These shredded chicken enchiladas are my absolute favorite enchilada recipe. Tips for how to make the best chicken enchiladas ever, how to shred chicken, and a handy 10 minute enchilada sauce are all included!
I don’t make a whole lot of Mexican food at home…mostly because I just find it just way too darn good at restaurants.
Now, I do make some tasty fish tacos with pico de gallo, homemade fajitas with steak or chicken and some really good breakfast burritos. But, for the most part, I get my Mexican food cravings satisfied outside of my kitchen.
Plus, it’s usually difficult to make Mexican food Dustin will want to eat (he’s really a “meat-and-cheese-only-on-my-burrito” kinda guy).
Growing up in Southern California, I was raised to like the auténtico type stuff to be made for me by the experts — like chiles rellenos, carne asada, chili verde, chilequiles, machaca, huevos rancheros and all those yummy things.
Ok, now I need to go out and get me every one of those dishes I just mentioned! **stomach growling**
Oddly enough, I’ve actually never been a big fan of enchiladas at Mexican restaurants….probably because I’m already stuffing my face with all those other types of dishes. I find most places add waaaay too much cheese to their enchiladas.
I know, I know…and the problem with that is….? True: cheese does tend to make everything better. But, I wanted to make an enchilada recipe at home that had more meat and was healthier — yet just as tasty.
So, I started to make my own shredded chicken enchiladas at home. And they’re amazingly delicious. They’ve easily become a favorite in the house and on the blog.
How To Make Shredded Chicken
Ever wondered how to cook chicken so it can be shredded? I think you’ll think you’ll be shocked at how easy it is.
All you need to do is cook the chicken all the way through so it can be pulled apart using two forks. Then, use one fork to hold the chicken steady and the other fork to pull away or shred the chicken. You’ll have shredded chicken in no time. I’ve also seen people add chicken to food processors to shred, but I’ve never needed to.
Corn vs. Flour Tortillas For Enchiladas
I prefer corn tortillas over flour in general, but that is my preference. Flour tortillas tend to be less healthy, as they often contain refined flours and lard, but that isn’t always the case. You can also very easily make your own corn tortillas (like these ones right here!) so I def prefer corn.
Making enchiladas with flour tortillas can also lead to a more doughy texture in your enchiladas. While it doesn’t bother me, it is something to consider. At the end of the day, you can choose whatever makes you happy 🙂
What You Need To Make Enchiladas
To make chicken enchiladas, luckily, you don’t really need that much at all. Most shredded chicken enchilada recipes are shockingly simple and super easy to put together. Think of them like a casserole with little enchiladas.
Here’s what you’ll need to make shredded chicken enchiladas:
- A casserole dish (could use rimmed baking sheet in a pinch)
- Enchilada sauce – you can buy pre-made, but I highly recommend making your own. It’ll just take you about 10 minutes extra.
- Tortillas – I recommend these corn tortillas, but I may be partial 😉
- The main ingredients: chicken, cilantro, and cheese
That’s pretty much it. Told ya they are simple!
How To Soften Corn Tortillas For Enchiladas
This is a great question and causes a lot of debate. For the longest time, I never knew how to soften tortillas for enchiladas. The last thing you want is to make these delicious enchiladas only to have the tortillas completely fall apart as you try to wrap them up. Here are some ways to soften corn tortillas for enchiladas so you can avoid such a travesty:
- Buy high quality tortillas or make them yourself – store bought tortillas have a tendency to already be quite dry so pass on those if you see them.
- Wrap them in a damp paper towel or kitchen towel and microwave for 15 seconds to soften.
- Quickly fry in olive oil to saturate and soften.
- Dip into enchilada sauce before rolling into enchiladas.
- Brush with olive oil.
Any and all of these options will work – it really just depends on your preference. Personally, I just use either high quality store bought tortillas (that feel soft at the store) or use my own, then I heat them in the microwave to soften, and I also brush with olive oil (the way I’ve written it in the recipe).
How To Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce
OMG please please PLEASE make your own enchilada sauce. It’s unreal good and makes SUCH a difference in the flavor and texture of your enchiladas. Plus it literally will take you 10 extra minutes to make and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. I used to use the canned stuff and, now, I’m a total homemade enchilada sauce convert.
Here’s how to make homemade enchilada sauce:
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the fresh tomatoes and garlic, and stir to combine and reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly and cook for 4-6 minutes, until the tomatoes become softened.
Stir in the tomato paste, low sodium chicken broth, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, pepper into the skillet, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Done!
How To Freeze Chicken Enchiladas
This shredded chicken enchiladas recipe also freezes very well and is pretty easy to reheat. To freeze, just go through all the directions up to adding the sauce back over the tortillas — that way, when you defrost, they aren’t all soggy. Just freeze the enchiladas and the sauce separately and you’ll be good to go for when it’s thawed.
More Enchilada Recipe Ideas
To get even more delicious enchiladas, try these tasty enchilada recipes:
Next time you wanna try your hand at making your own enchiladas, let me know how it goes!
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups enchilada sauce (see recipe below)
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, to coat the chicken
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, to coat the chicken
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, divided (plus more for garnish)
- 12 6- inch corn tortillas
- optional: greek yogurt for garnish
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large tomatoes on the vine, diced
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the fresh tomatoes and garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for 4-6 minutes, until the tomatoes become softened.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients (tomato paste, low sodium chicken broth, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper) into the skillet, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and add the minced garlic to the enchilada sauce in a deep skillet and heat to a boiling over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle sea salt and ground black pepper over the chicken breasts and then nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce, set aside and let both the chicken and the sauce cool.
- Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts by holding one fork steady and slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backwards, away from the other fork.
- Transfer the shredded chicken to a large bowl. Add half the enchilada sauce from the pan with the chicken, half the Monterrey jack and half the cheddar cheeses and the 1/2 cup of cilantro to the shredded chicken. Stir to combine.
- Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds until pliable and warm.
- Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of a tortilla. Gently, but firmly, roll the tortilla around the filling and place into the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Lightly brush the exposed tortillas with olive oil. This will help the tortillas turn golden in the oven and will also help keep them from cracking. Place casserole dish in the oven, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to turn golden.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
- Place back into the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
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