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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. I LOVE TO COOK .ALL… ALL RECIPES
    AND SHARING. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BLESS GOOD NIGHT ?? PLEASE BE SAFE ??

  2. These were fabulous! Spicy, easy to make and delicious. They are a family favourite.

  3. I don’t even like enchiladas and now I do!! This homemade enchilada sauce is a game changer. Made it and loved it and so did all my family and friends. Sharing it with everyone I know :)

  4. Just made these substituting large organic corn tortillas instead of flour, couldn’t find the green chiles, skimped a bit on the cheese and didn’t use Mexican Blend (shredded Jack, Monterey and Cheddar. Also, made the sauce with just a can of chicken stock versus the two cups. The result was wonderful! Thank you!

  5. These are the best. Great taste!

  6. Hi, we are in the UK and I couldn’t find tinned chillis, so got very expensive ones from Amazon. How would I subsitute fresh chillis? I thought the tinned ones would be less spicy, which is more to my taste! For anyone else in the UK, I used 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 cup Gouda, and 1 Cup Mexican Style Chilli Cheese (from Sainsburys) :)

  7. Just wondering also, when you freeze this, do you freeze just the chicken mix, or make the whole lot up including tortillas, sauce and cheese on top, then freeze?

  8. This is my go to enchilada recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  9. A really great recipe! We made our corn tortillas from scratch, made your sauce and used a rotisserie chicken and cheese for the filling. Perfect with a side of vinegary Mexican cabbage slaw! Going to experiment with adding a little more heat to the sauce next time!

  10. Okay so this is a good recipe to build on. for the red sauce, I would do everything as said but I would also incorporate a tin of tomatoes 2-4 cloves of garlic chopped. I would also add a generous amount of salt and pepper and a nice helping of smoked paprika. I also added a bit of chipotle Cholula sauce, but that’s optional. For the filling, I also add a lot of garlic (like 3-4 cloves) and cook that with the meat of choice. I used mexican seasoning because I was lazy but season the meat to how you want, I also added a lot of oregano, and added spoonfuls of the red sauce into the filling mix. The flavour profile is so much better and full-bodied. I added a mixture of normal cheddar and fresh mozzarella on top. Hopefully, this tastes better for you guys.

  11. Excellent recipes! First time making, was really easy. For chicken enchiladas, I used Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce. Was really good. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I have been making these enchiladas and the sauce for many of those 10 years!!! I love it so much and hubs does too. We’re putting them in our family cookbook we’re making for the kids. I have tried tons of variations with steak or pinto beans, etc. Always AMAZING – thank you!!!

  13. Is it the best? Who knows..but the recipe is easy to follow and my family enjoys it. I recommend adding more seasonings and spice to your chicken and mix diced tomatoes with the chiles and black beans.

  14. I love it

  15. Wish I’d read the comments before cooking. Enchilada sauce it is not. I subbed corn tortillas for flour. And the prep time? 15 minutes? Try 30 and I can dice an onion like a sushi chef. Flavor is good boy not enchilada’s. First time I’ve been disappointed in one of your recipes.

  16. Made this sauce and it was so good. I did add 1 tbsp of smoked paprika and 2 tbsp organic cane sugar and a little can of tomato paste. The best ever thanks

  17. Is it ok to completely assemble the enchiladas and bake the next day?

  18. Delicious!!!

  19. Wow, these were so delicious! I read through some of the comments (the more recent ones, not all 1,745!!) and see that so many others loved them as well :^) Followed your recipes pretty closely ~ ohmygosh the sauce is amazing! ~ but here are my 2 cents worth. I had leftover cooked chicken and shredded it, then added it to the sautéed onions , then the beans and chiles. Added a small amount of chipotles in adobo sauce (I always have some in my fridge!) to the chicken mixture. When assembling, I used just 1 Tbs sauce on each tortilla since I wanted to have plenty left for on top. Might make extra next time! And a bit less cheese inside, so there was a nice amount for the top. Garnished with cilantro, black olives and sour cream. Thank You for the great enchilada and sauce recipes!!

