Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a dish we really love for lots of reasons.  They are relatively easy to make, and can be made ahead of time and even frozen for a quick dinner months later. We love that they can be made a number of different ways from the filling to the sauce to the tortillas (the flour vs. corn debate is fierce among some). When we make enchiladas, we often find ourselves making them differently each time, depending on the ingredients we have at hand.  They still always manage to turn out delicious.  An added bonus of wrapping the filling in a tortilla and covering it in sauce and cheese is that you can easily sneak add in extra veggies.  Make them spicy (or not), we think enchiladas are a perfect hearty dish for colder winter months.

Here, we are sharing our favorite chicken enchiladas which are really adapted from two different recipes and our own tweaks.  Hopefully they will inspire you to try your hand at enchiladas.  Again, these are a great option to make ahead if you’re feeding a crowd or they can be divided and frozen for several future meals.

First, a word about the sauce.  We are biased.  We prefer red sauce on our enchiladas.  You can most definitely buy traditional red enchilada sauce in a can at the store.  This would be the easiest and fastest option; however, the canned version tends to be on the higher end for sodium.  We also think homemade enchilada sauce tastes better and its really super easy to make.  Another option is to forego the red sauce altogether (we won’t judge you) and use a salsa verde which you can buy in the jarred salsa section or make (more involved than the red sauce). So… really its up to you!  If you’re pinched for time buy the ready-to-go enchilada sauce or salsa verde… just be sure to peek at the nutrition label and keep an eye on the sodium.

For the homemade red enchilada sauce we use this recipe from the Daily Garnish blog.  We’ve tried a few other recipes, and this one is the easiest and best in our opinion.

Chicken Enchiladas (adapted from Tyler Florence):

Makes about 16 enchiladas; 8 servings


1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion or 1/2 large onion chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup frozen corn

1 4 oz can chopped green chiles

4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander (if you have it)

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes (crushed or diced would work fine here too)

6 oz fresh spinach

16 corn or small whole wheat tortillas

3 cups enchilada sauce (recipe or store bought)

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, Mexican blend…)

Optional for garnish: chopped cilantro, sour cream, chopped green onions, chopped tomato, chopped avocado…



1. Poach chicken breasts:  Add chicken breasts in single layer to 2-4 quart pot and sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt. Cover the chicken with about an inch of cool water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, and once boiling reduce heat to low to simmer and cover with lid. Chicken is usually done after 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts (begin checking at 10 minutes).  Chicken is done when it is opaque through middle and a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part reads at least 165 degrees F. Place chicken on large plate when done. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken using two forks.

2. Make filling: Heat olive oil in large skillet and saute onion until it becomes tender. Add garlic and saute for another couple minutes. Add corn and chiles and cook until corn is thoroughly heated through – 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cumin and coriander and cook for another minute before adding tomatoes. Add spinach in batches, stirring to wilt. Add shredded chicken to the mixture.

3.  Assemble enchiladas: Coat the bottom of your enchilada pan(s) with a layer of your enchilada sauce. Warm tortillas in batches in the microwave by wrapping in a damp paper towel and cooking for about 30 seconds. Spread a spoonful of enchilada sauce down the middle of each tortilla.  Top with a scoop of the filling (~1/4 to 1/3 cup). Roll up enchiladas and place in baking dish, seam side down.  Top with enchilada sauce followed by cheese.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover enchiladas with tin foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove tin foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until heated through and cheese is thoroughly melted.  Top with garnishes of your choice and serve.

* If freezing a batch, after assembly we recommend wrapping tightly in plastic wrap and placing into freezer (ie do not cook before freezing).  To reheat frozen enchiladas, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake, covered, for 45 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.



mixing up that filling



rock and roll



yes, delicious filling



 sharp cheddar packs a nice flavor punch



ready for the oven



ta da! finished product with some cilantro



dinner is served

Hope you enjoy 🙂