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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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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

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

Directions:

  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.

*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.

All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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548 comments on “Chicken Enchilada Casserole”

  1. I copied your enchilada sauce recipe from the Casa Blanca Restaurant  Website and I wondered why there is only chicken broth and no tomato sauce in it.  Sounds good but different.
    Thank you-
    Catherine

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  4. What casserole dish did you use for this?  Our biggest is a 9×13 Pyrex, and it was overflowing!  We are in desperate need of a good, big casserole dish :)

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  8. Made is tonight along with the enchilada sauce… it was a hit! Everyone loved it!

  9. If I wanted to freeze this could I fully make it then freeze ? Thx!

    • Hey Karen! You sure can, though I think you’ll have better results if you bake them, cool them, and then freeze them. Some people prefer to freeze them with the sauce and cheese, but I think it’s better to add those right before baking. Just make sure you do a tight seal of plastic wrap and/or foil over them before freezing. Also, you’ll just need to add about another 30 minutes or so (maybe longer) to the baking time. Just keep an eye on them, and make sure they’re bubbling. Hope this helps! : )

  10. So funny to see this as a new popular recipe, my mom used to make this and I have been doing it for years, mostly as a crockpot recipe, except I have never had anything written down as a recipe. My friend from New Mexico says this IS chicken enchiladas, when she came to Texas she asked why we rolled ours up?
    Anyway, love to see excitement on an old favorite.

  11. I made this last night but used bow tie noodles instead of the corn tortillas… Delish!!!

  12. Hi! This sounds delicious and I was wondering if it would work to assemble this one day and heat the next? 

    • Hi Glenda! I feel like the tortillas will dry out the longer they’re in the fridge, so I would either bake them within a few hours or so after assembling them, or assemble them (except for the sauce and cheese), freeze, then bake. OR, you could bake them entirely, let them cool completely, cover tightly, then freeze and reheat in the oven before you want to serve them. I hope this is helpful!

  13. Made this today and it was absolutely delishcious! My entire family loved it. A definite winner! Thank you!

  14. This is an amazing casserole! I will be making this ASAP!!

  15. Please be aware the sauce recipe only makes maybe 2 cups…and you need at least 3 for this enchilada recipe so definitely double it.  I forgot to do that.  :-/

  16. Made this tonight for Cinco de Mayo and it was the perfect way to celebrate! Love the homemade enchilada sauce. Love homemade anything, and I will definitely never need to buy a can of that stuff. Just wish I had doubled the sauce so I could eat it with a spoon. I mean, um, have on hand for more Mexican food later in the week. Yes, that. Thanks for a great meal!

  17. Oh my word. Just finished having this for dinner and it was amazing!! And paired well with a Corona Light for our “Siete de Mayo” celebration! My boyfriend says you missed an opportunity to call it “Enchilasagna” :) Can’t wait to make it again!

  18. Tried this on my Bunco group last night & they liked it.

  19. This is absolute perfection.  It is almost like lasagna.  I so want this!

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  22. I can’t describe my deep love for enchiladas. I agree with you that the tortilla softening is a big pain. I spray mine with vegetable oil and then put them in the oven for a few minutes, inevitably burning my fingers trying to form the enchiladas before the tortillas stiffen again. It’s quite clever to forgo that whole process with a casserole. I’m going to have to try this recipe! I like you toppings GIF. Very Fun!

  23. if I use a different enchilada sauce do I need to heat it up before adding it into the layers?

  24. Can you use onions instead of scallions?

  25. I have made this 3 times now (and just in the last month) but tonight’s came out like soup… And I have no idea what I did wrong… I will definitely try again in a couple of weeks!

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  28. I have a question.  I made this in 2 smaller pans so I can freeze it. Do I freeze the 2nd pan b4 or after I bake it?

    • Hi Regina! I would assemble them without the sauce and cheese, then cover them tightly with foil, and put 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). I hope this helps!

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  30. These received the highest praise from my 16-year-old son: the best enchiladas you’ve ever made! Thanks for a winner. 

