Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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This easy chicken enchilada casserole is a cheesy, flavorful, comforting meal the whole family will love that's easy enough to make on a weeknight!

chicken enchilada casserole in a glass dish topped with diced avocados and drizzled with sour cream on a marble slab

Chicken enchilada casserole is one of those dishes that really brings me back to childhood. It was one of my mom's go-to dishes, which was absolutely fine with us because we loved it so much! The beauty of enchilada casserole is that you get all of the flavor of enchiladas without the work. If you've never made enchiladas before – it can be a long process that involves dipping tortillas in hot oil, rolling them around cheese and chicken and hoping they don't tear, then topping with sauce and cheese and baking.

Instead of going through all of that work (and mess) this chicken enchilada casserole is made lasagna-style! You'll layer the sauce, add tortillas, chicken, cheese, more sauce, and repeat. For a fun little spin on the traditional casserole, we also topped it with diced avocado, a sour cream lime sauce, and cilantro. That's the stuff of Tex-Mex dreams!

chicken enchilada casserole ingredients - tortillas, shredded cheese, shredded chicken, avocado, and spices on a marble board

Are enchiladas healthy?

This may surprise you (because restaurant enchiladas are often not the healthiest choice), but if you can tolerate dairy, this recipe is actually a pretty balanced, well-rounded meal! With corn tortillas, shredded chicken, and cheese, you’ll get a healthy dose of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. 

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Tomato Sauce – 2 (8-ounce) cans of tomato sauce,…
  • Tomato Paste – …2 tablespoons of tomato paste,…
  • Chicken Broth – …1½ cups of chicken broth,…
  • Spices + Seasonings – …1 teaspoon of sea salt, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, 2 teaspoons of oregano, a ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper…
  • Shredded Chicken – …4 cups of shredded chicken (or about 2 pounds of chicken breast, cooked and shredded!),…
  • Corn Tortillas – …6 corn tortillas (torn in half),…
  • Mexican Blend Cheese – …and 3 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese.
  • Sour Cream – for the delicious sauce, you’ll need a ½ cup of sour cream and…
  • Lime Juice – …a 1/4 cup of lime juice. When it comes to lime juice, we think that fresh is best, so you’ll need about 2 limes to get a ¼ cup of juice!
  • Avocado – 1 large diced avocado and…
  • Cilantro – …a ¼ cup of fresh chopped cilantro make for the best garnishes here!

The Enchilada Sauce Recipe

This enchilada sauce is SO EASY and can be used for so many different things. Here’s how you’ll whip it up in ONE simple step:

  • Whisk Together the Enchilada Sauce – combine the tomato paste, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and spices to a bowl and whisk to combine.

How To Make Chicken Enchilada Casserole

The beauty of enchilada casserole is that it is so easy to make…here’s how you’ll do it!

  1. Prepare the Chicken – the first thing you'll want to do is shred your chicken. We actually used shredded chicken from our local grocery store, but if you don't have this option, a storebought rotisserie chicken is a great option, too, or you can make your own! 
  2. Make the Enchilada Sauce – While you can use a pre-made enchilada sauce, this one comes together super fast with pantry staples and adds tons of flavor. You'll simply add some tomato paste, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and spices to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Assemble – now you're ready to make the casserole! You'll spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom of the dish, then break the corn tortillas in half and spread 6 of them across the bottom of the dish to cover it. Next, layer on the chicken, then the cheese, then pour more sauce over and add another layer of tortillas, shredded chicken, and cheese to finish!

How To Bake Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Once assembled, bake your enchilada casserole at 350°F for 30 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbling.

chicken enchilada casserole in a glass dish topped with diced avocados and drizzled with sour cream on a marble slab

Enchilada Casserole Variations

This chicken enchilada casserole is easily adaptable. Here are some of our favorite variations!

  1. Change the sauce. Salsa verde or a classic Tex-Mex chili gravy are both great options.
  2. Use a different protein. If you don't have chicken on hand, or just prefer a different protein, ground beef or turkey both work beautifully here.
  3. Make it Paleo. If you're on a Paleo diet, or simply don't do well with grains, you can easily substitute Siete Foods tortillas here.
  4. Add beans. Mixing a can of black beans in with the chicken would be a wonderful addition.
  5. Add veggies. If you want to get your daily serving of veggies in with this casserole, you can easily add in some spinach, diced bell peppers, onions, or even shredded zucchini!

Can I use flour tortillas for enchiladas?

Absolutely! This enchilada casserole can be made with either corn or flour tortillas – you pick whichever you like best! Do note that flour tortillas tend to get a little bit soggier than corn tortillas, but the end product is still REALLY delicious.

What are the best tortillas to use for enchiladas?

