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Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchilada Recipe

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Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas is one of my all-time favorite Mexican casserole recipes. Each tortilla is 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 are really something special. 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.

These cheesy 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

Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchilada 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!

shredding chicken breasts using two forks

How to make chicken enchiladas

  1. First, poach the chicken in a large skillet in simmering enchilada sauce with minced garlic until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  2. Remove and shred the chicken, then toss it with some of the enchilada sauce and a cup of cheese. Add cilantro if you like.
  3. Warm the tortillas, then assemble the enchiladas by spooning a heaping 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of each tortilla. Roll them up and place seam-side down in a lightly greased casserole dish.
  4. Brush the tops of the enchiladas with a small amount of olive oil, then place in a preheated 425-degree oven uncovered for 8-10 minutes, until the tortillas begin to lightly brown—this is part of the secret baking method!
  5. After ten minutes, lower the oven temperature and top the enchiladas with enchilada sauce and more cheese. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil, and return to the oven to bake 20 minutes.
  6. At the end of baking, remove the foil and bake uncovered for another five minutes or so to crisp them up!
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Chicken enchiladas FAQs

How do you fill and wrap enchiladas?

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. Place the filled tortilla seam side down in the baking sheet so that it stays closed.

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.

What are the best side dishes to serve with chicken enchiladas?

Traditionally, enchiladas are served with a side of Mexican seasoned rice and beans, either refried beans or black beans. Often, I’ll make this yummy Mexican Street Corn Salad for a change of pace. We like to top our enchiladas with a little extra cilantro, fresh Avocado Salsa, and sour cream. 

easy chicken cookbook cover image
a fork cutting into chicken enchiladas on a plate

My second time making these and 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 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.

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

More Mexican casserole recipes!

  • Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas — with a chunky homemade enchilada sauce made with onions, poblano pepper, and smoky chipotle chilies.
  • Easy Beef Enchilada Skillet — with ground beef, corn tortillas, and red enchilada sauce is a tasty weeknight Mexican dinner that’s ready in under 30 minutes.
  • Southwestern Frittata Breakfast Casserole — with a soft tamale-like texture and loaded with pepper jack cheese and garnished with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes.
  • Breakfast Enchiladas — filled with savory sausage, eggs, and cheese – are smothered with a versatile green chili cheese sauce.

Perdue Farms’ most popular organic chicken products are now in one handy pack! Order here today.

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!

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

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Yield: 4 servings

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas garnished with cilantro

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.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cans (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)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Carefully remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
  10. Let stand 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream or salsa, if desired.


Recipe adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 728Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 1507mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 43g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

A baking dish sitting on top of a table, with Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTubePinterestInstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

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Amy Davies

Monday 4th of January 2021

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

Sheila Thigpen

Monday 4th of January 2021

Woohoo! So glad this recipe is a big hit for your family!


Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Can you use corn tortillas?

Sheila Thigpen

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Diane, sure! Use either flour or corn tortillas; my family just prefers the flour.

Paula Maggard

Saturday 8th of February 2020

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?

Sheila Thigpen

Sunday 9th of February 2020

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!

Adrienne Frappen

Saturday 27th of July 2019

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.


Sunday 14th of July 2019

What size tortilla is used in this recipe?

Sheila Thigpen

Monday 15th of July 2019

Use a small tortilla, 8-inch.

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