You’re about to fall head-over-heels for this deliciously comforting and ridiculously Easy Chicken Enchiladas recipe. Best of all, you only need 8 simple ingredients and 30 minutes to get this gorgeous meal on the table, meaning from-scratch authentic enchiladas are never far from reach. 

Oh, and just in case you’re extra short on time, I’ve included a few tips for making these easy enchiladas even quicker. Busy weeknight dinner = covered.

terra cotta barro plate with two baked chicken enchiladas topped with cilantro.

Why I Love This Recipe

As a busy working mom, getting a healthy, wholesome dinner on the table sometimes feels like an insurmountable task — and I’m a gee-dang food blogger who cooks for a living! If this sounds familiar, you’re going to love this simple recipe for chicken cheese enchiladas.

Lightly fried corn tortillas are filled with shredded chicken, cheese, and onion, rolled up, smothered with a rich and spicy homemade red chile sauce, topped with more cheese, and baked to bubbly golden perfection. YUM!

homemade enchilada sauce with spoon in mason jar.

Aside from being jam-packed with delectable Mexican flavors, this easy recipe for enchiladas is:

  • Made With Only 8 Ingredients – Even the most harried mind can handle a list that short.
  • Ready In Just 30 Minutes – This family-friendly recipe takes less time than delivery!
  • Hearty & Cozy – I’d 100% categorize red chicken enchiladas as comfort food. They’re delightfully cheesy (enough to get an Instagrammable cheese pull pic), rich, and warming. They taste like a hug on a plate!

Ingredients & Substitutions

As promised, you only need 8 simple ingredients for this red sauce chicken enchiladas recipe. Here’s what to grab:

  • ​​Olive Oil – Just your normal cooking oil is perfect.
  • Red Chile Sauce – If you haven’t already tried my homemade enchilada sauce recipe, now is the time to try it! Make a big batch on your meal prep day and store it in the freezer for busy nights. If you have a batch premade, this recipe will come together in a snap. 
  • Shredded Chicken – Simply boiled chicken for enchiladas is standard, but you’re welcome to swap in any leftover chicken or turkey you have in the fridge. If you’re extra tired, lean on the convenience of rotisserie chicken instead.
  • Canola Oil – Any neutral oil with a high smoke point will work here including peanut, avocado, grapeseed, or sunflower seed oil.
  • Corn Tortillas – For authentic-tasting enchiladas, use store bought white corn tortillas. I’m not a fan of flour tortillas in enchiladas — I think they taste gummy and soggy — but that is just a personal preference. If you want to get fancy, make homemade corn tortillas.
  • White Shredded Cheese – I love mild Oaxaca, muenster, or Monterey jack, but you’re welcome to swap in any melty cheese you prefer.
  • White Onion – White onion is prized for its pungency in this enchiladas recipe. Feel free to swap in yellow, red, or sweet onions instead. You’re also welcome to use green onions or shallots in a pinch.
  • Cilantro Leaves – For a pop of bright color and some fresh herbiness. If cilantro isn’t your favorite, swap in parsley instead.

How To Make Easy Chicken Enchiladas

This baked chicken enchiladas recipe comes together with very little fuss but tastes like something you’d get from your favorite Mexican restaurant. Here’s how it’s made:

cooking red enchilada sauce in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

Step 1: Make Enchilada Sauce. Honestly, the hardest part about making these deliciously easy chicken enchiladas is making 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! Do yourself a favor and make a batch on your meal prep day to cut back on midweek dinner preparations.

Step 2: Pour about a cup of red chile sauce into an ungreased 9 x 13 casserole dish.

shredded cheese, shredded chicken, chopped onion in bowls with one corn tortilla topped with chicken and onion.

Step 3: Fry 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.

6 homemade easy chicken enchiladas in a terra cotta 9 x 13 baking dish before being covered with enchilada sauce and baked.

Step 4: Assemble. Fill your tortillas with some shredded chicken, cheese, and onions, then roll up. Place each roll seam side down in the casserole dish. Top with more sauce and cheese.

easy red chicken enchiladas in a terra cotta 9 x 13 casserole with cheese on top prior to baking.

Step 5: Bake. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until golden brown and delicious, about 20 minutes. 

Step 6: Garnish with cilantro and serve with your favorite side dish. I told you these were easy!

easy red chicken enchiladas in a terra cotta baking dish after baking and topped with cilantro.

Optional Variations

While my family and I love these authentic chicken enchiladas just the way the recipe is written, there is plenty of flexibility for you to put your own stamp on the recipe. Here are a few of the most popular variations I’m asked about:

  • Easy Vegetarian Enchiladas – Who doesn’t love classic cheese enchiladas? Simply fill the tortillas with cheese and onion (if using). You can also “beef” them up (🤓) with some delicious roasted peppers, sweet potatoes, or protein-packed black beans. Try these black bean and rice enchiladas or shrimp enchiladas for a pescatarian option.
  • Dairy-Free Chicken Enchiladas – Simply swap in your favorite vegan cheese to make enchiladas that even lactose-intolerant folks can enjoy.
  • Gluten-Free Chicken Enchiladas – While corn is naturally gluten-free, the equipment that nixtamalized corn flour is made on may not be. Be sure to opt for either store-bought corn tortillas or masa harina which is certified gluten-free to be absolutely sure.
  • Extra Add-Ins – While I kept the enchilada filling pretty straightforward, you’re welcome to get creative with it. Try adding some roasted fajita veggies, leftover roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, or your favorite beans to give your enchiladas extra textural and flavor interest.

Expert Tips

  • Shortcut: Need to make this recipe for easy chicken enchiladas even easier? Shred a rotisserie chicken and purchase pre-shredded “Mexican Blend” cheese on your way home from work to make your prep work almost non-existent.
  • To avoid the foil sticking to the cheesy goodness on top, lightly spray the foil with some non-stick cooking spray.
  • Make freezer chicken enchiladas for a rainy day. If you know you have a hellish week coming up, or if you just want to prepare for potential calamity, prep the recipe up through assembly. Wrap well with several layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve it, allow the casserole to defrost in the fridge overnight, then bake as directed.

Serving Suggestions

Wondering how to serve these deliciously easy chicken enchiladas? As far as toppings go, the sky is the limit! We love chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, sour cream, and queso fresco. Top with anything and everything your heart desires.

In terms of side dishes to round out your meal? Try staple Mexican sides like my frijoles de la olla, homemade refried beans, Arroz Mexicano, or cilantro lime rice. Obviously, an adult beverage is welcome when life is hectic, so I suggest making a skinny margarita or an easy chelada to wash off the stress of the day while still keeping to your healthy New Year’s resolutions.

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 my favorite 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 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 it leftover chicken tinga enchiladas would be delightful, or any leftover turkey would also work. And in a pinch, I love the convenience of a rotisserie chicken!

Need more enchilada inspiration?

Check out these other delicious recipes:

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two chicken enchiladas on a terra cotta plate topped with cilantro

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

5 (8 ratings)
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. These easy chicken enchiladas are about to become your new favorite weeknight dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 cups red chile sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 cup canola oil for frying
  • 12-18 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups white shredded cheese, Oaxaca, muenster, or Monterey jack
  • chopped white onion, optional
  • cilantro leaves for garnish


  • 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.
Calories: 853kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 51g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 6189mg, Potassium: 311mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 456IU, Calcium: 491mg, Iron: 2mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: November 2020.