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”

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  1. I made the dairy free version (leaving out the cheese) and this dish was amazing!! I set it up for lunches during the week. I have a lot leftover I am going to try to freeze. Anyone have experience with freezing it?

  2. This looks easy and so yummy I’m going to try it as I don’t like rolling enchiladas in the sauce so much lol

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  8. Hello, I make this often so thank you for the recipe! However, I have lots of family coming for Christmas and this was going to be one of the dinners. Could I make it and then freeze before oven? Then thaw later and cook as instructed? Has anyone ever done this?


  9. My family loved this! I also made the home-made sauce and it tasted like a restaurant, or even better!


  10. I live in Wisconsin and was looking for some good comfort food for a snowy night….this did not disappoint! It was awesome! I followed the recipe and made your enchilada sauce! LOVED IT! Served it with your Mexican Caesar salad, and we had a great meal. I will be trying more of your recipes.


  11. This is absolutely DELICIOUS! It’s always my go to dinner when I have guests coming into town. I’m planning to make it for dinner this weekend, could I by any chance make the filling the day before and refridgerate it until I need it Saturday evening?

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  13. Made this with a couple of (small) variations based on my time in Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas. First, I added a pinch (literally a pinch) of sugar to the enchilada sauce to counter the acidity of the raw chili powder and herbs.. Second, I didn’t put the tortillas in ‘as is;’ instead, I warmed some milk and butter and added two lightly beaten eggs to it (make sure not to boil the milk, or even come close, or you will have poached eggs). Then I dipped the tortilla halves in the milk/butter/egg mix before adding to the casserole. This softens the tortillas nicely, and cooks them up a bit more fluffy than traditional enchiladas — i.e., more like a casserole. Result was excellent, and I do like the no-tomato enchilada sauce. It’s much more authentic based on my experience. Served with sour cream on the side, sliced tomatoes, and home-made guacamole. Side dish was a nice Mexican rice.

  14. This looks so good! I’ve been looking for casserole recipes so thanks for the inspiration!

  15. This was awesome just the way you have it. Thank you


  16. So Yummy!! Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe with us.

  17. has anyone tried this with whole wheat tortillas?

  18. I used to make this recipe one a month but then you changed it :( I miss the old recipe.


  19. Made this a few days ago and have been enjoying it all week! I made the enchilada sauce and thought it was a little spicy at first, but when mixed in with all the casserole ingredients it really mellows out. Super delicious!

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  21. Made to recipe including enchilada sauce & my whole family raved over this one! Will definitely be keeping this in the lineup.

  22. I made this canned sauce and it was just alright. Next time I’ll have to make your enchilada first.

  23. I’ve been making your “Stacked” Chicken Enchiladas recipe for years but now I see you’ve changed the recipe since I last made it. I’m sure the new recipe is good too but is there any chance the original recipe still exists somewhere? I would love a copy of it!

  24. We added a pkt of taco seasoning which reved up the flavor.. Delish and recommending this recipe to everyone.. Thank you


  25. I was a bit nervous about trying this as I am not even sure I have ever had enchiladas before but it just sounded amazing and so convenient to just layer it all. I went for the homemade sauce mainly because it included ingredients I already had on hand. It was super easy and delicious, everyone loved it – and they said it tasted like enchiladas haha, since I had no idea. I am planning to make it again soon because I am already craving that sauce.

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  28. Can this be put together the day before and refrigerated?


  29. This is a family favorite. Like to serve with margaritas

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  31. I made this casserole tonight and we all loved it! I didn’t make any changes to it. The sauce is amazing but next time I’ll double the recipe so I can have a little extra to drizzle as a topping over the cheese.


  32. Very good. I made this with ground hamburger.

  33. Very good, easy, I only used 1/2 of the chili powder (ran out didn’t realize how much 4 T is) and it was plenty flavorful, the sauce was a little bit more runny maybe due to that fact, but I couldn’t stop eating it.

  34. Fantastic. Made it tonight at my sons suggestion. I split into two pans, a 8×8 and 10×10. If I hadn’t my husband would have finished it off in one sitting. I made a double enchilada sauce as recommended using chili powder and chipotle powder. It wasn’t as pretty as your pic since I left out the fresh toppings. Will definitely make this again.
    I am a big fan of your 5 ingredient chicken chili, adding a can of hominy , so I guess it’s really 6 ingredient chicken chili.
    ps. My mouth is happy, thanks


  35. I roasted a Turkey that was taking up way too much room in my freezer. I chopped up part of the turkey to make this. I also did your homemade enchilada sauce. This is sooo freaking delicious. I’m going to definitely make this after Thanksgiving with leftovers as well.