This delicious Chicken Enchilada Casserole is made by layering juicy shredded chicken, homemade red enchilada sauce, corn tortillas, and loads of melty cheese!
With this quick and easy recipe, you can have dinner on the table for the whole family in less than an hour!
Table of Contents
Chicken Enchilada Casserole is the ultimate easy one-dish recipe when you’re craving chicken enchiladas. Our family is always up for Mexican dishes, and this is one of our favorites.
You can customize this recipe by adding some heat or choosing your favorite toppings. It’s a great recipe for adding more veggies to meals for the kids!
Casserole recipes are so great for making a filling meal on a busy weeknight or for prepping meals ahead of time. This easy chicken enchilada casserole also freezes well AND you can make it ahead of time, so it really ticks all my boxes!
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- Canned tomatoes: they will make the base of the red enchilada sauce, I use canned tomatoes with no added salt.
- Seasoning: garlic powder and onion powder add depth of flavor, while cumin, dried oregano, salt, and chipotle powder bring the Mexican flavors. You can use smoked paprika instead of chipotle powder if you have it on hand instead.
- Sugar: brown sugar will balance out the acidity of the tomatoes
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Oil: you’ll need some to lightly grease the casserole dish, and some to sauté the vegetables. You can use canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil.
- Yellow onion and green bell pepper: onion and bell peppers are staples in my Mexican cooking, feel free to use red onions or red bell peppers if you prefer. This is also a great place to bump up the veggies! Feel free to add in whatever you’ve got in the fridge.
- Chicken: I use boneless, skinless, chicken breasts here as they are the easiest to shred without having bones in the way – you can use leftover shredded chicken or turkey if you have it!
- Tortillas: flour or corn tortillas will work well, use whichever you prefer.
- Cheese: I use shredded Monterey Jack cheese, but you could also use a Mexican cheese mix or even mozzarella.
- Garnish: pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, chopped green onions, lime wedges, etc. for garnish as desired.
How to Make Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This Chicken Enchilada Casserole is easy to make! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Make red enchilada sauce: Stir together the ingredients for enchilada sauce. Season to taste, and add brown sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes if needed.
- Sauté vegetables and cook chicken: Cook vegetables in oil until softened, then add chicken and enchilada sauce and simmer until cooked through. This adds tons of flavor to the chicken!
- Shred chicken: Remove chicken from the pan and shred with two forks. Stir the chicken back into the skillet with the vegetables.
- Assemble the casserole: Start with some sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Layer tortillas, sauce, chicken, cheese.
- Finish layers. Repeat this layering 3 times, finishing with the last chicken layer. Top with any remaining cheese.
- Bake and serve: Bake for 20-25 minutes. Broil if desired, and garnish before serving if desired.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole FAQs
Corn tortillas are traditionally eaten in Mexican cuisine, 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 whatever kind of tortillas you prefer.
This recipe uses Monterey Jack cheese, my other favorite cheeses for Mexican dishes are Colby Jack, a Mexican cheese mix, Asadero, and Cheddar cheese.
In enchiladas, a red sauce is often paired with ground beef, and a green enchilada sauce is paired with chicken, but it really is just a personal preference.
Store the enchilada casserole by covering it with plastic wrap or putting it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature completely before putting it in the fridge.
Enchilada casserole is a great meal prep freezer meal. Simply make up the casserole in the dish, and before the final baking stage, let it cool completely and freeze it for up to 1 month. Let it thaw completely to room temperature before baking it as per the instructions below.
Tips and Notes
- Use leftover meat. This recipe is great for leftover shredded chicken or turkey. Simply cook the sauce with the vegetables for a few minutes, then add the meat to heat through and continue with the recipe as normal. Check out some more shredded chicken recipes here.
- Make this casserole ahead of time. This recipe is so great for making ahead. You can make the casserole up until the baking point and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Simply take it out of the fridge and have it at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking it as per the instructions below.
- Saving time. Use store bought red enchilada sauce, or pre-shredded cooked chicken if you prefer.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Variations
- Add more veggies. Casseroles are a great way to add more veggies to mealtimes. Add sweet corn, extra peppers, spinach, celery, or zucchini to make it even more filling and nutritious.
- Add protein. You can add protein to this casserole by adding black beans or red kidney beans.
- Use different flavored tomatoes. I use canned tomatoes with no added salt, but you could use tomatoes with green chiles, or tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro for an added citrus flavor.
- Add heat. Spice it up by adding in some diced jalapenos, chili powder, or hot sauce.
While chicken enchilada casserole is quite filling, you can make it into a fuller meal or make it go further by adding some side dishes. Tortilla chips are always a great side to Mexican dishes. Serve your tortilla chips with my Homemade Salsa Recipe or even in this fresh Taco Dip!
More One-Pot Dinner Recipes To Try
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Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes (798 ml) no salt added
- 1 cup water
- 1 tabelspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder (you can sub smoked paprika)
- brown sugar
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5-2 lb)
- 10 medium flour or corn tortillas
- 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, etc 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 brown sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes if needed.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add chicken breasts and 1 cup enchilada sauce.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes (it should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).
- Remove chicken from pan and shred with two forks. Stir chicken back into the skillet with the vegetables.
- Assemble the casserole: Spread ½ cup sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
- Cut tortillas in half and lay in baking dish so that they cover the bottom (I used 3 on the first layer, and 4 on the next two layers. Do what works for you!).
- Top with ⅓ of the sauce, ⅓ of the chicken, and 1⅓ cup of cheese. Repeat 3 times, using enough tortillas to create a complete layer and topping with ⅓ of the sauce, ⅓ of the chicken and 1⅓ cup of cheese until finished.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Broil if desired to brown the cheese further.
- Serve with optional garnishes as desired.
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