≡ Menu

The Best Homemade Chicken Enchiladas

The Best Homemade Chicken Enchiladas. Say goodbye to canned enchilada sauce and get ready to experience a whole new level of taste and authentic flavor with homemade Mexican cuisine.

I have a chicken enchilada recipe for you that will change your life for the better. Say goodbye to canned enchilada sauce and get ready to experience a whole new level of taste and authentic flavor with homemade Mexican cuisine.

8.6chickenenchiladas.jpg

I first started making this recipe about five years ago after my friend Josie posted them on her blog. I have made them countless times since. Everything about them is homemade. You start from scratch with both the chicken and the sauce.

8.6enchiladas3.jpg

The homemade red sauce is seriously what makes this dish. It is so much better than anything you can buy pre-made and it’s not that complicated to prepare. Once you’ve prepped the sauce, the chicken cooks in the sauce. This results in tender, juicy chicken that has soaked up all the flavor of the sauce.

8.6enchiladaplate.jpg

I love these enchiladas topped with sour cream, avocado and cilantro alongside my Mexican Quinoa recipe. This is a great dish to make and enjoy leftovers, to use for entertaining or to take to a friend. Everyone I have ever served these enchiladas to has absolutely loved them.

Here’s the recipe!

Chicken Enchiladas
(Recipe heavily adapted from Pink Parsley, originally America’s Test Kitchen)

Ingredients: 

1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced finely
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
1, 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
2 cups of the cheese blend of your choice (cheddar, monterey jack, Mexican blend, etc)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 425.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. Once shimmering, add onion, jalepeno and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook until fragrant and covering the veggies, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce, water and tomato. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken to the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (thickest part reaches 160 degrees), about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.

Pour the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl. Press down on the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken. Add chicken to the onion mixture and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese and the cilantro. Stir to combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Working one at a time, spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven uncovered for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.

Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with condiments of your choice. I recommend sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, salsa, extra cilantro, etc.

Yield: 6 servings

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • 1
    elizabeth August 6, 2014, 10:06 pm

    I don’t like canned sauce, it tastes like the can to me so I’m definitely going to make your version of enchiladas. Thanks!

  • 2
    Holly August 6, 2014, 10:07 pm

    This looks so good! I love all Mexican food so I will definitely be trying this out!

  • 3
    Chicago Jogger August 6, 2014, 10:43 pm

    Yum, this looks amazing! I haven’t tried my own sauce but I’m definitely willing to for this recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • 4
    Erin August 6, 2014, 11:35 pm

    Looks so good! I’ll be adding this one to my recipe list right away!

  • 5
    Rebecca August 7, 2014, 3:43 am

    These sound really great – I love the layers of flavouring throughout like cooking the chicken in the tomato sauce, reserving the onions, browning the enchiladas before adding the sauce. I’ve definitely pinned this one as a must-make dinner!

  • 6
    Brynn August 7, 2014, 5:44 am

    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been looking for a great chicken enchilada recipe forever and this one sounds flavorful and fresh. Yum!

  • 7
    Tina@GottaRunNow August 7, 2014, 8:04 am

    Enchiladas are on my menu for next week. These look great! I just need to buy some can diced fire roasted tomatoes.

  • 8
    Jillian August 7, 2014, 8:38 am

    Looks awesome! Do you have any suggestions on how to make them vegetarian?

    • 9
      Erin August 7, 2014, 12:43 pm

      I’m a vegetarian and I think these would be delish with spinach and mushrooms (my go-to enchilada filling).

      I’d sautee them separately while the sauce simmers and thickens, then add to the filling while assembling. I’m starving.

      • 10
        Lindsay August 7, 2014, 12:59 pm

        Erin, that’s a good idea, I’m thinking of adding some black beans to the spinach and mushroom mixture as well!

  • 11
    Samantha @ The Faithful Runner August 7, 2014, 10:13 am

    Can’t beat a good recipe for chicken enchiladas. What are your favorite cheeses to use?

  • 12
    Laura August 7, 2014, 10:44 am

    Yum! This looks so tasty!

    On an unrelated note, I’m so sorry but I have to point out how frustrating it is to read your blog lately due to all the pop up ads that block the text. They are all about “lose weight now!” Which also bothers me. Is anyone else having these problems? So often I try to close them and then it re routes me to the page or an app and I get so annoyed! I don’t mind side bar ads, but when they literally block the text, it’s frustrating. Any chance you can change this, or is it necessary, since you rely on these for income?

  • 13
    Parita @ myinnershakti August 7, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Will definitely be making a veggie version soon with beans, mushrooms, spinach, onions!

  • 14
    tara August 7, 2014, 1:37 pm

    i make something similar to these and love them. and i agree making your own sauce is sooo worth it. i havent used canned mexican or those crazy pouches in at least 5 years. i thought it was a bit crazy to “toast” the tortillas with no sauce for a few but i tried it and it really makes a difference in the crispness/sogginess of the tortilla which is a must when you have to use corn tortillas like i do.

