This Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe is everything you love about chicken enchiladas…stacked into delicious layers instead of rolled up. Easy to customize and always so delicious!
Friends, have you tried my favorite chicken enchilada casserole recipe yet?
I first shared it on the blog about four years ago, as a stackable casserole riff on my favorite chicken enchilada recipe. And in the years since, it has continued to be a regular in my rotation, as well as a total fave with family and friends. It’s made with my favorite easy homemade enchilada sauce, which automatically bumps any enchilada recipe up a mega notch. It’s easy to customize with any of your favorite enchilada fillings. It makes a big batch, making this the perfect casserole to make for a party, or taking to a friend in need, or just having extras for leftovers. It’s made with corn tortillas and is naturally gluten-free. And it is downright delicious.
I’ve tweaked and updated the recipe a tad on my own over the years. So today, I thought I would bump this chicken enchilada bake back to the top of the blog and give it a quick refresh with some new photos and recipe tweaks. Because in case you’ve never tried it…it’s time. :)
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe | 1-Minute Video
My Favorite Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe:
Alright, before we get to the full ingredient list, a quick word about the homemade enchilada sauce included in the recipe. In my opinion, it’s simply the best. It’s irresistibly delicious, and made in the New Mexican tradition (without tomatoes, which I love). It calls for a simply ingredient list that you likely already have in your pantry. And it’s absolutely worth the extra 5 minutes of prep time (plus 20 or so minutes simmering on the stove, which you can multitask) that it requires to make. Thousands of readers have made it and agree — it’s a total keeper!
That said, if you’re absolutely in a hurry, you can sub in some store-bought green or red enchilada sauce instead. But I’d urge you to go homemade if you can. The sauce is the main seasoning in this recipe, and makes all the difference.
Here’s my full post about how to make enchilada sauce. (*Also, be sure to note that this casserole requires a double batch of this sauce!)
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Ingredients:
As I mentioned above, the ingredient list for this recipe is super-flexible, so feel free to add in any of your favorite fillings for chicken enchiladas. I like to use:
Cooked chicken: Either from my recipe for baked chicken breasts, or I often just shred a rotisserie chicken.
Veggies: The recipe below uses a quick blend of onion, red bell pepper, diced green chiles and corn. But feel free to add any other favorite veggies to the sauté.
Beans: Two cans of your faves. I like to use one can of black beans, one can of pinto.
2 (15 ounce) cans beans, rinsed and drained (I used one can pinto, one can black beans)
1 (8 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
3 cups (about 1.5 pounds) shredded or diced cooked chicken
3 cups red enchilada sauce, homemade or store-bought, divided
12 corn tortillas, halved
3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, diced red onion, thinly-sliced green onion and/or diced avocado
Heat oven to 375°F. Mist a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 6-7 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the diced green chiles, beans, corn, chicken and 2 cups enchilada sauce, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in the baking dish, and spread until the bottom of the dish is evenly coated. Top with a layer of about 8 tortilla halves, so that the entire dish is covered. Top evenly with 1/3 of the chicken mixture, followed by 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Followed by a final layer of tortillas, chicken mixture, the remaining 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, and cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil, then bake for 20 minutes.
Remove pan and remove aluminum foil. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is thoroughly melted.
Remove from the oven and serve warm, garnished with your desired toppings.
*To make this recipe gluten-free, double check the labels of all ingredients to ensure that they are certified gluten-free.
*This recipe was originally published in April 2014, and updated in July 2018.
I made this tonight for dinner and we LOVED it! The sauce was a bit too spicy for my boyfriend, but he said he loved it and had extra helpings. :) I added diced tomatoes as a topping at the end, but otherwise didn’t change a thing–thanks for sharing! :)
Does this freeze well?
Ideally I recommend freezing it BEFORE being cooked, if you need to freeze it. Then let it defrost and thaw before cooking. But you can also freeze the leftovers and rewarm them later. So yes and yes. :)
you’ll probably never read this, but I made this tonight and my husband complimented me over 10 times on it. He’s a man of few words and most dinners are ‘that was good’. So this recipe is a keeper for sure.
P.S. the secret to this recipe tasting so good is the HOMEMADE enchilada sauce.
This might be a weird question–but did you “cook” the corn tortillas before you added them?
Nope, I did not cook the tortillas since they essentially come pre-cooked in the package.
I made this recipe tonight and my boyfriend loved it so much that he made sure I wrote a comment.
It was really easy to make and delicious! Thank you!
Could beef be used instead of chicken? Would the sauce still be good with it?
Yes, you could definitely use beef with this recipe (and the same sauce)! Just be sure that it is cooked ahead of time. :)
I have made lots of recipes from pinterest, but this is the first time I have commented. That’s how good this is! I made this for dinner tonight and it was soooooo good. I think it really is because of your enchilada sauce! Delicious! This will now be in my rotation of yummy recipes that my whole family loves (even my 4 year old picky eater!).
