How to Make Enchiladas with Your Favorite Sauce-and-Filling Combo

Learn the right way to make flavorful enchiladas—plus our favorite fillings.

Anyone can learn how to make homemade enchiladas; they're one of the easiest Tex-Mex specialties around. Most enchilada recipes are variations on the same easy theme: Wrap tortillas around a filling, place the filled tortillas in a baking dish, and bake them with sauce and cheese on top. It's hard to believe anyone could resist this combo. Another great thing about making enchiladas is that they're completely customizable so you can tailor them to anyone's taste preference. Follow these simple steps to make enchiladas at home.

Top: small stack of corn tortillas; bottom: small stack of flour tortillas
Jason Donnelly

Step 1: Choose the Tortillas

Technically the first step in making enchiladas is choosing a recipe and rounding up your ingredients. If you want to make chicken enchiladas, check out this recipe for Creamy Chicken Enchiladas. If you want to learn how to make beef enchiladas, try this simple Beef Enchiladas recipe. After deciding on a recipe, it's time to choose the tortillas.

Corn tortillas are traditional for enchiladas, but flour tortillas also work. Choose 7- or 8-inch flour tortillas or 6-inch corn tortillas—they fit best in most pans. Recipes vary, but for a 3-quart rectangular casserole dish, you will need about eight flour or corn tortillas.

Buy It: 3-Quart Rectangular Baking Dish, $20, Target

Get colorful! Try purple corn tortillas in this enchilada casserole. Or learn how to make enchiladas using made-from-scratch tortillas with this recipe for homemade corn tortillas. For next-level enchiladas, make naturally colored tortillas at home.

Test Kitchen Tip: Corn tortillas are more pliable and easier to roll if heated first. Wrap them in foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.

Red chile sauce or enchilada sauce in blue cast iron skillet with wooden spoon resting in the skillet and ingredients next to the skillet
Andy Lyons Cameraworks, LTD

Step 2: Make the Enchilada Sauce

Covering enchiladas with sauce adds flavor and keeps them moist while cooking. Here's how to make enchilada sauce from scratch:

In a small saucepan heat 2 teaspoons canola oil over medium heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed; cook and stir 30 seconds more. Stir in one 8-oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce, ¾ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. This makes 1½ cups.

If you're just beginning to learn how to make enchiladas, you can start by using purchased sauce, canned Mexican-style tomatoes, or tomato salsa. Another popular sauce is the "Suiza" or Swiss-style cream sauce used in Enchiladas Suiza or Swiss Enchiladas. We love this on classic chicken enchiladas.

Some recipes suggest spreading a little sauce (½ cup for a 3-quart baking dish) on the bottom of the pan before adding enchiladas. This keeps the tortillas from sticking to the pan or getting tough on the bottom.

Step 3: Choose and Prep the Enchilada Filling

There are many different ways to fill an enchilada. Simply choose savory ingredients you love—pick from veggies, cheese, beans, meats, chicken, and seafood. Choose and cook your filling as desired. You can short-cut the enchilada filling by using purchased deli chicken or other pre-cooked meats.

Enchilada Filling Amount: Plan on about ⅓ cup filling per enchilada.

Rolling tortilla
Blaine Moats

Step 4: Wrap the Filling

Place the filling (about ⅓ cup per tortilla) onto one edge of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas and place them, seam side down, in a row in the baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas. When you're in a hurry, skip the wrapping step and try this Beef-and-Been Enchilada Casserole.

Test Kitchen Tip: If all the enchiladas don't fit in the dish crosswise, tuck some around the sides.

Beef Enchiladas with toppings on board
Carson Downing

Step 5: Bake Enchiladas and Serve

Most enchiladas are baked and covered with foil until heated through. Oven temperatures and baking times vary per recipe, but on average they cook in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes.

Sprinkle the cheese on top of the enchiladas after they are heated through. Return the pan to the oven to bake about 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let the enchiladas cool slightly before serving.

Cheese Tip: Popular cheeses for enchiladas include shredded Monterey Jack, Chihuahua cheese, or crumbled Cotija. Use ½ to 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of a 3-quart rectangular pan of enchiladas.

If you like, bring your enchiladas to the table with bowls of optional toppings. Snipped fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, and homemade salsa all make tasty enchilada toppers.

Test Kitchen Tip: Can you make enchiladas ahead of time? You bet! Try our Make-Ahead Chicken Enchiladas or Make-Ahead Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas. Or, simply adapt the make-ahead directions in these recipes to your own favorite enchilada recipe.

Thanks to the wide availability of good-quality tortillas and other fresh ingredients, making homemade enchiladas is easy. Whether you give them a go using one of our recipes or use the step-by-step instructions to make your own house version, you'll have great enchiladas in your dinner rotation in no time.

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