Lightly fried corn tortillas are filled with shredded chicken, cheese, and onion, rolled up and then smothered with a rich and spicy homemade red chile sauce, topped with more cheese, and baked to perfection. This recipe for easy chicken enchiladas is about to become your new weeknight favorite.
If you haven’t already tried my homemade enchilada sauce recipe, now is the time to try it! Make a big batch and store it in the freezer for busy nights. If you have a batch premade, this recipe for easy chicken enchiladas will come together in a snap.
How to make a chicken enchilada casserole
Enchilada Sauce: Honestly, the hardest part about making these deliciously easy chicken enchiladas is making the homemade red chile sauce. And to be quite frank, while it does take a little bit of patience to make, it is still very easy and so worth it!
I don’t buy canned enchilada sauce. Why? Because making your own homemade enchilada sauce tastes so much better and it’s very easy to make. Check out my post on how to make your own red chile sauce for the best enchiladas of your life.
Ok, now that you have some delicious homemade enchilada sauce, the process couldn’t be simpler. Pour about a cup of red chile sauce in an ungreased 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Tortillas: For authentic tasting enchiladas, use white corn tortillas. I’m not a fan of flour tortillas in enchiladas, but that is just a personal preference. If you want to get fancy, make homemade corn tortillas.
Now, heat some canola oil or mild flavored oil, like grapeseed oil in a pan. Lightly fry white corn tortillas in the hot oil until softened, then drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Assemble: Next up, fill your tortillas with some shredded chicken, cheese, and onions, then roll up. Place each roll seam side down in the casserole dish.
Shortcut: Need to make this recipe even easier? Shred a rotisserie chicken and purchase pre-shredded “Mexican Blend” cheese on your way home from work to stuff these super easy chicken enchiladas.
Top with more sauce and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until golden brown and delicious! Garnish with cilantro and serve with your favorite side dish. I told you these were easy!
TIP: To avoid the foil sticking to the cheesy goodness on top, lightly spray the foil with some non-stick cooking spray.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ok, I made a batch of the homemade enchilada sauce, but this recipe only calls for ⅓ of it. What should I do with the rest?
If you’re a busy Mom like me, you know how awesome it is to have premade items on hand to throw together a last-minute dinner. This red chile sauce is one of those kitchen powerhouses.
It will keep in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to six months. And it isn’t just for enchiladas, either! Try it in stews, soups, tamales or even to braise meat. Trust me, the effort you put into making this sauce will bless you for several more meals to come.
What if I don’t like onions?
No worries! While my family loves them, I know not all taste buds are alike. Feel free to omit the onions.
Can I make these vegetarian?
Of course! Who doesn’t love classic cheese enchiladas? Simply fill the tortillas with cheese and onion (if using). You can also “beef” them up (pun not intended) with some delicious roasted peppers or protein packed black beans. Try these: black bean and rice enchiladas or shrimp enchiladas for a pescatarian option.
Can I make these red enchiladas with flour tortillas?
I do not recommend making enchiladas with flour tortillas. If you love enchiladas made with flour tortillas, go for it. I am not a fan and feel the tortillas get soggy and gummy when used for an enchilada casserole. Stick with the white corn tortillas, I promise they’ll turn out better for it.
What kind of chicken should I use for this easy chicken enchilada recipe?
Honestly, that’s totally up to you! I love to simply poach chicken in salted water and shred it. If you have leftover chicken or turkey, that would work. And in a pinch, I love the convenience of a rotisserie chicken!
What should I serve with these chicken enchiladas?
As far as toppings go, the sky is the limit! We love chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, sour cream, even queso fresco. Top with anything and everything your heart desires.
In terms of side dishes to round out your meal? Any of these would be delicious served with these easy chicken enchiladas.
Need more enchilada inspiration?
Check out these other delicious recipes:
- Enchiladas Verdes con Pavo (this is a great one for using up Thanksgiving leftovers!)
- Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas
- Carne Asada Enchiladas Suizas
- Chicken Mole Enchiladas
- Enchilada Casserole (Pastel Azteca)
- Shrimp Enchiladas
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas in Salsa Verde
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Easy Chicken Enchiladas
- Heat olive oil in large skillet. Pour chile sauce into skillet and stir. Taste and season with salt if needed. If the sauce is too spicy, add a small can of tomato sauce and stir. If the sauce is too thick, add water until desired consistency is reached, making sure to add more salt if necessary.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread 1 cup of the red chile sauce in an ungreased 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Fry tortillas in hot oil just until softened. Drain on paper towels.
- Fill tortillas with shredded chicken and about a tablespoon of the shredded cheese and chopped onion.
- Roll tortillas and place seam side down in baking dish side by side.
- Pour some sauce over enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese, and lightly cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with your favorite side dish.
- For authentic tasting enchiladas, use white corn tortillas. Flour tortillas will end up gummy and unappetizing, while the corn tortillas hold their shape beautifully.
- Need to make this recipe even easier? Grab a rotisserie chicken and pre-shredded “Mexican Blend” cheese on your way home from work to stuff these super easy chicken enchiladas.
- To avoid the foil sticking to the cheesy goodness on top, lightly spray the foil with some non-stick cooking spray.
Photography by Jenna Sparks