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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 LOVE this recipe! So simple to make and delicious!

  2. Yes this is now our favorite enchilada recipe! As well as the homemade sauce recipe.

  3. Was a really really great recipe. We all enjoyed making this dish together as a family.

  4. I used veggie ground round and my very carnivore husband didn’t even notice because this recipe is so flavourful (with your home made enchilada sauce)! His first comment was, “this is restaurant quality”. What a testament to your amazing recipe (both of them). I still don’t think he knows there was no meat in the dish. Thank you for sharing:)

  5. Can I use queso cheese in jar

  6. Excellent flavor! Next time I will double the sauce, as there wasn’t enough to cover all the enchiladas. To save a step, next time I will mix the sauce with the prepared ingredients, and then I won’t have to spoon it on each individual tortilla.
    Thank you very much for a very delicious recipe!

  7. Really good. Even got my Mexican coworker’s approval :)

  8. I’ve always baked my enchiladas covered, what’s the advantage to uncovered? I use homemade flour tortillas and dip them entirely in the sauce.

  9. Followed your sauce recipe to a t! It tasted great but when I added a couple oz’s of 72% chocolate it went to another level.
    Thanks for the kick start!

  10. We loved It! I have been trying to find a good chicken enchilada recipe and now I have found it. Thanks!

  11. I make these all the time, we love them and they are great the next day for work lunches. I have also made a vegetarian version, substituting the chicken with veggie ground round and adding some corn and rice to the enchiladas when I roll them up. Both versions are really good!!

  12. We made this Saturday night 11.14.2020, and we found it incredible! We used “canned” sauce made by the local grocery store to save time. We also added Onion flakes, garlic flakes, Ancho pepper, smoked paprika, and curry cause we like that. The taste was sooo good and we put canned corn over the top! Tee Hee!

  13. We love this recipe and have been making it for months! I found it at the beginning of COVID. I have 3 kids and teens and it is a hit with the whole family! A friend lost her dad and I was thinking of bringing this by for dinner. But can it be made and cooked later? Should I just cook it and have them warm in the oven? Or not really a good dish for this?

  14. These are so good! The whole family loves them! Thank you.

  15. wow! this looks great!
    can we make the sauce ahead of time and store it the fridge?
    thank you! so excited to try this

  16. Never eaten enchiladas or made them. Followed recipe but didn’t have any canned green chillies so added three canned chipotle peppers. Sauce is awesome. It was delicious. Whole family enjoyed them including 6 year old. This one is going my my recipe book. Next time I’ll try with green chilies peppers. Thank-you.

  17. Amazing!! I actually just made this today for Thanksgiving :) With everything going on these days, we decided to do something different and fun! It was a hit! I was afraid the sauce was too spicy, but once I added it to the dish and baked it it was perfect! I will definitely be making this again, and again…. and again!

  18. I usually use corn tortillas. Flour was a nice change. Plus, the blk bean inside yumm. And, the enchilada sauce was a nice & easy switch. I usually use dried chiles
    Delish & Bravo ??
    Everybody, in my family raves about these.
    I also served it with refried black beans & Spanish rice.
    Love these

  19. Truly incredible enchiladas. I cook quite a bit but this is the first time I’ve made enchiladas and these were very close to what I’d expect at a good Mexican restaurant. Our family devoured these. I’d probably double the sauce next time but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

  20. Can you post the instructions on cooking/reheating a frozen batch?

  21. Great sauce. Will definitely make again.

  22. Made this WITH the accompanying sauce recipe. I also cooked up some peppers, mushrooms and spinach to put in with the chicken and onions, I’m always looking for ways to add more veggies to my meals. The added ingredients, plus extra chicken gave me enough to make 8 which I split between two dishes, and enough food to last a few dinners during the week.

  23. Quick and easy mid week dish that pleased all.

    Thank you

  24. I have made this recipe several times. It gets better each time! It is a family favorite. I make it for others and they RAVE about it always asking for the recipe. The homemade enchilada sauce is the secret sauce. It is a must! It is sooo good!!
    I’ve used hot and mild green chilies. Depending on what you are in the mood for they are both delicious!!

  25. I was having of those days when you look in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry and wonder what is for dinner. I found frozen precooked chicken strips ( lol, don’t judge, I didn’t buy them), flour tortillas, green chilies, enchilada sauce and a variety of cheeses ( not enough of any one kind) I’ve never made enchiladas before and am so glad to have found this recipe. Although I cheated ( with canned sauce) and used refried beans instead of black beans, it’s was great! I added a small sprinkle of cumin to the chicken mixture, spread the refried beans on tortillas, added the chicken mixture, a sprinkle of cheese (combo of cheddar, pepper jack, coby) assembled & placed enchiladas in pan then poured on the sauce and topped with remaining cheese. I served them with sour cream, salsa, and melted white cheese dip. The chicken mixture is soooo good. After reading the reviews, I will be making the “real” recipe soon.

  26. They were awesome.

  27. This will be the last self professed “Best EVER !!!” recipe I’ll be making. The enchiladas taste very much like any generic Americanized version you see on any recipe site. They’re OK. But truly nothing special.
    However, take a close look at the red sauce recipe. It calls for 1/4 cup of chili powder. If you like the taste of emulsified chili powder, you’ll love this sauce. Remember the cinnamon challenge? This should be called the “chili powder challenge red sauce”.
    You’ve been warned. …and this is a good lesson for me to remember when my eye catches the ‘best EVER!!!” of anything on the internet.

    • If you read her instructions, there is no actual chilli powder in the chilli powder. Did you make up her mix? She does warn to be careful not to use actual chilli powder!

