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Tortillas filled with a generous amount of shredded chicken breast, smothered with garlic-infused enchilada sauce, and topped with more cheddar cheese.

These Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas come out of the oven with a slight crunch, which I love! So easy to make, this chicken enchilada recipe is pretty-much fool-proof!

two chicken enchiladas with cheese and red sauce garnished with cilantro on a white plate

Let me tell you, Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas is one of my all-time favorite Mexican casserole recipes — they are really something special.

In this recipe, the chicken for the filling simmers in enchilada sauce until cooked through and tender enough to shred with a fork, infusing it with delicious flavor.

If you’re looking for more Mexican dinner ideas, my Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas with a chunky homemade enchilada sauce made with onions, poblano pepper, and smoky chipotle chilies is a delicious option.

Or, check out this one-skillet Easy Beef Enchilada recipe that takes just 30 minutes start to finish.

How to make chicken enchiladas

shredding chicken breasts using two forks

STEP 1 | Poach and shred the chicken

  • Not to be confused with boiling, poaching chicken means cooking it completely submerged in a simmering liquid that is kept just below the boiling point, with aromatics—in this case, garlic and enchilada sauce. Cooking chicken by this technique keeps the meat extremely moist and flavorful.
  • To shred chicken using two forks, pierce the chicken with one fork and hold it steady while slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backward, away from the other fork.

STEP 2 | Roll the enchiladas

  • First, wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and warm them in the microwave on high until soft and pliable 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Assemble the enchiladas by spooning a heaping 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of each tortilla.
  • Place the tortilla on a plate and place the filling down the center — do not spread it to cover the entire tortilla. Fold one side over the filling, then fold the other side to overlap.

tip

  • I make my enchiladas with flour tortillas, but you can substitute corn tortillas if that’s your preference.

STEP 3 | Bake and serve

  • Place the filled tortilla seam side down in the baking dish so that it stays closed and brush the tops lightly with olive oil.
  • Bake uncovered for the first 10 minutes, until the tortillas begin to lightly brown — this is part of the secret baking method!
  • Then, lower the oven temperature and top the enchiladas with enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and finish baking.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Frequently asked questions

Do you put foil over enchiladas before baking?

For this recipe, the enchiladas bake for the first ten minutes uncovered. This gives the tortillas a nice crunch. Cover the enchiladas with foil and continue baking for the specified time, removing the foil during the last five minutes to allow the cheese to get golden.

How do you keep enchiladas from getting soggy?

A lot of recipes suggest frying the tortillas for a few seconds in hot oil before filling them to keep the enchilada sauce from soaking into the tortillas too much.

I don’t find that step necessary if you bake the enchiladas uncovered at a higher temperature for the first ten minutes.

Side dish suggestions

Traditionally, enchiladas are served with a side of Mexican seasoned rice and beans, either refried beans or charro beans.

Often, I’ll make this yummy Mexican Street Corn Salad for a change of pace. We like to garnish our enchiladas with a little extra cilantro, fresh Avocado Salsa, and sour cream. 

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas: behind the recipe

Want in on a little secret? I thought so! Unlike many enchilada recipes, these chicken enchiladas start in the oven uncovered and without any sauce or cheese on top.

Why? Because this little secret baking method ensures the enchiladas create a slight crunch before adding the sauce and cheese.

That way, they don’t get so soggy. I like this because too many times I’ve tried to serve enchiladas to just have them fall apart before I could transfer them from the pan to the plate!

a fork cutting into chicken enchiladas on a plate

My second time making these and I love how simple!

I used a rotisserie chicken, but still simmered it in the sauce with the garlic. Costco carries Amalia’s Cocina enchilada sauce in a 2 bottle pack that was the PERFECT amount for this recipe. I added corn and olives to the chicken mix at hubby’s request—really delicious, thank you!
— Laurie

chicken enchiladas smothered in cheese in a white casserole dish with cilantro garnish

You’ll need these kitchen tools to make chicken enchiladas

  • Garlic press — This one is especially easy to use and can press 2 or 3 small cloves at the same time.
  • Deep skillet — Every kitchen needs a good skillet that can be used to pan fry, stir-fry, poach, roast, braise, and sauté.
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas garnished with cilantro

Let’s cook!

Hands down, this Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchilada recipe is requested at our house more often than any other Mexican casserole.

I like it because it truly is simple — just chicken and cheese rolled up in tortillas and baked in enchilada sauce — and truly tasty!

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas garnished with cilantro

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Loaded with chicken and cheese, these EASY Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas come out of the oven with a slight crunch, which makes them a little extra special.
4.25 from 208 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Rest Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 728 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups enchilada sauce
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Pour enchilada sauce into a deep skillet and add the minced garlic; heat to boiling. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and add to the skillet, nestling into the sauce. Reduce to low heat and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the sauce and let the chicken and the sauce cool slightly. Use two forks to shred the chicken (pierce the chicken with one fork and hold it steady while slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backwards, away from the other fork).
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Add chicken, 3/4 cup reserved enchilada sauce, and 1 cup cheese to a large bowl. Add cilantro (if desired) and stir gently to combine.
  • Warm the tortillas wrapped in a damp cloth or paper towel in the microwave on high for 20-30 seconds. Assemble the enchiladas by spooning a heaping 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling and place into the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Brush the tops of the enchiladas with a small amount of olive oil. Place the dish into the oven and bake uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to turn golden.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese over the sauce. Lightly cover with aluminum foil and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
  • Let stand 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream or salsa, if desired.

