Chicken Enchiladas made from scratch – juicy, cheesy and full of flavour! There’s a few components to homemade enchiladas, but it is absolutely worth the effort with flavour you can never achieve with packet spice mixes and bottled enchilada sauce.
The foundation of this recipe is a double duty Enchilada Spice Mix that flavours the homemade Enchilada Sauce and also seasons the chicken filling.
I like my Enchiladas plump and generously stuffed, rather tham skimpy on the filling
I want the filling to be JUICY and full of flavour, rather than dry and crumbly inside.
And I want the sauce to actually still be there when it comes out of the oven, not just a dried up crusty layer of red.
If this sounds like your kind of Chicken Enchiladas, then this recipe is for you!
What you need for Chicken Enchiladas
Here’s what you need for these homemade from-scratch Chicken Enchiladas.
1. Enchilada Spice Mix
Used in the Enchilada Sauce as well as seasoning the chicken filling. Nothing fancy here, just a generous dose of everyday spices!
2. Enchilada Sauce and Filling
Let’s pretend I didn’t forget to include the tortillas for rolling all this up in! 😂
Refried Beans – This is the “secret ingredient”. It fills out the filling so we can make big, plump enchiladas without using tons of chicken, holds it all together and makes it nice and juicy – and I wrote exactly the same thing about Chicken Burritos just a few weeks ago!
Tomato Passata – I use Tomato Passata as the base for enchilada sauce which is smooth, pureed tomato sold in bottles. It’s plain tomato, no flavourings or salt added, and I prefer it over crushed tomato because it makes a smooth sauce. US: What you call “tomato sauce” (such as Hunts) is an ideal substitute.
Passata is sold in the pasta aisle in supermarkets for around the same price as crushed tomato.
How to make homemade Chicken Enchiladas
The 3 components to making homemade Chicken Enchiladas are:
Rolling and baking
1. How to make Enchilada Sauce
Enchilada Sauce is thickened with flour and flavoured with chicken stock/broth and Enchilada spices. A simple 5 minute mix and simmer job. And light years better than store bought – see reader feedback on Beef Enchiladas which uses the same sauce!
2. Chicken Filling
We coat the chicken in the homemade Enchilada Spice Mix, then sear for maximum flavour. The smell when it hits the pan is wickedly good!
The Filling base starts with sautéed garlic and onion (flavour, flavour, flavour), then we mix in refried beans, stir in corn and the chopped chicken. As it simmers away, the generous amount of seasoning on the chicken will seep into the sauce, flavouring it with all those tasty Enchilada flavours!
↑↑↑Note the thick, juicy texture of the filling that’s going to be generously stuffed inside our enchiladas!
3. Rolling and assembly
It’s best to cool the Filling slightly so it thickens up a bit, making it easier to roll up.
Also, I can never resist adding a little (or big 😂) sprinkle of cheese before rolling it up! But if you’re watching your calories, feel free to skip it. 🙂
TIP: Add a little smear of sauce in the pan so the enchiladas don’t slip and slide as you place them in.🙌🏻
Pop it in the oven to bake for just 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the whole thing is bubbly and golden….
Best way to freeze enchiladas
The best way to freeze enchiladas is to keep the sauce separate. This is because the sauce soaks into the tortillas, making it excessively soggy AND leaving you with less sauce.
To freeze fully assembled chicken enchiladas, cool the sauce and the rolled up enchiladas completely, THEN assemble. Reason: Tortillas absorb less sauce when both are cold.
Bake from frozen – The enchiladas can be baked from frozen. If assembled separately, I thaw the sauce (quick zap in the microwave does the trick), pour it over the frozen enchiladas sprinkle with cheese then pop it in the oven.
What to serve with Enchiladas
If you want to go all out, serve your Enchiladas with sour cream, Guacamole or Avocado Sauce, and/or Pico de Gallo (tomato salsa) to dollop on top.
Pico de Gallo is also a good side dish to add to more vegetables into the meal. Another firm favourite is Cucumber Salad with Herb & Garlic Dressing – it’s terrifically refreshing so it’s a great contrast to the cosy cheesy Enchilada flavours! Otherwise, try this Chipotle Lime Roasted Cauliflower – very on theme with Mexican-esque flavours. – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
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- 8 tortillas , flour or corn (about 20cm/8" wide, Note 1)
- 1 tsp EACH onion powder, garlic powder, salt
- 1 tbsp EACH dried cumin powder, paprika, dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp flour , plain/all purpose
- 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock/broth , low sodium
- 1.5 cups (375ml) tomato passata or US puree (Note 4 sub)
- 600g / 1.2lb chicken breast , sliced in half horizontally (or boneless thigh) (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp olive oil , separated
- 1/2 onion , chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1 red capsicum/bell pepper , diced
- 400g / 14oz refried beans (Note 3)
- 400g/14oz canned corn , drained (sub frozen 1 3/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup (65ml) water
- 1 cup (100g) cheese shredded (Mexican cheese blend, Monterey Jack, cheddar)
- 1.5 cups (150g) cheese , shredded
- 2 tbsp coriander/cilantro , roughly chopped
- Enchilada Seasoning: Mix Enchilada Seasoning Spices. To be used for Filling and Sauce.
- Make roux - Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 20 seconds.
- Add other ingredients - Add 2 tbsp Enchilada Seasoning, broth and tomato. Stir to combine.
- Simmer to thicken - Increase heat slightly to medium high. Cook for 4 minutes, whisking regularly, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of thick syrup (see video). Remove from stove.
- Coat chicken - Drizzle 1 tbsp oil over chicken, mix to coat. Sprinkle with Seasoning, toss to coat.
- Cook chicken - Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken, cook 2 minutes. Turn and cook 1.5 minutes. Remove, rest 2 minutes then chop.
- Saute onion - In the same skillet, add onion and garlic, cook 1 minute. Add capsicum, cook 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add everything else - Add refried beans, diced chicken, corn and water. Stir and cook for 2 minutes until reduces slightly. Should be thick and juicy, not watery.
Assemble and bake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Roll - Lay tortilla on work surface. Spread 2/3 cup Filling on lower third, sprinkle with cheese then roll up, finishing with the seam side down (to hold it closed). Repeat to make 8.
- Smear a scoop of Enchilada Sauce across base of 22 x 33cm /9 x 13" pan. Place Enchiladas in, pour over remaining Sauce, sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately, sprinkled with coriander!
I like my Mexican food loaded with BIG flavours!
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