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.
AMAZING!!!! Definitely the best enchiladas I have ever had! Thanks so much! This is my new favorite recipe.
Thanks Iris — we’re thrilled that you loved them! :D
Oh man!!! I made this recipe years ago and it was superb!!! I’m so glad I saw it again while getting my Pinterest fix!!! Have you ever made these ahead like for a freezer meal? If so what temp and cooking time adjustments would you make? Gonna give it a go this week! Thanks!!!!
Thanks Emily — we’re glad you enjoyed it! And yes, you can make these ahead of time and freeze. We suggest assembling them without the sauce and cheese that go on top, 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! :)
First enchilada I’ve ever made, I must say not only I enjoy eating it but I love making it, it’s simple yet delicious and tasty. So, I made it again the next day for a friend that just got home from the hospital who loved mexican food.
We’re so glad to hear that Flor — thanks for sharing with us! :D
First time I made enchilada, this one I hit a jackpot, not only my family and i enjoy eating it, I love making it, it’s very simple and easy yet tasty and delicious. So I made another batch the next day for my friend that just came out from the hospital who loved mexican food. And yes! That sauce is worth the time.
We’re so happy you and your family enjoyed these Flor! :D
I have been using your enchilada recipe (and the sauce) for the last 6 months or so and my family absolutely loves it! I never thought I could make enchilada’s from scratch taste so good. The sauce… it is so flavourful, easy, and nutritious… I’ll never use the canned stuff again. I actually sometimes replace the can of green peppers (which are yummy) with a similar sized can of HOT green peppers for my spice-loving family and it works too. Thank you for sharing this recipe and all its goodness.
Have a blessed day!
Thank you for taking the time to share this with us Ann! We’re so happy you love the enchilada sauce! Thank you for giving it a try. :)
These were amazing, I was looking for the best recipe and I found it. The whole family went crazy over them devouring them as soon as possible. I added a bit of tomato sauce to the sauce and some sour cream for a topping and it just tasted yum!
Thanks for sharing Luis — we’re glad to hear they were a hit with your family! :)
Holy moly!!! This is a new staple for the family!! BEST.SAUCE.EVER.
Thanks Brooke, we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed it! :)
I made these with the homemade red sauce. I freaked out at first when I made the sauce because it tasted a little off. I thought it was too salty but persevered incase everything came together at the end. I’m soooo glad I did. These turned out AMAZING! I added fresh jalapeño to a few because my father and I like spicy and my mom doesn’t. Still awesome either way. Served them with plain white rice. I WILL be making these babies again. Thank you for this recipe!
We’re glad the sauce worked out for you Haley, and that you enjoyed the enchiladas as well! Thanks for giving these recipes a try! :)
Just made this for dinner tonite-really easy and painless for even me and I hate to cook! Really tasty and not too spicy-next time though I’d like to try with shredded chicken ?
We’re glad you enjoyed it Debbie! :)
Have you used corn tortillas instead of flour?
Yes, we just prefer the flour ones. :) We hope you enjoy these!
Im sure these enchiladas are great. I hate to disagree with you but my mom makes the best enchiladas hands down in the country and in Mexico. Period. They are not baked. They are pan fried in a tiny bit of oil and enchilada sauce. I would put her enchiladas against any restaurant and chef in the world.
We believe you Pete, they sound wonderful. Moms always make the best food! :)
I made this for my husband and he loved it. Thank you for sharing.
We’re glad to hear that Jane! :)
Made the enchiladas tonite and they were a hit, especially with my 7 and 10 year olds. Made the sauce with homemade chicken stock and it was delish as written. A little tomato paste stirred in made it even more velvety and rich. Thanks for the great recipe.
We’re so glad to hear that — thanks for giving the recipes a try! :)
Anxious to try these. Do they freeze well before cooking? I want to make them at home, freeze them and take them camping.
Hi Linda! Yes you can assemble these and freeze before baking. We suggest assembling them without the sauce and cheese (on top), 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 all of this is helpful, and that you enjoy!
Hi, I love these enchiladas! They are my go to recipe for feeding guests. Could these be made as a freezer meal for a new mom? Would I freeze them before or after baking them? Thanks for your help!
Thank you Maria — we’re so glad to hear that! For freezing, they can either be baked and then frozen once cooled, or assembled,(unbaked), then frozen and baked later. If you’re freezing them after assembling, just leave off the sauce and cheese that go on top. If you bake these and then freeze them (again, just make sure they’ve cooled completely before popping them into the freezer), top with the sauce and cheese, and bake (covered) for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown). We hope this is helpful!
Hi! Made this recipe twice already. It was a big hit with my family. First time I tried it I used corn tortillas cause that’s what I had in the refrigerator. I had a hard time rolling it up cause it wasn’t as pliable as the flour ones and it the shell cracked. Next time I’ll stick to the flour tortillas. Thank’s a lot. Aloha!