I need to figure out how to make this Paleo-friendly. It looks so yum!
So, this is my first time in your blog because a blog I followed linked to this recipe and WOW! Talk about delicious looking. I love how this is stacked because I’ve had the worst luck when you have to roll the tortillas. Can’t wait to give this a try and look forward to reading more in the future.
Made the whole deal tonight and used leftover BBQ steak. My son who DOES not eat Mexican food at all LOVED the dish! LOVED the sauce. ASKED me to make it with chicken.
I thank you I thank you I thank you!
Oh, the rest of the family loved it. Also, I gave everyone a lime to squeeze on top and that was a good add on.
Did I say thank you…Yummo!
I made these yesterday and divided the recipe into two disposable 8×8 inch foil pans. I froze one for later and we ate one for dinner last night. Great recipe!
Ali is right about the chili powder Mine is fresh so I used 3 tbsp. just right for us. I layered mine with an oil spray on the bottom then the tortillas chicken sauce then whatever other goodness I added so the chicken got most of the sauce. Bottom was crispy as was the top. Very good. Don’t be afraid to play with this. She is right it’s about the sauce! Thanks for his good addition to my recipes.
Oh my that sauce just gets better
Sorry one more comment. The main recipe calls for 3 cups sauce but the sauce only makes 2 cups. Modify or you will not have enough.
I would like your recipe for your red sauce for the chicken
Here is the link — https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/red-enchilada-sauce/.
I made this tonight and it was delicious. Thumbs up from everyone, even my 5yr old. Thanks for the great recipe!
This was also VERY good – my husband loved it. I only had a pyrex glass pan in that size, and wasn’t deep dish enough for all of the layers. Question: where did you get your white baking dish as in the photos? I really need something like that for a lot of other needs. Thanks!
Awesome, Anne! And that baking pan is from Crate & Barrel. I have two of their baking pans and love them! :)
Can I use flour tortillas instead of corn? I happen to have flour on hand, just wondering if the flavor and consistency will be off by substituting ? Thanks
Flour will work just fine. Enjoy! :)
I have been looking for a better way to make my chicken enchiladas, I must try these. They look outsiding.
Your recipes are wonderful and I look for them every day. They are explained so perfectly. Thank you so much.
I made the casserole and in the end it was delicious!!! The initial problem was the red enchilada sauce recipe. I made triple the recipe to have enough for the casserole. After adding 8 Tbls (1/3 less than called for) McCormick brand chili powder, and doubling the remaining spices, the sauce was very grainy and bitter. The problem was the chili powder. I added 12oz of a tomato based chili sauce, about 1.75 oz of 85% Lindt Cacao Chocolate, 1 tsp sugar and 2 Tbls pureed chipotle in adobo. Once the sauce had a good taste and texture, I followed the rest of the recipe except for using 4 ears of fresh corn. I sautéed the kernels in extra virgin olive oil (if I had more time, I would have grilled the corn instead). It was truly delicious! Using the corn tortillas gives a depth of flavor. I am trying to locate a finer grind of flavorful chili powder. No luck yet.
Wow, I made this last night, what a fantastic recipe. The homemade sauce definitely is worth taking the time to make. This will be on the monthly rotation for sure.
Hello! I just made these for me and my husband and they were so good I decided it was necessary to leave a comment. I halved the recipe in an 8×8 pan since I was only cooking for two. I ran out of sauce so I skipped the final layer of tortilla+sauce. I just topped it with extra cheese. It was soooo delicious. Served with sour cream & diced avocado. Hubby loved it too which is always a plus. Thanks for a great recipe! Love your blog :)
Wowsa, what a hit, the whole family and their plus ones devoured this will use this again and again. The sauce is definitely the key.
I made this last night and it was SO GOOD! My husband, best friend and I each went back for seconds. I’m so excited to have the leftovers for lunch today, and probably dinner tonight! Thanks for the great recipe!
i went to make this recipe last night and just when I needed recipe your server went down. My timing is unbelievable will make sure I make hard copy versions evreytime from now on. I used another recipe with similar ingredients.
So sorry about that! Yes, yesterday was a nightmare of technical difficulties. The recipe (and the site) is back up and running today though. Hope you enjoyed your recipe, and that you can try this one in the future. It’s one of my favorites! :)
Thanks for your understanding.
This looks so easy and delicious! Thank you so much for posting this recipe! What a lovely recipe to wake up to :) I will definitely be trying this this week. I love Indian food and making home-made Naan will be perfect! :))
This dish was absolutely delishes! My kids devoured it. At first I thought the sauce was to salty. But the sweetness of the corn complimented it well. The only thing I omitted was 3 tbl of chilli powder instead of 4. I give this recipe 5 stars. For being homemade it was really no labor at all.
