This beef enchiladas recipe is so good with corn tortillas filled with slowly simmered ground beef, lots of shredded cheese, then smothered in homemade red enchilada sauce.
Once you try my beef enchiladas recipe, it will quickly find its way into your regular recipe rotation. Beef enchiladas are HUGE on flavor, and they're super satisfying for any night of the week.
Patty goes CRAZY for them. They're definitely ranked up there with Patty's Favorite Recipes on the site. That's for sure!
They're somewhat similar to another favorite of ours (and Patty's!) - Chicken Enchiladas Rojas - though we're using ground beef instead of shredded chicken, and there are some slight variations.
You'll have to try them both and let me know which one you like the most!
They’re pretty darned easy to make, too, despite needing to make the red enchilada sauce from scratch, which may sound daunting, but it totally isn’t.
I’ve had red enchiladas (both beef and chicken) in Mexican restaurants, and I’ve had them a few different ways, as there are different ways to make them, such as with different fillings or with cheese melted over the top, and this is my preferred way to enjoy the beef variety.
When I make them at home for me and Patty, this is our favorite. The cheese is nicely melty and the beef is super flavorful, as it is simmered with caramelized peppers, onions and garlic, lots of seasonings, and some of my homemade red enchilada sauce, which is packed with flavor
It's made from dried Mexican peppers, which are, in my opinion, the best things on the face of the planet.
Let’s talk about how we make these beef enchiladas, shall we?
FOR THE BEEF ENCHILADAS
- Olive Oil. Divided.
- Onion. Chopped.
- Jalapeno Pepper. Chopped.
- Garlic Cloves. Chopped.
- Ground Beef.
- Cayenne Powder.
- Freshly Ground Cumin.
- Salt and Pepper.
- Mexican Manchego Cheese. Or use any good melty cheese - Monterrey Jack is great.
- Corn Tortillas.
- Crumbly Queso Fresco.
- Fresh Chopped Cilantro.
- Spicy Chili Flakes.
How to Make Beef Enchiladas - The Recipe Method
FOR THE ENCHILADA SAUCE
First, heat a large pan to medium heat and dry toast the dried chili peppers a few minutes per side, until the skins begin to puff up a bit. This is an important step, as it helps to release the oils in the skins, which is HUGE for flavor.
Set the peppers into a large bowl and pour hot water over them, just enough to cover them. Let them soak for 20 minutes, or until they become very soft.
Remove the softened peppers and set them into a food processor or blender.
Next, pour in some of the soaking liquid. You'll notice that it has become quite dark from the peppers. This water has plenty of nutrients leached from the peppers, so I like to use it. You can also use clean water if you'd like.
Add about 1 cup to start.
Next, cook down some onion and garlic in a pan with oil, then add them to the food processor along with the rehydrated peppers. Add sea salt to your preference.
Process the mixture until the sauce becomes very smooth. It will be very thick at this point. Add in more water, a half cup at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency.
Gorgeous, isn't it? So rich and vibrantly red.
FOR THE BEEF ENCHILADAS
Heat a separate pan to medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and jalapeno about 5 minutes to soften.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the ground beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Brown it for about 5 minutes.
Stir in ¼ cup of the reserved enchilada sauce along with your seasonings and ½ cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop.
Next, heat a separate pan to medium heat and add a bit of the remaining olive oil. Cook the tortillas a few seconds in the oil until they become pliable. You may need to keep adding a bit more oil as you go along.
Strain the sauce into a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat until it just starts to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Dip each tortilla into the warmed enchilada sauce, then set it onto a work surface or plate. Fill each with ground meat mixture and shredded cheese. Ground beef is so good here, though shredded beef is great, too.
I've used shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, though cheddar is good, or any white Mexican cheese, as long as it is a melty cheese. Use a 1/4 cup or so, or to taste. Make it extra cheese if you'd like!
Roll the tortillas up and serve them onto plates, seam side down. Don't lose all that wonderful cheese and beef filling!