We opted for corn tortillas here because they fall in line with a more traditional take on enchiladas, but truly, any tortilla will work! So, go to the store, grab your favorite tortillas, and get to cooking! 

How do you keep flour tortillas from getting soggy in enchiladas?

Though sogginess is definitely a pitfall when it comes to using flour tortillas, there’s no real way to avoid it when it comes to enchilada casserole. Oftentimes, traditional enchilada recipes will call for frying the tortillas ahead of time, but we aimed to make this recipe as no-fuss as possible, so we won’t be asking you to do that! 

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Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

chicken enchilada casserole in a glass dish topped with diced avocados and drizzled with sour cream on a marble slab

This chicken enchilada casserole is cheesy, flavorful, comforting, and a breeze to make!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican
Scale

Ingredients

2, 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups shredded chicken (or about 2 pounds chicken breast, cooked and shredded)
6 corn tortillas, torn in half
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
½ cup sour cream
1/4 cup lime juice
1 large avocado, diced, for garnish
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Whisk together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and pepper, until smooth.
3. Spread ½ cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart, 9×13 inch pan, then layer 6 tortilla halves over the sauce, until it is fully covered. Layer 2 cups shredded chicken over the tortillas, then pour over 1 cup of enchilada sauce, and 1 ½ cups shredded cheese.
4. Repeat Step 3 to build the next layer, using up the rest of the tortillas, enchilada sauce, and cheese, then bake the casserole at 350 F for 30 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbling. Remove the casserole from the oven and let cool.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and sour cream, then drizzle it over the casserole. Garnish with the avocado and cilantro, then serve!

Notes

  • If you'd like to use store-bought enchilada sauce, you'll need 2 (15 ounce) cans.
  • INSTANT POT SHREDDED CHICKEN: if you don't have pre-cooked and shredded chicken available, you can cook about 2 pounds of chicken in the Instant Pot with 1 cup water, on high pressure, for 12 minutes. Then shred with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, a hand mixer, or two forks.

Keywords: chicken, casserole, enchiladas, enchilada sauce, Mexican food

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  1. Abbey says:

    Easy and delicious! First time making my own enchilada sauce and I had no idea it was that simple (and tasty!)
    This will be on regular rotation. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Allison says:

    This looks amazing, thank you for sharing! I’m wondering if you’ve ever made this and frozen it, and, if so, what your recommendations are for reheating? I’m trying to prepare for a new baby (congrats on baby #2 for you!) and would love to be able to have this as a healthy meal we can just pop in the oven to reheat when I don’t feel like cooking right after baby is born 🙂

  3. Jackie Goulden says:

    Dan’s idea of heavenly yumminess!

  4. Jessica says:

    Our whole family really enjoyed this! We’re big fans of Mexican flavors and even our change averse 3 year old enjoyed this and the sour cream and lime drizzle!

    Quick question though, our kiddo found the recipe for the enchilada sauce too spicy, which was quite shocking given how much he likes other spicy food and big flavors! Would you recommend simply halving the chili powder next time? Or would it be necessary to tweak the amount of chicken stock/other herbs and spices too?

    Thanks again for such a great, easy recipe!

    5.0 rating

  5. Annie Tasaka says:

    What size tortilla shells did you use?

  6. Michele says:

    Hi! Has anyone tried assembling this ahead of time and putting in the fridge until ready to bake?

  7. Alison says:

    Where have you been all of my life!!!!!!

    This recipe was fantastic, so easy to make and plenty for my large family. The only difficulty for me was attempting to convert to metric (I’m in Australia). But really…. who measures chilli powder and lime juice?? The more the merrier I say!!! The kids did run for glasses of water a few times but they didn’t stop eating. We can’t wait to try more recipes. There are so many to choose from which cater for my Coeliac daughter.

    Thanks heaps!!

    5.0 rating

    1. Fox says:

      I would like to freeze this! Do you cook it first And then put into the freezer or leave it uncooked and freeze it?

  8. Lindsay McLean says:

    Is it okay to replace corn tortillas w grain free tortillas like siete chick pea or almond flour? Thanks!

  9. Maria C says:

    My kids loved this and ate it all up! Tastes just like enchiladas! So good and fast too!!

    5.0 rating

  10. Jaynie says:

    Loved this recipe! We did use flour tortillas rather than corn, and it turned out great. We served it with sour cream. I think next time we may add veggies. The enchilada sauce was amazing. We had a little leftover and used the rest on chipotle bowls the next day!

  11. Kate says:

    These are on regular repeat in my home! Quick, easy, and DELICIOUS! If you haven’t made these yet, what are you waiting for??

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      YAY…SO yummy!!

