Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe [VIDEO]

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Spice up your evening with this hot and cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole. You can whip it up in a flash — and make an extra to freeze.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe from Good Cheap Eats

While the humble casserole may not be something gorgeous to look at, it has a lot going for it in other ways: taste, convenience, comfort — to name a few. One of our family’s very favorite casseroles is this super easy, very freezer-friendly, packed with spicy Mexican flavors, Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

Once I’ve got the ingredients set up, assembly happens in just minutes. I usually make 2-3 pans of it so that I freeze extras for later. It’s so nice to pull a bubbly hot casserole from the oven on busy nights!This dish has a little bit of a kick to it, depending on what kind of salsa you use. I really love the heat in this one. You can use tomato salsa, but be warned that the dish turns a little pink when you do that. For that reason, I prefer salsa verde.

And yes, this is the magic sauce you’ve seen in other recipes: Cilantro Chicken Rice BowlsCreamy Chicken Salsa Verde, and my very favorite Poblano Chile Enchiladas. I love that stuff. If I weren’t already taken, I’d marry it. Just kidding. That makes me sound like Pioneer Woman or something. Ha!

Anyway, this Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe is a keeper. Trust me. It’s like enchiladas but so, So, SO much easier. Just mix it all in a bowl, spread it in the pan, and let the oven do its magic work.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe | Good Cheap Eats

How I make this good:

One of the things I love about this recipe is that all the ingredients are real food: chicken, cheese, sour cream, salsa, tortillas, onions, olives, and spices. I buy the Hatch Valley Salsa at Trader Joe’s which has just a handful of whole food ingredients; TJ’s corn tortillas are the best for having the cleanest ingredients list, too. I try to buy the best ingredients I can with the budget we have to work with.

How I make this cheap:

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

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on sour cream, I’ll buy 4-5 containers, depending on their expiration dates.
  • Use a whole chicken! Cooking a whole chicken (or buying one that Costco roasted for you) can be more economical than buying chicken pieces. Plus, you can use the carcass to make homemade stock. You can easily make this Chicken Enchilada Casserole with turkey when the whole birds go on sale in the fall.
  • Make your own taco seasoning. It doesn’t take but minutes and it’s much cheaper than those little packets. Tastes better, too.

How I make this recipe easy:

This past week, I used a Costco rotisserie chicken to make my prep work a little bit easier. The cost of the chicken is comparable to a whole chicken uncooked — and they taste great! Plus, the work is done for me.

I also tend to make several of these casseroles at one time. It’s not much harder to make three than it is one, as long as I have enough ingredients on hand. I stash those away in the freezer leaving us with a couple easy dinners for future nights.

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Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Spice up your evening with this hot and cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole. You can whip it up in a flash -- and make an extra to freeze.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken casserole, enchilada casserole
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 279 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 12 ounces salsa verde
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
  • 12 corn tortillas torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked and chopped chicken
  • 3 cups cheddar jack, pepper jack cheese, or a mixture
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • sliced black olives
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, salsa, and taco seasoning. Stir in the tortilla pieces, chicken, 2 cups of cheese, and the onion. Stir well to combine.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with the remaining cheese and black olives. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over top before serving.
  4. The casserole can be frozen or refrigerated, prior to baking. Add a few minutes to the cooking time to allot for a cold pan.
Recipe Notes

If cooking after freezing, allow the dish to thaw completely in the refrigerator before baking.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 445mg19%
Potassium 214mg6%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 728IU15%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 269mg27%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe | Good Cheap Eats

About Jessica Fisher

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

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  1. Alice E says

    Two questions, please. Do you have any other suggestions for those who don’t have a Trader Joes close. I would have to go a lot further to shop there. Would the green enchilada sauce work, or should I try a different green salsa? Also, can I just stack the tortillas and cut them into squares? It would be much quicker, it seems. Thanks for all your effort providing suggestions and ideas. I like the idea of not having to roll enchiladas or layer a casserole which is my usual option.

