Beef Enchiladas

4.95 from 19 votes
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The whole family is going to love this tasty beef enchiladas recipe! This easy casserole harmoniously combines a flavorful red enchilada sauce, bubbly cheese, and seasoned ground beef mixture.

Looking to switch up the flavor? Try my chicken enchiladas, which are just as delicious.

Delicious beef enchilada recipe in a baking dish garnished with cilantro and diced avocados.

Get ready to satisfy your Mexican food cravings

To elevate the flavors, look no further than your spice cabinet. I use plenty of dried spices and seasonings like onion, garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, and oregano to add rich flavors that complement the savory ground beef.

You can wrap the meat in either corn or flour tortillas before topping it with spiced enchilada sauce and plenty of cheese. Baking infuses all the flavors together and gives a great contrast in textures. To customize the dish, feel free to add extra toppings like sour cream, chopped avocado, or spicy salsa.

Ingredients needed to make this beef enchilada casserole recipe.

Bumping up the beefy flavor

The protein of choice for these hearty enchiladas is ground beef, but shredded beef is also a tasty option if you want to switch it up. Although rich and savory, there are simple ways to enhance the flavor. First, the ground beef and onions are sauteed and browned in a hot skillet. This ensures that the vegetables develop a slight sweetness and that the surface of the meat picks up more aroma and flavors.

Next, a combination of dried seasonings, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder is sprinkled on top and cooked in the hot fat. This releases the fat-soluble compounds locked in the spices, adding depth to the plain beef. I use a similar spice blend in my taco seasoning recipe, which also works well for chicken enchiladas.

Pouring red enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas lined up in a casserole dish.

Add a little flour

Add some flour to ensure that the seasonings mixed with beef cling to the meat filling. Incorporate the flour with the dried herbs, then simmer with water until the sauce lightly thickens. This keeps the beef moist and flavorful when encased inside the tender tortillas.

Tortilla selection

I prefer flour tortillas to wrap my enchiladas because they’re soft and flexible. Corn tortillas are a tasty option if you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative with an earthy flavor. Although sometimes the store-bought versions are very brittle and break apart, so I avoid using those.

Make sure your wraps are about 6-inches in size to hold ⅓ cup of filling. Tortillas from the package are pretty bland, so I like to heat them in a skillet until small, flavorful brown spots form. Then add the fillings and toppings.

Canned or homemade sauce

The pourable deep red tomato-based enchilada sauce makes this dish so unique. If you’re in a hurry, you can purchase the canned sauce in mild, medium, or spicy varieties.

I recommend making my homemade enchilada sauce recipe from scratch to add more authentic and bold flavors. It has an excellent spicy and smokey taste from crushed tomatoes and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The heat level can be adjusted to your liking.

Person sprinkling freshly grated cheddar and monterey jack cheese over a casserole dish.

Assembly

Enchiladas are like little mini wet burritos. To quickly assemble the casserole, grease a baking dish and make sure you have the beef filling, toasted tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese ready to go. I like adding sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish to prevent sticking and evenly coat each portion.

Add the beef to the center of each tortilla, then wrap it up and place it in the pan seam-side down. Once the filled tortillas are lined up, pour more sauce over the top to lightly coat. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top. I like to use a combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese for a more attractive appearance.

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400ºF (204ºC) until the enchiladas are hot and the cheese completely melts.

Toppings for the casserole

Although a hot pan of ground beef enchiladas is delicious on its own, I like to add contrast in texture and fresh flavors on top. My top picks are sliced green onions, chopped red onion, diced avocado, and cilantro leaves.

Some sour cream or plain Greek yogurt can cool any spicy bites if you add extra peppers. Homemade guacamole or chunky salsa are also lovely additions.

Stellar side dish pairings

Two beef enchiladas on a plate with a bite taken out of it.

Recipe Science

Increasing the spice factor

If you want to bump up the beef filling’s heat level, add some freshly chopped peppers like jalapenos, serrano, or green chiles. A small amount of dried chilis like cayenne, chipotle, or hot paprika quickly increases the heat and adds some smokiness. A little goes a long way. Just about ¼ teaspoon at a time to the beef mixture.

