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.
Delicious! I have the recipe saved and make it at least once a month.
I made these tonight from this recipes, and had the best July 4th meal. I’ll have corn on the cob tomorrow, salad, all those things, but for 2021, July 4th, Chicken Enchiladas! They were delicious!
Our family can’t get enough of these enchiladas! Seriously, the kids request them at least once a week. I love them too because it’s easy to sneak a few extra veggies into the filling and everyone still loves them because of that homemade enchilada sauce. Five star recipe in our house for sure.
I love this recipe!! I was looking for something fun to add to my repertoire – and this was amazing! And the directions were so easy to follow! Thank you!! :)
Just made this tonight for the first time. Will definitely be making again & again. It was a hit with the whole family! My youngest said this will likely become her birthday meal! High praise indeed. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. :)
Made these tonight. They were absolutely delicious! I was going to leave out the black beans, but my husband requested I leave them in the recipe. So glad I did. And the homemade sauce really made the dish. We definitely make again. All the little tips were very helpful.
This is hands down my favourite recipe from this website. My husband & son raved about this all night. I made one small change: I used 1/2 refried beans AND 1/2 whole beans. The refried beans made a creamy enchilada filling. This is an incredible recipe. Already will be added to my comfort food binder.
This is a DELICIOUS recipe! I had all the ingredients, and it was easy. I invited the neighbor at the last minute because it was so good. We had margaritas too. Thank you!
Reallly good. I found this recipe via a round-about way – my brother-in-law brought over some great enchiladas (during lockdown we were dropping off food around the family in lieu of get-togethers) and I asked him for the recipe, particularly the sauce. He sent a link to your enchilada sauce recipe along with the specifics of how he made the enchiladas… which was pretty close to this recipe.
Now that I have sauce etc… figured out (thanks to your recipes) I have been using enchiladas as fridge cleaners, eg today’s batch was the last of the leftover cabbage/onions/sausage and meat from the last leg of a rotisserie chicken along with the usual onion, cheese and canned green chilis. Generally no beans if I have cabbage & meat. I also add some sliced Kalamata olives – probably not authentic but good.
I think the very best version so far included canned jalapeno peppers (rather than green chilis), olives and some sour cream mixed into the filling (normally I just use it as a topping after cooking). Need to see if I can reproduce that batch – these are 10 or 11 out of 10 normally but that batch was around a 14 :)
“Gimme-Gimme some Oven…every Day”!!!
Very good and thoroughly enjoyed the smoky, chili powder vibes the red enchilada sauce brought in. I followed the directions (and if I did run into any issues, I’m always able to roll with it). I used burrito size flour tortillas & had extra chicken so I had to cram into a glass 11×13 dish I think lol.
It’s definitely super good. I’ve made these twice now. I must have screwed up on making the sauce the first time. This time I’m trying the store bought but I will try making the sauce again soon.
I am in love with this recipe (along with the red sauce recipe). I have made it several times now with my partner, and his parents are in love with it too! 10/10 recommend! It’s also good with ground beef (found this out by accident, thought we had chicken but didn’t).
This is a family favorite which we make at least once a month. I generally make a double batch, so we have plenty of leftovers. I use half paprika and half chili powder for the sauce, which gives it a nice mild balance, those of us who prefer spicy food can add hot sauce at the table. Costco sells hand-pulled rotisserie chicken breast meat that is perfect for these enchiladas.
Just before assembling, I rinse the black beans in a colander, and measure out the chicken mixture by weight onto paper plates using a kitchen scale. This ensures all enchiladas are uniform size, and I can adjust the portions if needed before assembling the enchiladas. I will then spoon out the black beans onto the portioned chicken mixture. Then I stack up the tortillas, and it’s just a matter of laying down a tortilla, spreading a scoop of sauce, adding the already portioned chicken and beans and 1/3 cup of cheese, roll-up and place in a prepared baking pan.
I just made a triple batch today, so I could take a pan to a neighbor with an ill family member.
Excellent recipe. I like to add cream cheese to the chicken mixture to give it a silky, creamy texture, as well as some Serrano peppers for a kick, but other than that I follow the recipe. And that sauce…uh. yeah!!!! So good!
Made this last night and absolutely loved it! 10/10 recommend. I added red kidney beans and corn in addition to the other ingredients and it was delicious!
Sorry, these are not enchiladas when made with flour tortillas. They’re burritos. Enchiladas are always to be made with corn tortillas. Using flour tortillas is the lazy way. They were good just don’t call them enchiladas.
Dear Jim S,
She mentioned this above: “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.”
Only because I cant give it a minus rating.
This sounds great until you cook it. You end up with to much soaked dough. Its horrible.
My family loves it
Has anyone tried dipping the corn tortillas in sauce then quick frying them before rolling the enchiladas? It sounds like it would be really good, just wondering if anyone’s has tried it and if it was good.
