Not So Authentic Chicken Enchiladas

Our travels have taken hubby and me to many parts of the world including South Korea, England, Scotland, Wales, Mexico, Sicily, and Italy to name a few. For the past 10+ years, we have also enjoyed visiting Mexico once a year to meet up with friends across the country. Our group of friends would look forward to seeing each other to eat, drink, and be merry. Since that’s not possible during this pandemic, I’m imagining all of us together at our favorite restaurant in Cancun eating and drinking and enjoying the mariachis.  While this dish is totally Americanized, it’s the best I can do for now, and that’s okay.

According to Business Insider, “authentic enchiladas aren’t cooked in the oven. Mexican enchiladas vary widely but are typically tortillas that have been fried and dipped in spicy enchilada sauce and then rolled up with a small amount of meat, vegetables, and/or cheese. These are then garnished lightly with white cheese.”

This recipe is miles away from the authentic version (figuratively and literally), but don’t let that stop you from trying it. I think they are very tasty and satisfied my craving for Mexican food.

For me, this recipe is a great way to use up chicken we had in the fridge (instructions are for both raw and cooked chicken plus BONUS a homemade easy enchilada sauce). And it was also a way to stock my freezer with meals for the future (it made 18 enchiladas). 

Chicken mixture (beans, chilis, onions, and chicken) cooked in a skillet.

Assembly line created with ingredients to fill the enchiladas. TIP: warm the tortillas in the microwave or on the stove to make them more pliable.

Let the assembly begin!

Ooey gooey cheese topped enchiladas just out of the oven. 

Stick a fork in it – they are done!


While I may not be on the beach in Mexico or in Cancun with my friends, I can enjoy these delicious chicken enchiladas and think of happier times. 

Chicken Enchiladas

Yields 18 enchiladas

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ? cup white onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 pound) (raw or cooked)
  • 1/3 cup canned diced green chiles
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce (See notes for easy homemade recipe)
  • optional toppings: fresh cilantro, chopped red onions, diced avocado, avocado, sour cream


  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a large baking dish (or several medium-sized baking dishes with oil or cooking spray.
  2. In large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. If using raw chicken, add it to the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the mixture for 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Mix in the diced chilis.
  3. If using pre-cooked chicken, add the chicken, diced chilis, and the beans to the pan with onions and stir until combined.
  4. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line with the tortillas, enchilada sauce, chicken mixture, and cheese. On a tortilla spread a tablespoon of sauce over the surface of the tortilla. Add a generous amount of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla, then sprinkle with cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. (You may need several baking dishes to make the full recipe depending on the size you use.)
  5. When all enchiladas are assembled, spread any remaining sauce evenly over the top of them, followed by any extra cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until the enchiladas are cooked through and the tortillas are slightly crispy on the outside.


BONUS: if you want to make your own enchilada sauce it is really easy. 

1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the canola oil in a skillet or pan on medium heat. Add the flour and chili powder and combine. Cook until mixture starts to brown. 

Mix the tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add these ingredients to the pan and whisk together. 

Cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat until thickened.


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