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!
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
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!
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!
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.
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…
Prep oven and enchilada sauce. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your enchilada sauce.
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.
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.
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.
Serve. Serve the enchiladas immediately while they’re nice and hot and melty, garnished with lots of fresh toppings. Enjoy!
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.
The enchilada sauce is unbelievable and honestly I am not a big enchilada fan. I have made it with chicken or w= vegan for my son when he is visiting and it has always been a big hit! It is pretty easy to make. The only thing I have tweaked is to add a tsp of Agave to the sauce. I found it had a little bitter after taste from the chili powder. I tried different chili powders but still found the same thing. Otherwise the recipe is flawless.
Some of my favorite enchiladas!! I’ve made it for many friends and they’ve made it as well! Making her enchilada sauce is what makes it so delicious!! Highly recommend!!!
This recipe was awesome! Although it was a little spicier than we usually eat, we all found it tasty and delicious! I’m so glad we tried your recipe. Thank you for sharing it!
The enchilada filling was fine but heres what i thought of the enchilada sauce. I followed the recipe to a T even though i’m really more of a wing it and it comes out pretty good kind of cook. Used the “mild” amount of chili powder and while i didn’t have the organic on hand i did have the same brand in regular form. I do appreciate some heat but my wife is pretty sensitive so i keep things mild for her. To that end i went and added the half and half at the end to make it creamy and tone down the heat a bit while keeping the flavor. Even to my spice appreciating taste buds this was a bit fiery, my wife was a total no go. Added a bunch more cream to try to mellow it out and somewhat succeeded. Dinner ended up being more soft tacos than enchiladas as i could still only put a drizzle on my wifes serving to keep it mild enough. I put more on mine but it would have still been to much to have them swimming in this. Good flavor and all but unless you are one of those crazy folks that sits around chewing on ghost peppers its gonna be spicy.
Huge hit! I used corn tortillas and was delicious! Next time I’m going to add a bit more spice.
Very much enjoyed this recipe. Easy, fast and used a good jarred enchilada sauce to rush it up. I plan to freeze the left overs for another meal. Thanks for a good 30 min meal recipe.
This recipe is the bomb! I make is using pre-cooked chicken leftover from roast dinner night (I just add the cooked shredded chicken near the end of the frying time since it doesn’t need to brown.) I also make these in smaller casseroles and freeze them, and they are the perfect little delicious dinner that I can leave out for my boyfriend to heat up while I’m at work. I love having delicious meals in the freezer for when we have a busy week!
It was ok. We found it was a bit too dry, which is unlike the enchiladas we have had in Mexico. However we didn’t want to add more of the sauce used in this recipe as it would just bring too much heat. Good flavor for sure, but I am going to keep looking
Delicious! The sauce was a bit spicy. I added a can of mild store bought sauce to tame the heat. I poured the leftover filling and sauce right on top before baking. Using sour cream and avocado as toppings also cut the heat a bit and made it a keeper recipe for us. Really great recipe!
The enchilada sauce recipe attached is excellent however I would fill them much differently – with shredded chicken that has been slow-cooked with onions garlic cumin coriander pepper sage salt; refried beans; Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar, mozza; and salsa. Top with remaining sauce after having dipped each tortilla in first then cheeses then bake.
What is the nutritional value of this recipe? Thank youJayna
I made this and it is delicious. Please tell me the nutritional value; I was unable to find it.
Seems like shooting yourself in the foot by creating flour clumps in the first place. Mixing 1/4 of stock on the side and adding the flour separately before adding it to the sauce would create a clump free sauce. Apart from that, recipe was ok. A little too chicken flavored.
Best chicken enchilada recipe EVER!!!!!!!
Most of the time, when I try to make Mexican at
home, it’s just not the same. I decided to give
this recipe a shot, and boy, I was not disappointed!!
My family raved about it!!! It was as good if not better
than some of our favorite Mexican restaurants!!!
And the enchilada sauce was divine!!! Yes, this will
definitely go into our all time favorite family cookbook
recipes!!!! Thanks for the Delicious ? recipe!!!!!
The only thing I would add is I marinate the chicken breast in taco seasoning. Bake it and shread it for more flavor.
Is it possible that the person who said the sauce sucks used
1/4 tsp instead of 1/4 cup of chili powder? I almost made that mistake, thankfully I realized there would have to be more chili powder then that and then took another look at the recipe!
Don’t understand the hate. These were delicious! I used jalepenos instead of green chilis and loved it. I seasoned with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to my taste. Very simple, adaptable recipe.