Video

Notes

Recipe adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 728kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 43gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 1507mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5g
Keyword casserole, cheesy enchiladas, chichen enchiladas, Mexican food
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
A baking dish sitting on top of a table, with Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

60 Comments

  1. Now THAT is a pan of enchiladas! I grew up with a Kroger, but don’t live by one any more. I miss it!

  2. These enchiladas are drool-worthy! And I’ve been a ClickList customer for several months now… it’s seriously amazing!!

  3. I am a huge fan of ClickList. I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago and I’m hooked! These enchiladas look perfect and I love all the cheese!

  4. Haven’t heard of the ClickList sounds like need to look into. These enchiladas look amazing!

  5. 5 stars
    These are in the oven right now. Very easy to make. I used a plain rotisserie chicken so I didn’t have to do that step. Long day. 🙂 I know they will be amazing!

    1. Debi, I hope your family enjoys the enchiladas! I’m with you on taking shortcuts – it’s been one of those long days for me as well!

  6. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit in my house tonight. Deliciois! And so easy to make. My kids are asking me to make it again. Definitely saving this recipe. Thank you

  7. 5 stars
    I made these for dinner today. I used a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to make them pop!! They were delicious. Thanks a lot! Will be making them again.

  8. Question, Is the chicken being cooked in all 3 cups of enchilada sauce? And then is this the same sauce going in the bowl and covering the enchiladas???

    1. Paula, follow the recipe through step 6, then cover and refrigerate. When you are ready to bake, remove from the fridge, uncover and brush with olive oil (see step 7) and then proceed as directed. THANKS!

  9. 5 stars
    Love, love, love! I put Spanish rice on the bottom of the baking dish. I also add some Franks Buffalo sauce to the chicken mixture to make it a little spicy. This is one of our family favorites. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    Came across your recipe for easy cheesy enchiladas…so I gave them a try and they were quite the hit at my house! I added a litlle bit of sour cream to the chicken and cheese mixture to make it a bit creamy then topped it all with some freshly chopped green onions and cilantro. Served it with Mexican style rice, restaurant style tortilla chips and salsa. Pan was practically licked clean! Super easy to make and having the added crunch to the enchiladas was quite delightful! No soggy enchiladas here! Easy to make, simply delicious and super yummy! Family has already requested I make them again! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. 4 stars
    I have now made this twice. It’s a great recipe, but I did add a few things for more flavor. I minced half an onion, a Pablo pepper & 2 Serrano peppers. I softened them up with some olive oil for 5 mins. Added the garlic for another minute, and put the sauce in. I added a 1/4 t. Of Chipotle powder & 1/2 T. Of cumin. Turns it a bit more heated & flavorful.

  12. 4 stars
    I made the chicken in the crockpot with some seasoning the day before and shredded it to make this a little simpler! Have you tried this recipe with corn tortillas before?

    1. I like your suggestion for prepping the chicken in a slow cooker! I have not tried this recipe with corn tortillas—they are not usually my favorite—but if you do like them, it would be worth trying.

  13. 5 stars
    I have made this exact recipe before and they are on the menu again tonight!!! We love them. They are so easy to make and soooooooo delicious too. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. Hi, Shannon. I don’t think you’ll need to change anything to substitute corn over flour tortillas. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  14. The time fields need to be updated. The cook time is 45 min but that comes after the 30-40 min of prep time. The total time to make this recipe is closer to 1.5 hr.

    1. Danielle, thanks for pointing out that I had not indicated the prep time. That is good info for planning for sure!

    1. If you prefer corn tortillas, they will work but the texture will be a little different from the original recipe. My personal preference is the flour tortillas.

  15. 5 stars
    My second time making these & I love how simple! I also used a rotisserie chicken but still simmered it in the sauce with the garlic . Costco carries Amalia’s Cocina enchilada sauce-2 bottle pack-that was the PERFECT amount for this recipe. I used one bottle for the simmer & poured the other over. Added corn & olives to the chicken mix- hubby’s request-really delicious, thank you.

  16. 5 stars
    So simple and easy. My son loves chicken enchiladas with red sauce. I prefer a creamy verde sauce. The cheese in the chicken mix makes this recipe great for both of us. We both like a little more heat so after the first time I made these I have experimented with different spices and peppers to spice it up. The recipe is simple enough to play with without messing it up.

  17. Love these – have already made them several times. But I have one question…every time, no matter how I roll & place them in the dish (glass Pyrex), the bottoms of the enchiladas come out too tough to cut with the side of a fork. So, we cut with a knife, & they still taste wonderful, but I’d really like to figure out what I’m doing wrong as it just seems odd to have to cut them with a knife. Help?

    1. Hi, Paula. I’m thinking it may be the difference in your oven and mine. What I would suggest is that you take a little of the enchilada sauce and coat the bottom of the pan before you roll and tuck the enchiladas in the pan. That should give them a bit of moisture on the bottom and help. Let me know if this works for you. Thanks for the feedback!

  18. I’ve made these several times and my family loves them! My son just asked for them for his birthday dinner!

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