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 40 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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569 comments on “Chicken Enchilada Casserole”

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  1. Will lentils need to be cooked if subbing for cheese? 

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  4. how many people will this serve? i have to make it for my food tech assignment and the dish has to serve 2 people.

    • Hi Emerson! The recipe states this will serve about 8 people, so we’d suggest just cutting it in half (and you’ll have some leftovers). Instead of a 9×13-inch baking dish, you can use an 8-inch baking dish. We hope this was helpful and that your assignment goes well (and that you find it tasty)! :)

  5. My daughter and I just finished making this, it looks great! Used an enchilada sauce from Trader Joe’s, and it tastes delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe:) 

    • That’s awesome Kelli, we’re so happy you both liked it — thanks for sharing! :)

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  7. Holy effballs this is so delicious! I roasted a couple kinds of peppers, diced them and tossed those in because I’m in Asia and on a mission to figure out which ones I like. Success! Thank you for this recipe- and the sauce is too easy! Going to be a go-to. 

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  9. OMG! I just made this and I think it may be the best thing I’ve ever made! Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I cooked my chicken with a can of Rotel tomatoes. I used that stock, putting it in the blender to liquefy for the enchilada sauce. It was so easy and the entire recipe turned out great!

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  11. Have you ever tried making these with ground beef?? My dad is coming over for dinner tomorrow and only likes “real” (LOL) meat. 

  12. Is it possible to substitute the chicken with ground turkey?

  13. Ali, I haven’t read all the comments so don’t know if anyone else used the crock pot for this like we did…temperatures are still in the 3 digit range here in Southern CA and it’s too hot to use the oven. I followed all directions, layering in the slow cooker, putting the last layer of cheese on top, and cooked on low for 4 1/2 hours. It was PERFECTION!!! My husband is Mexican and rates this 5 stars….highest possible. Thanks!

    • That’s awesome Karin, we’re happy this worked out well in the crockpot — thanks for sharing with us! We’re so happy you and your husband liked it (and that’s an awesome compliment from him especially)! :D

  14. Made this tonight  and it was SO good!!  I made the homemade enchilada sauce which is killer (doubled recipe). And after it was done I put a dollop of sour cream on top with the cilantro & green onion. Very filling too!  This will be a good crowd pleaser !  Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

  15. I will try this recipe. ( Mainly for the sauce recipe, as I already get the layering concept). I’ve never used corn but it makes perfect sense, so I will throw some on in. I usually do chicken, black bean and mexican infused rice ( Cash & Carry). If I roll enchiladas, I soften them, one at a time in boiled water, careful not to do it too long, or they become complete mush. I used to do the oil method, but hated adding the unnecessary extra calories. Just thought I’d pass that on to your peeps. ( You are possibly already aware.) Can’t wait to try this sauce recipe!

  16. Wow!  Tried this and it was so so excellent!  Rave reviews and two people finished off what I expected 4 to.  Glad it is a generous recipe.  Don’t know how to send my picture!

    • Thanks Karen, we’re so happy you liked it! Are you on Instagram? Just add the hashtag gimmesomeoven Or you can tweet it @gimmesomeoven :)

  17. Do you use soft or hard tortillas for this recipe?

  18. i three this recipe and it came very good even my boyfriend loves it and so easy to do

  19. Can I use flour tortillas instead of corn? 

  20. I made this recipe for dinner last night for my boyfriend and I, and it was a total success! We both loved it and couldn’t get enough. I even took some in to work today for lunch. Thank you so much for this easy and delicious recipe!

  21. Every time I read chicken cooked, I always wonder what’s the way you cook your chicken? I have tried various methods and am never quite satisfied. How do you do it so that the flavor works perfectly for your dish? Thank u!!!

    • Hi Geneve! Sometimes it’s just a store-bought rotisserie chicken that we shred, other times we LOVE this method:

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  24. I can’t wait to make Stacked Enchilada for this weekend for a party! Sounds soooo good & easy! I’m planning to make your sauce too! Thank you!