    • I’m not sure why you felt the need to leave such a nasty comment on this dish. I thought it was wonderful! Do you have a food blog? Do you have a better recipe? If not, then please refrain from making comments that are unfair and unnecessary. Words matter.

    • Fiona, not sure what you are talking about, but the recipe literally says ‘American Style Chili Powder’. There is even a picture of chili powder

  28. I cannot wait to try this out! Are green chiles spicy? I’m cooking for two people who do not do spicy at all. Thank you!

  29. These are not enchiladas. Enchiladas are made using corn tortillas. Flour tortillas = burritos.

  30. We’ve made this several times and it’s always great. Great sauce to boot. No need to go to a restaurant.

  31. Making these for Christmas. Besides making the sauce
    Ahead of time- what else can be assembled ahead of time –
    But without things getting soggy?

    • You can prep the filling ahead of time if you’d like. Or you can also assemble the (unbaked) enchiladas, cover and refrigerate them for up to 48 hours before baking. They should still bake up nice and crispy on top! :)

    • I do all the prep ahead of time (make enchilada sauce, dice onions, bake chicken, grate cheese, etc., so it’s super easy to assemble right before baking.

  32. I found this blog during some down time after surgery and am so happy that I did. Your recipies have re-inspired me to be adventurous with cooking again! These enchildas are a new staple in our house. They are so tasty and satisfying, like a warm blanket on a rainy day! I can also make a vegetarian “corner” in the pan so that my son can also enjoy! Thnak you for all of your work creating and sharing these great recipies.

  33. Really good and relatively easy. I made the homemade enchilada sauce too. A little spicy for me, but overall a great recipe – especially if you have some leftover roasted chicken.

  34. These enchiladas are delicious!!! I added pickled jalapenos to the filling. Delicious!!! My family loved the homeade enchilada sauce!!! Super yummy!!! Served with refried beans and Mexican rice. OMG!!!

  35. What size tortillas should be used? I have 12 inch burrito flour tortillas, but maybe those are too big?

  36. Does anyone do weight watchers and know how many smart points this would be with chicken and with beef? Thank you

    • im not sure about weight watchers but im with slimming world. Making them with chicken, removing all the fat and swapping the oil for a low cal spray oil my serving added up to 1syn for the flour . As the flour was four syns but for four servings equals 1 syn per serving. I used the weight watchers wholemeal wrap as my healthy extra B and the cheese ( which i used less on my side) as my healthy extra A . Healthy extras are free foods . Served with seasoned rice and plenty of salad, it tasted great , very spicy and filling .

      Hope this helps

  37. Super Tasty and very simple to make (even the sauce). Thanks for posting!

  38. So very delicious. They are perfect the way they are made. I LOVE the SAUCE so you might wanna double that!

  39. made these encchiladsa with flour tortias and they came out mushy and slimy what did i do wrong

    • Try with corn tortillas — you’ll love’m!

    • Try it with corn tortillas. But cook them on both sides on a comal (griddle) before otherwise they’ll tear. The whole flour tortillas make me cringe. But where my family is from, we only eat corn tortillas for all meals. And we lightly fry the tortillas for enchiladas. Instead of baking.

  40. I was looking for an enchilada recipe that used flour and not corn tortillas. I also was looking for one that had a homemade enchilada sauce instead of canned. This fit my online search. Thanks so much. I eat mostly from food from a local food bank and I have to use what I can get and I do not care about is it authentic lol, I just am grateful to make a meal to feed me and my children that everyone loves so I do a lot of ingredient searches. Thanks so much.

  41. The sauce asks foe 1/4 cup of chili powder but that is clearly wrong cause i did it and mine tasted horrible!

    • Hi Kayleen, did you use standard American chili powder or did you by chance use cayenne or a different kind of chili powder?

    • I used a 1/4 cup for the enchilada sauce, and it’s perfect.

    • Try a homemade salsa instead. Use the hot peppers you want, onion, garlic, cilantro. I put the ingredients on the grill (except the cilantro) and cook a bit (should be a little burnt, not too much) when you remove it, you can peal the burnt parts off and then blend in the blender with the cilantro.

    • Oops forgot to mention, salt and pepper to taste.

  42. What do I do with the black beans?

  43. I love these but varied the sauce slightly because of the amount of chili powder. Cut that back and add some cinnamon yum. Thanks for inspiring me to cook.

  44. Amazing!! I used rotisserie chicken and canned sauce (Old El Paso) and it was truly awesome!! Definitely going into the rotation, was so easy and filling.

  45. Thanks for putting the time in to make this recipe, I appreciate it ?

  46. Lots of good stuff in here thanks for sharing. As an amatuer cook I will say though that some extra direction about how long to saute the chicken for and what temperature to bake to would be helpful.

  47. Good and I really liked the enchilada sauce recipe, will try that again!! Needed more toppings but that is my fault, didn’t want to go the store.

  48. The title is right. They are the best I’ve ever tasted – home or restaurant. I make the enchilada sauce (based on the linked recipe) and it’s great. We’re in Europe at the moment and can’t find chili powder, but use paprika, and it’s still great. I also brine, oil, season, and bake the chicken breasts at 425 for 15 minutes before assembling. Thanks so much for this recipe that is now a regular on our menu.

  49. Made this tonight and will probably never “buy” sauce again. Very good! Thank you for sharing ? great enchiladas!

  50. I’ve made these enchiladas a couple of times now and they really are the best! We use corn tortillas and often use shredded rotisserie chicken and it comes out great every time!
    Also, take the extra minutes to make the homemade sauce, it’s so much better than the jarred stuff!

    Thanks for a great recipe! We’ll be making this for years to come.