Easy to follow. My guests said it had a good taste to it. Not bad at all.
I love the recipe… but the sauce was too raw… needs a lot of time to cook in the flavors…. used canned sauce instead… and it was great…. all of the ingredients would have been spot on if you let them cook and blossom… not to use right away…..
This was awesome!
Delicious!! Iv made this recipe a half dozen time for older grandchildren and adults. It just disappears.
I put the chicken and black bean filling on torilla chips I had broiled with monterrey jack and cheddar cheese, added salsa and the red enchilada sauce, and topped it with sour cream… I really missed not garnishing with cilantro, as is suggested, but it was still phenomenal and so satisfying! I can’t wait to make this again the proper way (wrapped in tortillas and baked).
This was fantastic. I grilled the chicken on the BBQ, followed the recipe to a T and the kids loved it. Left a set without beans for the fussy eaters. Also made the enchilada sauce as well. Easy to make and tasted great.
I love this recipe, but always have tons of leftovers. Has anyone tried to bake just half the recipe and freeze the other half (4 other enchiladas) in another baking dish?
When I have filling leftover, I eat it another day with brown rice, salsa and avocado :)
This sauce is everything, and it’s so easy! Family favorite. Thank you for sharing this
the only issus i have about this recipe is i had to keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to the recipe, to much talking!!
It says “Jump to Recipe at the very top under the title …
This was AMAZING! Thank you for your genius. There is a God! Those were heavenly.
I make this recipe as individual rolled enchiladas and as a casserole. It is delicious. I make the homemade enchilada sauce recipe and bake my chicken breast at 450 for 20 minutes. Awesome. Thank you so much.
Great this time when I made Mexican food George didn’t puke.
Delicious!! Turns out greats… best sauce recipe.
Yum…. Loved them. Made the enchilada sauce which is KEY.
I made this substituting Trader Joe’s Green chili Thai sauce. This has a little heat in it, plus lemon grass flavoring. It was a big hit, a Kinda East/West enchilada dish. Your home-made red enchilada sauce was drizzled around too.the East/West was mixed in with the chicken cooking.
One of our favorite recipes. It’s in our regular meal rotation. I do also use your enchilada sauce. It all freezes beautifully, so nice to pull out when no time to make a meal. Thanks.
I made this recipe for my son and NEWLY PREGNANT daughter in law!! They loved it so much that she keeps craving them…..soooo next week they’re coming over and guess what I’m making??? Yes, chicken enchiladas again and I’ll them all the time for them and anyone else who likes the BEST CHICKEN ENCHILSDAS I’ve ever made!!!
Greetings! I want to make this recipe but I’m wondering if you use mild chili papers or hot?
These are so delicious! I have made them so many times. Always a hit.
Greetings, I can’t wait to try this Enchilada recipe, however, I cannot find “Canned Green Chilies” anywhere around here. Can I use something more readily available?
We honestly make these every week. My husband and daughter are OBSESSED. Especially with the homemade enchilada sauce! They have me make that sauce for every Mexican casserole dish! And it’s all super easy! I attempt* to make an extra tray to freeze but it’s the only time they request leftovers the following night!
The sauce was disgusting. Threw it all out 😢
Brandy – sorry you didn’t like it!😢 IMO, you must be using poor quality or rancid/stale chile powder, or doing something else that went awry…this sauce is WONDERFUL, and very versatile.
FWIW, instead of store-bought powder, I like to use dried chiles (a mixture of whatever is in my cupboard – guajillo, ancho, pasilla, even japonés) that I toast in a pan then grind in a food processor/blender. No measuring, because you can store the batch in a mason jar for later use and only use what’s needed. This makes amazing beef chili or whatever else needs Chile powder. I hope you decide to give the sauce another try in the future…it really is that good!! Cheers!😋
Made these a couple of weeks ago. My boyfriend said it was the best chicken enchiladas he’d ever eaten. I’m new to cooking and was very pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. Thank you!
I love chicken enchiladas so much. Enchiladas is so easy to make so delicious.
My favorite recipe of yours, Ali!
This is so delicious with the sauce recipe. I add a table spoon of instant espresso for a richer sauce. Some times I add rice and or corn to the filling too. Best go to Mexican goto dish. Seriously delightful.
Your recipe sounds tasty. I loosely followed it. The difference was I used left over turkey from Thanksgiving. Instead of using your sauce & the beans. I happened to have left over chili with beans that I used. Next time I will follow your recipe to the letter.
Added cream cheese to the chicken mix! Love homemade enchilada sauce! Highly recommend this recipe!
I made these enchiladas last night. Both the husband and I LOVE them! The enchilada sauce is the best and pretty easy to make. I don’t think my husband or I are going to want to go back to the canned version. Great job!
My all time favourite homemade Enchilada Recipe! Thank you! We love it so much and it is a definite crowd pleaser too! :)