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  26. This unbelievably delicious!  I don’t normally like res enchilada sauce, but I made yours for the recipe and I absolutely loved it!  This was so quick and easy to make and everyone came back for seconds.  This is definitely added to my must make agaian and again list.  :)

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  30. I’m cooking this today, unfortunately not with your red sauce recipe because I bought one and I’m still having lots of them. I have the same issues with the corn tortilla I really hate that falls apart, I don’t know what to do to avoid that so I always buy the flour tortillas, except that this time I grabbed the wrong one  at the store so finding this recipe is a kitchen miracle to me. I did read the reviews and Geneve on October 15 ask you about the methods for cooked chicken… I think you put a link but doesn’t show up.

  31. I would like to make this to freeze. Any recommendations for freezing?. And how long to cook?

    • Hi Jennifer! We suggest assembling them all the way (except for the 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 3/4 cup of cheese, re-cover with the foil, and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for about 10-20 minutes (or until) bubbling and golden brown, with the cheese melted completely. We hope this helps! :)

  32. Hatch Enchilada Sauce, both the red and the green, are GF. Very much enjoy this recipe! 

  33. This recipe was incredible!! I have Celiac Disease and this was amazing to taste, smell and eat!! Thank you!!

  34. Hi! I’m making this tonight. Just wondering how you like to cook the chicken. Thanks!

    • Hi Briana! It’s honestly totally up to you. Sometimes we just buy a rotisserie chicken, roast our own, poach it, or brine it. We hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  35. Love this recipe. Do you happen to have an approx calorie count?  

    • Thanks Jamie, we’re glad to hear that! Unfortunately though, 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!

  36. Just made the sauce and it is the best I have ever tasted!!! And so easy! I can’t believe it! Have you ever assembled this casserole in the morning and cooked later? Wasn’t sure if tortillas would get soggy or not?

    • We’re so glad you enjoyed the sauce Rachel! We haven’t tried assembling the casserole in the morning and cooking later, but we think you’re right, that the tortillas would probably get soggy.

  37. We have decided to have a Mexican Feast instead of the traditional Turkey Feat this year for Thanksgiving……because I too am so thankful for Mexican food!! I will be making this dish instead of enchiladas! I.Cannot. Wait!!

    • That sounds perfect and so fun Lorrie! WE hope you have a blast, and that you and your friends/family love these! :)

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  40. Do you think this could be frozen? Without the avo and cilantro?

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  42. Made this for dinner tonight. Cut a slice and topped with sour cream. So delicious!!

  43. This was really good! I made the sauce, but I think I messed it up a bit. I used beef stock and burned it a little bit lol. I added a little bit of store bought sauce just to make the amount needed. Everyone love it. My 3 year old had THREE helpings!

    • We’re so happy you and your family enjoyed this recipe (despite the burnt sauce)! :D

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  48. Hi there! I have made this multiple times and ADORE this recipe! My mom is getting surgery this week, and I want to make this to bring over as an easy “pop in the oven” meal. Do you think it’s best to make in advance (maybe 24 hours or so), and pop in the oven and take over and THEN cook? Or cook…put in the oven and then re-heat at her house?

    Would love your thoughts!! And again, huge fan of your recipes! 

    • Hey Callie, we’re so happy you’re a fan of the recipe! :) And yes, you can definitely bake these ahead of time, let them cool completely, and refrigerate until you’re ready to reheat. You can reheat them in a 350 degree oven (covered with foil), for around 15 or 20 minutes or so (just check them, as they may need longer to heat all the way through again). Alternatively you could just assemble them, then refrigerate until you’re ready to bake (you would just need to bake them longer, since they’ll be chilled). We think either way would work fine – we hope your mom heals quickly and that she enjoys the enchiladas! :)

  49. I have been looking for a killer enchilada casserole for years. I do believe I finally found it. Can’t wait to make it! As a fellow Kansas Citianite (is that a word?!), I LOVE your blog. I don’t know how food bloggers do it. You make thousands of entrees, appetizers, sides, breads, desserts, and more, and then photograph everything. Then you write about it. Sheesh. It takes a lot of hard work and I admire all of you for your amazing talent and dedication. 
       Take care;)

          

    • Thanks Jana, we hope you love it! And thanks for your sweet words about the blog, we’re so happy you’re here! :)

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