Classic Chicken Enchiladas. Soft white corn tortillas filled with tender, shredded chicken and melty cheese. All covered in a bold enchilada sauce. This recipe is easy to make and gives an authentic Tex Mex meal sure to please!
Homemade Enchiladas are one of our favorite meals. These chicken enchiladas are easy to put together, making this a great meal for the family on a weeknight. Save time by making the chicken ahead of time, or the entire dish and simply reheat come dinner time.
Plus this is a great dish to make when having company over for a gathering. You can easily double or triple the recipe and have trays ready to go when needed. Involve your family in the process by enlisting children to fill and roll the tortillas.
Notes on the Ingredients:
- Chicken: chicken breasts or thighs can be used for this recipe. Chicken thighs tend to give a more tender chicken. To save time you can also use a rotisserie chicken or purchase pre-shredded chicken.
- Enchilada Sauce: any enchilada sauce can be used for this recipe, but I highly recommend my authentic Tex Mex Chili Gravy Enchilada sauce recipe.
- Tortillas: I always use white corn tortillas for my enchiladas, you could use yellow corn if you prefer. However, I advise that you stay away from using flour tortillas if you are looking for an authentic enchilada.
- Cheese: this recipe uses Monterey Jack, it’s a classic Tex Mex cheese that melts nicely. Feel free to substitute for any other melting cheese.
How to make this Homemade Chicken Enchiladas Recipe:
- Sear the chicken: season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook in a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Just to get a sear.
- Poach the chicken: pour in the broth, add the onion, garlic and bayleaf. Let this come to a simmer, cover and let cook until the chicken is tender and easily shreds.
- Prepare Enchilada Sauce: while the chicken cooks, if you are using a homemade enchilada sauce, this is the time to prepare that.
- Fry tortillas: briefly fry the tortillas in the canola oil, just to warm them and get them soft and pliable.
- Dip the tortillas in enchilada sauce: this step is important because it ensures that your enchiladas are coated in the sauce.
- Add filling: fill the tortillas with shredded chicken and cheese. Roll and place into a baking dish with the seam side down.
Frying the tortillas in the oil helps to keep them from becoming soggy in the sauce, and brings out more of the corn flavor.
- Top with Remaining Sauce: pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled enchiladas.
- Top with Shredded Cheese: Add a top layer of cheese.
- Bake: bake the chicken enchiladas for about 15-20 minutes until all the cheese is melted and enchiladas are warmed completely through.
Side Dishes for Enchiladas:
- The classic side dishes of Mexican Rice and Refried Beans are always a perfect pairing.
- If you want to go a little more Texan, these Charro Beans or Borracho Beans (charro beans made with beer).
- Serve some tortilla chips with Guacamole, Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa or Salsa Verde.
- Enjoy a classic Margarita or Margaritas made with Real Fruit on the side. Don’t miss out on this Mango Margarita!
More Enchilada Recipes:
- If you’re looking for a meatless option, these Classic Tex Mex Cheese Enchiladas are always a hit and one of my favorite recipes!
- Make an easy swap from chicken to beef with these Authentic Beef Enchiladas.
- Need a fun breakfast idea? These Cheesy Breakfast Enchiladas are baked in a queso enchilada sauce!
- Looking for another filling option? This Step by Step walkthrough of How to Make Enchiladas lists out all the tips you need to know and gives lots of filling ideas!
Classic Chicken Enchiladas
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs chicken breasts , (or thighs) or 2 cups shredded chicken
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth, low or no sodium
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 quarter white onion
- 1 bayleaf
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 12-15 white corn tortillas
- 3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (divided)
- 2 cups enchilada sauce, homemade sauce recipe here
- sour cream
- shredded lettuce
- 3 qt baking dish
- Prepare Chicken: Remove any excess fat from the chicken and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat Skillet: Drizzle the olive oil and heat in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Cook Chicken: Add the chicken and let it cook for 3 minutes on each side, just enough for a sear. Pour in the chicken broth, add the smashed garlic cloves, quartered onion, and bayleaf. Cover and let the chicken cook in the broth for about 15-20 minutes, until the chicken registers 165 degrees internally and is cooked through.
- Prepare Enchilada Sauce: While the chicken cooks prepare the enchilada sauce. (If using canned sauce warm the sauce in a medium size skillet..this makes it easier to dip the tortillas).
- Shred Chicken: Remove the chicken from the skillet, shred using a fork, then return to the skillet. Stir to coat the chicken in the remaining sauce in the skillet. Let sit and keep warm on low heat for about 3-5 minutes, to get good flavor throughout the chicken.
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 350℉. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce into the baking dish and spread around to coat the bottom of the dish.
- Heat Oil: Pour oil for enchiladas into a small skillet and heat over medium heat (oil should sizzle when tortilla is dipped into it).
- Fry Tortillas: Briefly fry a corn tortilla in the hot oil, just enough to warm and soften the tortilla, about 5-7 seconds on each side, not enough to make the tortilla crispy.
- Dip the fried tortilla into the enchilada sauce to coat both sides.
- Fill Tortillas: Lay the tortilla down on a clean work surface (cutting board-for easy cleanup!) and layer shredded cheese and shredded chicken.
- Roll the tortilla and place in the baking dish, seam side down.
- Continue until all tortillas are used/or the baking dish is full.
- Top the Enchiladas: Pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake: Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until all of the cheese is melted and the top is melted and bubbling.
- Serve the enchiladas while warm and garnish with desired toppings.
- Tortillas: white corn tortillas are the classic option. Yellow corn can be substituted.
- Enchilada Sauce: this homemade Tex Mex Chili Gravy comes together quick and easy and is the perfect sauce for this recipe. You of course can use canned sauce to save time.
- Chicken: use 2 cups shredded chicken. Can use rotisserie, or pre-shredded chicken if needed, just skip the steps to cook the chicken.
- Frying the tortillas: this step helps to keep the tortillas from breaking when rolling, the oil also helps to prevent them from becoming soggy. Frying them briefly brings out the corn flavor of the tortillas.
- Make Ahead: Enchiladas can be prepared, covered and stored in the refrigerator for 1 day. To heat, bake in the oven at 350℉ for 20-30 minutes until warmed through and cheese is completely melted.
- Storage: store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: place in an oven safe container and bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes until warmed through. The enchiladas will soak up the sauce as they sit over a few days, you may need to add additional sauce when reheating.
- Freezing: prepare the enchiladas in a freezer safe container, cover and place in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw by placing in the refrigerator overnight. Follow instructions above for reheating.
Photography by KJandCompany.co