Easy Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes with Shredded Meat

Easy Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes with Shredded Meat

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Leftover chicken, especially tender and juicy rotisserie chicken, can be a real kitchen savior. One fantastic way to turn those leftovers into a delectable meal is by making Chicken Enchiladas. These enchiladas are easy to prepare, bursting with flavor, and perfect for weeknight dinners or entertaining guests. In this article, we’ll walk you through the basic recipe, explore creative variations, provide tips on storing and reheating leftovers, and even discuss freezing options.

Easy Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes with Shredded Meat

This recipe originally came to me from a neighbor who treated us one night, but she used canned chicken. Real shredded chicken or ground beef will really take this to the next level.

What is wrong with canned chicken you get at the store?

It is never really shredded and it can be salty. Chicken breasts are usually, but not always, better than canned chicken. Most of the time you have to add other ingredients like peppers, green chiles, or onions when using canned chicken because they’re missing from the dish due to its lack of flavor.

Chicken enchiladas

What is wrong with canned chicken you get at the store?

It is never really shredded and it can be salty. Chicken breasts are usually, but not always, better than canned chicken. Most of the time you have to add other ingredients like peppers or onions when using canned chicken because they’re missing from the dish due to its lack of flavor.

Quick chicken shredding tip

Use your mixer and it is done in seconds!

Chicken enchiladas using flour tortillas

Flour tortillas are my first choice for making chicken enchiladas. Flour tortillas can be made at home or bought in the store, but either way, they hold up better if you are planning to assemble them and then freeze them for later use.

Mexican Food Tip:

To make your tortillas easier to work with for filling, heat a non-stick pan over medium to high heat. Spray the tortilla lightly with cooking spray or add a little oil and then place it in the heated pan for about 30 seconds on each side – that’s all!

You can also make them ahead of time as well. You want to stack your flour tortillas up so they are even and then using a sharp knife cut them in half. Place on a cookie sheet or dish with the halves facing up so that when you’re ready to serve your enchiladas, they’ll be easy to roll.

Chicken enchiladas with corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are another option for making chicken enchiladas. I don’t think they hold up as well for freezing, but they are certainly gluten-free and a better option for some families.

How to Stretch the Budget with Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes

If you’re looking to make your chicken enchiladas even more filling without breaking the bank, consider adding budget-friendly yet simple ingredients that can stretch the recipe while still providing great flavor and substance. Here are some cost-effective additions:

  1. Rice: Cooked rice, whether white or brown, can be an excellent filler. Mix it with the shredded chicken and enchilada sauce to create a heartier filling for your enchiladas. We even like cilantro lime rice.
  2. Beans: Refried beans, Black beans or pinto beans are affordable and nutritious. You can either mash them or leave them whole to add texture and protein to your enchiladas.
  3. Corn: Canned or frozen corn kernels are an inexpensive way to add sweetness and a bit of crunch to your enchiladas. Simply mix them in with the chicken filling.
  4. Potatoes: Diced and sautéed potatoes can add substance to your enchiladas. Season them well with spices like cumin and paprika for extra flavor.
  5. Onions: Sautéed onions are a cost-effective way to enhance the flavor of your filling. They add a sweet and savory element to the dish.

Chicken enchiladas with red sauce

A few weeks back, boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale. So, using those, I threw it in the crock-pot with the rest of the ingredients, added a small can of lemonade concentrate, and let it rip on low for 8 hours. Then, I shredded it and broke it into smaller packages for the freezer…tonight I pulled one out and made dinner! (If you have never tried lemonade chicken before – I highly suggest you try it!)

Take a couple of cans of enchilada sauce (or make your own)…I like this brand and like to get it at the local Mexican grocery. It is always less expensive to get any kind of ethnic food at your local ethnic grocery stores.

Take 1 can, and stir into the chicken. I used 1 large breast, shredded – which was about 2 cups of chicken.

how to make chicken enchiladas

Take a tortilla, add some shredded cheddar, and a row of chicken mixture down the center.

how to make chicken enchiladas

Roll up, tuck the ends in as you go, and put into the baking dish. I can usually squeeze 8-10 into a 9×13 pan.

