Chicken Enchiladas

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This easy chicken enchiladas recipe is an authentic Mexican food staple. Tender pieces of shredded chicken are rolled in flour tortillas and topped with a homemade enchilada sauce. The casserole is baked until the cheese is hot and melted.

Plate of chicken enchiladas topped with sour cream, avocado, and jalapenos

Chicken enchiladas is an easy casserole dish made to feed a crowd. Lean white meat is sauteed, shredded and tossed in bold spices for maximum flavor inside warmed flour tortillas. An authentic enchilada sauce is made with a tomato based sauce, chipotle peppers, chicken broth, and seasonings to coat each serving.

A blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses are sprinkled on top, and the dish is baked until the cheese is hot and bubbly. It’s a satisfying meal that can be prepped ahead of time for busy weeknights or made for special celebrations like Cinco De Mayo.

Shredded chicken on a plate with spices and enchilada sauce

How to make chicken enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas are a baked casserole dish made with four essential components.

  • Shredded Chicken: Sauteed chicken breasts are seasoned before and after cooking with a blend of cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, powder, and chili pepper.
  • Tortillas: 6-inch round flour tortillas are lightly charred in a pan or over the direct heat of a gas burner for just a few seconds to make them more pliable and add a smoky flavor. Corn tortillas can be used as a gluten-free substitute.
  • Enchilada Sauce: It’s simple to make homemade enchilada sauce. Crushed tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, chicken broth, cumin, chipotle chili powder for a smoky and slightly spicy flavor.
  • Cheese: A blend of two kinds of cheese, sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack give the right melted consistency.

photo of a person sprinkling cheese over chicken enchiladas

The heated tortillas get lightly dipped in the enchilada sauce and then filled with chicken. Other ingredients like diced green chilis or cooked corn can also be added for more flavor. The stuffed tortillas are rolled and placed seam side down in a baking dish, so they do not open up when serving.

Chicken enchiladas in a casserole dish with un-melted cheese before being baked

Just before baking, two cups of cheese are layered on top of the enchiladas. If you want to make this dish ahead of time or make a freezer meal, this is the perfect place to stop. The pan can be covered and refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake and serve.

Casserole dish with chicken enchiladas straight out of the oven

I’ve found that covering the casserole with foil and baking for about 20 minutes keeps the cheese hot and melted. Cooking without being covered for an extended period dries out the chicken and makes the cheese harder in texture.

Two chicken enchiladas served on a plate

These shredded chicken enchiladas are a family-friendly dish that everyone will devour! Serve some toppings on the side like sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, diced avocado or sliced jalapenos for extra heat. Whenever I have leftover roasted chicken, I use it in this dish for an even quicker meal.

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Choosing the right cheese

It’s important to select the right type of cheese for casserole type dishes. A higher in moisture firm cheese, like cheddar and Monterey Jack, gives just the right melt consistency. Sharp cheddar has been aged longer and adds more flavor, while Monterey Jack is milder and slightly sweet. The combination works nicely together for the enchiladas. Sprinkle on soft cheese like cotija or harder cheese like Parmesan just before serving.

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Chicken Enchiladas

This easy chicken enchiladas recipe is an authentic Mexican food staple. Tender pieces of spiced shredded chicken are rolled in flour tortillas, topped with a homemade enchilada sauce and cheese.
Pin Print Review
4.24 from 116 votes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings 10 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, divided
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, flatten chicken to even thickness
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chipotle chilis, canned in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 10 tortillas, flour or corn, 6-inch size
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Season each side of the chicken breasts with ½ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Save the additional seasoning mix.
  • Heat a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, once hot and shimmering and the chicken to the pan.
  • Cook chicken for 7 minutes, then flip over and cook until no longer pink and internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
  • Use fingers or two forks to shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Add 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mix and combine until evenly coated.
  • In a medium saucepan add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium heat, once hot add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chipotle chilis and use a spoon to stir and break up into smaller pieces, cook 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, chili powder, and chipotle chili powder, stir to combine.
  • Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer enchilada sauce to a blender or food processor and process on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. More chicken broth can be added to thin the consistency if desired.
  • Heat tortillas in a pan over medium-high heat or directly over a gas flame for 10 to 15 seconds on each side, to lightly toast and make more pliable.
  • Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 400ºF.
  • Lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
  • Evenly spread ½ cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Pour ½ cup of enchilda sauce in a shallow bowl large enough to fit the tortillas.
  • Lightly dip each side of the tortilla in the sauce.
  • Transfer tortilla to a plate and fill the center with about ⅓ cup of chicken. Roll into a cylinder and transfer to the pan.
  • Repeat process until 10 enchiladas are rolled and lined up in the pan.
  • Evenly spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  • Sprinkle the monetery jack cheese and cheddar cheese on top of the enchiladas.
  • Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with green onions and chopped cilantro.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Topping Suggestions: Diced avocado, diced tomatoes, sour cream, or jalapenos.
  • 4 cups of shredded roasted or boiled chicken can be used instead of the sauteed chicken.
  • MAKE-IT GLUTEN FREE: Use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.

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Nutrition Facts
Chicken Enchiladas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 253 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 66mg22%
Sodium 558mg23%
Potassium 143mg4%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 0.4g0%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 600IU12%
Vitamin C 5.8mg7%
Calcium 200mg20%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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48 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Donnatw says

    Wowzers. Made this tonight for dinner and it was so good. I added black beans and corn to the chicken filling. I was concerned about it being too spicy but the sweetness of the corn made it just right. Will definitely be making this again.

  2. Ivan says

    Terrific! We always cut salt in half and glad we did – will probably go 1/4 next time. Added corn, chopped green chiles and some black beans – not much so it was still mostly chicken. One question – why all the little boxes by each ingredient and step-by-step? I’m not going to pick up a pen and check each one off. It just clutters the page when you print it. Really liked these enchiladas!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Ivan, glad to hear you liked the recipe! As for the boxes, when viewing online, you can actually click the checkbox and it will automatically strikethrough the entire step, marking it as completed. It’s something I’m testing out to see if people like it.

  3. Stephanie Bonilla says

    This is my go to recipe! I make it about three times per week it is a family favorite! I typically add an entire 7oz can of adobo jalapenos to the enchilada sauce only because i’m lazy and don’t want to go hunting for tiny tupperware in the depths of my pantry. But the heat isn’t overwhelming my picky 6 year old still devours dinner. Excellent recipe Jessica! Thanks for making my family think I’m a culinary master!

  4. Mark M says

    Thank you for the recipe, these were absolutely delicious. The entire family loved them. Couple days after I made the chicken I made the same thing only I used pulled pork that I had made on my smoker, they were also delicious. I appreciate all the recipes you share, thank you.

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