Hosting a crowd? Serve two big pans of homemade chicken enchiladas with freshly roasted chiles. No crowd? No problem. Stash one pan in the freezer for another time.
Got a hankering for something hearty that can feed a large group without a lot of work? Looking for a dish that can be made in advance, even frozen? Want something that’s not fussy, but still feels special?
Homemade Chicken Enchiladas are your answer.
I’ve made a lot of dinners in my time, but it’s a pretty sure bet that enchiladas are a winner. Always. And forever.
There’s something about enchiladas that just fills the bill, particularly homemade chicken enchiladas with their tender corn tortilla wrapper, succulent chicken filling, and the saucy-cheesy lid that tops it all. Even better are the well-chosen savory touches like roasted green chiles, chopped green onions, and sliced black olives.
Ready to get cooking?
Believe it or not, my mom always made our enchiladas in the microwave. You can do that, too, and avoid a hot oven altogether. I make small single serve dishes of these enchiladas for my husband to cook at work in the break room microwave.
Or you can even make crockpot enchiladas.
However, for our purposes today, we’re making traditional oven-baked chicken enchiladas, enough to feed a crowd.
Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Chiles
This recipe makes two 9×13-inch pans, perfect for serving a crowd. I recommend making the components in advance and possibly even assembling the enchiladas themselves ahead of time.
How long can you keep chicken enchiladas in the fridge?
A pan of chicken enchiladas, unbaked, is “good” for up to 4 days. However, you’ll have best texture if you bake the enchiladas within a day of assembling, lest the tortillas get too soggy.
Once baked, the enchiladas are good for up to 4 days after assembly. Store them in an airtight container.
Can you reheat chicken enchiladas?
Absolutely! These are the kinds of leftovers my kids fight over and hide from each other. Reheat leftover enchiladas in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, loosely covered, or in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.
Can chicken enchiladas be frozen?
Yes, assembled chicken enchiladas are best frozen prior to baking. Once you’ve rolled and sauced the enchiladas, cover the baking dish and store in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks. Thaw completely before baking for best results.
If you’re in a pinch, you can bake from frozen. Just add to the baking time to avoid cold spots.
Either way, if you can keep a few bags of cooked chicken in your freezer, you can whip up a batch of enchiladas very quickly.
I’ve timed myself. If all the ingredients are ready to go, I can soften and roll a dozen enchiladas and have it ready in 15 minutes. If I can, you can.
Are chicken enchiladas bad for you?
I find this a really interesting question, the answer is fairly subjective, though. Bad for you how?
I believe that no ingredient is inherently bad. It’s just a question of how it’s prepared, how much you eat of it, and how often you have it.
This chicken enchilada recipe calls for all “real food”, just plain old ingredients, without any processed items. That gets an A in my book, especially since chicken has lower calories and less fat than other proteins like beef or pork.
When served with lots of vegetables on the side, like in my Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad, I think it makes a great meal.
Rather than use canned chopped green chiles, I use home-roasted poblano chiles in this recipe. They add nice body and flavor. You could use roasted bell peppers if you want less heat or canned chiles if you prefer.
Learn how to roast chiles in the oven and see how easy it is!
What is red enchilada sauce made of?
I’ve always preferred to use a chile-based enchilada sauce, either making my own with flour, oil, spices, and water, or buying canned Las Palmas enchilada sauce.
A reader recently asked about how to make enchiladas tomato-free. I have never in my life put tomatoes or any tomato products into enchiladas. It feels wrong to me. LOL.
Read your labels to find a brand with ingredients you like, and then stick with that style sauce.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. It’s a great way to save money on your groceries without clipping a single coupon. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the poblano chiles is key. My husband will randomly text me pictures from the produce department when he finds a good batch at a great price. Look for shiny, blemish-free chiles and load up when you see them.
- Roast and freeze your chiles in advance. This dish comes together quickly if you have this step already taken care of.
- Make your own enchilada sauce. Making my own sauce with flour, oil, and spices is so simple and easy. Plus, the sauce freezes well, so I can make big batches so I can have some always to hand.
Tools I use to make it EASY:
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- rubber spatula – I have two of these; I love them so much.
- 9×13 baking dish or gratin dishes
- box grater or food processor for cheese
Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Chiles
- Grease two 9×13-inch pans. Preheat the oven to 350°.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, chiles, and 1 ½ cups cheese. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Soften the tortillas in the hot oil, about ten seconds per side, until slightly leathery. Drain on paper toweling.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce across the bottom of the prepared pans.
- Roll the enchiladas with about ¼ cup filling in each one. Roll and place seam-side down in the pan. Continue until all are rolled and pans are filled.*
- Drizzle sauce over the tops and sides of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the enchiladas with the cheese, olives, and scallions.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce bubbles.