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Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Welcome to the delightful journey of crafting traditional chicken enchiladas. This recipe encapsulates the heart and soul of Mexican cuisine with its rich flavors and comforting warmth. Each ingredient plays a significant role to create a plateful of happiness that is sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters.

Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Recipe
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Some ingredients such as the chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and the Mexican cheese might not be readily available in your pantry. These add a specific piquant tang and creaminess to the dish that's integral to the authentic enchilada taste. If these are missing in your regular grocery store, try locating them in a nearby Mexican store or the international aisle.

Ingredients for Traditional Chicken Enchiladas

Garlic: Adds a bold, rustic taste that complements many other flavors in the dish.

Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce: Gives the dish its distinctive smoky spiciness.

Tomato sauce: Forms the base of the enchilada sauce, contributing to its tangy sweetness.

Ground cumin: Adds depth and a warm, earthy flavor.

Chicken broth: Enhances the overall taste of the dish by adding a rich, savory flavor.

Chicken breast: The main source of protein and gives substance to the enchiladas.

Onion: Lends sweetness and depth to the dish.

Cilantro: Provides a fresh, herbal note and a vibrant green color.

Dried oregano: Offers a fragrant, slightly bitter taste.

Whole wheat flour tortillas: Used as the wrap for the enchilada, they hold all the fillings and soak up the sauce.

Mexican cheese: Melts to lend a creamy richness to the enchiladas.

Scallions: Used for garnishing, they add a fresh crunch and slight pungency.

One reader, Janeva Paulson says:

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The traditional chicken enchiladas recipe was a hit with my family! The flavors were rich and the sauce was delicious. The recipe was easy to follow and the end result was absolutely mouthwatering. I'll definitely be making this again!

Janeva Paulson

Key Techniques for Making Traditional Chicken Enchiladas

How to prepare enchilada sauce: Combine garlic, chipotle chilis, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, and chicken broth in a saucepan. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

How to cook chicken filling: Sauté onions and garlic, then add chicken, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and tomato sauce. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

How to assemble enchiladas: Place chicken mixture in tortillas, roll them, and arrange them seam side down in a baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.

How to bake enchiladas: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes.

How To Make Chicken Enchiladas

Tender chicken meat rolled in crunchy corn tortillas and drizzled with savory and spicy enchilada sauce make these chicken enchiladas a hit Mexican dish.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes



For Enchilada Sauce:

  • 2clovesgarlic,minced
  • 2tbspchipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • cupstomato sauce
  • ½tspchipotle chili powder
  • ½tspground cumin
  • ¾cupsodium chicken broth,reduced
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper,to taste

For Chicken:

  • 1tspvegetable oil
  • 9ozchicken breast,cooked shredded from 2 small breasts
  • 1cupOnion,diced
  • 2clovelarge garlic,minced
  • ¼cupcilantro
  • kosher salt
  • 1tspcumin
  • ½tspdried oregano
  • 1tspchipotle chili powder
  • cupchicken broth
  • ½cuptomato sauce

For Enchilada:

  • 8whole wheat flour tortillas,7-inch low-carb la tortilla factory
  • 1cupMexican cheese,low fat shredded
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 2tbspscallions,chopped or cilantro for topping


  1. In a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.

  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  6. Spray a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Put ⅓ cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it.

  7. Place on baking dish seam side down, top with sauce. Then top with cheese.

  8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes.


  • Calories: 420.90kcal
  • Fat: 18.16g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.47g
  • Trans Fat: 0.32g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6.92g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.97g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.22g
  • Fiber: 3.96g
  • Sugar: 6.76g
  • Protein: 22.28g
  • Cholesterol: 50.96mg
  • Sodium: 1158.12mg
  • Calcium: 297.77mg
  • Potassium: 584.37mg
  • Iron: 4.13mg
  • Vitamin A: 117.22µg
  • Vitamin C: 11.14mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Perfect Enchiladas Every Time

When preparing your enchiladas, it's important to not overfill the tortillas. Too much filling can cause the tortillas to tear or the filling to spill out during baking. A good rule of thumb is to use about ⅓ cup of filling per tortilla. This ensures a well-balanced enchilada with just the right ratio of filling to tortilla. Also, rolling the enchiladas tightly and placing them seam side down in the baking dish helps to keep them intact while they bake.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Enchiladas

Prep ahead: Prepare the enchilada sauce and chicken filling in advance and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This will save time when you're ready to assemble and bake the enchiladas.

Use rotisserie chicken: To save time, consider using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken from scratch. Shred the rotisserie chicken and mix it with the enchilada sauce and other ingredients for a quick and easy filling.

Double the batch: Make a double batch of the enchiladas and freeze the extras for a future meal. Simply thaw and reheat for a convenient and time-saving dinner option.

Pre-shredded cheese: Opt for pre-shredded cheese to save time on grating. It's a convenient option that can streamline the preparation process.

