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?!

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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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531 comments on “Chicken Enchilada Casserole”

  1. This is a very VERY good recipe. I made the enchilada sauce as well. I did double the sauce recipe as I thought it needed it. It was delicious! 

  2.  We just made this tonight and enjoyed it, however next time I will sauté the veggies together to soften them a little and make more of the enchilada sauce. I added some red onion, tomato, and olives on the top.

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  5. Hi Ali,
    Thanks for your fantastic recipes, were off in May on another RVroad trip from L.A. to Rocky Mountains then back down into the USA again for 6wks and i will be using some of your recipes while on the road.  Were a couple of crazy Aussies that love our road trips across your great  country, meeting and hearing about the lives of the laid back friendly people in the out of way places, plus tasting the unique foods from every state we visit.    

    Cheers,
    Vonny.

  6. I just wanted to say thank you for this great recipe! I have tweaked it after making it a few times: less tortilla layers, more chicken, and then I added a layer of brussel sprouts and a layer of zucchini. I love the sauce! I drizzle it on the chicken before covering it with zucchini and cheese, as well as layering it on the bottom and the top. Thanks again!

    • You’re so very welcome Peggy! We’re happy to hear you enjoyed these, and we think the brussels sprouts and zucchini sound like wonderful additions! :)

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  8. Do you have any Nutritional facts on this?   Looks amazing 

    • Thanks Traci! Unfortunately though, we aren’t sure 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!

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  10. Just made this for dinner (it’s cooking right now!).  The only thing I wish I knew was the size of the tortillas you used.  I had cut mine in half and it turns out mine were large enough to only used 2 whole (4 halves) per layer.  I also used ground turkey instead of cooking and shredding up chicken to save me some time.  

  11. Just made this tonight and my fiancée loved it! I sautéed yellow onion with two jalapeños and some garlic instead of green onions. Made the enchilada sauce with almond meal flour and was great except it never thickened up as much as your photos but still tasted great! Will definitely be making this again! Cheers!

    • Thanks for sharing Angela! We’re glad to hear you and your fiancé enjoyed it! :)

  12. Can this be frozen?  If so, how do you recommend – before or after baking?  How long and at what temp?  Thank you! :)

    • Hi Alli! If you want to freeze them, you can. If so, we suggest assembling them without the sauce and cheese, 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). Alternatively you could assemble them in the morning and cover them in the fridge, and then bake them that evening (take them out so they can come to room temperature before baking, or you will just need to bake them longer. We wouldn’t make them more in advance than that though, as we do think they would get soggy. We hope all of this is helpful, and that you enjoy!

  13. Looks delicious! Can’t wait to make this. My family loves Mexican food

  14. This looks awesome – any thoughts/experience on how well it would freeze?

    • Thanks Christine! Yes, you can freeze this. We suggest baking these, letting them cool completely, and then freezing. When you’re ready to reheat, simply cover with 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. We hope you enjoy!

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  16. Might be a Crazy Question, I am not a fan of Black Beans..Could I use Wild Rice/Rice instead ??

    • Hi Heather! Sure, we think that would work, or you could use another type of beans that you like. We hope you enjoy!

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  18. These are the best and the sauce is even better making them again tonight both the white and the red cause we can’t decide between the 2 yum!!!!

    • Thank you Rhonda – we’re so glad you enjoy the sauce and the casserole! :D

  19. oh.my.goodness. This is such a wonderfully fresh tasting casserole and quite healthy too!! Made it g-free and exactly as written, including your sauce. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and an extra drizzle of  the enchilada sauce – so delicious!! Definitely will be making this one again! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Thank you for sharing Jackie — we’re so glad to hear you enjoyed it! :D

  20. I love looking…I’m a good cook…But my Greek recipes (I’m Greek)  takes quite some time ..so I m going to try your recipes They realy interested me…and I think I’m going to like them and so my family ..Thank you.

  21. This is an amazing recipe.  And the enchilada sauce is so easy to make, and it makes me feel good that Im not using a canned, salt laden sauce.  I even used pre cooked roasted chicken and was amazing.  A total keeper.  Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thank you Kristin — we’re so glad you enjoyed the sauce and the enchiladas!

  22. Well, just finished this casserole for dinner. So disappointed.  So bland and for the amount of money and ingredients definitely not worth it.  Now, to be fair, I used store bought enchilada sauce.  But, there is no way I would try this again with the homemade sauce.  It presented so well on the plate with the fresh Cilantra and even dolloped sour cream on top. Still so very
    bland.  Sorry, for the negative comment but I will not be making this again.

    • Hi Betty! We’re so sorry to hear you didn’t care for this. While the homemade sauce makes a huge difference (we think), it still shouldn’t have been bland with store bought sauce. We hope you can find another recipe that you like better!