  20. I have made these twice now. Yes this is the best chicken enchiladas recipe! The home made sauce is fantastic too! My whole family loves it, even my sister who thought she didn’t like black beans.

  21. These are absolutely awesome and everyone LOVES them!!! When company is coming I make them in the morning and put them in the fridge. I cook them prior to dinner and have had no issues with them being soggy- only DELICIOUS!!!!

    • Mary Ellen, it’s great to know they did not get soggy when made ahead of time! I can’t wait to make them again :^)

  22. This recipe rocks! This was my first foray into enchilada-making and you got me through it like a boss. My husband LOVED them! I did use slightly less than 1/4c of chili powder (and I added some Penzey’s Chili 9000 to the regular chili powder). I used ground turkey with the black beans instead of chicken. And I didn’t have green chiles. :( But your sauce was the star and I didn’t miss those chiles one bit. Next time, I’ll try corn tortillas and chiles in half, but with some sour cream and a scatter of green onion, this dish was amazing. Thank you!

  23. I made this recipe gluten free and dairy free since my boyfriend has celiacs and is lactose intolerant. I made it with gluten free flour and tortillas and used daiya cheese. Both my boyfriend and I were shocked at how great it was!! 10/10 recommend this recipe with the homemade enchilada sauce. So good and so easy! Plus we have leftovers which is always a plus!!

  24. thought I’d make the effort and give this a go.
    well I wasn’t disappointed. these enchiladas are as good as anything I’ve eaten in a restaurant and my husband agrees, I had to tweak the sauce by using just a small amount of cayenne pepper which is quite hot but added plenty of cream and also some tomato ketchup.
    thanks for sharing this recipe its fabulous xx

  25. LOL That enchilada sauce threw me WAAAY off. where are the tomatoes?

  26. I made these tonight and everyone enjoyed them! I added a can of cream of chicken soup to the chicken mixture. The homemade enchilada sauce has a richness that canned sauce dies not have.

  27. horrible. all he way around. totally a fail. no way this is the best. the sauce sucks and the recipe sucks

  28. Could you be more specific with ‘1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles’? This isn’t something in supermarkets in Ireland. Is it a specific kind of chili? Is there some alternatives? Thanks

    • I live in Dubai and I used small green chili’s from India – the spicy ones. There are no small cans of diced green chilies here either. I started with adding just one chili (seeds and all) chopped, this time making it I added 3. I think that’s the max I’d use. I like spicy though. Any chilis you like would add some flavor to the chicken and onion mix. Hope that helps.

    • You can use fresh Poblano Peppers. They are mild and you cook them with the onions.

    • Green chiles are a type of pepper. When they aren’t found in a can, they are usually roasted and chopped in a food processor. My boyfriend doesn’t like chiles so in the past, I’ve roasted bell peppers and chopped them to use in place of chiles. Just make sure to get the skin off after roasting, or it’ll taste bitter.

    • These are also known as Hatch chiles in the US. You can use any fresh chili pepper and sauté it with the other ingredients. Just be sure it’s a chili pepper and not a bell pepper, which has a very different flavor. I made this yesterday. Yum!

    • Have you tried Aldi or Lidl? You can get canned jalapenos (in jars), but I would recommend using them very sparingly. They’re HOT. Especially by Irish standards.

  29. My husband and I never used to eat enchiladas but this recipe is out of this world it’s delicious and easy to prepare

  30. Omg….these are amazing! Made these for a gathering and boy we’re they a hit. No leftovers!! I will definitely be making these again! Thanks for an awesome recipe!

    • This looks amazing! Could you specify what the can of diced green chiles are? Do you have a link? Thanks!

