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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

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 701 reviews
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


My all-time favorite chicken enchilada recipe! See notes above for possible ingredient variations.


  • 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


  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!


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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2,055 comments on “Chicken Enchiladas”

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  1. This sauce is easy and absolutely delicious! Made it yesterday, it was a quick, easy and tasty meal! Served with some fresh avocado and a side salad. Even my somewhat picky 7 year old ate it without wondering what was in it. A go to recipe for sure!

  2. Baking them now.  Made the sauce and everything.  Using grass-fed ground beef instead of chicken.
    To me the sauce was a bit too spicy, but I mostly say this because I am concerned that my kid won’t like it. I can take the heat :)
    For those who cook for kids, I’d recommend cutting the chili powder by at least 1 Tbsp.

    Your website is stunning, and photos are beautiful and happy. Will be peeking again soon. Thanks for posting!

    • Thank you for the kind words Yuliya! We’re happy you like the recipe too, and the heat is definitely adjustable, just depending on tolerance and preference. :)

  3. Made these last night.very good and very easy to mske. We had a family assembly line going to get them in the pan. Thank You.

  4. Seriously, these REALLY are the best enchiladas I’ve ever had, and I’m a Mexican food junkie!  I must have used extra large tortillas though, because my 9×13 dish only fit 5 enchiladas and I didn’t have as much enchilada sauce as I would have liked left to pour on top before baking.  Thank you for an excellent recipe!!!

  5. Found this recipe on Pinterest a couple months ago and have made it three times already. I double the enchilada recipe and triple the sauce recipe (it’s so yummy that I needed more!) and put it in three 8×8 pans. That way I have two pans of enchiladas to freeze for later. Turns out delicious every time! 

  6. I made these last night! They are so delicious! That sauce ?!!

  7. Love this recipe.  I made it layered style casserole.    The sauce is easy and tasty.  I added 1/8th tsp of smoked chipoltle powder to the sauce as well as 2 TBSP of  tomato paste. 

  8. Cook chicken then add chopped onion, green chiles, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder in bowl and toss chicken in bowl.. All other steps same.. Excellent 

  9. These are so yummy!! But what is the best way to make ahead/ freeze them? Do you freeze sauce separate ?

    • Thanks Tammy! Here are our suggestions for making ahead/freezing: We suggest assembling them without the sauce and cheese, then covering them tightly with foil, and putting them in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake them, remove the foil, top with the sauce and cheese, re-cover with the foil, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes until bubbling and golden brown (with the cheese melted completely). We hope this helps! :)

  10. I don’t want to be weird but this and the sauce coupled together…we may be soul mates. If you’re ever in chicago, I’d love to cook you enchildas.

  11. We made this exactly as written except my husband pre-cooked the chicken breast on the grill. A delicious, healthy enchilada and an easy recipe to make- exactly 8 enchilada’s! We did use an extra cup of cheese. We used the red sauce. Even Better! Thanks again!

  12. I see lentils as an alternative to black beans, but the recipe does not indicate whether the lentils are cooked before putting them in the enchiladas.. I assume they would be cooked but want to be sure. If cooked, do you prepare them in any special way?

  13. This is absolutely divine. I’ve made it twice in a week. I have it in the oven now. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. Best enchiladas I’ve ever eaten, hands down. Bravo. 

  14. Ps. 
    I used the red sauce recipe with this. First time making my own sauce. It was easy and delicious. 

  15. You didn’t lie – best chicken enchiladas ever! The homemade sauce is the key.

    • Thanks Erin, you’re so sweet! We’re happy to hear you enjoyed the sauce and the enchiladas. :)

  16. I had to take the time to comment… These are AMAZING!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!!! :)

  17. No tomatoes or paste?

  18. Yes, I made your sauce from scratch & I’ll do it again! Oh my! This enchilada is da bomb diggity! I had one bite and I had to stop just to report my glee. Thank you for an awesome , no, two awesome recipes!!!! Ok. Gotta get back to eating.

  19. I did NOT like this at all!! Ths sauce ruined it. I made it exactly right. It was grainy and powerful. We love spicy, that was not the issue. It was a taste that I don’t want to live with! But with only two of us, I have two more dinners and what to do with the leftovers. Sorry, what a waste of time.

    • Hi Kristine, I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t like the sauce. Most of our readers love it, but some haven’t cared for it. Hope that you can find another recipe you enjoy more!

  20. I love to eat and cook…….this encchilada recipe with sauce has the dubious distinction of being the worse thing I have ever in my life prepared…..even the dog wouldn’t eat it!!!!