Top with remaining enchilada sauce. Garnish and serve!
BOOM! Done! Chow down, my friends! Beef enchiladas RULE! At least I think so.
How Much Will This Serve?
My beef enchiladas recipe will serve 6 people very easily. If you're super hungry, serve 4. Comfort food at its finest, my friends! I love great Mexican food. Such a great recipe. Yum!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Seasonings and Flavors. I use some simple seasonings for my ground beef, as you'll develop a LOT of flavor from the caramelized peppers, onions and garlic, as well as the addition of the red enchilada sauce. However, feel free to use your favorite taco seasoning blend to add in even MORE flavor. Try my own Homemade Taco Seasoning Blend recipe. It's a good one!
- Top with Cheese. You can also melt some cheese over the top of the enchiladas for Enchiladas Suizas, which are a nice variation.
- Other Fillings. Try other fillings as well, such as potatoes, refried beans or black beans, or a combination of several ingredients. This recipe is also great with shredded beef, though I just love the seasoned ground beef mixture for flavor and texture.
- Tortillas. I love beef enchiladas with corn tortillas, as I love the corn flavor and texture, but flour tortillas are great for this recipe, too. Give it a go!
- Quick and Easy. If you're looking for a super QUICK enchilada sauce recipe, try this one - Quick and Easy Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe made with chili powder.
I am an absolute freak about enchiladas. I just can’t get enough of them. Every time we are out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, I immediately jump to the Enchiladas section without even exploring the rest of the menu. So, I’ve been bugging Mike to create a Beef Enchiladas recipe in his own style. And after asking a few times very nicely he has finally granted my wish. I hope that you fall in love with this recipe as much as I did. Enjoy.
Storage & Leftovers
Storing your Beef Enchiladas in an airtight container in the fridge may allow you to store the leftovers for up to 3-4 days (2-3 months in the freezer). To maximize the storage life, make sure to refrigerate the dish promptly.
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Beef Enchiladas Recipe
FOR THE RED ENCHILADA SAUCE
- 4 dried ancho peppers stemmed and seeded
- 4 dried guajillo peppers stemmed and seeded
- 4 dried chiles de arbol stemmed and seeded
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- Water as needed
FOR THE ENCHILADAS
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 12 ounces ground beef
- 1 tablespoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups shredded Mexican Manchego cheese Or use any good melty cheese - Monterrey Jack is great
- 12 corn tortillas
- FOR SERVING: Crumbly queso fresco fresh chopped cilantro spicy chili flakes
FOR THE SAUCE
- Dry toast the dried chili peppers in a heated pan over medium heat. Toast them a couple minutes per side, until they start to puff up slightly.
- Cool, then set them into a heavy bowl with enough hot water to cover them.
- Let them soak for 20 minutes, or until they become very soft. Remove them and place them in a blender or food processor.
- Reserve 1 cup of the dark soaking water.
- In the same heated pan, add the olive oil. Cook the onion about 3 minutes, or until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute, until they become fragrant.
- Add them to the food processor along with the sea salt.
- Pour in the reserved soaking liquid and process to form a sauce. It will be very thick at this point.
- Add in more water, a half cup at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency. Reserve the sauce until ready to use.
FOR THE BEEF ENCHILADAS
- Heat a separate pan to medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and jalapeno about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Add the ground beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Brown it for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in ¼ cup of the reserved enchilada sauce, seasonings (cayenne, paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper) and ½ cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop.
- Next, heat a separate pan to medium heat and add a bit of the remaining olive oil. Cook the tortillas a few seconds in the oil until they become pliable. You may need to keep adding a bit more oil as you go along.
- Strain the sauce into a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat until it just starts to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Dip each tortilla into the warmed enchilada sauce, then set it onto a work surface. Fill each with ground beef and shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas up and serve them onto plates.
- Garnish with crumbly cheese, fresh herbs and spicy red chili flakes.