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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

1,848 comments on “Chicken Enchiladas”

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  1. I’ve made all kinds of enchilada recipes that are very good and my family especially loved this recipe!

  2. Made these tonight! Very simple, and tasty!! Will use this recipe again! Thanks ?!

  3. question: do u add the beans with our without the liquid in the can?

  4. I used a rotisserie chicken and that made it even easier. I used both breast and thigh meat just to make it a bit juicier.

  5. I followed the recipe exactly. My husband lost his mind immediately

  6. This recipe is INCREDIBLE. A Tex-mex style modification I made was that I poached pre-seasoned and brined chicken that I got from H‑E‑B, then I pulled it while veggies were cooking. I added it to the onion, chile, and bean mixture last minute to prevent overcooking. Hatch brand red enchilada sauce is more than fine, so I wouldn’t go through the hassle of making your own. (Time is your greatest currency.) Also, I don’t believe in putting cheese in the filling unless you are indeed making true cheese enchiladas. Just a personal preference! The cheese gives the sauce body and texture. Lastly, putting the beans in the filling instead of the sauce is just an AMAZING departure from the norm. What a brilliant idea!

    Can’t wait to make these for friends in the future and show off a little bit! Amazing!

  7. I make this dish every other week. We love it! Wondering how far in advance can I prepare the enchiladas?

  8. Delicious! Perfect amount of sauce. Used rotisserie chicken. Will definitely make again!

  9. I did baked these in my Air Fryer. My air fryer is a GoWISE Deluxe 12.7quart, 1600 watts. I cooked five 10 inch stuffed flour tortillas in a 9 x 9 Pyrex baking (Brownie) dish. It was a delicious! My husband absolutely loved it. I did add some adobo sauce from a can of Chipotle paste, (1 TBS) and not the actual pepper, along with a heaping TBS of tomato paste to the sauce in the final simmering cook time, stirring well to combine. I thought the sauce needed a bit of a richer, deeper more authentic enchilada sauce taste. Strictly my preference. The recipe is one of the best I’ve made and though I usually use the traditional corn tortillas, I loved the idea of the flour and my husband raved about them, truly. I air fried the assembled dish for 20 minutes on 330, rotaing mid cook time. I will use remaining chicken mix for tacos today. I also suggest you adjust the recipe to 3 cups of broth. I wish there had been more to ladle over after baking. The chicken filling is so good. I did poach 1 large boneless, skinless breast, along with half a sliced white onion, a tbs of granulated garlic, salt and pepper, poaching to 170. I then used this broth in the sauce.

  10. I love your recipes and this Chicken Enchilada was no different. The sauce was super easy and delicious. I made fresh corn tortillas but had left over filling so I filled a couple of flour torillas I had on hand from the store. Both tasted awesome. Another keeper.

  11. I love your recipes and this Chicken Enchilada was no different. The sauce was super easy and delicious. I made fresh corn tortillas but had left over filling so I filled a couple of flour torillas I had on hand from the store. Both tasted awesome. Another keeper. Forgot the stars so had to repost.

  12. Can this be frozen? Any suggestions on what to leave off and add before cooking from frozen?

  13. Thanks for recipe! I made both the sauce and the enchiladas. The sauce was so delicious and savory! I’m counting macros, so it was easy to adjust the recipe for my needs (I removed the beans, subbed whole wheat tortillas instead of flour, reduced the cheese to 1 cup).

  14. Great recipe. Super easy. The sauce was amazing!

    We added refried beans in the tortilla and actually even as base for the baking dish for more refried bean goodness. I’m actually quite surprised you didn’t call for refried beans in this recipe. What’s an enchilada without them :)

    Thanks!

  15. Oh, I had such high hopes for this receipe because we love chicken enchildas and my receipe is good but wanted to try something new. Oh NO, NO, NO, NO these are NOT good and i am upset i wasted some good rotisseri chicken on these. No one wants to eat them. Back to my receipe

  16. You nailed it with this chicken enchilada recipe! And it’s red sauce… I’m in your debt! I made this yesterday for the second time. I ate one, refrigerated one for in a couple of days and the others I cooled and then froze them naked on cookie sheets until solid, then wrapped them individually for future freezer-to-oven meals because I tried that the first time and it worked great. While you said the red sauce separates if frozen, I had scraped up the caramelized blobs from the bottom of my baking dish the first time and froze those, and they did great so I am now baking the rest of the sauce of this second make to semi caramelize it and then will freeze it in a slab so I can break off pieces to set atop my “thaw-and-reheat” enchiladas or just thaw and warm them enough to spread on top of those frozen enchiladas when plating.
    Thank you SO MUCH! These are delicious.

  17. Best enchiladas ever! We love this recipe and crave it when we haven’t had for awhile. Tastes just as good after freezing and is so easy to make especially if you prepare sauce and even chicken mixture earlier in day.
    This really is a no fail one! We add a thin lay of refried beans but you would never know it is even there if not a fan of them! Thanks for this amazing recipe!

  18. This was a huge hit with my family.

  19. Awesome and delicious

  20. I have to say these were the BEST enchiladas! If I wanted to freeze these, how would I go about reheating?

  21. Easy to make and was very popular with the family. The chicken made enough for 10 portions but needed a lot more cheese – esp. to sprinkle on top. By the end I was heaping the chicken into the enchilada to use it up. I also added tomato sauce to the enchilada sauce and a bit of cream as it seemed very spicy. It was perfect though.

