Red Chicken Enchiladas
Red chicken enchiladas are one of my favorite Mexican dinner recipes. They’re stuffed with shredded chicken, loads of cheese, smothered in red enchilada sauce, and baked until slightly crispy. There is honestly nothing better than warm enchiladas fresh out of the oven!
This, in particular, is a very special recipe to me. These red chicken enchiladas are a recipe that I learned from my dad and something he made regularly as I was growing up. Enchiladas are one of my absolute favorite comfort foods that’s also steeped in a lot of great memories.
While these red chicken enchiladas may taste like they took hours of prep, they’re really easy to throw together even on a busy week night. I love using up shredded rotisserie chicken–I always keep some on hand!
The Easiest Red Chicken Enchilada Recipe
While this recipe has a lot of nostalgia for me, it’s actually really easy to throw together! A creamy, cheesy chicken enchilada filling plus store-bought red enchilada sauce make this delicious enchilada recipe perfect for any night of the week.
Shredded chicken mixed with sour cream and two kinds of shredded cheese, green onions, and spices rolled in corn tortillas that have been dipped in a bit of enchilada sauce before being smothered in more sauce and cheese before baking. These red chicken enchiladas come out of the oven hot and bubbly and full of flavor.
This is a great recipe to make ahead because it freezes like a dream!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Easy – this recipe is so easy to throw together any night of the week! Using shredded cooked rotisserie chicken and store bought enchilada sauce makes this recipe a breeze.
Great for meal prep – This recipe is easy to double or triple and re-heats like a dream. You can freeze it before baking making it an awesome recipe for meal trains. You can freeze it after it’s baked and reheat it no problem! It’s a wonderful freezer meal option to have on hand.
Customizable – Red chicken enchiladas are so easy to customize to your tastes! You can swap in different proteins like shredded pork (carnitas), shrimp, shredded beef, or even veggies. Try a different sauce like mole or salsa verde. Need to use up some veggies? No problem! Throw some sautéed veggies in the filling. Not a fan of corn tortillas? Swap in flour!
How to Make Red Chicken Enchiladas
This recipe is cozy and delicious without being overly involved. I love making red chicken enchiladas any night of the week!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken. I always have a stash of shredded rotisserie chicken on-hand for easy weeknight dinners. You can also swap in shredded pork, shredded beef, shrimp, or veggies.
- Sour cream. Sour cream helps bind the filling together.
- Cheese. I always use a mix of monterrey jack and cheddar cheese, but you can swap in what you have. Just opt for something super melty!
- Enchilada sauce. I usually just go for some high-quality store bought enchilada sauce, but if you want to make your own, here’s a great recipe from Isabel Eats.
- Green onions. I use the light green and white parts in the filling and then top the enchiladas with the green tops when they’re fresh out of the oven. They add the perfect light punch of onion flavor.
- Spices. A mix of cumin, chili powder, and a bit of paprika add Mexican-inspired flavor to the filling.
- Tortillas. I think that corn is best here, but you can swap flour in if that’s what you have.
- Toppings. I always top my enchiladas with thinly sliced onion, green onion tops, and cilantro while they’re still warm.
- Step one: Start by mixing all your filling ingredients together. You can actually do this up to 3 days in advance and just store in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
- Step two: Heat 4 tablespoons of neutral oil in a small nonstick skillet. Once the oil is hot, lightly fry the tortillas in the oil for about 10-15 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate to cool. This is an essential step that greats a barrier between the tortilla and the sauce so that your enchiladas don’t turn to mush.
- Step three: Pour half the enchilada sauce in a shallow dish. Coat a tortilla in the enchilada sauce and shake off the excess. Fill with about 1/3 cup of the filling, roll it up, and place them seam side down in a lightly greased baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
- Step four: Once all the enchiladas are in the baking dish, top with the remaining sauce and shredded cheese. Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with cilantro, green onions, and thinly sliced red onion.
What to Serve with Red Chicken Enchiladas
While red chicken enchiladas are great on their own, I love serving them with all kinds of sides!
If you’re really going for a Tex-Mex fiesta, try serving them alongside my 5-ingredient guacamole, Instant Pot refried beans, stovetop Mexican rice, or elote queso with a watermelon margarita on the side.
Whatever you serve red chicken enchiladas with, they will be delicious!
Storing, Freezing, and Re-Heating Red Chicken Enchiladas
My favorite part of red chicken enchiladas is that they’re so easy to freeze and store! They’re a great meal to give away for meal trains and it’s easy to make a double batch so you always have some in the freezer.
To store: Let your enchiladas cool to room temperature. Transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you want to freeze red chicken enchiladas, transfer your cooled enchiladas to an airtight container or freezer-safe ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat: if reheating from frozen, let the enchiladas defrost in the fridge. Once defrosted, microwave them until warmed through.
If you want to freeze red chicken enchiladas before baking, follow the instructions up to assembly. After you assemble the enchiladas, you can place them in a baking dish or an aluminum baking tray. Top with sauce and cheese, cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for 3 months. To bake after freezing, transfer the enchiladas to the fridge overnight to defrost. Once defrosted, bake as directed.
Red Chicken Enchilada FAQs
Are red chicken enchiladas gluten free?
Yes! If you use corn tortillas, these enchiladas are gluten-free. Just make sure your enchilada sauce is gluten free.
Can I use flour tortillas?
Yes! You don’t need to fry the tortillas if you’re using flour.
Is frying the tortillas necessary?
Yep. This helps them from falling apart while baking. If you don’t want to pan fry them, you can coat the tortillas (both sides) with nonstick canola spray, lay them on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 for 3-4 minutes until flexible.
Can I make these vegetarian?
Totally! Instead of chicken, you can easily swap in black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, sautéed veggies, etc.
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes to Try Now
Beef Chile Colorado
Pollo Asado (Mexican Grilled Chicken)
Pozole Verde with Pork
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa
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Red Chicken Enchiladas
- 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch scallion stalks, sliced (white and light green parts)
- 1 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 3-4 tablespoons canola oil
- chopped cilantro, for serving
- green onion (dark green parts), for serving
- Preheat an oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl combine the shredded chicken, sour cream, spices, sliced green onion (white and light green parts), monterrey jack cheese, and half the cheddar cheese. Stir well to combine. This part can be done up to 3 days in advance.
- In a nonstick skillet, heat 3-4 tablespoons canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, lightly fry the tortillas for 10-15 seconds per side until flexible. Transfer to a plate and let them cool. Alternately, spray both sides of tortillas with nonstick canola spray, lay them on a baking sheet, and bake 3-4 minutes until flexible.
- Pour half the enchilada sauce in a shallot dish. Pour about 1/2 cup into the prepared baking dish in a thin layer on the bottom.
- Dip a tortilla in the enchilada sauce on both sides and shake off the excess. Place the tortilla on a cutting board, fill with about 1/3 cup or so of filling, and roll into a tight log. Place the enchilada seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
- Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes uncovered until browned and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with cilantro and green onions.