Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Our best chicken enchilada recipe has tender shredded chicken mixed with homemade enchilada sauce, wrapped in corn tortillas, and topped with cheese.

Red Chicken Enchiladas made with homemade sauce

These easy chicken enchiladas are pure comfort food to me. I can’t tell you how happy I am when I see the baking dish full of hot, cheesy enchiladas in the oven. If you love enchiladas as much as we do, you might also enjoy our green chicken enchiladas, which swap the red sauce for salsa verde. Or, for a meatless meal, try our veggie enchiladas.

Our red chicken enchiladas are easy to make with a simple filling of shredded chicken, cheese, and our favorite homemade enchilada sauce. We roll the chicken filling up in tortillas–corn tortillas are the most authentic, but if you prefer flour tortillas, use them!

How to make chicken enchiladas

You will need cooked and shredded chicken. Use leftover roasted chicken or cook chicken in advance using one of these easy methods:

Since these are red enchiladas, we need red enchilada sauce, which can be homemade or store-bought. We have two enchilada sauce recipes on Inspired Taste (that’s how much we love enchiladas!). You can use either of them in this chicken enchilada recipe.

  1. Authentic Homemade Enchilada Sauce: For my favorite sauce and the most authentic option, we start with dried whole chili peppers softened in warm water. Then we blend them into a thick, delicious sauce with garlic, onion, and spices. It’s rich, flavorful, and absolutely fantastic with the chicken in these enchiladas.
  2. Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce: This is our quickest sauce since it takes about 15 minutes to make. It swaps traditional dried chilies for chili powder and spices you already have in your kitchen. The sauce tastes different from the more authentic version shared above, but it’s still delicious!

Adam and I love both sauce recipes and are happy to use either to make a batch of enchiladas. We’ll use the sauce to coat our shredded chicken and to soften our tortillas.

Serving chicken enchiladas with red sauce

Prepping the tortillas for enchiladas

For the best, most authentic enchiladas, I use corn tortillas. I love how the corn flavor of the tortillas mingles with the enchilada sauce. Use your favorite store-bought tortillas or make your own. Here’s our recipe for soft corn tortillas. Or, if you prefer flour tortillas, here’s our recipe for flour tortillas.

Rubbing oil over corn tortillas for enchiladas

Since corn tortillas tend to crack when cold or even at room temperature, we lightly coat them in oil and then bake them to warm them up before rolling them with the filling.

Another popular method for prepping tortillas for enchiladas is to fry them in oil in a skillet. If this works for you, great! It takes a bit longer than I’d like. By “oven frying” the tortillas, we can make a large batch all at once.

When the tortillas are warm, I quickly dip them into my enchilada sauce and then fill them with the shredded chicken and cheese. From there, I roll the tortilla up as tightly as possible and place it seam-side down into a baking dish coated with extra enchilada sauce.

Adding cheese to chicken enchiladas before baking

When the rolled enchiladas are in the pan, I spoon a bit more sauce on top, add some more cheese down the middle, and then cover with foil or parchment paper. Bake the chicken enchiladas covered for 15 minutes, then uncover them and bake them for another 10 minutes. I love serving these next to our easy Mexican rice or by themselves.

Make ahead tips

  • The sauce and shredded chicken can be made and frozen. We provide freezing instructions in their recipes (easy enchilada sauce or authentic enchilada sauce).
  • Baked enchiladas can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat before serving.
  • Assembled and unbaked enchiladas can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat before serving. We recommend leaving the cheese off until you are ready to bake.
Chicken enchiladas with authentic red sauce

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

  • PREP
  • COOK

These red chicken enchiladas are easy to make with a simple filling of shredded chicken, cheese, and our favorite homemade enchilada sauce. We roll the chicken filling up in tortillas–corn tortillas are the most authentic, but if you prefer flour tortillas, use them!

We link to two enchilada sauce recipes in the recipe. We love the quick and easy sauce when we are short on time and use the more authentic sauce when we have dried whole chilies available.

Makes 12 enchiladas

You Will Need

2 cups enchilada sauce, see our red chili enchilada sauce or our quick enchilada sauce

3 ½ to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken, see how we make shredded chicken

2 cups shredded cheese, like Oaxaca cheese, white cheddar or Monterey Jack

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, see our recipe for corn tortillas

Cooking spray or oil

Optional toppings: diced avocado or guacamole, cilantro leaves, sour cream, pico de gallo


    1Arrange an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375° F (190° C).

    2Spread 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce down the center of a 13×9-inch baking dish, then set aside.

    3Add 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, shredded chicken, and 1 ¼ cups of the cheese to a bowl, and then toss until the chicken and cheese are well coated.

    4Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, then place six tortillas on the baking sheet so they lie flat and barely touch each other. Lightly spray or rub both sides of the tortillas with oil. Bake the tortillas until they just start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the baked tortillas to a plate lined with a paper towel, and then repeat with the remaining six tortillas.

    5Add 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce to a low-sided, wide bowl, and then quickly dip each baked tortilla into the sauce to lightly coat.

    6Divide the chicken and cheese mixture between the tortillas, adding about 1/3 cup of filling. Roll the tortillas up and place them seam-side-down into the baking dish with sauce. The enchiladas will be nestled pretty close to each other.

    7Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and then finish with the remaining cheese scattered down the middle.

    8Cover the dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper by tucking the sides and corners around the enchiladas.

    9Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, then bake another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Our method for prepping the tortillas is a little different to other recipes since we use the oven instead of frying the tortillas on the stove. If you prefer to prep the tortillas in the more traditional way, you can.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We have assumed this enchilada sauce recipe for the calculations.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 2 enchiladas / Calories 291 / Total Fat 14g / Saturated Fat 5.7g / Cholesterol 38.5mg / Sodium 292mg / Carbohydrate 30.1g / Dietary Fiber 5.1g / Total Sugars 3.8g / Protein 13.7g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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7 comments… Leave a Review
  • Phoebe Lenhart May 8, 2021, 8:35 am

    Made these with a dried ancho chili-based enchilada sauce I had made and frozen and your slow cooker shredded chicken recipe and they were truly delicious. The taste of the oven-heated corn tortillas was amazing. Fresh cilantro and sour cream were great finishing touches. Thanks!

    • Adam September 26, 2023, 5:08 pm

      So thrilled that you loved it and came back to let us know 🙂

  • Tara Chavez May 29, 2020, 11:13 am

    Made these and they were sooooo good! I have been on the hunt for authentic red enchilada sauce and this recipe nailed it!!! My family loved it so much that they want these weekly! I’ve shared the recipe to family out of state and they’re also giving it a try. Highly recommended!!!! ?

  • Freshta April 5, 2020, 1:17 pm

    I used rotisserie chicken and canned enchiladas sauce for this recipe. It was delicious! My picky 9 years old, said this was her favorite dish! Thank for sharing these recipes. I refer to your site often and also have my family and friends follow you! 🙂

    • Adam September 26, 2023, 5:08 pm

      Yay! Glad your family loved it 🙂

  • Jessica March 29, 2020, 8:12 pm

    We made these with some leftover chicken we had (happened to be potato crusted chicken breast that we scraped the crust off of), used a mix of green and red salsa in the sauce and a mix of plain Greek non-fat yogurt with some part-skim ricotta cheese in place of the sour cream (what we had on hand); it was SO good!!! Thank you for your recipes – I refer to your site often and am always pleased!

    • Adam September 26, 2023, 5:09 pm

      Love the customizations and so happy you loved the recipe 🙂


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