    • Green enchilada sauce isn’t the same as salsa verde. But, there are quite a few salsa verdes on the market, available at a number of stores. Herdez makes a great one. You should be able to find that in a number of places.

      Yes, you can totally stack and cut. Either one works great. This is a very simple way to make “enchiladas”. They’re not as pretty as rolled, but super tasty!

  2. This recipe is pretty much the same ad my rolled recipe but I don’t make it as often as we would all like bc of the time it takes. I never thought of just making it a casserole…. duh! LOL, this would probably work great as a freezer meal also.

  3. Erin says

    This is going on the meal plan for tomorrow night!! So glad to ‘see’ you on periscope again 🙂

    • I’m actually considering moving to Facebook Live. Are you on Facebook?

      • Erin says

        I’m not on Facebook, but I’ve noticed a lot of people going that route. You have to do what’s best for you!

        • The plus side of Facebook streams is that there aren’t any trolls. That can be really hard to deal with on Periscope.

  4. Sue says

    I made this for dinner this week. It was fabulous! So easy to put together! We will be putting this in our regular rotation!

  5. Pamela says

    I made this a week or two ago and everyone loved it! So I made it again yesterday, but TRIPLED it, and it was made easy by Costco proportions. I used one large tub (3 lb) for the sour cream (YAY for not having to measure or have excess!) and one bag of the pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (vacuum bagged in the deli section). Again, no excess chicken to re-wrap. I will be making it in triplicate from this time forward! 🙂

    • Great strategy! Is the chicken already shredded? I’ve never seen that at my Costco. Will have to look.

      • Pamela says

        Yes, it’s already shredded. The pieces are still quite large though so I chop it up even more for my little ones.

        • Peggy says

          Thanks, Pamela, for your time-saving short cut! Sounds so easy to triple this recipe when just about everything is precooked and premeasured. Going to be freezing lots of these for future use!!! ???

        • That is very cool. I’ll look for that next time.

  6. Peggy says

    I made this tonight except with smoked pork butt. My husband smoked 18# of pork butt this past weekend. Of course, we made pulled pork sandwiches with some of it. After pulling the remaining meat from the bone and removing the fat, we chopped it into bite size pieces in order to vacuum seal it and freeze for future meals. While we love pulled pork, I decided to be adventurous and see what else I could create with this delicious smoked pork. I remembered your Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe and decided to give it a try using pork. And it was OMG good!!! *NOTE: I only used BBQ sauce for the sandwiches. The remainder was just seasoned and smoked. That way the pork is versatile, ready to use for any cuisine! Thanks for your Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe. It’s my favorite!!!

  7. Brooke Kingston says

    This recipe has become one of our very favorites! I rarely make casseroles because of the often-used “cream-of-something” soup. Like you, we don’t do the canned soup sauces. Men, though, seem to LOVE casseroles. This one was such a giant hit, and I was a real hero with my guys! Easy, delicious, real food dinners like these are why I’ll always read your blogs and buy your cookbooks. Jessica, you keep my kitchen churning out great meals, and you help me keep a smile on my face. THANK YOU!

    • Comment of the week! Thanks for your encouragement, Brooke! I’m so glad I can help!

  8. Mindy Barnett says

    Have you ever tried this with flour tortillas? I’m not big on the corn ones…

    • I am not personally a big fan of flour tortillas in casseroles, so I have not tried it. However, if you like them in enchiladas, it should be fairly similar, though the tortillas may get a little gummy in the sauce.

  9. Sandi says

    Have you ever tried throwing in corn tortilla chips (a la lawnmower taco) instead of the soft corn tortillas? For making in bulk, I’m sure the actual tortillas are much more cost effective but for a half-batch or so, I would think the chips would work. I ask since the chips are much more likely to be in stock at my house…

    • I’ve done the reverse (use tortillas in Lawnmower Taco), so I’m very confident it should work fine. Only difference is salt content, so watch that.