Assembly line: Set up an assembly line with all the ingredients and tortillas to streamline the process of filling and rolling the enchiladas, making the preparation more efficient.

Electric pressure cooker: Consider using an electric pressure cooker to cook the chicken quickly and efficiently. It can significantly reduce the cooking time for the chicken filling.

Substitute Ingredients For Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

  • Chicken breast - Substitute with turkey breast: Turkey breast can be used as a lean and flavorful alternative to chicken breast in enchiladas. It has a similar texture and can be seasoned and cooked in the same way.

  • Tomato sauce - Substitute with salsa: Salsa can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce to add a different flavor profile to the enchiladas. It provides a tangy and spicy kick that complements the other ingredients.

  • Whole wheat flour tortillas - Substitute with corn tortillas: Corn tortillas can be used for a gluten-free option or for a more traditional Mexican flavor in the enchiladas.

  • Mexican cheese - Substitute with queso fresco: Queso fresco can be used as a substitute for Mexican cheese to provide a crumbly, tangy flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients in the enchiladas.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Enchiladas

  • Chef's knife: A versatile tool used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients with precision.
  • Cutting board: Provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Skillet: A versatile pan used for sautéing, frying, and cooking the chicken filling for the enchiladas.
  • Saucepan: Essential for preparing the enchilada sauce, simmering and combining the ingredients.
  • Baking dish: Used for assembling and baking the enchiladas in the oven.
  • Aluminum foil: Used to cover the enchiladas while baking to ensure even cooking and prevent burning.
  • Mixing bowl: Used for mixing and combining the chicken filling and other ingredients.
  • Grater: Used for grating cheese to top the enchiladas.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Essential for accurately measuring the ingredients for the enchilada sauce and chicken filling.
  • Oven: Used for baking the assembled enchiladas to perfection.

Storing and Freezing Tips for Chicken Enchiladas

  • Let the enchiladas cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent them from becoming soggy and will help maintain their texture.

  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled enchiladas in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. They will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

  • For longer storage, freezing is a great option:

    • Wrap each enchilada individually in plastic wrap, making sure to remove as much air as possible.
    • Place the wrapped enchiladas in a freezer-safe container or a resealable freezer bag. Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
    • Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  • To reheat refrigerated enchiladas:

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the enchiladas in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil.
    • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
  • To reheat frozen enchiladas:

    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
    • Remove the desired number of enchiladas from the freezer and unwrap them.
    • Place the frozen enchiladas in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil.
    • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
    • If you prefer a crispier top, remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
  • Alternatively, you can thaw the enchiladas overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. This will reduce the reheating time in the oven.

How To Reheat Leftover Chicken Enchiladas

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover enchiladas in an oven-safe dish and cover them with aluminum foil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are heated through. This method helps to maintain the texture of the tortillas and prevents them from becoming too soggy.

  • If you prefer a crispier texture, you can also reheat the enchiladas in the oven without the foil cover. Bake them at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the tortillas start to crisp up and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

  • For a quick and easy option, you can reheat individual portions of enchiladas in the microwave. Place a single serving on a microwave-safe plate and heat it on high power for 1-2 minutes, or until it's heated through. Be aware that microwaving may result in a softer texture compared to oven reheating.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat your enchiladas for a crispy exterior. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the enchiladas in the basket. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they are heated through and the edges are slightly crispy.

  • For a stovetop method, place the enchiladas in a skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of chicken broth or water to the pan to prevent the enchiladas from drying out. Cover the skillet with a lid and heat the enchiladas for 5-7 minutes, or until they are warmed through.

Interesting Trivia About Traditional Chicken Enchiladas

The traditional chicken enchiladas recipe is a popular Mexican dish that has been enjoyed for generations. It is a delicious and comforting meal that brings together the flavors of tender chicken, savory enchilada sauce, and melted cheese. This dish is perfect for gatherings and can be customized with various toppings such as sour cream, avocado, or salsa. The enchilada sauce is a key component, providing a rich and smoky flavor to the dish. It's a great way to enjoy a taste of Mexico right in your own home. Try making this recipe for a flavorful and satisfying meal!

Is Making Chicken Enchiladas at Home Cost-Effective?

The traditional chicken enchiladas recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as chicken breast, onion, and tomato sauce, are affordable and readily available. The dish offers a satisfying and flavorful meal for a family of four at an approximate cost of $15. The homemade enchilada sauce and filling provide a delicious and budget-friendly option for a hearty dinner. Overall, this recipe is a solid 8 for its affordability and delicious outcome.

Are Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Healthy or Unhealthy?

