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

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

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Chicken enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that is easy to make. Chicken enchiladas with canned chicken can be made quickly and are an inexpensive meal option for families on the go. This blog post will provide you with instructions on how to make this delicious Mexican dish at home, no matter your skill level in the kitchen.

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

This recipe 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.

History of chicken enchiladas

Enchiladas are a dish similar to tacos rolled but covered in a red sauce, with ingredients like cheese, onions, cumin. This classic Mexican dish can be traced back to the pre-Columbian era when Mayans would fill tortillas with fish and other meats. They later added fixings such as salsa or fried egg onto the tortilla.

This dish has been around for centuries; even though it was called something different. In 1885 the name enchilada came to be, coming from the word meaning spicy chili filling dip or sauce.

Enchiladas have long been the Mexican equivalent of a hearty casserole or pasta dish. Now for the sake of presentation, we stuff tortillas with different types of meat and fixings and then enrobe them in enchilada sauce and cheese.

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.

Options to using canned chicken

If you want to make this chicken enchiladas recipe better – ditch the canned chicken!

Chicken enchiladas from rotisserie chicken

We have talked before about how you can use a rotisserie chicken to make more than one meal. Chicken enchiladas are one of the best ways to use up all that leftover chicken.

Rotisserie chickens are awesome because they’re seasoned and “cooked” already. They come from the rotating oven in a bag with some of their juices reserved for you to make your own sauce or gravy – great if you don’t feel like prepping anything!

Since you only need one cup of chicken to really make this work, you can take part of a roasted chicken, shred it and add it to the sauce for an easy dinner and use the rest of it for different recipes.

Chicken enchiladas leftover chicken

Besides a rotisserie chicken – any leftover chicken would do! Even if it is lightly seasoned or sauced differently, it will be OK as the enchilada sauce tends to be the dominant flavor. Just make sure you remove any skin and then shred it.

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 for later use.

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 some butter 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.

Chicken enchiladas and rice recipe

A great way to stretch the meat budget and yet fill the tummy is by adding rice to your chicken enchiladas. Chicken enchiladas and rice need a ratio of about one cup each to make this work.

You can use any type of rice: long-grain, short-grain, or brown – just be sure you measure out the right amount! Rice is easy because it cooks quickly so there are no worries about it getting mushy when adding chicken broth to the mix instead of just using water.

Another filler? Black beans. You can simply open a can of black beans and add it to the mix – just make sure you have equal parts of each kind of filling for a better balance of flavors. Combine all fillers and then add that to your sauce.

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


All in all, it uses 1 chicken breast, 1 cup shredded cheddar, 1 package of tortillas, and 2 cans of sauce…My cheese was free and so was the corn and the tortillas, $.75 for each can of sauce and sale chicken means this dinner ran me about $3.00 AND we have a single serving of leftovers packed away in the fridge for dear hubby to take to work later this week! That makes 4 servings for $3 – a frugal meal that is VERY yummy!

Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients

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

How to Make Chicken Enchiladas

  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
How to make Chicken Enchiladas

other recipes we thought you might like:

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

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

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