  23. Suggestions for making this dairy-free?

    • Hi! Yes, you can just use dairy-free cheese, such as Daiya. We hope you enjoy!

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  25. I’ve been making this for 50 years. But I call it tamale pie, instead of corn meal mush I use corn tortillas. Hambugur or ground turkey cooked with onion, garlic, chili powder  sliced olives, corn, and tomatoe sauce. Layered as you did. Has been a family favorite and great for pot lucks. Yours looks great but I don’t like black beans.

    • That’s very cool Margie — we like the sound of tamale pie! :)

  26. We had this meal this evening …. Totally delicious!! Thankyou .

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  28. If I understand this right, the casserole recipe calls for 3 cups of enchilada sauce, but the enchilada sauce recipe makes 2 cups?  So I need to make at least 1 1/2 times the sauce recipe? I see that some people even doubled it. 
    Thanks.

    • Yeah, sorry that’s confusing. I do usually make a double batch of the sauce, and just keep the leftovers on hand for another recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

  29. Hi. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Are you using soft shell corn tortillas? I can only find the hard ones. The soft ones that are in the stores are flour, not corn

    • Thanks Howard — we hope you enjoy! And yes, we used soft shell corn tortillas. That’s strange that you haven’t been able to find the soft ones — they should be right near the soft flour tortillas at just about any grocery store. We hope you can find some and give this recipe a try! :)

  30. Amazing! We made this on vacation when we had plenty of time to chop and prep and make the sauce from scratch. THAT SAUCE – OMG – delicious. I expected it to be quite involved to make, but it was so simple, there is no reason to ever buy pre-made canned sauce again. The whole thing, all put together was just perfect. I like some of the comments about adding jalapeno peppers for a bit of heat, perhaps on top or as a garnish. Outstanding and thank you! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.

    • Thanks Stephanie — we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed the enchiladas and the sauce! Thanks for your kind feedback! :)

  31. I have a question about the tortillas.  Do you mean to layer them right from the package (uncooked)?

  32. Oh yum!  I made a few changes:
    I sauteed finely diced onions, red peppers and 1/2  of a serano pepper, then added shredded grilled chicken and a bit of sauce.  Layered as directed, but in one pan I added refried beans to one layer.  I did not use corn.  So very good!  I made a separate pan with green sauce and froze it for later.   Thank you— easy and so good!

    • That all sounds wonderful Janna, and we’re so glad you enjoyed these! :)

  33. It’s in the oven now…..So excited!

  34. Hi there!! I was wondering if when finished and there are leftovers will it still stay good if you keep it in the fridge? I’m afraid of the tortillas becoming soggy. Thanks for the help!!!

    • Hi Kim! Yes, it should hold up for a couple days at least. We hope you enjoy!

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  41. I’m in the process of making this and just finished the sauce. I don’t know if it’s my brand of chili powder or not, but it was so salty, spicy, and overpowering that I made another batch of sauce, leaving out the chili powder and salt, then mixed them together. NOW it’s delicious, as are all of your recipes I’ve tried.

    The only change I plan to make is lightly frying the tortillas before assembling the casserole. The thought of eating raw corn tortillas makes my throat close up. I know they get baked, but with everything covering them and wet with sauce…just no.

  42. Have you ever assembled this the night before and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake it?

  43. This was very good. I didn’t have time to make the enchilada sauce so I used canned but sautéed a few cloves of garlic and a quarter of a white onion to give the enchilada sauce more flavor. Reminds me of tamale pie as tortillas turn to more of a Mesa consistency when cooked this way. I only used 1 can of beans. I think 2 cans would have been way too much. 13 year old daughter and her friends loved it. I will definitely make this again! This exceeded expectations and I’m quite the food snob!

    • We’re glad you, your daughter, and her friends enjoyed it Kathleen — thanks for sharing with us! :)

  44. Have you tried assembling this the night before and storing in the fridge before baking the next night?  Wondering if the tortillas would hold up?

    • Hi there! We haven’t tried that, but we worry the tortillas would likely start to disintegrate and get soggy. :(

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  47. Just made tonight.  I will double the sauce next time and I added penne corn. Yum.  My husband of 19 years says it was one of the best dinners I have ever made.  Really!  everyone liked it and it was all Gluten Free.  Corn shells and gluten free flour in the sauce.

    • That’s so sweet, Susie — thanks for sharing with us! We’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it! :)

  48. Tried this recipe last night and it was fabulous! I added extra seasoning to the enchilada sauce to spice it up a bit and extra veggies from our garden and we loved it!

  49. U need to double the sauce recipe to have enough

  50. I made this for dinner tonight,as we are starting the whole Gluten Free journey. It is delicious. I too made the red sauce and would have wished that it would have gone farther, but it worked and was yummy.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Laura — we’re happy you enjoyed the sauce and the casserole! :)