Hi Donna! We’re so glad to hear you and your family loved these — thanks for sharing with us! :)
Mexian cheese? I am in Australia, any substitute cheese I could use here? They sound so delicious, would like them served to me now!
Hi Rebecca! Any kind of spicy cheese and/or shredded cheddar or mozzarella will work great in this recipe. We hope you enjoy! :)
I made these last night for dinner. They were beyond delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this.
And I do have to ask… Where in the world did you get your silverware? I absolutely love it!
Hey Brittany! We’re so happy you enjoyed the enchiladas, and the silverware is from Word Market! Here is the link! :)
Add washed babyleaf spinach into enchilada before chicken makes them extra tastey
Made this tonight for dinner. I also made the red enchilada sauce. It turned out wonderful. The sauce really made them special. I did make a double recipie of the sauce and used a good portion of it. Did not measure amount just until it looks right. I already have requests to make it again soon. This is a new addition for family meals. Thanks!
Thanks for sharing with us Linda — we’re happy to hear you and your family enjoyed both the sauce and the enchiladas! :)
I’ve never made enchiladas before so I tried out your recipe. They were so good. The whole process was so easy. The homemade sauce is definitely worth it. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing with us Shan, and for giving these a try! We’re glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! :)
Wow!!! Loved this recipe. I made it with vegetarian chicken chunks and it was awesome! I want to add more spice next time but the homemade sauce is a great place to start before customizing it to your heat level. I thought it a bit salty and I only used half the amount of salt. Overall this was so easy and super delicious!! Thanks!!
Thank you Jen, we’re so glad you enjoyed it! :)
I’ve got mine in oven. My own personal twist, washed babyleaf spinach and slices of pepperoni ?
Those additions sound yummy John — we hope you enjoy! :)
I make these for dinner almost once a month, they are perfect and are a hit with the whole family (whom never seem to agree on anything!). Making the sauce from scratch makes them seem even more delicious, and it’s so easy!
Thank you Shannon — we’re so happy you and your family love these (and the sauce too)! :D
Best ever – no kidding. It is a great base. I have used different enchilada sauces, and even mole with this recipe. It holds up very well. The secret to cooking is the spices/sauce. This recipe supports whatever one might wish to do. Very well done Ali.
Thanks for your sweet words John – we’re so happy you love this sauce! :)
These were amazing! Big hit with the hubby! Couldn’t have asked for an easier or delicious recipe. Thanks!
Thanks Keira — we’re so happy to hear that! :)
Planning on making no these tonight. I’m doing my fitness pal, though. Do you have nutritional information for them? Particularly calories?
Hi Gail! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
Flout tortillas? Dios mío sin!
Yes — we know they’re traditionally made with corn tortillas, so feel free to use those if you prefer! :)
Absolutely Delicious!! Thank you!!
We’re so glad you enjoyed them Eric!
There were so delicious! I have two questions…
1. Can I use a cornstarch slurry or maybe tomato paste to thicken the enchilada sauce? I simmered mine for quite a bit and while it tasted fabulous I felt like it wasn’t really thickening up and was too thin.
2. Is this a freezer friendly dish? I have a friend due with her first baby soon and would love to give her a tray of these to have handy in the freezer. I wasn’t sure if the tortillas would get soggy in the freezer?
Thanks so much! Absolutely LOVE your entire blog, I have yet to see someone take as beautiful food pictures as you!
Making these tonight but even with much less chilli than suggested the sauces still has a significant kick – I’m quite scared the guests will find them too spicy!
We hope everyone enjoyed them Stacey, and that they weren’t too spicy!
Made this tonight! First try at making Chicken Enchiladas. I followed your recipe and also made the Red Enchilada Sauce. I loved it! My sons loved it! Wonderful recipe! This one is a keeper!
Thanks for sharing Ana — we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed these! :)
Made this for Cinco de Mayo tonight. Everyone loved it! I used your recipe for red enchilada sauce. Added 1 Tbs of corn starch to the enchilada sauce to thicken it more. I mixed everything together instead of doing an assembly line (shredded rotisserie chicken, black beans, sautéed onion and green chilies mix, cheese and a can of drained diced tomatoes with green chiles and some of the enchilada sauce). Spooned mixture into tortilla and rolled it up. Poured rest of sauce on top and added cheese. Baked covered (because I didn’t have much sauce left to pour on top and I didn’t want dried out tortillas) . Added chopped cilantro after baking. Was delicious. However, next time I will add some tomato paste to the sauce as it simmers bc the chili powder seemed to over power the other flavors in the sauce. Overall this was simple and very delicious! Thank you!
Thanks for sharing Lori — we’re so happy these were a hit! Thanks for giving them a try! :D
Made these last night for Cinco de Mayo. Turned out awesome. Only thing I did different is I added a few cloves of garlic to the chicken mixture after I sweated the onions a bit. Homemade sauce is quite good. Great base recipe and honestly if you like it hotter it’d be easy to kick it up a notch. Saw canned serrano mix at the store, or some fresh jalapenos would also work. My wife doesn’t like spicy so this was perfect for her, I just added some hot sauce to mine. Outstanding recipe! I may try large corn tortillas next time, but there will certainly be a next time. Thanks!