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  32. Easy Chix Enchiladas 

  33. This is in the oven now and I can’t wait to eat it!!

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  35. The trick to using corn tortillas in enchiladas is to flash fry them in oil for 10 or 15 seconds, dunk in enchilada sauce, and then stuff and roll.

  36. Wow! We have had challenges going gluten free since our daughter was diagnosed with Celiac’s at the age of 18. This recipe is awesome and super easy! My family loves Mexican food and it seems so time consuming and expensive to make. I’m not a huge fan but am fast becoming one with this recipe! We ate leftover’s for the first time in years! Thank you so much for making me a beliver & hero!

    • That’s wonderful to hear, Kim, we’re so glad this recipe is a hit with your family, and especially with your daughter!

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  39. 2 things to say about this.  1). MAKE the homemade red enchilada sauce.  It was so easy and so savory & delicious!  And make a double batch if you’re making it for these stacked enchiladas.  I used 3T of the chili powder & the heat was just right.  2). Loved this recipe, husband LOVED it and I bet it’s even better tomorrow!  Wouldn’t be the same without the black beans or the corn.  Delicious!!

    • Thank you Laurie, we really appreciate that, and are so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks also for sharing your tips. :)

  40. I made this dish last night with the enchilada sauce. It was simply AMAZING!! I just raced home from running errands to eat the last of the leftovers but sadly just missed them as my husband ate them minutes before I pulled in the driveway. Bummer!! I’ll be making more of your recipes. Yum!

    • Thanks Jenn, that’s so great to hear! : ) We’re very happy you and your husband enjoyed them (but sorry he didn’t leave you any leftovers!)

  41. this has been my favourite dish to make since finding it on Pinterest. I’ve made it for many friends and it’s always gone! I also use the receipt for homemade enchilada sauce. That is so yummy too!

  42. My husband and I really like this recipe! The two of us have worked through most of the 9×13 pan in about three days (dinner once and a few lunches). I made it slightly different than posted because I was trying to use up what I had in my fridge. This recipe is so versatile and I love that I can change things up to suit our tastes. 

    I made a double batch of your enchilada sauce (but used only half the chili powder to keep the heat down). I used chicken fat in place of the oil and homemade chicken stock + water for the broth. I also added a bit of diced yellow onion (needed to use it up!). For the stack, I made only two layers, since three would have been overflowing in my 9×13! I used a mix of black beans and pintos instead of just black, along with the corn, chicken, cheese and green onions. I also added some leftover rice that had been made with turkey stock instead of water. Yum! I had a bunch of chicken and beans leftover since I only did 2/3 layers. This was good plain AND topped with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, etc. We’ll make this often. Thanks!

    • Thanks Jenna, we’re so happy this was a hit with you and your husband! And thank you for sharing your take on it, it sounds wonderful! :)

  43. Did you give the nutritional info/calorie count? I looked, but maybe I missed it. Even a ballpark estimate would be great.

    • Hey Lauren, unfortunately we do not offer nutrition facts/calorie info on our site at this time. A lot of the calorie calculators out there are inaccurate, and we don’t want to post anything that could be misleading. That being said, a lot of our readers like using My Fitness Pal, so you could give that a try!

  44. Made these tonight.  Deeelicious!

  45. Do you have the nutrition info; serving size; how many calories per serving; etc.  Nora

    • Hi Nora! Unfortunately we aren’t currently publishing nutrition facts on the site. The nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. But many of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  46. i made this for a birthday party, huge hit!!!  I made two trays (both fully cooked). I ended up freezing the second tray. How do I reheat it?  I wanted to serve it tonight for company. 
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Lori, we’re sorry for just now getting to your comment. We’re glad to hear these were a hit though! For reheating, we’d suggest just covering with foil and heating at 350 for 10-15 min (or until they’re bubbling).

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  48. Hey Beth I hate spicy food, so no, even with the green chiles, they aren’t spicy. You could add jlapnaeos, if you want them spicy. They were really good. It’s a good thing to do with those cheap chicken breasts that I told you about. I really couldn’t believe I got an entire pan of food out of just two breasts.

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