Absolutely fantastic!! My family loves this recipe. We of course use corn tortillas and they come out perfect every time. I also use the homemade enchilada sauce as suggested, yummy! My suggestions: 1) cook then shred the chicken alone before hand then simply mix it with other fillings… so much easier 2) double the sauce per one dish of the enchiladas 3) use half of the chili power it calls for. You can always add more later but the full amount really overwhelms the whole dish in my opinion. Thank you for this recipe, forever a household staple!
Straight-forward and easy to make, this recipe has been a big hit with everyone who has tried it. The enchiladas are consistently delicious. It’s now my go-to for what to make for company or potlucks (if we ever get to have potlucks again 2021). Yummmmm
Easy. Simple and delicious!! My BF loved loved them!! I didn’t put the beans inside. I had them as a side dish with guacamole and chips. A forever to keep recipe. I also boiled chicken breast with onions and garlic to also make my own chicken broth after the chicken was cooked and shredded. I haven’t tried the homemade sauce I bought enchilada sauce. Love this recipe. Doesn’t take that long to prepare and taste liked you cooked for hours!!!
This is a great recipe, but it will only ne as good as the ingredients you use the American Chili powder you use will make or break this recipe. As for the can of green chilli’s. I use this one: Victoria Diced Green Chiles
Made this yesterday and thought it was really flavourful. Next time I will make extra enchilada sauce. Used chopped chicken breasts and also added corn. Had a few poblano peppers to use up so added those instead of green chilies. I love fresh cilantro so added that as well.
A great make ahead meal that is very filling.
Pleasantly surprised how easy and delicious this recipe was. Literally the best thing I’ve ever made. Unfortunately, my supermarket didn’t have green chilies, so I substituted for jalapenos, which makes it very spicy but very good.
Wow, so good!!! We especially loved the sauce!
Great dinner. Everyone in my family loves chicken enchilada night since we started using your recipe. We use corn tortillas with tomatoes, olives and sour cream as toppings. Mmmmmm.
Thank you Ali!
Absolutely delicious recipe, especially with your sauce recipe. My love, says, “That! was really good.”
We ate them about an hour ago and I am excited to make them again!
It was so good, I ate it for 3 days straight. Yum! Adding it to our rotation. We tweaked the recipe with Costco rotisserie chicken, serranos, no beans and extra tsp of cayenne for that kick. Delish! Thanks for sharing.
I’ve made this so many times just like the recipe says. It’s soooo good. Be warned it’s hard to stop eating them.
Enchilada recipes are all pretty basic but what makes this one one of the best is your homemade enchilada sauce. That sauce raised the level of this recipe from good to fantastic.
I’ll be inserting this into my list of comfort meals made multiple times throughout the year. Also looking forward to introducing this to my brother in-law and his family during summer vacation this year.
Thank you for sharing
Made this tonight for Cinco de Mayo. Served with Mexican rice and the red enchilada sauce, plus margaritas of course!! My family loved it. Turned out great and very flavourful. Will definitely make this again.
Made these again last night. Based on the comments I added a tsp of brown sugar, a tsp of cocoa powder and a tsp of smoked paprika to the homemade sauce. Such a great recipe! I made one pan flour tortillas and one pan corn tortillas.
This recipe is really good! The only reason I didn’t give 5 stars is because the sauce recipe linked in it is so gross it will ruin your meal (I didn’t even use it I had to dump it down the sink). Definitely recommend to make this recipe, but just please for your own sake and anyone else eating it – find a different enchilada sauce recipe!!!!
You must have done something wrong! This sauce recipe is very good.
Hi. I tried cooking Mexican food for the first time ever.
The result was delicious, but why my tortillas were soaked? Is it because I should have toasted them at the pan first? Or is it because of bad quality?
I COULDNT BE HAPPIER! Best recipe ever ❤️
This recipe was a success for me!! I made separate batches of the chicken filling because my fiancé didn’t want onions in his. I left out the beans overall, but fiancé maybe would have liked it. I used a Mexican style blend cheese AND 2 cans(could have done 3) of Campbells fiesta nacho cheese. I also used the recipe for the homemade enchilada sauce and really like it. I topped my enchiladas with cilantro and red onions. Yummy! Can’t wait to get to my leftovers.
Loved this recipe!
Would the diced green chiles be canned/jarred jalapenos?
My understanding is that the diced green chilis are usually something like Anaheim’s, which are a bit less hot than jalapenos. That said, I think the best version of these that I made so far did use jalapenos (and olives !) – need to confirm that though.
