the black beans and the cilantro on top. I put together a second set after the remaining chicken, green pepper, and onion mixture cooled, and froze them for a future meal on a night when I don’t want to cook. Although now that I’m thinking about them, I want them right now.

  27. Used shredded chicken and made the red enchilada sauce. The flour tortillas were not gummy as Michelle said they would be. Liked it but would like to try another sauce to make it perfect for my taste. It will be added to our rotation with the right sauce. 

  28. Hi Lena:

    Do you think it would be possible to use coconut oil rather than canola or vegetable oil

  29. I couldn’t find your note about substituting already cooked chicken. I actually buy Chicken breasts with the bone, boil that and then shred for several recipes.

  30. WOW! These are the BEST ENCHILADAS!!! Thank you so much for posting. I made it with the homemade red sauce and it was FANTASTIC!! I love your blog!! 

  31. These are so delish! and simple to make for the life of a busy working Mom.  I used left-over turkey from Thanksigiving that I had shred and froze.  Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes.  

  32. Nana is correct. Traditional enchiladas use corn tortillas. Quickly dip the tortillas individually in a pan of shallow hot oil. If you dip too long, they will be crispy and not nice to bite into later. So a couple of seconds. Or you can forgo dipping the tortillas in the hot oil but then you should make sure to pour enchilada sauce over the entire pan so that the tortillas don’t dry out. I also like to serve with sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, lettuce and sliced tomato on the side. I have added my own touch to the chicken. I bread it and fry it. Makes it tender…As for chili powder, chili powders come in various degrees of hotness. Just got some new chili powder from Chimayo, New Mexico. It has a pleasant warmness. Tastes delicious. Thanks for the recipe! 

  33. These enchiladas were indeed delicious! As a novice cook, I definitely needed extra hands on deck to have these babies ready for my family dinner. My wonderful boyfriend helped, and although they didn’t come out as beautiful as the photograph, they were delicious. Rich and smooth and perfectly creamy. They would have been even better with a nice dollop of sour cream, but they certainly didn’t need it to impress my family! The homemade sauce was a great addition, I’m glad we made our own instead of buying! A++!

  34. (*or see substitution using pre-cooked shredded chicken) Where is the aforementioned substitution located?

    • Sorry, Paul! That part must have gotten deleted when we switched over to the new site design. It’s up now in the notes.

  35. I’ve used this recipe and the enchilada sauce recipe 4 times and it gets better everytime I make it! I actually have a batch in the oven right now haha. Definitely recommend! 

  36. Pure deliciousness!! First time making these tonight and they were perfection! Thank you for the recipe :)

  37. Awesome recipe!! Looking forward to making them again!

  38. I made these delicious enchiladas tonight and sauce by hand.  OMG, my family and myself loved these enchiladas.   So good!!    I am definitely making these again.  Great recipe.  

  39. You had me at the cilantro! I moved to Tucson years ago and learned to love cilantro in all my Mexican dishes. This chicken enchilida dish will be on the table tomorrow night. I’m making your enchilada sauce today since Saturday is always Mexican night. Thanks for a few great recipes.

  40. I made the sauce for this tonight and really think there is a mix up with the tbsp and tsp. I used double the ingredients to make a double batch however I still stuck with the 4tbsps of chilli powder as 8tbsps just.seemed ridiculous yet it was still burning our mouths off, we ended up not eating it and I’m going to try again tomorrow with 4 TSPS and see how we get on.  

  41. if I want to freeze these, what temp do cook at and for how long?

  42. Great recipe! My only suggestion is if you can get fresh New Mexico Hatch green chili instead of canned it  makes a world of difference. I live in southern Colorado and every summer I drive and get a few fresh bushels!

  43. Thanks for the recipe I just did up the enchilada sauce. I’m sort of making all the components separate and ahead of time for my husbands 36th celebration. He asked for tacos and then mid week threw me a curve ball with the enchilada request. Last I made them I made “lighter chicken enchiladas” from Martha Stewart website (went through a big martha phase) and I found them way too spicy and all in all not worth the effort. The sauce called for chipotle in adobo and that’s I think what killed it for me. Anyway I tasted this sauce and while it is spicy, it’s nothing a little sour cream on the side can’t fix.

    Anyhow while i stirred the sauce I scrolled down to see comments and I was a bit disappointed to see people slamming the dish for including beans and using flour tortillas. Cooking is an art, a form of expression and creativity. No, perhaps it is not “authentic” but it is tasty. I personally would not eat a side of beans by themselves because they are too meaty to just have a fork full. I love the idea of dispersing the bean through the enchilada. It adds nutrition, flavour and texture to the dish. I also will be using flour tortillas because I bought them for the soft tacos and plan to dual purpose them. So I guess my point is… Take it easy foodies. A polite and constructive comment would probably be nicer for someone who took the time to re-photograph a tried tested and true recipe.

  44. Oh my gosh!!!! Best recipe ever. Made these for our daughter’s birthday today and I’m glad I made a triple batch!!! Everyone loved them… this is a keeper and definitely great with flour tortillas rather then corn!!! Definately make the homemade enchilada sauce!!! It made a huge difference and we loved it Ali!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I doubled the recipe but tripled the sauce and it was perfect !!!! We like it saucy and this was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. I just made these and literally THE BEST enchiladas I have ever had. The sauce is perfect in flavor!!! My kids ate them in like 2 seconds!! Thank you so much this will definitely be my go-to recipe for enchiladas!! 

  46. These are the best. My family loved them. The home made sauce was fantastic. No more store bought for us.

  47. To Denis in Australia,

    The right chili power is Ancho Chili powder.  It is the dried poblano pepper that is sweeter and smokier than many chilies. I’ve found Ancho in the UK and Europe. I expect it is also available down under, but don’t know for a fact. Many “Chili Powder” mixes I’ve come across are much hotter than they need to be. Ancho is also my main chili for making chili (if that makes sense). I do add chipotle and cayenne to heat things up, but Ancho is the primary flavour. Good luck. 

  48. I made these last night and they truly are the best enchiladas ever. I think the red enchilada sauce is the magic of this dish. Unfortunately we had no leftovers because my daughter and son-in-law stopped over right at dinner time and the enchiladas were devoured. I have thrown away our old enchilada recipe. Before I served them I added sour cream and avocado slices, I’ll be making these again very soon.