The traditional chicken enchiladas recipe is a delicious and flavorful dish, but it may not be the healthiest option due to a few factors:

  • The recipe uses flour tortillas, which are high in refined carbohydrates and may contribute to blood sugar spikes and weight gain if consumed in excess.
  • The dish contains a significant amount of cheese, which is high in saturated fat and calories. While cheese can be part of a balanced diet, excessive consumption may lead to health issues.
  • The recipe calls for chicken broth and tomato sauce, which may contain added sodium. High sodium intake is linked to hypertension and other health problems.

However, the recipe also includes some healthy ingredients, such as:

  • Chicken breast, which is a lean protein source and essential for building and repairing tissues.
  • Onions and garlic, which are rich in antioxidants and have potential health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and supporting heart health.
  • Cilantro, which is a good source of vitamins and minerals and may have detoxifying properties.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap the flour tortillas for whole grain or corn tortillas to increase the fiber content and reduce the glycemic load.
  • Reduce the amount of cheese used or opt for a lower-fat variety, such as part-skim mozzarella or a Mexican cheese blend.
  • Choose low-sodium chicken broth and tomato sauce to minimize the dish's salt content.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the filling, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach, to boost the nutrient density and fiber content.
  • Use a leaner protein source, such as ground turkey or tofu, for a vegetarian option.
  • Serve the enchiladas with a side salad or roasted vegetables to balance out the meal and add more nutrients.

Editor's Opinion on This Classic Chicken Enchilada Recipe

The traditional chicken enchiladas recipe is a delightful blend of smoky, spicy flavors and tender chicken, wrapped in whole wheat tortillas and smothered in a rich, homemade enchilada sauce. The combination of chipotle chilis, cumin, and garlic infuses the dish with a depth of flavor that is both comforting and satisfying. The use of Mexican cheese adds a creamy, indulgent touch, while the scallions provide a fresh, zesty finish. This recipe is a wonderful choice for a cozy family dinner or a gathering with friends, and is sure to become a beloved favorite in any home.

Enhance Your Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Guacamole: Creamy avocado mixed with zesty lime and fresh cilantro, perfect for adding a burst of flavor to your traditional chicken enchiladas.
Mexican Street Corn: Grilled corn on the cob slathered in a tangy mayo and sprinkled with crumbled cotija cheese, a delicious and satisfying side to accompany your enchiladas.
Churros: Crispy, cinnamon-sugar coated churros, a sweet and indulgent treat to end your meal on a high note.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Chicken Enchiladas

Spicy Beef Tacos: Create a flavorful and spicy beef taco recipe using ground beef, taco seasoning, and a variety of toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Combine the sweetness of mango with the savory flavor of chicken in this delicious and refreshing mango salsa chicken recipe.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Indulge in a comforting and creamy tomato basil soup that is perfect for a cozy night in or as a starter for a dinner party.
Berry Cobbler: Enjoy the sweetness of mixed berries in a warm and comforting berry cobbler dessert that is perfect for any occasion.

Perfect Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Chicken Enchiladas

Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with savory stuffed mushrooms filled with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. These bite-sized appetizers are perfect for any gathering and will leave your guests wanting more.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Indulge in a creamy and cheesy spinach and artichoke dip that pairs perfectly with crispy tortilla chips or warm bread. This classic appetizer is a crowd-pleaser and is sure to be a hit at any party or event.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful contrast of temperatures and textures.

Why trust this Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Recipe:

This traditional chicken enchiladas recipe is a time-honored family favorite, passed down through generations. The rich and smoky enchilada sauce is made from scratch, using a blend of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and aromatic spices. The tender chicken breast is seasoned to perfection and simmered in a flavorful mixture of tomato sauce and cilantro. Each enchilada is carefully rolled and smothered in the homemade sauce, then topped with a generous amount of melted Mexican cheese. This recipe promises to deliver an authentic and mouthwatering Mexican cuisine experience that will surely impress your loved ones.

Want to share your own twist on this Traditional Chicken Enchiladas Recipe or discuss tips and tricks? Head over to the Recipe Sharing section of our forum and join the conversation!
Can I use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas for the enchiladas?
Yes, you can definitely use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas for the enchiladas. Corn tortillas will add a delicious, authentic flavor to the dish.
Can I make the enchiladas ahead of time and refrigerate them before baking?
Absolutely! You can assemble the enchiladas ahead of time, cover them tightly, and refrigerate them until you're ready to bake. Just be sure to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if you're starting with cold enchiladas.
Can I freeze the enchiladas for later use?
Yes, you can freeze the enchiladas for later use. Once assembled, wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing. When you're ready to enjoy them, allow the enchiladas to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as directed.
Can I substitute the chicken with another protein, such as beef or tofu?
Absolutely! You can easily substitute the chicken with beef, pork, or tofu to suit your dietary preferences or create different flavor variations.
Can I adjust the level of spiciness in the enchilada sauce?
Of course! You can adjust the spiciness of the enchilada sauce by adding more or less chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and chipotle chili powder to suit your taste preferences.

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