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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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1,998 comments on “Chicken Enchiladas”

  1. Made these last night. Simple and delicious. I did use canned enchilada sauce rather than homemade. Maybe next time I’ll give it a try!

  2. Make the sauce All the time …best.
    Best ever enchiladas for sure

  3. Our family is obsessed with this recipe!! I’ve been making it for a least five years now so figured it was probably time to leave a review. :) :) We always make a double batch to freeze for later and even the pickiest eaters around the table always love it!

  4. Thank you for sharing. Has anyone substituted shrimp for the chicken?

  5. Love this recipe, I legitimately get cravings for these specific enchiladas. I have used both corn and flour tortillas and I agree the flour are way easier to manage! I don’t usually have chicken broth liquid in my cabinets, but I always have some powdered bouillon so I use that for the sauce and it works great!

  6. I rarely leave reviews but this right here is amazing. Totally worth making the sauce – that’s the game changer. A great recipe for when you are having people over and want to look like you know your way around the kitchen (which I don’t) LOL. I make the recipe as is with no changes and it is perfect. But, I do make a separate set for my husband who is vegetarian and I substitute the chicken for portobello mushrooms. Also really good!

  7. Never making this again. WAY too much work and results were so so. Followed the recipe to a T. Very disappointed.

    • Yes they do require a little extra work. I enjoy making them. Whenever I’ve made them, people LOVE them. Everyone.
      Even a very particular grandson who works in a Mexican restaurant. Says they’re the best

  8. This is my favorite enchilada recipe. I made them for the first time for guests and they were a big hit!
    Thank you so much.

    I want to make them again for friends who are pescatarian and gluten free. Any gf tortillas you can recommend? Also, how do I bulk up the filling without chicken? Double the beans?

  9. Absolutely delicious. Tasted better than an restaurant enchilada as I could control the amount of sauce. I had leftover roasted chicken so I just chopped that up and added it to the onion once it was cooked.
    Thank you

  10. The enchilada filling by itself was delicious. I’ll be remaking this for sure. Outstanding flavors.

  11. I am from Texas and I have lived in Mexico. You DO NOT make enchiladas with FLOUR tortillas! They just turn into a gooey, sticky, mess. White corn tortillas are the best to use, and if you can’t get those, the yellow corn are fine. The corn tortillas add a rich bottom note to the enchiladas. Using flour tortilla is like making a margarita with 7-Up instead of lime juice. Please don’t mislead the public!

    • Where’s your recipe? I’ll wait. You can use whatever type of tortilla you like! There are no rules in cooking!

    • This recipe is delicious! The sauce is amazing and we’ve made these enchiladas 20+ times. The tortillas always have a firm texture. Cooking isn’t for the timid or the narrow-minded, some of the best recipes are made when cooks try new and different ingredients!

    • I used flour tortillas and they turn out perfectly! LOVE this recipe with flour tortillas!

  12. Made both the sauce & enchiladas last night! Both tasted great and the recipes were easy to follow! I liked making the sauce vs. using canned sauce. After posting photos my sister immediately asked for the recipes! :) Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  13. I’m excited to try this recipe tonight! You mention that leftovers freeze well…do you have a recommendation on how to re-heat these from frozen? Any special instructions?

  14. Easy and SO DELICIOUS! I am definitely keeping this in our rotation!!!

  15. I made these last night and they were great! I made them with the chicken breast diced up. I did add 3 cloves of garlic minced and a diced up sweet red pepper. I also used corn tortillas. I sprinkled diced black olives on top along with the sliced green onions. My husband and I loved them. I will definitely make these again.

    • I make the entire batch of enchilada filling and I make a half batch of the enchiladas that same day. I freeze the remaining enchilada filling and thaw a week or so later for some bomb chicken burrito bowls with rice. It takes care of over two meals for both my husband and I, and I like the bit of variation but only one day of simple prep work!

  16. I am confused. Do I add the beans to the chicken? In the video you don’t. Should I follow the video or your written recipe?

  17. It was good but shredded chicken would of made it taste better

  18. Very good recipe. It made plenty for two people and we froze a lot of it for later eating. Reheated very well.

  19. I must have done something wrong, mixture was extremely watery. Not enough chicken, way too much onion.

  20. Easy recipe and very good

  21. I lost touch with you when my computer crashed. I love this recipe and am making it for Easter.
    Are you still in Spain. I really enjoyed hearing about your travels, family and new recipes.
    Happy to have you back.