  • 15
    Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake August 7, 2014, 2:39 pm

    These look fabulous! I am definitely going to have to try these, especially the sauce! And your pictures are gorgeous!

  • 16
    Alaina August 7, 2014, 5:47 pm

    I recently added enchilada’s to our dinner rotation and this will definitely help take them up a notch!! Thank you for posting the recipe! 🙂

  • 17
    McRae August 8, 2014, 10:46 am

    I made these last night and they were DELICIOUS! I had heaps of compliments too! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  • 18
    Lindsay B August 11, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Made it this weekend for my brother and mother! We all loved it! Thanks so much for this, as I am sure it will be a regular in my rotation!

  • 19
    erin August 14, 2014, 9:52 pm

    Oh my gosh!! Perfect timing! Thank you for this recipe. I’m heading to Williamsburg tomorrow to see my family and my sister told me today that she is craving Mexican, so I’m definitely going to make this recipe tomorrow night for everyone. It looks delish! I always get overwhelmed by all the recipes out there, so thanks for recommending this one!

  • 20
    Callie January 26, 2015, 7:51 pm

    Made this tonight and they were sooooo fresh and delicious! Not heavy at all like they would be at a Mexican restaurant. Homemade is always best!
    I’ve made a few of your recipes and trust whatever you post! They’re always reliable and so good! Can’t wait to make more 🙂

    • 21
      Jen January 26, 2015, 8:37 pm

      Callie! Thanks so much for trying my recipes and for the great feedback. I love cooking and sharing. I always try to only share things that are a big hit with me in hopes they will be with you guys as well!

  • 22
    Jessica February 24, 2015, 3:12 pm

    Hi! I have leftover cooked chicken breast. Is it okay to use cooked chicken? Any modifications you can recommend?

  • 23
    Emily March 2, 2015, 10:59 pm

    Made these for thr second time tonight and they are so delicious! Leftovers hit thr spot too. Thanks for a great recipe for a cold cold week!

    • 24
      Jen March 3, 2015, 9:53 am

      yay! i need to make those again soon. it’s been too long!

  • 25
    Darcy July 3, 2015, 9:34 am

    I made these & they were AMAZING!! I changed a few things – I didn’t use cooking spray & left out the sugar. I didn’t strain out the sauce & add the onions back to the chicken, but simply pureed the sauce with the onions still in, & then added it to the chicken. I also used the sauce to add to some previously cooked chicken, which tasted just as awesome. My family was THRILLED with this recipe, including all my kids. I couldn’t believe how authentic it tasted. We will definitely be making this again. My husband told me they were better than those he had at the Mexican Restaurant. I used Food for Life sprouted grain tortillas as well.

  • 26
    Jessica September 17, 2015, 5:19 pm

    I made this recipe and it was DELICIOUS! I would like to make it for one of my friends who is a new mom. Do you have any preparation or cooking suggestion to turn this into a freezer meal?

  • 27
    Julie Deane November 23, 2015, 2:29 am

    This sounds delicious, I’m going to use my rice cooker to make it, then transfer to baking dish into the oven. My rice cooker has sauté feature, then once liquid hit it it turns to simmer.. Close the lid set timer and walk away.. That’s my kind of cooking. I have a bad hip and back, so less standing … Too yummy to pass up. Thank you for the recipe

  • 28
    Mo December 6, 2015, 7:06 pm

    This is fabulous! Everyone (husband, 15yo, 13 yo, 11yo) in my family loves this recipe.

  • 29
    Karen December 22, 2015, 8:16 am

    Looks good. What size can of tomatoes did you use please?

  • 30
    Karen March 16, 2016, 2:22 pm

    What size can are the fire roasted tomatoes please?

  • 31
    Joanne March 18, 2016, 5:22 pm

    Can hardly wait to try! We are Texans retired in SE Florida. Tex mex doesn’t exist here, lol! Not vegetarian, but the ideas sounded great! Also have mobility issues, so thanks for idea of rice cooker.

  • 32
    dan May 9, 2016, 10:26 pm

    3 Tablespoon of chili powder? I used 1 and can barely breathe as I eat. still delicious.

    • 33
      Jen DeCurtins May 10, 2016, 4:29 pm

      Did you use regular chili powder? It shouldn’t have been too spicy. Are you confusing it with cayenne? Most recipes call for a similar amount of chili powder as mine. Thanks for trying the recipe!

  • 34
    Karen July 17, 2016, 9:27 pm

    I made this today and it was an instant family favourite! Thank you for the fabulous recipe!

    • 35
      Jen DeCurtins July 17, 2016, 9:32 pm

      So happy to hear it!

Leave a Comment