  21. Well done delish very filling added a tbsp of shiracha to the chilies 
    We like the heat
    Thanks u

  22. We loved this recipe!! The homemade enchilada sauce was much tastier than the store bought! Thank you for sharing! 

  23. I just finished making (and eating) this and I just wanted to tell you how much my husband and I loved it! I made your homemade enchilada sauce to go with it because I always feel like I can’t review a recipe unless I make it as written the first time. I’m so glad I did! Oh, I did reduce the chili powder in the sauce to 2 tablespoons because I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, so I guess technically I didn’t follow it completely…but close enough. Everything about this recipe was perfection! My husband said this was better than anything he’d had at a Mexican restaurant…I’d say that’s pretty high praise. Thank you for sharing it…it’s a keeper!

    • Thanks for taking the time to share Marcia, we’re so happy you and your husband enjoyed these! :) What a nice compliment!

  24. Just wondering if anyone has tried canning this sauce…I’d love to make a big batch for gifts! 

  25. I am looking to making this in the future. I am wondering if it is possible to make this the night before and then cook it?

    If so, what would you say is the baking time coming out of the refrigerator? Thanks for your work!

    • Hi there! Yes, you could assemble these the night before, refrigerate and then bake at the normal temp – you shouldn’t need to bake them too much longer than what the recipe says.

  26. ive made so many enchiladas from various recipes that made me want to give up on making them. This is by far the best recipe ever!!!! Will definitely be saving this one 

    • That’s such a nice compliment Ashley, thank you! We’re happy you liked this recipe so much!

  27. What an AWESOME recipe. Made this for the first time tonight and everyone loved it. Also made the sauce from scratch as you suggest. Great recipe and easy to follow instructions! Thanks!! 

  28. I made this tonight and absolutely LOVED them! I was fearful of the heat, so I used 2 1/2 T chilli powder in my enchilada sauce, but I think I will up that next time to at least 3. That sauce makes this recipe, if you ask me. 10/10, will make again. 

  29. Just made these and the sauce and will definitely be making again.

  30. Cooked the chicken in the crockpot and wondering if i can just add the green diced chillies from the can when i put it together tomorrow? Looking forward to making this for my family!!

  31. Made this last night and I must say I was a little skeptical using flour tortillas  (this is unheard of in my Hispanic family); however, they came out great! I did change up some things like the amount of chili powder (used 1 tbsp) because everyone eating has different heat level tolerances, added way more cheese, made the sauce a little thicker by adding an additional  2 tbsps of flour, added avocado on the side, and used charro beans (didn’t have any other kind of beans on hand).

  32. Made these for dinner tonight, and my husband is already asking when I can make them again! I used ground chicken to save time, and did half of them with ground bison to appease my meat lover hubby. Our 17 month old loved them too! SO WORTH the time to make the homemade sauce. Super simple and I would never use a jarred enchilada sauce again. Fantastic recipe; will for sure add this to my repertoire!

  33. I made these for my sons birthday and made the sauce as well and they were PHENOMIMAL! I’m sure the sauce played a major role in it. I did make a few changes which included blanching the chicken in a salt and chili powder mixture and flattening it and broiling the chicken and shredding it. I then mixed the chicken into the onions and green chilies after frying them independently. Then carried on as instructed. Sooooooooo good!!! Thanks so much for this post!

  34. I plan on making enchiladas for our Christmas dinner thought it would be fun and casual. I will be having 17 adults 6 chrildren. 
    How much chicken should I use?  Is it better to cube chicken as you stated or shredded. I am also making pork enchiladas.
    I thought I would make 15 of each.
    Will freezing them make them to dry? I will hold the sauce and cheese.
    I am excited about your sauce, hope it turns out can I freeze the sauce?
    Hope to hear from you. 
    Thank you

  35. I made these tonight for my dinner party and I hit it out of the park!  The best enchiladas ever!  They are amazing!!  Everyone had seconds!  Thank you for the new addition to my awesome recipe repertoire! :)

    • Awww thanks Megan, that’s such a nice compliment! We’re happy these were a hit! :D

  36. I made the red sauce, super easy to make and delish!   Will double the recipe when making them again. 
    My boyfriend said they were the best enchiladas he ever had!

    • We’re glad you guys enjoyed the sauce and the enchiladas Kathy – thanks for sharing! :D

  37. I made it as your recipe said and it was HORRIBLE! Shouldn’t there be tomato sauce? I just threw it away.

    • Hi Rick, we’re sorry to hear you didn’t care for this recipe. We’re wondering if perhaps you used the wrong chili powder? The sauce definitely isn’t meant to have any tomato/tomato sauce in it. What exactly was your issue with the recipe – was it with the enchilada sauce, or with the enchiladas? If you could provide some more info for us, we might be able to better help you.