  22. Excellent! I made a double batch and used the sauce recipe you provided. I pureed the beans and mixed it in with the chicken and the rest of the ingredients and salted it to my satisfaction, it was perfect! I also fried the shells before filling them and it helped to keep the shells from becoming soggy. I did add some heat by adding cayenne to the sauce along with smoked paprika and just wow! My taste buds thank you!

  23. My husband, who thought he didn’t like enchiladas, is addicted to these! It’s the sauce – super easy and really makes the dish. We’ve made these several times. Sooo good – thank you!

  24. I used a rotisserie chicken and shredded the meat, also added some pepper flakes and cumin- so yummy!

  25. I have made this recipe multiple times. It never fails to please and everyone always wants the recipe. The enchilada sauce is worth making! So good and really makes this recipe outstanding. The everyday mexican salad is delicious with it too!

  26. Wonderful base instructions. Spun the recipe a bit but turned out amazing

  27. Chicken enchiladas is a staple dish in our home, my family and every guest I’ve made it for, loves it and I’ve never screwed it up. Awesome recipe! (also the red sauce)

  28. This was fantasticly good! We had company over (family from out of state), so I increased the recipe 50% more. The ONLY change I made was I added a couple teaspoons of cumin (for 50% more), which I thought it added an extra depth of yummy flavor (but only after doing a taste test). I had a cilantro lime squeeze bottle that mostly you just taste the lime (I squirted a thin-ish line down over the meat mixture), so I still added fresh Cilantro. We love Cilantro so I put a good sprinkle of it inside on the filling. I made a different enchilada sauce but it’s my favorite so I stuck with that. My grandson who is 11 years old has an extremely limited picky range of food he’ll eat (no joke) really liked it. He never wants to try something different and 99% of the time if you talk him into it he doesn’t like it. I was shocked to say the least! I served them with Cilantro Lime rice. I wanted Mexican rice with this dish because it already had those flavors but Cilantro Lime was what I had and couldn’t find a decent Mexican rice. I have one from scratch I really like but I didn’t have time to make it, so I used two boxes of the Cilantro Lime I had on hand. It actually worked well with it.

    I had finely chopped red onions, Guacamole, Sour Cream and more chopped Cilantro (my whole family loves Cilantro) as self serve toppings. It was a fantastic hit! Several wanted seconds. The others were just too full for seconds. I got rave reviews from everyone. My family is completely honest about what they like and don’t like. They won’t say it’s really good unless they mean it.

    Generally, I’m not a big fan of enchiladas but my husband suggested we make enchiladas, since my family loves American Mexican I went searching for a good recipe. He recommended some of the recipes we made in the past but I wasn’t satisfied with those. I went through several recipes before I found and decided on this one.

    The flour tortillas works well with this recipe. Depending on the brand, “large” tortillas were too big and I’m sure you didn’t mean large in that sense. Like some large in one brand were actually extra large in other brands. I used my judgement so you might want to specify size in inches. I think the ones I bought were 8 inch even though inches weren’t specified on the package. Some brands only specify what that particular size is used for but enchiladas is not one of them. The large were like 10 or 12 inches (a popular brand). Just too avoid some confusion for other people making this for the first time.

    So, I’m now a fan of this enchilada recipe, so I’ll be making these in the future.

    Thank you for a fabulous recipe! ❤

  29. Love this recipe. Always use homemade sauce. I
    Use left over chicken and/ or sweet potatoes. Have always used corn tortillas and because I can’t be bothered rolling, I just layer. Still fantastic!

  30. The chicken enchiladas were very good! And the red enchilada sauce ,omg, out of this world. This is a MUST keep recipe.

  31. I liked the enchiladas but the sauce was too spicy! Maybe because I used ancho chili powder? I should have cut in half! I added a full can of tomato paste and thinned it with more broth. Lawrys enchilada sauce is a good one

  32. My husband said this is hands down the best chicken enchilada recipe I have used. Your red enchilada sauce really makes it delicious! Thank you!

  33. This turned out great! Only change I would make would be to double the enchilada sauce. Loved it, so much better than bottled and easy. I also used less cheese, my preference.

  34. Superb recipe! Followed directions, using no substitutes. Made your deliciously simple red enchilada sauce, and used flour tortillas. Everyone asked for seconds—and then some. This recipe now transfers from my “Testing Recipes” Pinterest board to my “Tested: Keepers” board. Will definitely make again, and again. Thanks!