This was delicious! My daughters had seconds and thirds! Definitely a keeper.
Hi, this looks great! Can this recipe be cooked in a crock pot/slow cooker on low and turn out okay? I do not use my oven in warm weather (San Diego County.) Thanks!
Hey Vickie! I haven’t tried making this in a slow cooker, but imagine it would work. Let me know if you try it!
I made this dish last night including the enchilada sauce. Loved it so did my teenage sons. The only problem is that it turned out very salty. I stuck to the recipe also when making the sauce. I cooked the chicken with a little salt and pepper prior to shredding it. Maybe that was the problem. I will be making this again just adjusting the salt. Thanks for a great recipe. Greetings from Germany. Gabi
LOVED this recipe! Made it for the first time last night, red sauce and all! Awesome pics and gifs also :)
YUM!! Just finishing up some leftover casserole now! I used refried beans which made it soooo creamy. Loved it! Thank you for a great recipe.
Made it last night and it turned out amazing
I tried to make this sauce several times and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t tasting right or looking like the picture? Then I realized it was missing tomato paste/tomato sauce form the ingredient list- make sure you add that to your ingredient list ;)
Ali, Do you think this can be made the night before for a lunch the following day? I have a work potluck that I would like to bring this to. I imagine I could assemble it and and bring it to work and then just pop it in the oven before the lunch. Thoughts?
Yep, I think it would work well! Enjoy!!
This was amazing. I did add a packet of taco seasoning to the chicken which gave it a nice flavor. The hubs loved it too!
What size dish do you use with this recipe?
You might consider having the link to your enchilada sauce actually yield the appropriate
Amount needed for this recipe. Assumed it did, and am cooking it now only to find it yields half of what you need. Unfortunate to discover in the middle of cooking it.
Kind of annoying that the linked enchilada sauce recipe only yields 2 cups when this recipe calls for 3 cups. Oh well, too late now that I’ve spent 20 minutes making 2 cups of sauce.
We made this dinner tonight and the entire family loved it! I highly recommend this meal.
how many people does this recipe serve????
How many people does this recipe serve?
Just made this today and it was wonderful! I will never buy canned enchilada sauce again!
Made this for dinner and added tons of veggies along w/the chicken. Delicious. Thank a you for the recipe.
I’ve made this 5 times for myself so far and it is one of my favorite recipes. The enchilada sauce recipe referenced in the article makes it so much better, too. I made a bulk amount of it and portioned it out in jars that go in the freezer. This dish comes out only mildly spicy, which isn’t enough for me so I usually add some hot sauce or hot salsa on the side. It’s great for leftovers!
Ok so I made this, just now. It’s just OK. The sauce totally tastes like taco bell enchilada sauce. I don’t know if I love it or hate it, or if I should be 20, drunk, and starving at 4am. IF I were to make this again, I would add some chipotle and adobo sauce to the enchilada sauce, maybe more, I haven’t decided yet. It tastes heavy on spices but not “spicy”, if you know what I mean. I would also add a can of drained rotel to the enchilada sauce. Anyway, to whoever said that enchilada sauce with tomato wouldn’t be authentic, then you obviously have no idea what you are talking about, because this is not authentic. This type of enchilada is a like CaliMex or TexMex dish. This dish definitely has potential (love the cheese, chicken, beans, corn and cilantro mixture, LOVE) but that sauce has got to go. I also think that instead of topping it with cilantro at the end I would make a white onion cilantro topping and add that to each individual dish at plating.
Ali, I’ve been making my grandmother’s chicken enchilada recipe for years but misplaced it somehow and spent too long using canned sauce that I would doctor. I made yours tonight and can’t believe the difference! It was sooo good and really easy. I will never use another recipe again. I’m usually compelled to make changes to suit my taste or lack of ingredients. I did this to the letter with the exception that I took your advise and started out with 2 tbs of chili powder. It was very mild, which was perfect for one picky eater…me (chronic heartburn). I have to say I’ve been doing the stacked method forever simply because I’m lazy! Nice to know I’m not the only one. Thank you so much! Now I’m going to have to check out what else you have…
Thanks Diana, I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for giving it a try, and for checking out the blog. : )
I made this tonight for my family and it exceeded my expectations! I tweaked the recipe a little and used some fresh green chillies pureed into the sauce instead of the red chili powder, so basically turned it into a green chili enchilada. Also found I only needed one can of black beans. Overall very good recipe, I have eaten and helped make quite a few enchiladas and this was hands down my favorite, avocado on the top is a nice touch.