This easy Beef Enchiladas recipe is so packed with flavor, it’s always a hit with my family! Made with lean ground beef, onions, peppers, homemade red enchilada sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, and all the classic flavors you love in Mexican food, they’re healthy AND comforting.
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For a bit of a change, we make these easy ground beef enchiladas, and they always go so quickly!
The sauce I’ve used is based on my Easy Enchilada Sauce, so check that post out for more info and ideas on how to use it for other things, too.
These beef enchiladas means dinner for the whole family is ready in just one hour, so it’s great for busy weeknights.
This easy dinner recipe is also great for making ahead, as you can freeze your enchiladas before or after baking.
- Tomatoes: use canned crushed tomatoes with no added salt for the base of the sauce. You want smooth crushed tomatoes — not chunky.
- Seasoning: a combination of garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, and chipotle powder (or smoked paprika) is all you need for this enchilada sauce.
- Brown Sugar: this helps to balance out the spices.
- Beef: use lean ground beef for the best flavor. You can also sub in ground turkey or chicken.
- Veggies: onions and green bell peppers add a great savory flavor to the meat mixture. Feel free to experiment and add in extra if you prefer!
- Black Beans: adds protein and a great texture to the enchilada filling.
- Tortillas: use flour or corn tortillas, or gluten-free tortillas if you prefer. If you’re using corn tortillas, you may want to warm them before rolling.
- Cheese: Monterey Jack cheese is great in these enchiladas, but you can use your favorite kind.
- Garnish: pico de gallo salsa, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, or chopped green onions for garnish as desired.
How to Make Beef Enchiladas
This recipe is easy to make! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Make enchilada sauce: Combine tomatoes, water, garlic, cumin, onion powder, oregano, salt, and chipotle powder. Taste and adjust to your preferences, adding some brown sugar if needed.
- Cook beef and veg: Cook the ground beef until browned, along with the onion and peppers, until the vegetables have softened.
- Add sauce and beans: Stir in some of the enchilada sauce and the black beans.
- Assemble enchiladas: Divide the beef mixture and some of the cheese between the tortillas and roll them up tightly.
- Put in dish: Spread some sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish. Place the enchiladas in the dish.
- Add sauce: Top with sauce and remaining cheese and bake.
Beef Enchiladas FAQs
While Monterey Jack cheese is used in this recipe, my other favorites to use in Mexican dishes include Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, a Mexican cheese blend, Asadero, or Cheddar cheese.
In Mexican cuisine, corn tortillas are the traditional choice, and they do have their own distinctive flavor. Corn tortillas also have more whole grains and nutrients than most flour tortillas, but you can use whichever you prefer.
Store beef enchilada leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven covered in foil or in the microwave.
Freeze these beef enchiladas in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. You can freeze them before putting them into a dish, or freeze them in the dish ready to go in the oven. Defrost thoroughly in the refrigerator and heat through in the microwave or oven until piping hot.
You can also freeze these enchiladas after baking if you have leftovers — just cool to room temperature and thaw before reheating.
Tips and Notes
- Cheese. Try buying a block of cheese that you can grate yourself for the best flavor. Pre-shredded cheese tends to be coated in a floury substance and doesn’t melt as well.
- Onions. I tend to use a white onion here, but you can use a red onion for a slightly milder flavor if you prefer.
- Yield. This recipe will make 8 enchiladas, you can increase the yield by adding veggies, rice, or more proteins into the filling, or you can double up the recipe and bake two batches!
Beef Enchiladas Variations
- Mix up the meat. These enchiladas would be delicious with ground pork, ground turkey, or shredded chicken.
- Add protein. Use more meat for each of the enchiladas to get more protein, or add more beans like pinto beans, refried beans, white beans, or even lentils.
- Vegetarian. Make vegetarian enchiladas by omitting the meat and just using beans, veggies, and rice for the filling.
- Rice. Make the beef filling go further by adding some cooked rice to it.
- Spice it up. Add some more spice by using cayenne pepper, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or diced jalapenos in the enchiladas.
These Beef Enchiladas are a great one-dish meal, filled with protein, nutrients, and great flavor.
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes to Try
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Beef Enchiladas recipe
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes 798 ml, no salt added
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder you can substitute smoked paprika
- brown sugar
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 cup black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 8 medium flour or corn tortillas ( about 7" in diameter)
- 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- pico de gallo salsa, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges for garnish as desired
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients for enchilada sauce: tomatoes, water, garlic, cumin, onion powder, oregano, salt, and chipotle powder. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes if needed.
- Add ground beef, onion and peppers to a large skillet over medium-heat. Cook, stirring often, until beef is browned and vegetables have softened. Stir in ¾ cup enchilada sauce and beans.
- Assemble the enchiladas: Spread 1 cup of sauce at the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Microwave tortillas for 30 seconds or until warm. This makes them more pliable.
- Divide the beef mixture and half of the cheese between 8 tortillas and roll up tightly. Place in prepared pan.
- Top with sauce (you may not use it all — use as much as you like!) and remaining cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
- Top with preferred garnishes and serve.
- Enchilada sauce: you can substitute the homemade enchilada sauce with roughly 3-4 cups of store-bought sauce.
- Ground beef: if you use regular ground beef, you may want to use a paper towel to absorb some of the fat in the pan before adding the enchilada sauce. You can also swap the beef for ground pork, chicken or turkey if you prefer.
- Beans: you can omit the beans if you don’t like them, but I find you don’t really notice them once everything is cooked together, and they add a ton of protein and fibre!
- Tortillas: I use flour tortillas but corn tortillas would make this recipe easily gluten-free.
- Cheese: I love Monterey Jack in enchiladas but you can also use Mozzarella or Cheddar if that’s what you have on hand.
- Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven covered in foil or in the microwave.
- Freeze: Freeze beef enchiladas in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly in the refrigerator and heat through in the microwave or oven until piping hot.
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