Cover with the remaining can of sauce, add a handful more cheese, and bake at 350 until bubbly on the top. We like to serve it with sour cream and corn.

ready to bake chicken enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients

Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients

Easy Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients

  • 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken is a great choice)
  • 1 cup of 2% shredded cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, or even Pepper Jack would work.
  • 10 medium corn or flour tortillas
  • 2 cans of red enchilada sauce (or make your own enchilada sauce)

How to Make Chicken Enchiladas

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Start by cooking and shredding the chicken breast. If you’re using leftover rotisserie chicken, remove the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-sized pieces. This step saves time and adds depth of flavor.
  2. Mix the Filling: In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken with one can of enchilada sauce. Mix well to ensure the chicken is evenly coated in the flavorful sauce.
  3. Assemble the Enchiladas: Take a tortilla and spoon some of the chicken filling onto the center. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling, securing the seam-side down.
  4. Layer in a Casserole Dish: Place the rolled enchiladas side by side in a casserole dish. Once all enchiladas are assembled, pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the top.
  5. Bake: Preheat your preheated oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and bake the enchiladas for approximately 20 minutes or until they are hot and the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.

We just top them with a dollop of sour cream or a few avocado slices – you don’t even need pico de gallo! Heck, if your favorite toppings re fresh cilantro or even diced green onions, that would make it pretty.

How to make Chicken Enchiladas


One of the joys of making chicken enchiladas is that you can get creative with your ingredients. Here are some variations to consider:

  • Vegetarian Enchiladas: Skip the chicken and load your tortillas with sautéed bell peppers, onions, and black beans for a hearty vegetarian option.
  • Green Enchiladas: Use green enchilada sauce for a tangy and slightly spicier flavor profile.
  • Creamy Enchiladas: Mix in a creamy element like sour cream or Greek yogurt for added richness.
  • Seafood Enchiladas: Swap the chicken for cooked shrimp or crab meat for a delightful seafood twist.

Storing Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes:

If you have leftover chicken enchiladas, follow these storage guidelines:

  • Refrigeration: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating Leftovers:

To reheat chicken enchiladas:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  2. Place the enchiladas in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil to prevent excessive drying, and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until they are heated through.
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Freezing Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes:

If you want to freeze leftover chicken enchiladas:

  1. Wrap individual enchiladas or the entire casserole tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
  2. Label with the date and contents for easy identification.
  3. Frozen chicken enchiladas can be stored for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
  4. When you’re ready to enjoy them, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating following the instructions above.

Chicken enchiladas are a versatile and delicious way to transform leftover chicken into a satisfying meal. With these creative variations and storage tips, you’ll make the most of your rotisserie chicken leftovers while keeping your family’s taste buds satisfied. Enjoy your flavorful enchiladas!

​FAQs on Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Recipes

Can I use leftover rotisserie chicken for chicken enchiladas?

  • Yes, using leftover rotisserie chicken is a fantastic idea for chicken enchiladas. It adds a flavorful and tender component to the dish. It really is what this easy recipe is based off of.

Can I use flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas?

  • Absolutely! You can use either corn or flour tortillas, depending on your preference. Flour tortillas tend to be softer and more pliable, while corn tortillas offer a slightly different texture and flavor.

How do I prevent my enchiladas from becoming soggy?

  • To prevent soggy enchiladas, make sure to drain any excess moisture from the shredded chicken before assembling the enchiladas. Additionally, don’t over-saturate the tortillas with sauce, and be sure to bake the enchiladas until they are heated through and the cheese is bubbly but not overly melted.

Can I make chicken enchiladas in advance?

  • Yes, you can assemble the enchiladas in advance and refrigerate them before baking. This can be a time-saver for busy weeknights or when preparing for a gathering. Just remember to bake them when you’re ready to serve.

What can I serve with chicken enchiladas as sides?

  • Chicken enchiladas pair well with a variety of sides, including Mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, and a fresh salad. Choose your favorite combination to create a complete meal.

Can I make chicken enchiladas spicy?

  • Yes, you can adjust the spice level to your liking. Add chopped jalapeños, diced green chilies, or a dash of hot sauce to the chicken filling for a spicy kick. You can also choose a spicier enchilada sauce if you prefer.

Can I make chicken enchiladas vegetarian?

  • Absolutely! Simply omit the chicken and replace it with extra vegetables, beans, or tofu to create delicious vegetarian enchiladas. Adjust the seasonings and spices to suit your taste.

Other recipes we thought you might like:

  1.  Easy Peasy Spanish Rice
  2.  Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas
  3.  Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

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Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Beyond Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Beyond Easy Chicken Enchiladas: A Guide to Making Them at Home

Enchiladas are a dish similar to tacos rolled but covered in a red sauce, with ingredients like cheese, onions, cumin.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 cup chicken breast
  • 1 cup 2% shredded cheddar
  • 10 medium corn or flour tortillas
  • 2 cans of enchilada sauce


  1. Cook and shred chicken breast.
  2. Mix chicken and 1 can of enchilada sauce together in a bowl.
  3. Place a spoon of chicken mixture and sprinkle some cheese into the center of a tortilla and roll.
  4. Place in a layer on the bottom of a casserole dish and top with an additional can of enchilada sauce.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 11g
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