This was good! I tweaked it to my liking. I tossed the chicken in low sodium soy sauce, 3 garlic cloves, half the juice of a small lemon, and enough corn starch to well coat each thin strip of chicken ( it almost looked like a batter). I then cooked the chicken in veg oli on high just until done but halfway thro I added half of a vidalia onion l. Itll look like you want to crisp chicken up more but dont. The moisture keeps the filling from drying out. Also cooked 1+1/3 cups rice w chicken bullion and turmeric powder. I then mixed the chicken,rice, 1 can of corn, and 1 can of kidney beans bc that’s what I had then basically followed the rest of the steps. It all worked so well which I was surprised bc I didnt need any other spices other than what was in the enchilada sauce. I’d give it a 10 out of 10 n I’m hard to please
Made these last night. So easy & delicious! My 1st attempt at enchiladas. Family loved them. Served them with some refried beans & rice. Husband said dinner was better (and cheaper . . . ) than our favorite Mexican restaurant. He even heated one up at midnight. Lol. Thank you for the great recipe. I’ll definitely be visiting your site often.
Tasty and easy to make. Thank you
I’ve been using this recipe for years now and recently my husband who has been loving this recipe as well commented that he likes more sauce. So, now, I use double the enchilada batch (homemade recipe link on this page) and really pour it on there. It turned out amazing… thank you for sharing this go-to staple of ours.
This is one of our family’s favorite recipes. They reheat beautifully too. Thanks.
We’ve made this twice now and love it. The roux was a surprise but is a great idea for an enchilada sauce. It adds a hearty deep flavor that really makes the dish.
My son said “mum make double the amount next time!”
The enchilada sauce is amazing, this is my go-to enchiladas recipe from now on.
This was excellent and simple to fix! I made this (and Enchilada sauce recipe) for a dinner party and guests raved about it. The enchiladas are tasty and the smoky sauce is excellent. I did use homemade corn tortillas instead of flour (had a huge bag of Masa to use) and thought it was perhaps more flavorful, as you could taste the corn as well. Either tortilla would be delicious in this recipe! I will definitely be making this again–it’s a keeper.
Loved this recipe! As others have said, the homemade Enchilada Sauce is what makes this recipe extra delicious! (I don’t know what other cooks are referring to when they say the sauce is terrible … ? Mistake in cooking?) The sauce is smoky and tasty! Living in Colorado, we have a ton of Mexican food and this sauce/enchilada recipe is excellent! Very authentic! (I did tweak the recipe slightly: skipped the beans and added extra green chiles, and used homemade corn tortillas.) Entire family loved this!
I suspect the problem is that the sauce recipe has just enough chili powder that if you have a bad/old batch the result can cross the line from rich & dark to bitter (bitter isn’t quite the right word but it’s the best I can do). First time I tried I used the last of an old bag in the back of the cupboard and found it kind of rough… but when I made the next batch using a fresh bag of chili powder it was just “dark” and not bitter.
Oh Dear, where did I go wrong?? I was looking forward to making this but didn’t like the sauce at all.
Here in the UK I used Morrisons Chilli Powder but a 1/4 cup was way too much. Does American Chilli Powder differ ? I remade it using 2 teas of chilli powder and 3/4 teas of smoked paprika, added 2 tabs tomato puree and a little sugar to counter the acidity and was happy with the outcome so will stick to this next time.
It’s not 100% clear from Morrison’s web site but as far as I can see (a) Morrisons Chili Powder is 100% chili pepper powder while North American chili powder is a blend of spices (looking at the salt content is a good clue), and (b) despite the jar saying “Mild” all the reviews complained that it was very hot. Your changes seem reasonable.
Unfortunately “chili powder” is one of those things (like paraffin) that means totally different things in different countries.
great & easy to follow recipe & I like the flexibiliy/options/variations! like jazz cooking
great recipes–I need help!! my tortillas- either corn or flour -turn soggy after the enchiladas are baked–what am I doing wrong?
I sometimes run into that – seems to be determined by (a) how much sauce you use and (b) how thick the sauce is. The sauce from this recipe seems to be a bit thicker than typical canned sauces, which seems to really help with avoiding sogginess, particularly if you allow it to cool completely before using.
Today’s batch of enchilada sauce used a bit less than 2 cups of chicken broth (it was what I had left in the fridge) for 6 x 10″ tortillas, and that seemed about right. Any more sauce (or thinner sauce) and I run into the same soggy enchilada problem you saw.
This recipe soooooo delicious .
This is the best chicken enchilada recipe I have found. I make it for friends and family often and they rave about it.