Chicken Enchiladas

If you love Mexican food, you’re going to be delighted with this recipe for easy and quick chicken enchiladas. This casserole will feed a hungry group of people. The secret to perfect enchiladas is the preparation of the chicken and the delicious seasoning blend.

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If you’re looking for an easy chicken enchilada casserole that has tons of flavor, you can’t go wrong with chicken enchiladas. How to make chicken enchiladas? This is one of our favorite chicken breast recipes. These chicken enchiladas are also great for holiday celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo. Simply pop this casserole in the oven and watch the melty cheese get deliciously gooey.

chicken enchilada recipe

To make this chicken enchilada recipe, the boneless skinless chicken breasts are sauteed, then shredded before being tossed with flavorful spices. You can use store-bought canned enchilada sauce, but it’s super easy to make this sauce from scratch. This homemade enchilada sauce is made with a tomato sauce that’s blended with chicken broth, bold seasonings, and chipotle peppers for coating every wrap.

Homemade Chicken Enchilada Sauce

Canned enchilada sauce works in a pinch, but it’s nowhere near as flavorful as this homemade red enchilada sauce. The combination of chipotle chilis in adobe sauce, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, and smoky chipotle chili powder is out of this world.

how to make chicken enchiladas

As the homemade enchilada sauce simmers, it melds together the flavors. Then, puree it in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth. This is a spicy recipe, but you can tame it down by reducing the dried chili powder.

Selecting the Chicken

The best chicken to use for these enchiladas is boneless skinless chicken breast. Pound the chicken breast pieces until they’re about 1/2 inch thick. You can also cut them into 1-inch thick cutlets if you prefer. Love dark meat? No problem! You can use boneless chicken thighs, but be sure to trim off the fat before you cook them.

You can also use rotisserie chicken, Instant Pot chicken, or leftover roasted chicken to make this chicken enchilada recipe.

How to Season Chicken for Enchiladas

The bold mixture of dried spices includes traditional Mexican cuisine ingredients such as smoked paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.

how to season chicken for enchiladas

You can use premade taco seasoning to make these chicken enchiladas. It’s nice to have this in the pantry so you can quickly make tacos or other Mexican recipes.

Cooking the Chicken

We love cooking our chicken breasts on the stovetop for shredded chicken enchiladas. The internal temperature of the chicken should be between 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit (71-74 degrees Celsius).

When the chicken has cooled, use two forks or your fingers to shred it into bite-sized chicken pieces.

Using Corn or Flour Tortilla

Flour tortillas are gluten-formed, so they’re sturdy, soft, and pliable. Buy the 6-inch round tortillas. When you eat tortillas directly from the store’s packaging, they can taste a bit pasty, so warm them on the stovetop just until the surface becomes slightly charred.

If you want a gluten-free meal, you can use corn tortillas. Just don’t let them soak up too much of the sauce because a corn tortilla tends to break apart after cooking.

How to Make Chicken Enchiladas

This chicken and cheese enchilada recipe is a baked casserole with shredded chicken breast, tortillas, spicy red sauce, and cheese. The warm tortillas are dipped into the sauce before being filled with shredded chicken. Then, fill the tortillas with the meat mixture and place them seam-side down in a greased baking dish.

chicken enchiladas

This chicken enchilada recipe calls for two types of shredded cheese: Monterey jack cheese and sharp cheddar cheese. Want black bean enchiladas? Stir in a can of black beans.

Bake the Enchilada Casserole

Once your enchiladas are assembled, bake them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cover the casserole with aluminum foil, it keeps the cheese hot and helps it to melt without scorching.

If you love green enchilada sauce made with green chilis or white chicken enchiladas made with cream cheese, chicken soup, or heavy cream, adjust this great recipe for those sauces.

FAQ

Can you use uncooked tortillas to make chicken enchiladas?
No, you have to cook raw tortillas before you wrap them up for enchiladas. If you cook chicken enchiladas with raw tortillas, they get soggy and don’t cook thoroughly.

What’s the best way to keep chicken enchiladas from becoming soggy?
To keep your enchiladas from becoming soggy, heat the tortillas before you wrap them. The surface of the tortilla will harden slightly to create a solid barrier between the tortilla and the sauce.