  22. This was wonderful! I normally make green chili chicken enchiladas and not only was this delicious it was a heck of a lot easier as I make my own green chili. My son and husband loved it as well. I had more filling for which I was grateful as now there is enough for a second meal. I did a mix of American chili powder and chipotle chili powder which was perfect for out taste.

  23. Not authentic at all. You do NOT use flour tortillas for enchiladas.

  24. Hi! Thanks for this recipe. I want to make it but my family can’t take spice. Are the green chilis spicy?

  25. First time ever making enchiladas, and it turned out great! We aren’t onion fans in our house, so we skipped those, but had no issues.

  26. Do you freeze after you cook them or before you cook them? And if its after they are cooked. How do you reheat them?

  27. If you start your sauce with dried chilis, simmered in chicken broth (from cooking the chicken used in the recipe) the issue becomes thinning, not thickening. Why add unnecessary, flavor diluting ingredients, like flour?

    • Because using dehydrated Chili’s could overpower the flavour in the rest of the dish. If you make your roux properly, the flavours won’t be diluted, however, evenly balanced.

  28. Love this recipe. I’d looked it up because I had everything, including canned enchilada sauce. Then saw the easy recipe for the sauce and everyone was raving, so I made it. Miles! above canned sauce. I’ll never buy it again. Plus the internal ingredients are an A+. Thanks so much for sharing!

  29. Delicious! Excited I am making this tonight!

    • This is definitely a keeper! I followed the recipe and it was Awesome! Right down to the sauce… i topped with diced avocado, sour cream, salsa and sliced jalopenios….

  30. Super simple, and super delicious! My family loves this dish.

  31. Hands down one of the best dishes I have made in my entire life. Yum! Thanks for sharing! ?

  32. I have made these 5 times or more now since I found them and they are PHENOMENAL!! My husband begs me to make them, he raves about them to friends. I make the enchilada sauce linked, but I double it, a single batch isn’t enough for us. I usually leave them in for an extra 5 mins to crisp the ends. They always come out perfect! I like to throw some sour cream in a plastic bag, cut the corner off, and pipe it on top after it’s cooled some, then add the cilantro!

  33. Love this recipe. I made it last night for my family and wished I had made a double batch. Only changes we made were the addition of 4 ounces tomato paste to the enchilada sauce, and we used two chopped poblano peppers instead of canned green chile peppers. Cant wait to try with my turkey leftovers come thanksgiving!

  34. I didn’t used to be a red enchilada fan (team green chili!!) but now I’m hooked on these enchiladas! The sauce is so easy to make and tastes delicious, plus the addition of diced green chili’s in the filling added the perfect flavor/heat!

  35. Can you prepare these a day prior to baking and refrigerate?

    • I made this recipe but the sauce was waaaay too spicy. I just used ground chili and didn’t add the full 0.25 cup. My partner struggled with it :(

  36. There’s no measurements for the spices to make the sauce..

    • This was amazing! My husband & daughter loved them, i don’t eat enchiladas not because I dislike them its just i never tried them. I’m hooked…my husband said it tasted great compared to other ones he tried…i also used boneless skin thighs instead of breasts but other than that I was just amazing!

    • Read the recipe next time. The measurements are linked to the sauce page.

  37. I made these (and the sauce) last night and may I just say WOW!!! These were by far the best chicken enchiladas I’ve ever made! Great, simple recipe – it’s definitely going into the regular roster at our house!

  38. Have a vegan son so I made the sauce with vegetable broth to use for his vegan blend and everyone else chicken blend enchiladas.
    I have a creative cooking streak in me that embellished the chicken fillings with other ingredients I had on hand… some frozen corn, can of tomatoes and green chilies, some cooked rice, and diced sweet peppers. Also used the breast meat of a rotisserie chicken.
    Thank you for the recipes…the meal was enjoyed by all!

  39. Are 10 inch tortillas the correct size for this dish? Need to know in a hurry, PLEASE.

  40. My family absolutely loves these! Delicious!

  41. Great recipe! My husband loved them and easy to make.

  42. I’m gonna try to make these I never use essential oil that’s just my life usually make the chicken stockOr broth

  43. This is a great recipe. I have made it many times now and it always turns out great! Thank you for this recipe.
    Pete

  44. I made your chicken enchiladas and the homemade sauce last night!!!!! All I can say is…. Oh My!!!!!! The sauce made all the difference. I’ve always used canned sauce but Not anymore!!!! My husband couldn’t stop making yummy sounds!!!

  45. These are unbelievably delicious. And so easy! Thank you!!

  46. Wow just wonderful had left over chicken and your recipe pooped up. Best

  47. I somehow had some leftover chicken I had smoked the day before. That added a great flavor to an already great recipe. There were no leftovers for lunch the next day. Thank you for posting the recipe.

  48. This is an AMAZING recipe!!! The entire family loves it. Make the sauce – seriously, make the sauce. Simple recipe that makes a fantastic dinner.

  49. My husband said that these are the best enchiladas he’s ever had. He’s also requesting that I make them every week!

  50. i’ve been making this for several years and it is delicious…i usually make a pan to give away and it’s always a hit!! :) thank you !