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31 July 2020

This authentic chicken enchiladas recipe is made with juicy shredded chicken wrapped in corn tortillas, lots of cheese, and smothered in a hugely flavorful homemade red enchilada sauce, topped with crumbled cheese. This is the best I’ve ever had.

Homemade Mexican red chicken enchiladas, or “Enchiladas Rojas“, are insanely flavorful and when you finish a plateful of them, you can’t help but go back for more. At least that is how it is in our house.

They are THAT delicious.

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 chicken enchiladas 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 them.

When I make them at home for me and Patty, this is our favorite. The chicken is juicy-tender and the cheese perfectly melty. The homemade enchilada sauce is packed with flavor, as it is made from dried Mexican peppers, which are, in my opinion, the best things on the face of the planet.

I can’t get enough of them! The sauce really makes the whole dish.

Top it all with crumbly white cheese and take a bite, and WHOA! FLAVOR! Just sit back and let those eyelids flutter with pleasure. I think you’re going to love this one, my friends!

Let’s talk about how we make these chicken enchiladas, shall we?

Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients

  • 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 (or use salt and pepper to taste)
  • Water as needed
  • FOR THE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Manchego cheese, or use any good melty cheese like cheddar, pepperjack, Monterrey jack
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • FOR SERVING: Crumbly queso fresco, fresh chopped cilantro, spicy chili flakes, crema or sour cream (if desired)

How to Make Chicken Enchiladas Rojas – The Recipe Method

FOR THE RED ENCHILADA SAUCE

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce - Recipe

Toast the Peppers. 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.

Dry Toasting Peppers

Soak the Peppers. 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.

Softening Peppers in Hot Water

Food Processor. 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.

Adding Water to the food processor

Onion and Garlic. 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 Until Smooth. 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.

Processing Red Enchilada Sauce in a food processor

Gorgeous, isn’t it? So rich and vibrantly red.

FOR THE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

How to Make Chicken Enchiladas Rojas - The Steps

The Chicken. Get your shredded cooked chicken ready. I like to mix it with some of the finished red enchilada sauce for additional flavor. YUM!

The Sauce. Strain the sauce into a pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat until it just starts to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

The Tortillas. 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.

Dip the Tortillas and Assemble the Chicken Enchiladas. Dip each tortilla into the warmed enchilada sauce, then set it onto a work surface. Fill each with seasoned shredded chicken mixture and shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas up and serve them onto plates. Top them with remaining sauce, if desired.

Garnish and Serve. Garnish with crumbly cheese, fresh herbs and spicy red chili flakes.

BOOM! Done! Chow down, my friends! It doesn’t get any better than this.

How Much Will This Serve?

My chicken enchiladas recipe will serve 6 people very easily. If you’re super hungry, serve 4.

Awesomeness! I just love great Mexican food!

Recipe Tips

  • The Tortillas. Chicken enchiladas are best with corn tortillas, in my opinion, for texture and flavor. However, you can make them with flour tortillas. They are still quite delicious this way!
  • The Chicken. You can use any leftover cooked chicken for this recipe, or cook it fresh. One of my favorite ways to make shredded chicken is in a large pot that just simmers and simmers. Check out my recipe for The Juiciest Shredded Chicken Recipe for a truly, truly juicy chicken. No joke, it’s great stuff. You can use chicken thighs or chicken breast.

The Juiciest Shredded Chicken – Recipe

  • Enchiladas Suizas. You can also melt some cheese over the top of the enchiladas for Enchiladas Suizas, which are a nice variation. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cheese for each. Just top them with cheese, set them onto a large baking dish, preheat the oven, then bake them at 350 degrees F. for a few minutes until the top cheese is melted through. Baked chicken enchiladas, my friends! Delicious.
  • Other Fillings. Try other fillings as well, such as potatoes or beans. Or a combination. You’d be surprised at the flavor and satisfaction of chicken with potatoes. So good!
  • Easy Enchilada Sauce. If you’re looking for a super QUICK enchilada sauce recipe made with chili powder, try this one – Quick and Easy Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe. So much better than anything you’ll find in grocery stores.

Patty’s Perspective

The depth of flavors in these enchiladas from that red enchilada sauce is out of this world. I literally kept saying OMG after every single bite. I couldn’t even believe I have only chosen the green sauce my entire life because of my love for tomatillos. Where have you been all my life Red Enchiladas?!?

Try My Other Popular Mexican Recipes

Chicken Enchiladas Rojas - Ready to Eat

If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! — Mike H.

Chicken Enchiladas Rojas - Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

This authentic chicken enchiladas recipe is made with juicy shredded chicken wrapped in corn tortillas, lots of cheese, and smothered in a hugely flavorful homemade red enchilada sauce, topped with crumbled cheese. This is the best I've ever had.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken, enchiladas, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 446kcal

Ingredients

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
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Manchego cheese Or use any good melty cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • FOR SERVING: Crumbly queso fresco fresh chopped cilantro, spicy chili flakes

Instructions

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.
  • Strain the sauce into a pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat until it just starts to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

FOR THE ENCHILADAS ROJAS

  • 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.
  • Dip each tortilla into the warmed enchilada sauce, then set it onto a work surface. Fill each with shredded chicken and shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas up and serve them onto plates.
  • Garnish with crumbly cheese, fresh herbs and spicy red chili flakes.

Video

Notes

The sauce makes about 2-1/2 cups.
Makes 12 chicken enchiladas rojas.
Heat Factor: Mild, but these are HUGE on flavor. I love them.

Nutrition

Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 1160mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 459mg | Iron: 1mg
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