  38. I see that my comment was not published. Trying again. That sauce is the WORST. Sorry, but you made it sound so over the top delicious, and it actually ruined the whole meal. Live and learn.

  39. Great sauce. Made it tonight!

  40. Made this last night….DEEEEEEEEEELISH!  Heat preferences varied across the table and even though the heat was a little strong for one of the guests, he still came back for seconds and thirds.  One modification I did make to the red enchilada sauce (because I know there was going to be a couple people at the table who don’t tolerate too much spicy in their foods), I used two tablespoons chili powder and two tablespoons chipotle chile powder.  I will probably make two batches of this sauce and enchiladas next time for guests, one  batch of “mild” enchiladas with one tablespoon chili powder and three tablespoons chipotle chile powder and another batch of “medium” enchiladas exactly as I made them last night.  These really ARE the BEST enchiladas.  Thank you for this recipe!

    • Thanks for sharing Aurora, we’re so happy to hear both the sauce and the enchiladas were a hit! :D

  41. I tried these a couple weeks ago. Great! I’ve held off on trying any kind of Mexican food until now, but these were great, and very easy to make. And you’re right, the sauce is what makes it. The one thing with me is that I barely had enough sauce. I only had enough left to just drizzle a little bit over the top of the pan. Next time I’ll make more sauce so I can be liberal with the topcoating. But the dish was a success–my wife and friends all loved them. Looking forward to making them again.

    • Thanks Tom, we’re glad you enjoyed the recipe,but we’re sorry you ended up with not as much sauce. We wonder if you cooked it a little longer and it reduced too much? Otherwise yes, definitely feel free to make extra! :)

  42. Made this last night for a group of friends – made the sauce the night before. SO GOOD. Everyone loved it and I passed along the recipe. 

  43. This recipe was not what I was hoping for. The chicken was bland and the sauce was just bad. 

    • We’re sorry to hear you didn’t care for these Zach. We hope you can find another recipe that you like!

  44. So I decided to make these enchiladas..and the sauce today..and i just had to come here and say theyre were the!  delicious!!!  my husband loved them.  thanks for posting the recipes

  45. My daughter and I made the red sauce and the enchilada recipe today.  With her advice we cooked the chicken in a covered dish in the oven and added a PC chipotle/beer sauce, some PC chipotle sauce, maple syrup, and chicken stock (low sodium or no salt) to cover the chicken.  We cooked the chicken and sauce in the oven at 350 F for 1 hour 10 mins.  My daughter then shredded the chicken and dumped it back into the sauce it cooked in, mixing it altogether.  The chicken filling was divine.  My children all LOVE Mexican food and spicy food and everyone agreed that both the sauce and enchilada recipes are keepers!  Thank you!

  46. We made this delcious dish tonight as our first official dinner of 2016. It did not disappoint. I substituted sirloin beef with half of the chicken. I marinated the beef for 6 hours with Worcester sauce, bbq sauce, Tabasco chipotle sauce, salt and pepper. Turned out amazing. Other than the beef substitute, we followed the recipe including the sauce. If your looking to impress some guests and have a Mexican themed dinner party, I highly recommend this dish. 

    • Thanks for sharing Mitch, we’re so glad you enjoyed them! Happy new year! :)

  47. I’m not a fan of beans or lentils, is there something else I ca use in their place that would go great?

    • Hey there! Hmmm, that’s a tough one. We can’t really think of a substitute that would work well in this recipe. We’d say peas are pretty similar, if you like them, but we’re not sure how they’d be in this recipe. Maybe bulgur wheat or barley, because those grains have a firmer texture? We wish we could be more helpful! You could always just omit the beans entirely though. Either way, we hope you can enjoy these! :)

  48. I had to tweek your recipe, dumped the flour tortillas, um true enchiladas are done with corn, and shredded chicken works better. But taking the chicken and marinating it in the special sauce then roasting before shredding was an absolute dream to the taste buds!

  49. I’ve never made enchiladas before but wanted to use the rest of our New Years Turkey leftovers in a different way. I followed your sauce recipe exactly but added 1/4 cup cream to make it creamier. Turned out great and definitely a welcome twist on leftover turkey!!

    • Thanks for sharing with us Amy, that sounds so yummy and we’re happy you enjoyed these! :D