How can I roll chicken enchiladas without them breaking?
Lightly heat packaged flour or corn tortillas before you wrap them. The heat will make them somewhat pliable and easier to fold. Also, dip them lightly in the sauce to help soften the tortillas.

chicken enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe makes chicken enchiladas super easy. For an authentic staple Mexican food meal, you take tender, seasoned shredded chicken, roll it in soft flour tortillas, and top them with homemade chicken enchilada sauce and melty cheese.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10
Calories 253 kcal

Equipment

  • 2-3 quart Saucepan
  • Instant-Read Meat Thermometer
  • 9x13-Inch Baking Dish
  • Blender
  • Cheese grater

Ingredients
  

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or chopped tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 6- inch flour tortillas
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 4 oz. Monterey jack cheese grated
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. green onions sliced

Instructions
 

Enchilada Sauce

  • Sauté the Minced Garlic – Add the extra virgin olive oil to a medium saucepan. Heat the oil over medium heat. When it's hot, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the Chilis – Add the can of chipotle chilies to the saucepan and saute. Stir them to break them up into small pieces. Cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the Spices and Seasonings – Stir in the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, cumin, kosher salt, chili powder, black pepper, and chipotle chili powder.
  • Let the Sauce Simmer – Over medium-high heat, bring the sauce to a slow boil. Once it's boiling, lower the heat so that it simmers. Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes until it's thickened.
  • Puree the Sauce – Transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth on medium speed. It will take about 30 seconds. Season the salt with black pepper and kosher salt to get the taste you want. If you want to thin the sauce, add more chicken broth.

Chicken Enchiladas

  • Preheat Your Oven – Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).
  • Prepare the Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – Put the chicken breast in a large plastic bag or between two plastic sheets. Flatten the chicken until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Another option is to cut the chicken breasts horizontally in half to get pieces about 1 inch thick for cutlets.
  • Season the Chicken – Combine 1 teaspoon of cumin, kosher salt, garlic powder, s smoked paprika, and black pepper in a small bowl. Keep aside 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Evenly coat both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture.
  • Cook the Meat – Over medium heat, heat a pan for sautéing the chicken. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken until it turns light golden brown. It will take about 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook it until it's no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is between 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit (71-74 degrees Celsius). Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and allow it to cool.
  • Shred the Chicken – When the chicken is cool, use two forks or your fingers to shred it into small pieces. You can also chop the chicken with a knife if you prefer. Add the seasoning mix that you set aside and combine it with the chicken until it's coated evenly.
  • Heat the Tortillas – Use a comal or cast-iron skillet to heat the tortillas over medium-high heat. You want them to be just lightly toasted and still pliable. You can also warm the tortillas over a gas flame for between 10-15 seconds on each side.
  • Assemble the Chicken Enchiladas – Coat a 13x9-inch baking pan lightly with olive oil or cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the prepared enchilada sauce evenly on the bottom of the pan. Pour 1/2 cup of the chicken enchilada sauce into a bowl that's big enough to fit the flour tortillas. Dip each side of the tortilla lightly into the sauce.
  • Stuff the Tortillas – Transfer the sauced tortillas to a plate and fill the tortilla's center with approximately 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll the tortillas into a cylinder and gently place it into the baking dish. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.
  • Spread the Remaining Sauce – Spread the rest of the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  • Bake the Enchiladas – Cover the enchiladas with aluminum foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Serve and Enjoy – Garnish the creamy chicken enchiladas with chopped fresh cilantro and green onion. Serve while hot.

Notes

Using Chicken That's Been Pre-Cooked: Instead of sautéed chicken, you can use 4 cups of shredded boiled or roasted chicken.
Suggestions for Toppings: Top your chicken enchiladas with diced tomatoes, diced avocado, jalapeno peppers, or sour cream. Sprinkle cotija cheese or other cheese onto the enchiladas before you serve them.
Make Your Enchiladas Less Spicy: If you don't like spicy food, simply omit or reduce the amount of chipotle pepper or dried chili pepper you use. You can also reduce the chipotle chilis in the can.
Use Canned Sauce: If you want to use store-bought canned enchilada sauce, use about 2 cups.
Make Your Enchiladas Ahead: To have dinner ready early, assemble the chicken enchiladas, cover them, and put in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also freeze your assembled enchiladas for up to a month. Thaw them before cooking them.
Gluten-Free Chicken Enchiladas: To make your chicken enchiladas gluten-free, you can use cassava tortillas or corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
Reheating the Enchiladas: To reheat your enchiladas in the microwave, heat individual portions on high in 15-second intervals until hot. You can also reheat enchiladas in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius).
Storing the Cooked Enchiladas: Chicken enchiladas will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 253kcalCarbohydrates: 13gFat: 13gCholesterol: 66mg
Keyword chicken enchilades
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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