  10. Robbie says

    Yum, so good! Hubby and I love salsa verde and the flavors in this went so well together. Thanks for sharing your recipe, we loved it! Also love that it’s freezer-friendly. Big plus for me. 🙂

  11. Courtney H says

    Tried this tonight, but with flour instead of corn (forgot them at the store) and they were still delicious. My husband loved them. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Camille says

    This is amazing! We loved it. It’s going in our regular meal rotation at least once a month. I like that it’s big enough to feed everyone with some for leftovers that I can bring to work for lunch. Another bonus is that it tastes just as fabulous when heated up as leftovers. Yum!

  13. This was amazing!!! Easy cheap and delicious!! Perfect way to use up those leftover corn tortillas. I didn’t have sour cream so I subbed mayo and used dairy free cheese! It was so good! Will be adding this to my regular rotation! Thanks!!

  14. Laurie says

    Can any salsa work? I’m the only one who likes verde. Also could this also be made with hamburger?

    • You can use other salsa but it turns it pink. My kids don’t like verde by itself but they love this casserole.

  15. Kathleen says

    I used to love making white enchiladas but then stopped making them because of the canned soup the recipes always used. I made this today but halved the recipe since we are just two of us and my little freezer is stuffed right now. I loved how quick it came together and I think it tastes just like chicken enchiladas with creamy sauce, but with fewer ingredients. I will definitely be making this again.

    • So glad you enjoyed it!

      • Janice Wiseman says

        Hi Jessica,
        Looking forward to making your recipe for a Girls Night dinner.
        Just want to verify the cheeses… 3 cups total of all the cheeses you listed right? Or did you mean 3 cups of each cheese? Sorry, just want to make sure I get it right.
        Thank you!!!

  16. Sabrina says

    This recipe came out good. My children added some tortilla chips, which added some more texture too!

  17. Janice Wiseman says

    Hi Jessica,
    I’m so sorry to be a pest, I did see the salsa you were talking about at Trader Joe’s and one of the employees said it was super hot/spicy and makes your eyes water. I don’t think that would work for the group I’m making it for but I wanted your take on it since you had used it in this casserole. Thank you for your patience!!!

    • I’m curious where this TJ’s was! I do not think it’s that spicy. You can use their milder and less expensive salsa verde or Herdez has a nice green salsa as well. The sour cream really tames the flame, but if you’re hesitant, you can use whatever salsa you like, even red. (I like using green because the red salsa + sour cream = pink sauce.)

  18. Susan says

    Can you substitute flour tortilla’s in place of corn ones?

  19. Marie says

    Well, mine will be super cheesy tonight. Got it all mixed and realized I had not reserved cheese for top! Hmm…..another cup for the top…..we love cheese! I didn’t have fresh cilantro so put a tablespoon of dried right in the mixture. It’s smelling yummy!

  20. Angela says

    Made this for dinner tonight. Only thing I did differently was sprinkle a handful of crushed tortilla chips over the top to give it a little crunch. Everyone loved it and we’ll definitely be having this regularly!

  21. Dawn Davis says

    Where can I find you on Facebook??

  22. Michelle Pearson says

    The cheese and chicken casserole looks delicious and the perfect thing for the busy football season. My son is sensitive to cilantro so we avoid it in all salsas. Can you provide a homemade salsa verde recipe without cilantro? I am on the beginner cooking side. Thanks!

  23. Chloe says

    I made this today for the family. It turned out really delicious!! I have no complaints for it all. However instead of using the source cream I used cream cheese 8oz and no olives. I will definitely be making this again.

  24. Kelli L Howell says

    To be honest, this sounded bland. I was wrong! It tasted really good! I used flour tortillas shells, added a heaping teaspoon of taco seasoning, and the Herdez Salsa Verde. Thank you for a great way to use up my tortilla shells and frozen rotisserie chicken!

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