A quick and easy homemade enchilada sauce makes this cheesy baked chicken enchilada casserole extra special. It reheats and freezes beautifully as well!
Food blogger confession time… I have never successfully made traditional enchiladas! The tortillas ALWAYS break apart on me when I roll them, leaving me with a totally unsightly (but tasty!) dinner.
But now I don’t have to be sad about that anymore. This STACKED version of enchiladas is completely foolproof and every bit as delicious. If you ask me, the secret to the best homemade enchiladas is not in the rolling anyway, it’s in the homemade enchilada sauce!
You might be wondering why you should bother making enchilada sauce from scratch when you can just buy it in a can. There are 3 reasons:
- You probably have all the ingredients right now.
- It takes 15 minutes and most of that time is hands off.
- It tastes SO MUCH BETTER.
However, if you have a favorite brand you love, you can of course use store bought enchilada sauce, which makes this a 5 ingredient meal! You will need 3 cups of store bought sauce.
I used 8-inch corn tortillas for this recipe. These are the perfect size for a 9 x 13 inch pan. If you have 6-inch tortillas, no problem, just place them however you need to cover the surface. It’s all the same in the end!
I prefer the taste of corn tortillas for enchiladas, but you can also use flour tortillas if you prefer.
How to make a baked chicken enchilada casserole step-by-step
Make the enchilada sauce
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder (you’ll want to use the spice blend that is used to make chili here, not just ground chiles as that will be much spicier!) , garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin and oregano.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the spices and slowly add the chicken stock, whisking until smooth.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
Make the filling
5. Combine the shredded chicken and beans in a large bowl.
6. Add 1 cup of the enchilada sauce and stir to combine.
Assemble the casserole and bake
7. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce.
8. Cut your tortillas in half and place 8 halves in the pan to cover the whole surface.
9. Cover with 1/3 of the chicken and bean filling.
10. Add another 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce and then sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat these layers 2 more times, ending with the remaining cheese.
11. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray, or oil, and cover the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
How spicy is baked enchilada casserole?
This really depends on the chili powder you use. I usually use McCormick’s which is about a medium level of spiciness.
If you have kids that prefer things on the milder side, look for a chili powder that’s labeled “mild”. A good dollop of sour cream helps cut the heat level too!
This casserole keeps very well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover with foil and reheat in the oven at 375 F for 20-25 minutes until warmed through
To freeze, cool the baked casserole first, then chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Wrap the casserole tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. To reheat, remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake at 375 F for 40-45 minutes until warmed through.
Baked Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken from about 3 chicken breasts or one rotisserie chicken
- 1 14- oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 12 8-inch corn tortillas cut in half
- Suggested toppings: Sour cream, avocado, sliced green onions, cilantro
- In a small bowl, whisk together the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and oregano.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute, until smooth.
- Whisk in the spices. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly until smooth.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the shredded chicken and beans with about 1 cup of enchilada sauce.
- Spread another 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top the sauce with 8 tortilla halves and spread to cover the whole bottom of the dish. Layer with 1/3 of the shredded chicken and bean mixture, followed by 1 cup of the shredded cheese and 1/2 cup of sauce. Repeat 2 more times and top with remaining cheese.
- Oil a sheet of aluminum foil and cover the baking dish. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Serve with toppings of your choice.
Hi! I’m Ann and I blog at Our Happy Mess. I’m all about fast, fresh, and family-friendly recipes. I believe cooking from scratch can not only be doable but FUN, no matter how busy life gets!
You can find more of my recipes at Our Happy Mess.