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With just four basic ingredients you can have a healthy and easy chicken enchilada casserole ready to go in the oven — with only 10 minutes of prep time! Nutritious and family-friendly weeknight dinners don’t get any faster than this. Garnish each plate with your favorite toppings, and serve the flavorful casserole with corn saladriceranch-style beans, or tortilla chips and guacamole for a family-friendly weeknight meal!

Hands holding a dish of easy chicken enchilada casserole on a wooden dinner table.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe

When you’re craving a pan of chicken enchiladas, but you’re not particularly interested in rolling, stuffing, and laboring in the kitchen, then this quick, shortcut dish is just the solution. Skip a trip to the local Mexican restaurant, cozy up in your jammies at home, and feast on this easy chicken enchilada casserole at home. With only 4 ingredients, family dinners don’t get much better!

Stirring together chicken, enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese in a white bowl.

Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole

A traditional enchilada is a corn tortilla that’s rolled around a filling of meat, potatoes, beans, vegetables, or cheese, and covered with a savory sauce. Enchiladas originated in Mexico and are popular throughout the southwestern United States. Today we’re preparing a twist on the classic dish by turning chicken enchiladas into a cheesy layered Mexican casserole — complete with corn tortillas, plenty of cheese, shredded chicken, and a zesty red enchilada sauce!

Arranging corn tortillas in a white dish.

Ingredients

This is just an overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for an easy chicken enchilada casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken: the base of the casserole filling. You’ll need cooked, shredded or diced meat, so a store-bought rotisserie chicken comes in really handy! If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home for this dish, see my notes below.
  • Enchilada sauce: we’re using a red enchilada sauce here, but you can also use green enchilada sauce.
  • Grated cheese: I like a Mexican blend that includes Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, asadero, and queso cheeses, but plain grated cheddar also works.
  • Corn tortillas: a key component to every enchilada recipe, these form the layers in the casserole.
Layering chicken enchilada casserole in baking dish.

How to Make Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Did you ever think that you could assemble an entire casserole with just 4 basic ingredients? This is such a simple yet flavorful meal!

  1. Spread ¼ cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a greased 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Stir together shredded chicken, ¾ cup of the enchilada sauce, and ½ cup of the cheese.
  3. Place tortillas in the bottom of the prepared dish, tearing or overlapping them as necessary to cover the bottom.
  4. Top with half of the chicken mixture and drizzle with enchilada sauce. Repeat layers one more time.
  5. Cover with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the cover, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes (until the cheese melts and the casserole is hot and bubbly).
Hands holding a dish of the best chicken enchilada casserole recipe.

What to Serve with Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This easy casserole goes well with any of these sides:

Add Toppings!

While my kids like it straight out of the oven, I prefer to pile my plate high with plenty of extra toppings. Serve the chicken casserole with any of these:

  • Avocado or guacamole;
  • Salsa or pico de gallo;
  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt);
  • Green onion, chives, or fresh cilantro;
  • Jalapeno peppers;
  • Sliced black olives;
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes;
  • Lime wedges;
  • Minced red onion.
Square overhead shot of a white dish full of easy chicken enchilada casserole.

Make Ahead

Take advantage of shortcuts by using store-bought rotisserie chicken meat that you pull or chop in advance, or leftover grilled or roasted chicken from a previous meal.

Place the prepared chicken in an airtight storage container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. With the chicken already cooked and chopped, it’s really just a matter of layering your ingredients in your prepared dish and popping it in the oven. So simple!!!

You can also assemble the enchilada casserole in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Allow the dish to come to room temperature before baking.

Storage

Leftover enchilada casserole will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to Reheat

Refrigerated leftovers can be reheated in the microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes (or until the individual serving reaches the desired temperature). To reheat a larger casserole in the oven, cover loosely with foil and warm in a 350°F oven until heated through (about 20 minutes).

How to Freeze

Assemble the casserole as instructed, cover tightly with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the dish in the refrigerator overnight and allow to come to room temperature on the counter before it goes in the oven.