Beef Enchiladas

The whole family is going to love these tasty beef enchiladas! Easy casserole recipe with a flavorful red sauce, bubbly melted cheese, and bold seasonings.
4.95 from 19 votes
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings 10 enchiladas
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, sweet or smoked
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef, 80 to 90% lean
  • ¾ cup water
  • 10 tortillas, flour or corn, 6" size
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, about 1 cup grated
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, about 1 cup grated
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Adjust the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
  • Prepare the Spice Mixture – In a small bowl, combine flour, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Set aside.
  • Saute the Onions – Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, add the onions. Saute until translucent, 2 minutes.
  • Brown the Meat – Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the beef. Cook until browned, breaking the meat up into smaller pieces, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spice mixture. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the water and cook until the sauce slightly thickens, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  • Toast the Tortillas – Heat a small pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Warm each tortilla until lightly toasted but still flexible, about 15 to 20 seconds per side.
  • Prepare the Casserole Dish – Lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil. Evenly spread ½ cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom.
  • Layer the Casserole – Transfer the tortillas to a plate and fill the centers with about ⅓ cup of beef. Roll into a cylinder and transfer to the baking dish. Repeat the process until 10 enchiladas are rolled and lined up in the pan.
    Evenly pour and spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top, just enough to lightly coat the surface. There will be extra sauce leftover. Sprinkle the monterey jack cheese and cheddar on top.
  • Bake the Casserole – Cover the dish with foil and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool and Garnish – Let the casserole cool on the countertop for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onions, red onions, and chopped cilantro.

Notes

  • Serving Size: 1 enchilada
  • Storing: Leftovers should be cooled to room temperature before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Microwave each enchilada on high power until warmed, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
  • Make-Ahead: The enchiladas can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 5 days before baking. Add more sauce if desired, as it may absorb into the tortillas as it sits.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 10 enchiladas
Calories 362kcal (18%)Carbohydrates 21g (7%)Protein 19g (38%)Fat 22g (34%)Saturated Fat 10g (50%)Cholesterol 62mg (21%)Sodium 968mg (40%)Potassium 236mg (7%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 634IU (13%)Vitamin C 2mg (2%)Calcium 212mg (21%)Iron 3mg (17%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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12 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy says

    LOVE love ❤️ love ❤️ this recipe. Made it today. I’m happy to see we can freeze them for a later date as we have part left thank you dear Jessica for another great dish for us

  2. Gail Noren says

    This is now a new family favorite. Thank you so much for an easy weeknight meal that has so much flavor!

  3. Doughgirl says

    Really like your site and enjoy so many recipes; but, IMHO corn tortillas are the only tortilla one may use in and enchilada — if you use flour tortilla, it’s a burrito NOT an enchilada. Just an old fashioned southwestern girl who’s made both for decades.

    Thanks for your great work.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so thrilled to hear that you are enjoying my website! I think whatever type of tortilla you prefer, go for it! I like the flavor of corn as well, especially with green sauce and seafood.

  4. Pat says

    Dear Jessica, Can you suggest an alternative to the flour used for thickening in order to have a completely gluten free dish? I like the use of corn tortillas because the corn flavor adds a distinctive flavor. They can be softened by briefly heating in a skillet, too.
    Thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great tip on heating the tortillas in a skillet! I would use 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch, mixed with the water. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 30 to 60 seconds. You can add more if needed, just rehydrate with a little water.

  5. JJ says

    We had this tonight…Cinco de Mayo. My gosh, you’ve got a handle on those spices…it was delicious. Right now the local grocery has beef cuts like porterhouse, T-bone and tri-tip at the SAME price as ground beef (!) so I substituted the ground beef in this recipe for thin strips of tri-tip. I mixed the spices & oil, put strips and spices into a bag and marinated for about 2 hours. Cooked the onion, FLASH cooked the meat strips (not completely done) removed them from the pan, added a half can of pinto beans, and cooked it to a sauce.
    Building the enchiladas…flour by choice: meat/beans, pan gravy, green sauce (not red en. sauce this time), cheese, wrapped, stacked, cheese overall, with more green sauce, and 400 for 10-15 minutes. Wow…it was great. Love the flavors, and it will be good for chicken, steak, ground beef, turkey…breakfast, lunch, dinner…LOL.