Easy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min.
With a few staple ingredients, these easy chicken enchiladas are so quick to make, dinner will be on the table before you know it.

Updated: May 10, 2024

I have a confession to make: I really don’t like the flavor of leftover chicken. But take that leftover chicken and put it in this easy chicken enchiladas recipe, and I’m all in. Not only is this recipe super simple to make, but it bursts with flavor from salsa, green chiles and savory enchilada sauce. And let’s face it, a generous sprinkle of cheese on top doesn’t hurt either.

From prep to cook time, this easy chicken enchilada recipe takes less than an hour to make, and you can even prep the enchiladas in advance, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients for Easy Chicken Enchiladas

  • Enchilada sauce: A staple in Mexican, Tex-Mex and Southwest recipes, the main components of this rich and mildly spicy sauce include tomatoes, onion, dried chiles (chili powder will do in a pinch) and other spicy seasonings.
  • Chicken: This recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked chicken, making it the perfect recipe for any leftover chicken in the fridge. No cooked chicken on hand? Like other rotisserie chicken recipes, grab a roasted bird from the grocery store and cube or shred the meat.
  • Cream cheese: Room temperature cream cheese will incorporate into the recipe the easiest. It melts well, melds with the salsa without curdling and adds a creamy texture and slightly tangy flavor to the enchilada filling.
  • Salsa: A generous amount of salsa provides a punch of flavor and plenty of moisture to the enchiladas. Use your favorite or one of our Test Kitchen’s picks for the best salsa brands.
  • Beans: Canned pinto beans are used in this recipe, but black beans would also work well here. Make sure they’re rinsed and drained.
  • Chiles: Chopped green chiles add just a hint of spice to the enchiladas without overwhelming the flavor. If you don’t have canned chiles, you can add your own cooked, sauteed or roasted chiles, like jalapenos or poblanos.
  • Tortillas: Although corn tortillas are traditionally found in enchilada recipes, this recipe uses flour tortillas. These tortillas tend to roll more easily and are less likely to tear than corn tortillas. Homemade tortillas would take this dish over the top.
  • Cheese: For simplicity, you can use a shredded Mexican cheese blend in this recipe. However, you could also use shredded cheddar cheese, pepper jack, mozzarella or a blend of your favorite mild cheeses in this recipe.


Step 1: Make the enchilada filling

Spoon 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese and salsa over medium heat until blended, two to three minutes. Stir in the chicken, beans and chiles.

Step 2: Fill and roll the enchiladas

Place about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down over the sauce. Top with remaining enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

Editor’s Tip: To help prevent the tortillas from splitting, wrap them in a moist paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to soften them before adding the filling and rolling.

Step 3: Bake the enchiladas

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Cover and bake at 350°F until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. If desired, serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and olives.

Recipe Variations

  • Make corn tortilla enchiladas: Instead of flour tortillas, go the traditional route with corn tortillas. You can even make the corn tortillas from scratch!
  • Switch the protein: Shredded cooked pork is a tasty substitute for chicken in these enchiladas (leftover slow-cooked carnitas would be particularly delicious). Seasoned taco meat, aka ground beef, chicken or turkey, is also a yummy alternative.
  • Skip the meat: This filling is perfectly delicious without the chicken. Or add in extra beans, your favorite vegetables, such as sauteed bell peppers or onions, or sauteed chopped mushrooms for a little extra umami flavor.
  • Go green: Use green enchilada sauce instead of red. As its name suggests, green enchilada sauce is made from green chiles, while red enchilada sauce is made from red chiles. Green enchilada sauce has a slightly fresher and fruitier flavor than the more earthy-flavored red enchilada sauce. Like red enchilada sauce, it can range from mild to very spicy.

How to Store Chicken Enchiladas

To store leftovers, allow the enchiladas to cool then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat individual services in the microwave or oven.

Can you make chicken enchiladas in advance?

You can prep the enchiladas up to three days in advance. Cover the baking dish with a tight lid or wrap in foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

How to Freeze Chicken Enchiladas

  • Freezing cooked enchiladas: After cooking, let the enchiladas cool completely, then cover or wrap the baking dish tightly in foil. Freeze for up to three months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then cook in the microwave or oven until heated through.
  • Freezing uncooked enchiladas: This recipe is ideal for making a double batch—cook one batch for dinner and freeze the second batch for another night. To freeze uncooked enchiladas, cover or wrap the baking dish in a double layer of foil. Freeze for up to three months. To cook, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas Tips

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Should you use flour or corn tortillas for enchiladas?

Although enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas, you can certainly use flour tortillas. Flour tortillas are slightly softer and have a lighter texture than corn, making them easy to roll up when filled. If you have flour tortillas to spare, use them up in these flour tortilla recipes.

Can you make homemade enchilada sauce for chicken enchiladas?

Absolutely! If you have the extra time, making your own enchilada sauce works just as well as canned and lets you control the amount of salt added and the spice level. This basic enchilada sauce or this sweet and spicy enchilada sauce both work well in most dishes.

How do you prevent soggy enchiladas?

Soggy enchiladas are the sad result of the tortillas absorbing too much of the enchilada sauce while baking. If using flour tortillas, pour a thin layer of sauce onto the bottom of the dish before adding the enchiladas. Only lightly cover the enchiladas with sauce and leave the edges of the tortillas exposed, so they crisp up a bit while baking. For corn tortillas, quickly frying them in oil before assembling creates a moisture barrier that prevents them from becoming soggy and falling apart.

Should you cover chicken enchiladas while baking?

We suggest you cover this easy chicken enchilada recipe while baking so that it heats through completely. If you prefer crispier edges to your enchiladas, uncover a few minutes before the end of your bake time.

What can you serve with easy chicken enchiladas?

Cowboy caviar (corn and black bean salad), grilled mango and avocado salad and guacamole tossed salad all pair well with chicken enchiladas. You also won’t go wrong with spicy refried beans or cilantro-lime rice. Check out these Mexican recipes for more inspiration.

Watch how to Make Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 5 servings.


  • 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups salsa
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
  • 10 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Optional: Shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream and sliced ripe olives


  1. Spoon 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. In a large saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese and salsa over medium heat until blended, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, beans and chiles.
  2. Place about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down over sauce. Top with remaining enchilada sauce; sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Cover and bake at 350° until heated through, 25-30 minutes. If desired, serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and olives.

Nutrition Facts

2 enchiladas: 468 calories, 13g fat (6g saturated fat), 75mg cholesterol, 1394mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 8g fiber), 34g protein.

This chicken enchiladas recipe is so quick and easy, and I always receive a ton of compliments. It quickly becomes a favorite of friends whenever I share the recipe. Modify the spiciness with the intensity of the salsa and the green chiles to suit your taste. —Kristi Black, Harrison Township, Michigan