Hey Vince! Thanks for sharing with us — we’re glad you two enjoyed the sauce and the enchiladas! :D
Made this tasty dish for dinner tonight and LOVED it! The sauce was perfect and the taste was beyond comparison to the pre-made sauce you can buy in a can (and who knew it could be so easy?!?!) I am a full time working mother and also a part time student, so I am often grateful for your recipes that are quick, easy, made from ingredients already on hand, healthy, and never disappoint with taste. My husband and his stomach send his compliments as well!
Thanks for sharing Becky — we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it! :)
I use this recipe every time that I fix enchiladas! It is easy and delicious! Thanks!
We’re so glad to hear that Ed — thanks for sharing! :)
I tried this recipe today and made the red enchilada sauce….it was a big hit. I will be saving this recipe and sharing it on Facebook. A must try for everyone. Thanks for sharing your recipe a real keeper.
Thanks for sharing Wanda — we’re happy to hear it was a hit! :)
WILL MAKE THESE TOMORROW
Awesome — we hope you enjoy them!
Hi ! Do you drain the green chilies ?
Thank you !!
Hi Amber! Yes, we drain them. We hope you enjoy!
I truly agree, these are awesome and the special sauce is what makes them so special! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks — we’re so happy you enjoy the sauce and these! :)
This was the best and easiest tasting enchilada sauce I have ever made! I just added some agave + 6 dark chocolate chips to taste like milder Mole! I cleaned out my fridge of Spanish rice, leftover chx breast, sour cream, cheese, and black beans. I used homemade flour tortillas too. The best ever, thanks for posting this recipe, it’s a lifer in my house!
Thanks Tammy – we’re so happy you enjoyed it! :D
These look fantastic. Would you recommend freezing these? I am looking at making a bunch of freezer meals for our upcoming summer trips.
Thanks Jaime, we hope you enjoy them! And yes, you can freeze these. They can either be baked and then frozen once cooled, or assembled,(unbaked), then frozen and baked later. If you’re freezing them after assembling, just leave off the sauce and cheese that go on top. If you bake these and then freeze them (again, just make sure they’ve cooled completely before popping them into the freezer), top with the sauce and cheese, and bake (covered) for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown). We hope this is helpful!
I just made these enchiladas for dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed them. The sauce was what made the dish. So easy to make homemade enchilada sauce that I will never buy store bought cans again. I always make enchiladas but mine are the green chili kind with tomatillo sauce from a store bought can but I have become completely dissatisfied with the amount of salt and additives in the store bought cans. Making the red sauce from scratch is so much healthier. Always better to eat food made from scratch. I boil my chicken breasts for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts. I add garlic and onions and salt, pepper and some oregano to the water. After the chicken is cooked and cools a little I shred it. I tear it apart with a fork and my fingers. I like shredded chicken much better than cubed. My question is do you have a recipe for the green sauce? I would love to make that too! Thank you for the great recipe!
Thanks for your sweet comment Debbie — we’re so happy you enjoyed both the sauce and the enchiladas! :D
Made the enchiladas and sauce for dinner last night, the only change I made was adding some tomatoe paste as suggested in a previous comment…oh, I also added a little cayenne pepper, it was great. We just ate the leftovers from last night, even better. Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks for sharing Debbie — we’re so glad you enjoyed them! :)
These were absolutely delicious! I LOVED the enchiliada sauce! My son did too and he is a critic! The only thing I did differently than this recipe is added some corn with the black beans. I will be looking up more recipes on this site for sure!
Thank you Lisa — we’re so happy you and your sun enjoyed both the sauce and the enchiladas! :)
This is. Amazing! I have put a few spins on it also. The sauce is what really makes it!
Thank you Pamela — we’re so happy you enjoy the sauce and the enchiladas! :D
Made the enchiladas this evening and they were delicious! I used shredded rotisserie chicken and the homemade sauce. My husband loved them. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
We’re happy you and your husband loved them, donna! :)
I just wanted to say that this recipe was easy and delicious. However, after 20 minutes some of the enchiladas in the center of the pan were just room temperature. I’d recommend maybe an extra ten minutes.
Thanks for your feedback Kelly, we appreciate it!
These are amazing! I made them with the red sauce for a dinner party and everyone loved them. The sauce was spicier than I thought. I had in mind that it might be bland due to the lack of ingredients but it was not. A great recipe anytime for the cheap chicken breasts in your fridge.
Thanks Theresa — we’re happy you enjoyed them! :)
These are awesome! Just bear in mind if you’re in the UK ease up on the chilli powder because it’s waaay hotter here! Blew my socks off first time so added tomato pasata and sugar. Put much less in 2nd time around and…bang on, amazing!
Thanks Mike — we’re so happy to hear that! :)