  35. You know that feeling you get after a good meal? Where not just your body but your very soul feels nourished? That’s this dish. Nothing beats good, simple ingredients. I made it with the green sauce (also an A+ recipe, highly recommended) and it was fantastic! I’m excited to try the red sauce recipe next. I also had extra time so I whipped up some homemade corn tortillas to use as well. HIGHLY recommend going the extra mile for a truly sublime enchilada experience.

  36. Love this recipe and the enchilada sauce is awesome

  37. Super yummy! I cooked the chicken in the instant pot since it was frozen, shredded, then cooked with the other stuff and super yummy! Definitely make the homemade enchilada sauce, was much better than store bought.

  38. I made this today, my 1st time making enchiladas. And my whole family loved them! Everyone went back for seconds! Instantly put into our dinner rotation. Thanks so much!

  39. Fantastic enchiladas! The sauce was great as well. I made a few changes due to what I had on hand (I used rotisserie chicken breast from Costco and shredded it, added a can of tomatoes with green chilies to the sauce instead of just green chilies, a can of tomato sauce, and I added a few tables spoons of heavy cream to make the sauce creamier and decrease any spice without taking away the flavor for the kiddos – we douse ours in Tapatio – I added some sauce to the sauté of onion, chicken and beans as well). And top it with lettuce tomato and onion with Lime and salsa! My daughter’s friend from next door said that this was “literally the best food she’s ever eaten!” Definitely a crowd pleaser!

  40. This recipe was amazing and my family devoured it! The only problem was, one batch was not enough! So, I will double the recipe next time. I followed the recipe with no changes except I used gluten free tortillas and they were perfect! Thanks for the great recipe!

  41. A good recipe. Not very complex. I used previously cooked chicken. Also, I didn’t have American Chili and garlic powder. I used fresh garlic, and my enchilada sauce wasn’t red, but it’s the taste that counts, right? My family was happy with the result. Thank you!

  42. Great recipe. I got nothing but praise on the taste and presentation. I did use canned enchilada sauce due to availability and time.

  43. Found this recipe about a year ago and I have made it 3 times, huge hit with the family!!!! Tasty tasty tasty!!!!
    I also made up some lime and cilantro rice with black beans, corn and jalapeños then added it to my chicken and onions, added some enchilada sauce and then filled the shells. Makes so much more and fills those tortillas right up!!!
    Thank you for the amazing dinner👍👍👊🏻

  44. The sauce was very good – I added the heavy cream and a few tbsp of tomato paste. It was VERY spicy so next time I will only do 2-3 tbsp or chili powder instead of 4 tbsp.

  45. My friend made incredibly good enchiladas, used hand made tortillas.
    Thank you for the recipe😊

  46. I love this recipe. Whenever I make a big batch of shredded plain chicken in the crockpot, I like to use some for this recipe. The sauce is excellent!

  47. Recipe is delicious. I’m not going to lie…I made them extra unhealthy but extra delicious by adding a block of cream cheese to the filling. I also used rotisserie chicken and it worked fine. Then, after spreading the remainder of the sauce and before I added the cheese on top, I poured 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream over top. I also had extra mexican cheese so I added extra on top. What came out of my oven was a true masterpiece! I called them Creamy Chicken Enchiladas. Squeeze of lime and a dollop of sour cream…SO good! Thanks for the recipe!

  48. I make this recipe all the time. Especially with the homemade sauce can’t be beat and super easy to make.
    Only changes I make is shredding the chicken over cubing it – I feel as if shredded chicken is a better option for enchiladas.
    We also add black olives to the recipe and they add an amazing flavor to the dish along with some sprinkled cojita cheese crumbled on top.

  49. The best enchiladas ever! We used a couple of tablespoons of refried beans in each enchilada (instead of adding whole beans), and much less cheese than called for. Made the homemade red enchilada sauce as written, then added in a little hot sauce to kick it up a notch. These were really good! Thank you for the recipe!

  50. Delicious! I’ve made this a bunch of times for family and friends. It’s one of the most requested recipes I make and it’s always a hit! I really like the homemade enchilada sauce recipe that goes with it – make it every time. I’ve also made these with veggies instead of chicken and sometimes have substituted vegan cheese for family with dairy/lactose issues. Comes out delicious every time!