Recipe Variations

  • The enchilada sauce gives this dish great flavor, but you can easily substitute with an equal amount of taco sauce or your favorite salsa.
  • For even more flavor, add spices like smoky ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, or minced fresh garlic to the chicken mixture.
  • Swap out the chicken and use 2 cups of pulled pork, 1 lb. of cooked ground beef, or 1 lb. of cooked ground turkey instead.
  • Add a can of corn (drained), black beans (drained and rinsed), diced onion or bell pepper, or chopped green chiles to the filling. Use the base recipe and jazz it up with as many spices and “extras” as you like.
  • Corn tortillas are more authentic for enchiladas, but you can substitute with flour tortillas if you prefer.
  • Use different types of cheese. Try just Monterey Jack, just cheddar cheese, or use Colby or Pepper Jack.
Hands serving the best chicken enchilada casserole recipe from a white dish.

Tips for the Best Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe

  • If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, boil about 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken. You’ll need a total of about 2 cups shredded. I find that 1 lb. of chicken breasts yields about 2 cups of pulled chicken, but there’s some flexibility here — it doesn’t need to be exact.
  • To serve a larger family, double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish.
  • The corn tortillas will soften as they combine with the chicken and sauce. That’s normal! The longer the dish sits, the softer the tortillas will be. If you like them a bit more firm, assemble the casserole just before baking.
  • Make it a healthy chicken enchilada casserole! The corn tortillas are made with whole grains, the chicken is a lean protein, and you can use reduced-fat cheese if that’s your preference. Pile on plenty of veggies, too! Good options include shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, onions, tomatoes, avocado, and salsa.
Overhead shot of a serving spoon in a pan of easy chicken enchilada casserole.

More Enchilada Recipes to Try

Hands holding a dish of easy chicken enchilada casserole on a wooden dinner table.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

4.80 from 10 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 262 kcal
With just 4 basic ingredients you can have a healthy and easy chicken enchilada casserole ready to go in the oven — with only 10 minutes of prep time!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) diced or shredded cooked chicken (such as the meat from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 ¾ cups enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese, divided
  • 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • Optional garnish: sour cream, sliced green onion or red onion, diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sliced olives, diced avocado or guacamole

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
  • Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in a thin layer in the bottom of the dish.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, ¾ cup of the enchilada sauce, and about half of the cheese (½ cup).
  • Place 4 of the tortillas in the bottom of the prepared dish, tearing or overlapping them as necessary to cover the bottom.
  • Top with half of the chicken mixture and drizzle with ¼ cup of enchilada sauce. Repeat layers one more time.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of cheese, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes (until cheese melted and casserole is hot and bubbly).
  • Garnish with optional toppings and serve.

Notes

  • If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, boil about 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken. You’ll need a total of about 2 cups shredded. I find that 1 lb. of chicken breasts yields about 2 cups of pulled chicken, but there’s some flexibility here — it doesn’t need to be exact.
  • To serve a larger family, double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish.
  • The corn tortillas will soften as they combine with the chicken and sauce. That’s normal! The longer the dish sits, the softer the tortillas will be. If you like them a bit more firm, assemble the casserole just before baking.
  • Make it a healthy chicken enchilada casserole! The corn tortillas are made with whole grains, the chicken is a lean protein, and you can use reduced-fat cheese if that’s your preference. Pile on plenty of veggies, too! Good options include shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, onions, tomatoes, avocado, and salsa.
  • The enchilada sauce gives this dish great flavor, but you can easily substitute with an equal amount of taco sauce or your favorite salsa.
  • For even more flavor, add spices like smoky ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, or minced fresh garlic to the chicken mixture.
  • Swap out the chicken and use 2 cups of pulled pork, 1 lb. of cooked ground beef, or 1 lb. of cooked ground turkey instead.
  • Add a can of corn (drained), black beans (drained and rinsed), diced onion, or chopped green chilies to the filling. Use the base recipe and jazz it up with as many spices and “extras” as you like.
  • Corn tortillas are more authentic for enchiladas, but you can substitute with flour tortillas if you prefer.
  • Use different types of cheese. Try just Monterey Jack, just cheddar cheese, or use Colby or Pepper Jack.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the casseroleCalories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 30gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 1158mgPotassium: 207mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 900IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 197mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: Chicken Enchilada Casserole, chicken enchilada casserole recipe, easy chicken enchilada casserole, Healthy Chicken Enchiladas, layered chicken enchilada casserole
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in April, 2016. The photos were updated in February, 2022.

 

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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