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 sauce was a little hot for me but easy to fix I just added a little canned enchilada sauce.
My biggest complaint is how you have to read through so much stuff to get to the actual recipe ! Kinda annoying when you are on your cell phone trying to read the instructions!
Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Robert—Most online recipes (including this one) now have “Jump to recipe” buttons at the very top of the page—this automatically brings you to the actual recipe so you don’t have to do the work of scrolling yourself!
At the very top it says, ‘Jump to Recipe’.
Robert, I can’t find “Jump to recipe” for this one on my phone, either. I always look for it when using online recipes, but I can’t find it on this one.
Oh, wait haha. There it is.
If you look at the top of the recipe, there is a link that says jump to recipe which skips you through all the writing. Could try that next time.
At the top of 1st page, look for words….Jump to recipe…tap it. It’s not always there, but is on this one
My only comment is that the recipe for enchilada sauce didn’t make enough to match the recipe for the enchiladas. I would have loved a bit more to pour over the top. Next time I’m going to double the sauce recipe – which is REALLY tasty and easy to make.
Looks like a great recipe. I used to make this for my son when he was young. Now he’s a middle aged man coming to visit. I want to make it ahead of time and put in freezer. any recommendations? When do I add the cheese…before or after freezing?
Made just as written except for avocado oil, even the enchilada sauce (best I’ve had). Great all the way around…a real keeper.
My family requests this recipe at LEAST (lol) once a week. Five big stars from our house!
Long ago, I started just making this sauce & doing the chicken the easy way. In the morning, I dump frozen chicken breasts, a pack of taco seasoning, & a jar of salsa in the crockpot and shred it at the end of the day for these. Not as fresh but with this sauce… still tastes gourmet & fits my schedule better. :)
Family all time favorite. When running short of time I buy enchilada sauce that is less spicy that family likes.
Thanks for the recipe!
This is an excellent recipe!
First time I served it, the whole family raved, and their bar is high!
My only suggestion … for those who like their enchiladas on the wetter side, I would up the sauce recipe by half.
Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve made this for family vacations, company dinners, and my new covid household of three single dudes. I have to slap hands grasping chips away from the sauce before I assemble them. I’ve made it several times a month since you posted it. The only complaint I’ve ever had from this dish is, “WHY didn’t you make a double batch?!” These are excellent (if not better) the next day…if they last. Real ingredients, little mess, and easy to follow recipe. Cheers!
I made this recipe today (well, actually I made the red enchilada sauce last night) for lunch. It was a hit with hubby! He commented that this is a repeat which means he likes it.
I cannot wait to try more recipes from your blog! Thanks for sharing your chicken enchiladas recipe. I love it! I cannot wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
I made this tonight with black beans added as suggested and the recipe for the enchilada sauce. Unfortunately my corn tortillas fell apart as I tolled them so I had use flour. They were a hit!
This was delicious! I made this recipe with a few changes. Instead of using the enchilada sauce and the Mexican-blend cheese called for, I used a can of green enchilada sauce and mozzarella cheese. I did everything else asked for in the recipe. It is a nice straightforward and fairly quick recipe.
Delicious!!! Making the homemade red sauce is totally worth it! I’m sure that is what made the difference. Best chicken enchiladas I’ve ever had. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks so much!
Loved it even my picky eater ate it all. I made the sauce as well and I will never buy the ready made stuff.
If the tortillas are not lightly fried before filling them, they will get soggy. This is a simple and authentic step that should not be avoided. Do your research before publishing a recipe please.
She actually does say to do that under suggestions. Otherwise I never would have known to do that. So maybe read everything first before making rude comment.
great enchiladas I haven’t eaten them yet but I’m excited for the chez 🧀 but my dada is obsessed with the smell of the enchilada sauce great job would definitely eat again
Oh my god these were so good!!!! I have never made enchiladas before so I was a bit nervous but they were amazing. This recipe will definitely be going into my regular rotation.
Is it really 4 tablespoons of chili powder? I’ve just added 2 tablespoons and it was very very very very spicy.
Ive made these a few times and they are the best! Ive replaced the black beans with white ones and they are so good! The enchilada sauce is well worth the extra effort!
Was good, but if you are a weak person to spicy stuff don’t recommend wish they was a warning sign with the recipe. My family and I don’t do hot and never had the red sauce I got one that said mild but nope too spicy. Recommended for spicy lovers.
I was going to use canned enchilada sauce but after tasting it, I threw it out! And I never throw food out! The only difference in the sauce was I used homemade tomato sauce instead of chicken broth.
I made these but i used chicken that was already cooked so i just omitted the steps of cooking the chicken. I also omitted the onions because my husband will not eat anything with onions in it…crazy i know!!! Other than that i made the recipe exactly as written. They are about to go in the oven, but being im the chef of this household, i tasted as i was preparing. And if they are half as gooded cook as they are cold…can not wait to munch down on them in about 20 minutes!
