How To Make Enchiladas For A Mexican-Inspired Meal

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We’ve all heard the expression “the whole enchilada,” but what is an enchilada? The word itself means “spicy” (a.k.a made with hot “chile” peppers), and traditional Mexican enchiladas combine some seriously comforting ingredients: warm corn tortillas, pulled meat, or melty cheese, and a savory, spicy sauce to top things off. Classic enchiladas recipes top this dish with crema, which is similar to sour cream, queso fresco, a tangy, crumbly cheese, and some sliced or chopped onion. There is something magical about this combination of flavors: the crisp acidity of the onion, the richness of the cheese and crema, and the spiciness of the sauce.

If you want to experiment with these extraordinary flavors at home, read on to learn how to pay homage to this Mexican staple and make enchiladas with everyday ingredients and simple cooking methods.

How to make cheese enchiladas 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 12


  • 12-14 corn tortillas (the kind for soft-shell tacos)
  • 5-6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons cooking or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you’re keeping this recipe vegetarian)
  • 2 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or a pinch of garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 dollop sour cream, for topping (optional)
  • Sliced onion and chopped fresh cilantro (as garnish)

Preparation instructions 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

  2. Make the enchilada sauce by combining the oil, flour, chili powder, cumin, and oregano in a saucepan on low heat until bubbling. Then, add in the broth, tomato sauce, garlic, and salt and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Chef’s tip: This recipe is a simple tex-mex take on how to make red enchilada sauce with everyday ingredients, but more traditional recipes contain a blended mixture of hot peppers and stewed tomatoes. Try a recipe like this one to bring the flavors of Mexico into your home. 

  1. Pour ¼ cup of the homemade enchilada sauce into a 9-by-13 baking pan and spread across the bottom.

  2. Warm the tortillas over medium heat in a skillet, just until warm and malleable. 

Chef’s tip: If you’re wondering how to roll an enchilada tortilla, you’re asking the right questions. Cold tortillas will snap in half if you try to roll them, so it’s essential that you heat them first. 

  1. When warm, add some shredded cheese to each tortilla and roll them up. You can keep them closed by placing the rolled, stuffed tortillas seam side down and pressed up against one another in a line in the baking dish.

  2. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas in the casserole dish, and then top with the remaining cheese.

  3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling hot.

Recipe adapted from Tastes Better from Scratch.

Nutritional values 

Calories: 275

Fat: 17 grams

Carbohydrates: 16 grams

Protein: 14 grams

Cholesterol: 52 milligrams

Sodium: 749 milligrams

Fiber: 2 grams

Sugar: 4 grams

Calcium: 378 milligrams

Iron: 1 milligram

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Enchilada variations

Chicken or beef enchiladas: Chicken enchiladas are an easy variation to the recipe given above, as are beef enchiladas. For easy chicken enchiladas, pull boiled or rotisserie chicken into thin strips. Then, fill the tortillas with the shredded chicken before topping them with sauce. For beef, fry out ground beef with your favorite spices and stuff into the tortillas. There are plenty of other ingredients for enchiladas, too, so stay creative. If you’re looking for a vegan option, for example, you can stuff them with sautéed bell peppers and onions, mashed potatoes, refried beans, or other cooked veggies. 

Enfrijoladas: If you’d like a substitute for enchilada sauce, you could try another traditional Mexican favorite called enfrijoladas. The steps are similar to making enchilada sauce, but the result is a bean sauce instead of a tomato and pepper one. By blending cooked pinto or Peruvian beans with water and seasonings. The liquidy texture of this mix is similar to that of the tomato-based enchilada sauce and is a protein-packed, non-spicy alternative. 

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Enchiladas FAQs

What’s the best side dish for enchiladas?

We recommend keeping things in the same flavor profile with regional sides like red rice or stewed black beans. For a tasty appetizer, serve up some tortilla chips and fresh guacamole.

Which is the correct cheese for enchiladas?

Cheeses with a high “melt-factor” work best, especially if you’ll be baking your enchiladas in the oven, as shown in the recipe above. Shredded blends or sharp varieties like cheddar or Monterey Jack are great options.

Can I make enchiladas that aren’t spicy? 

Absolutely. The enchilada sauce shown in this recipe contains chili powder, which you can omit, but is ultimately as spicy as it is tomatoey. It’s a mild sauce that is sure to become an instant family favorite — perfect for even the little ones. 

Can I use flour tortillas? 

Yes. Using flour tortillas may not be traditional, but it can be tasty. Any variety of tortilla that rolls well is perfect for this dish. 

Do enchiladas contain gluten?

Since corn tortillas contain maize flour, meaningthat traditional enchiladas, which use corn tortillas and not wheat ones, are gluten-free. If you are trying to omit wheat in this recipe, swap out the flour in the enchilada sauce (used as a thickening agent) for a GF 1:1 flour or prepare an authentic sauce recipe from stewed tomatoes and soaked red chiles.

If you’re going to try to recreate your favorite Mexican takeout dish at home but need essentials like tortillas, ask Gopuff for a helping hand. While you’re at it, pick up the perfect cheese mix for your enchiladas and some cold soda or beer to recreate the entire street-food experience.

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