Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Chiles

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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.

pan of enchiladas with salad and rice

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?

ingredients to make chicken enchiladas

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.

poached and shredded chicken

This recipe for homemade chicken enchiladas features cooked, shredded chicken. It’s super quick and easy to cook chicken in the instant pot. Another easy hack is to buy a rotisserie chicken.

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.

roasted poblano chiles

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.

enchilada sauce in jars

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

Tools I use to make it EASY:

two pans of chicken and chile enchiladas

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two pans of chicken and chile enchiladas
Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Chiles
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
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.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken enchilada, enchilada, enchiladas, homemade chicken enchiladas, poblano chiles, roasted chiles
Servings: 18 enchiladas
Calories: 273 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • 2 cups chopped roasted poblano chiles
  • 3 cups shredded jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup oil for frying
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 3 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
Instructions
  1. Grease two 9×13-inch pans. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, chiles, and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Spread a thin layer of sauce across the bottom of the prepared pans.
  5. Roll the enchiladas with about 1/4 cup filling in each one. Roll and place seam-side down in the pan. Continue until all are rolled and pans are filled.*
  6. Drizzle sauce over the tops and sides of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the enchiladas with the cheese, olives, and scallions.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce bubbles.
Recipe Notes

If you would like to freeze one pan, wrap, label and freeze once the enchiladas are filled and rolled. Later, when ready to serve, bake as directed, adding additional cooking time if baking from frozen. 

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Chiles
Amount Per Serving
Calories 273 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 593mg26%
Potassium 149mg4%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 555IU11%
Vitamin C 14.5mg18%
Calcium 169mg17%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas | Good Cheap Eats

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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Comments

  1. Julie says

    I have been trying to get inspired to use the shredded chicken that has been languishing in my freezer. This post did the trick.

  2. KimH says

    I come from the very bottom tip of Texas region, born & raised 3 miles from Mexico and how we make enchiladas is this.. Add about 1/4 cup chili powder to about half a cup of water, maybe more… and bring to a boil. and then turn the heat down low. It’ll be quite thin at this point.. Quite quickly slide your corn tortillas in the sauce & out (as fast as you can) and then add chopped onions & cheeses, roll up & place in greased baking dish… Continue to do this till all your enchiladas are done… your enchilada sauce will be super thick & you may have had to add more water to keep it on the thinner side… If you want, add garlic & a small can of green chilis here to the chili water and puree with a hand blender… or just use slightly thickened chili water, then pour over the enchiladas & bake.. True Mexican cooking us very very simple since it is truly peasant food… and delicious!

    • Jessica says

      Thanks for the tip!

      • Brooke Kingston says

        My family is from Santa Fe, and we make red chile sauce starting with 3 Tbsp bacon drippings. Med high heat, add a few cloves of chopped garlic. Add 1 Tbsp flour to thicken. Let the flour cook off a bit. Add 2 Tbsp red chile powder from Chimayó, stir paste for one minute only. Burnt chile powder is noxious! then stir in about 2 C chicken broth to form a thin liquid. Then let it simmer for an hour or so. Bacon drippings are essential, garlic makes it sing. Salt to taste.

  3. Lorrie says

    There is another option without tomatoes. I make crab enchiladas with green salsa/green sauce made with cooked tomotillos. Just a thought!

    • Jessica says

      I sometimes mix green salsa with sour cream. Super yum!

  4. Hannah says

    If you are still on the lookout for a good Enchilada Sauce, I recommend the Red Chile Sauce from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield. Its a New Mexico style sauce that involves rehydrating chiles, and cooked onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and apple cider vinegar.

    Maybe they will have the book at your local library
    http://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Comfort-Foods-Homestyle-Gluten-Free/dp/1936608936

  5. Sandi says

    I made the turkey and black bean version about 6 months ago. When fresh, they were good. When frozen and later baked, the tortillas had turned to total mush. 🙁 The flavor was still good but it was really difficult to get past the texture. Any suggestions to prevent this in the future? To be fair, I used a flour tortilla instead of corn since that is what I had (package of 10 for 39 cents was hard to turn down) but in my experience, corn tortillas tend to fall apart faster than flour so I think it would still be the same scenario.

    • Jessica says

      I never make enchiladas with flour tortillas. It’s a personal preference, but I think flour tortillas get gummy in the sauce. I fry corn tortillas in oil until they are just bendable. That helps them hold up better in freezing.

  6. Heather M says

    My go to enchiladas are my own easy creation: shredded cooked chicken mixed with equivalent of one can black beans not rinsed/drained(I’ve taken to making them in slow cooker and freezing 2 cups/quart-size bag instead of buying canned), salsa verde to taste(1/2 cup +), a little cumin. I fill whichever tortillas I have on hand. Spread a little enchilada sauce(I use trader joe’s) on bottom of 9×13, put rolled enchiladas in. spread more sauce over enchiladas, top with shredded mexican cheese mix(costco). Into the oven until heated through and cheese is bubbly. Oh yum! So easy. And depending on how much cheese you use, pretty darn healthy, as mexican food goes.

  7. Beverly says

    I am not sure why flour tortillas would get gummy in the red sauce. I have been making enchiladas for 60 years and have yet have them get gummy.

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