Hi Robert… Most recipes including this one will say “Jump to Recipe” at the beginning. If you click on that link it will take you straight to the recipes so you don’t have to read through all of that stuff.
Just a friendly FYI. Hope this helps. -Meli
Delish! This will definitely be my go to enchilada recipe. I put chicken breast in the crockpot pot with about 1 tablespoon taco seasoning and 1/4c water and shredded the chicken when it was done, added the green chilies and black beans at the very end. I also made the red enchilada sauce with it and will never buy it at the store again after having this….I did only use half the chili powder and still had more than enough flavor. Love that it’s easy and everyone loved it!
Can this recipe be cut in half both the chicken part as well as the sauce
A family favorite. I shred the chicken and then mix green salsa in the chicken rather than the fried onions and peppers. Black beans and lots of cheese make it delicious. I make the recommended sauce.
This recipe is amazing! First time making enchiladas and I followed it exactly. Your sauce is so flavorful. I used hot chili powder and it added a lot of kick. I added avocado, green onion, and cilantro on top before serving and served it with jolloff rice on the side. Perfect!!
I only had corn tortillas and they were difficult to roll so I ended up just layering them flat with cheese and more enchilada sauce. They were delicious.
Delicious! I always make a double batch of the enchilada sauce because it’s great for several other dishes as well. I make it with gluten free flour and make the enchiladas with gluten free corn tortillas. The trick to getting corn tortillas to stay together is to fry them for about 15 seconds per side in a little avocado oil. Brings out the flavor very nicely.
This recipe sounds great !!
It was delicious. The sauce was great. I did add some chopped sautéed zucchini and for a creamy filling, 2 Tab. Cream cheese with 1/3 cup heavy cream. I would not add any salt. With the broth, chili’s and cheese, the salt content was enough, for us anyway. It can get to salty fast, so watch. But really good.
I’d just like to say thank you as a celiac for including a recipe for gluten free enchilada sauce
Currently have covid and am isolating at home, I was lucky I had all these ingredients :)))
I will never use a pre made enchilada sauce again. Perfect.
I boiled my chicken and shredded it, and used the homemade broth, with two sodium free (old ladies=low sodium) added as my broth for the sauce.
Really excellent. Thank you!
Two sodium free bouillon cubes, I meant.
I should have made a double batch of sauce. And you definitely need the recommended amount of cheese Plus. The taste of the sauce was bitter. I am still looking for the perfect sauce.
Love this recipe – especially the sauce. Can this be frozen for future use?
how many calories in one enchilada?
Great recipe only thing I do differently is bake the chicken in the oven then shred it
I’ve made this recipe 3 times now. It’s delicious. Once I added a can of black beans and it was still yummy. I used the enchilada sauce as well. Easy to make and adds a great flavour.
Enchiladas are traditionally corn tortillas. Flour are burritos.
Love this recipe! When I look up a recipe and gimmesomeoven is an option I know my search is over!
I do this too!!!! I just know that if Gimmesomeoven is an option, it’s gonna be EXACTLY how my family is gonna LOVE it!!!!
The flavor was very good w/homemade enchilada sauce. Now I know to fry tortillas first. So soggy! Please add this step. I will reheat in AF
Great recipe! My wife has a corn allergy so using homemade flour tortillas (or bought from Chipotle LOL) works also :).
Will definitely be adding this to the rotation!
I really like your enchilada recipe. One thing I noticed is you consistently misspell chilies. If possible I would suggest you make a global change to your pages where you use this word and make the change from chiles to chilies. Not a big deal but will look more professional.
Would it be one can of enchilada sauce if you don’t make your own?
I haven’t made the recipe but PLEASE give us the option of going straight to it. Paragraph after paragraph of the history of the dish, blah blah is enough for me to close the page.
This is a great recipe. I used cannellini beans instead of black beans. Otherwise followed original recipe. Not too spicy. I would suggest doubling the homemade enchilada sauce to have enough to put over rolled tortillas before baking.Thanks for a recipe that is a keeper!
I added 1 tspn of Chilli powder and it’s still spicy. Not as deep red so added a bit of tomato paste to improve the colour and cut the heat. I thought the 1/4 cup chilli was a typo
I tried this recipe and my tortillas turned to mush.
I used this for a casserole, since I had too many old corn tortillas that I wasn’t even going to *attempt* to roll… they would have crumbled to dust before my very eyes. That and I’m lazy. So I jjst tore them up and made an ENCHILAGNA. Excellent, will make again. The only thing I didn’t do in this recipe is roll the tortillas.
This is a great way to use up old tortillas and stuff you have in the fridge.
Made the enchilada sauce. After taking a little taste I tried a big taste. It was SO good. Added more garlic as I love garlic. Great recipe!