Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe is everything you love about chicken enchiladas…stacked into delicious layers instead of rolled up. And made with the best homemade enchilada sauce recipe.

The BEST Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe

Whenever anyone asks what food I miss most in the States, my instant answer is still the same as it was on week one after moving to Europe — Mexican food.

Oh my goodness.  I’ve been away from my favorite Mexican restaurants back home (with their glorious tradition of complimentary chips and salsa that we will never ever take for granted again) for going on eight months now.  And while I had wondered whether the Mexi cravings would begin to subside with time, they instead seem to be getting stronger and stronger.  Which means that the friendly owner of the Latin American grocery (where I make special trips to stockpile tortilla chips) now knows me by name, our food processor has now become known as the “salsa machine”, all of our Spanish friends have officially been introduced to our favorite margs, and I find myself digging back into the blog’s archives weekly to make my favorite Mexican dinner recipes.  And the latest fave?!

This easy chicken enchilada casserole recipe.

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, which is perfect for a party, or wrapping up to take 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 comfort food, wherever in the world life may find you.

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

The Best Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

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

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.
  • Enchilada sauce: Homemade or store-bought.
  • Corn tortillas: We’ll cut them in half, in order to help them layer a bit more evenly.
  • Shredded cheese: Any kind of Mexican blend, Monterrey Jack or Pepperjack will do.
  • Toppings: Chopped fresh cilantro, diced red onion, thinly-sliced green onion, diced avocado, sour cream, extra cheese…whatever sounds good to you.

How To Make Stacked Enchiladas

How To Make Stacked Chicken Enchiladas:

To make this chicken enchilada casserole, simply:

  1. Cook your filling: Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft.  Then stir in the green chiles, beans, corn, chicken and enchilada sauce until combined.  This will be your main filling.
  2. Stack your layers: In this order: enchilada sauce, tortillas, chicken filling, cheese, tortillas, chicken filling, cheese, tortillas, chicken, enchilada sauce and cheese.
  3. Bake: Covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 10 until the cheese is melted.
  4. Garnish: Sprinkle on any of your desired toppings.  (I vote the more, the merrier for sure.)
  5. Serve warm: Or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  (The leftovers are fantastic!)

Easy Chicken Enchilada Bake Recipe

Possible Variations:

Looking to mix things up?  Feel free to:

  • use a different protein: cooked beef, pork, or shrimp would all be delicious in this recipe (or you could nix the meat entirely)
  • add more veggies: as mentioned above, extra veggies/greens would be delicious in this recipe, either sautéed or roasted
  • nix the cheese: I’ve made this recipe dairy-free multiple times in the past, and didn’t even miss the cheese with all of the other great flavors/textures happening here

The BEST Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe

Mexican Side Dish and Drink Ideas:

Let’s make this a meal!  Some classic Mexican recipes to go with this chicken enchilada bake could include:

Or as always, feel free to check out our Mexican recipe archives here on the blog for more inspiration.

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

Love Enchiladas?  Check Out These Recipes Too!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole with Avocado

Enjoy, everyone!

Favorite Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe

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4.7 from 39 reviews

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 8 servings 1x

Description

This chicken enchilada casserole recipe is easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and full of the BEST flavors!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Mist a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, then bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove pan and remove aluminum foil. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is thoroughly melted.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve warm, garnished with your desired toppings.

Notes

*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.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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567 comments on “Chicken Enchilada Casserole”

  1. 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.

    • Hi Gina,

      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.

  2. 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!  :))

  3. 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. 

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  5. This was delicious! My daughters had seconds and thirds! Definitely a keeper. 
    Thanks!

  6. 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!

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  9. Hi,
    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

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  12. LOVED this recipe! Made it for the first time last night, red sauce and all! Awesome pics and gifs also :)

  13. 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. 

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  16. Made it last night and it turned out amazing 

  17. 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 ;)

  18. 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?

  19. 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! 

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  25. What size dish do you use with this recipe?

  26. 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. 

  27. 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.

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  29. We made this dinner tonight and the entire family loved it! I highly recommend this meal.

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  31. how many people does this recipe serve????

  32. How many people does this recipe serve?

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  35. Just made this today and it was wonderful! I will never buy canned enchilada sauce again!

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  37. Made this for dinner and added tons of veggies along w/the chicken. Delicious. Thank a you for the recipe. 

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  41. 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!

  42. 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. 

  43. 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…

  44. 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.

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  49. I made this for my boyfriend who’s from New Mexico. He loves spicy food, so I made this but added in cayenne pepper as well to the enchilada sauce. It was amazing and he almost are the whole tray in one sitting! I left out the beans since he’s allergic but it was still yummy. Next time instead of cayenne I’ll add in hatch green chilies. This is a keeper!

  50. Can this be frozen?  Sounds great, but too much for one person.