  31. Quick, easy, family friendly weeknight meal! I used canned sauce but the whole family enjoyed it.

  32. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I bet I have made for immediate and extended family 10 times! Awesome recipe and would not make it without the homemade enchilada souse, beats any other ones I have tasted. And we are Mexican food lovers! I would like to have the nutritional information, I do not see it on your site.

  33. For corn tortillas, heat skillet to 350 deg, dip tortilla and flip after 3 to 5 seconds then remove. I place them on paper towels to absorb the oil. They are very flexible and easy to make enchiladas.

  34. Me and my fam love this recipe, and have made it multiple times. My husband requested I make it for his contribution to a week long field work trip, I know it will be a hit, especially after a long days work. It’s super yummy and filling. I add sautéed onion, red pepper and corn to the enchiladas as well.

  35. EXCELLANT……………………A KEEPER !

  36. Hands down the BEST I have ever made. Restaurant quality..topped with fresh cilantro, sour cream and avocado…worthy of any 5 star dining establishment!!

  37. Made it with corn tortillas for gluten-free!! What a wonderful dish-gone in seconds!!

  38. Making this again tonight. Thanks for this lovely recipe. I love that your edit is to add the beans to the onions and chicken. That’s what I have been doing already. Haha. Great minds think alike.

    This is a definite favourite in my home and the homemade enchilada sauce is the best. I’m using the 1/2 cup tomato sauce in the sauce today for the first time. I’m sure it will be amazing.

  39. Really delicious and easy to put together.

  40. I added corn to the mixture as well as the black beans. Sauce is killer good. I make this at least once a month using the traditional roasted chicken from the grocer. It saves time since the sauce whips up so quickly.

  41. This is so yummy! Have made with ground beef and soy crumbles and no meat and still wonderful! The enchilada sauce is the key and I usually double because my family likes this to be messy saucy!!!

  42. There’s not enough stars for this recipe. I’ve never made enchiladas and these were outrageously good. My husband ate 4. So much for leftovers…! Thank you for making me seem like a domesticated goddess!

  43. Over the years I’ve tried many enchilada recipes and this is by far the best! I added a 4oz can of chopped jalapeños because we like spicy, and I used corn tortillas that I heated on a comal to make them bendy. I didn’t use your sauce because I still had some La Victoria brand left to use up, but I will next time. Most Americans don’t realize that real enchilada sauce does not contain tomatoes, and La Victoria is the only brand I’ve found that doesn’t. A thousand thanks for this great recipe!

  44. Aren’t these basically burritos? I was thinking I would just make a burrito and add sour cream inside and not add sauce and cheese on the outside.

    • These are really good no matter what you call them. I cooked them in my toaster oven and used Costco roasted chicken and it was awesome. The sauce is really the star in this recipe!

  45. Any idea what the nutrition breakdown is for this recipe, kcal ?

  46. I have never made enchiladas before, even though I cook frequently and love enchiladas! I was a little intimidated at first, but the whole family loved them. I used only 1/2 the amount of red sauce because my husband prefers his enchiladas not so wet. I served it with a side of homemade guacamole and salsa verde.

  47. Tasted good, but was way too much food. I made 6 enchiladas as opposed to 8. We also made the enchilada sauce. That was very easy to make, but we used only about a half cup of the sauce. Next time I will probably add an extra can of chiles.

  48. What size flour tortillas are you using for this recipe? You are only allowing one enchilada per serving? Who can just eat one enchilada?
    The red sauce is killer good and you are right, the dark chili just does not work as well.

    I’m asking about the flour tortillas as I’m making these for my family reunion!

  49. This was so delicious and filling! I used a red chili in adobo sauce, and it gave the enchiladas a subtly smokiness that was great! Even my parents, who dislike spice was liked this dish. 100% would make again! Thank you for making this recipe!

  50. Absolutely delicious! I made a tray for my adult son, too. He loved them!!!! I used large and small tortillas. One tray large, 2 trays small. The chicken mix makes a lot. Thanks for such a great recipe!