  12. Amber TUCKER says:

    This tasted restaurant style, it was sooo good! Definitely will be a repeat recipe in my home!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad to hear that, Amber! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Laura says:

    We just finished devouring this dish! It was better than I thought! Didn’t have sour cream, so I used the top solid part of a can of coconut milk, it was perfection and it really brought out the flavors. This recipe is a keeper!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Great sub for sour cream!! We’re so glad you loved it, Laura!

  14. Lindsay says:

    Hi amber! First of all, I love your recipes. Everything I’ve ever tried has been amazing. Do you think it would be ok to use canned chicken as long as I shred it in the food processor? I just have a ton of it that I got free from Costco when I joined and want to use it for something.

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Aren’t they all so delicious?! Yes, canned chicken will work!!

  15. Corrina B says:

    Made this tonight and it was so easy and delicious. I had everything in the pantry to make this and used Siete almond flour tortillas. My hubby loved this! Definitely keeping in the rotation. Thank you!

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Awesome!! That makes us so happy! Thanks for sharing, Corrina!

  16. Jessie Lou says:

    Made this recipe last night and it was really good and super easy! I didnt have chicken so I used ground venison (it’s what we have) and I had canned green enchilada sauce and I added black olives and onions! Will definitely make again!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Great sub, Jessie!! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    If I want to make this in bulk and freeze should I freeze before or after baking it?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Bake it first, Elizabeth! Enjoy!

  18. Hillary Gras says:

    I loved this! I added a grated zucchini, a handful of kale and a diced onion. Loved the veggie edition 🙂 i also cheated and used canned enchilada sauce because it was what i had on hand. I had extra enchilada sauce so i just added it in the last layer and it was still great ! Love how customizable this is! I also made the tortillas into quarters so i could get the corners of my casserole pan. Can’t wait to make this again! Maybe with pulled pork?!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Oooh, great veggie additions! Shredded pork would be SO YUMMY!

  19. Mrs. M. says:

    Very simple, tasty recipe. I misread the recipe and used “chili pepper” instead of “chili powder,” so it was too spicy. I’ll try it again with the Chili Powder which is a blend of spices instead of just red pepper.
    I noticed other reviews that also said it was too spicy… maybe they made the same mistake?
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Oh no! So sorry…I bet that was spicy!!

  20. Annie says:

    We made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. This recipe felt cleaner and lighter than other Mexican casseroles in our rotation – and I LOVE how easy it was to make homemade enchilada sauce! Thank you, Amber!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad you loved it, Annie! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  21. Michele says:

    I was confused with the tortillas. It’s 10 in total, making it 20 halves, so each layer will have 10 halves (5 tortillas)? I only used 5 total, so I’m not sure it’s going to turn out well!

    1. Chelsea G says:

      I m also super confused about the tortilla sizes and the halving of the tortilla on each layer.

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Hi Chelsea + Michele! We updated the recipe to fix the amount of tortillas used. You’ll need 6 corn tortillas (regular corn tortilla size) torn in half, making 12 halves total. You’ll use 6 of the halves for the first tortilla layer and the other 6 halves for the second tortilla layer. I hope this helps!

  22. Janice says:

    We make this almost every week. Such a huge hit! And so easy❤️

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So great! We’re glad you love it, Janice!

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      There isn’t any milk in this recipe, Maddy, but you can totally leave out the cheese + sour cream to make it dairy-free.

  23. Barbara says:

    Quick, easy & delicious! Perfect weeknight meal.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yay! So glad to hear that, Barbara!

  24. Andrea says:

    A huge hit for a small crowd and makes excellent leftovers. We loved it!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad everyone enjoyed it, Andrea!! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  25. Nicole says:

    My husband who is EXTREMELY picky and limits dairy ate this two nights in a row. My 8 year old liked it as well. I think making my own enchilada sauce and Instant Pot chicken that remains supper moist are the keys. We are trying verde sauce next.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yay, that is so amazing, Nicole! Thanks so much for letting us know!

  26. Sarah H. says:

    Wow! I totally picked this last second as family was coming over unexpectedly for dinner and this was a HUGE hit for all of us! I love that you get to make your own enchilada sauce for this and it was better than store bought through and through. I ended up only using one 8 oz bag of shredded cheese and it was perfect and only put in 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. of the chili powder since we had eaters of all ages. This is now printed out and in my go-to recipe binder.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Amazing! So glad you all enjoyed it so much, Sarah. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  27. Ally says:

    How do you recommend freezing this? Bake then Reheat?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yes, that’s what I’d do!

  28. Megan says:

    This is so good! We topped it with lots of lettuce as some easy extra veggies in for the kiddos. They asked for seconds!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Amazing! We’re so glad to hear it, Megan! Thank you for sharing this with us.