Enchiladas are a great, tasty meal for the entire family. However, the cooking process can be messy and a little time-consuming, making it a less attractive option for weekday meals or potlucks. This one pot easy chicken enchilada casserole recipe solves those problems nicely.
With a cast iron casserole dish, this recipe can (and should) be called a speedy version of chicken enchiladas. All the flavors are there, including the cheesy, spicy notes we know and love. What's even better is that everything is done in much less time.
This chicken enchilada casserole only requires four main ingredients. It's like an enchilada lasagna from the outside, but when you taste it, there's no doubt that it's a real Mexican casserole. Talk about a two-in-one!
Once you have all the ingredients, just use the easy-to-follow recipe below.
Enchilada Casserole: A Quick and Easy Recipe
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 large corn (or flour) tortillas
2-3 cups hard cheese, shredded
14 oz enchilada sauce
Cut each chicken breast in 3 pieces and put it in the pot with some enchilada sauce. The sauce has to cover the chicken.
Cook covered for 20 mins, low to medium heat with occasional stirring.
When it is done, place the breasts on a cutting board and shred in small pieces using two forks.
Preheat the oven at 375°F.
Pour around a quarter of the leftover chicken sauce into the enameled cast iron casserole dish.
Place 1 large tortilla and top it with a third each of the chicken and cheese, then spread some sauce evenly over it. Repeat layering 2 more times with the remaining ingredients.
Cover the cast iron casserole dish and bake in the oven. It will take around 25 mins or until the cheese has melted and the sauce becomes bubbly.
Serve and enjoy!
How to make the chicken enchilada casserole sauce
For the enchilada casserole sauce, you need the following ingredients:
- 8 oz tomato passata
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp chili powder (more or less, depending on your preference)
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
In a pot, heat up the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and chili powder while stirring. Once the flour flavor is cooked out, add tomato passata, water, and the rest of the spices.
Continue to stir and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low, and cover and cook for 10 mins, mixing occasionally. Adjust with seasoning, if preferred.
Can I use a different sauce for the enchilada bake?
Basically, it all comes down to your personal preference. You can choose your own enchilada sauce, including your preferred combination of creamy, salty, and sweet. We have nailed the perfect combination in our Mexican casserole sauce recipe.
However, a store-bought can of enchilada sauce also works fine. Your choice will determine the prepping and cooking time as well. Without the sauce, your chicken enchiladas casserole recipe will be done in around 45 mins. If you decide to whip up the sauce yourself, include an extra 15 mins.
The same goes for chicken. Before starting to layer your enchilada casserole, you should already have your chicken cooked and ready. You could get a canned version of shredded chicken, or cook up your own as well.
If you're not fully confident in your cooking skill, it won't be a problem. This remains a really easy chicken casserole recipe, whichever way you decide to go.
What vegetables can be included in this chicken enchilada recipe?
The ingredients for this enchilada casserole leave a lot of freedom for interpretation. Healthier (which is always a good idea!) Mexican chicken casserole recipes should definitely include more vegetables, such as bell peppers, corn, and some black beans.
Black beans can also be paired with tofu, especially if you wish to make a vegetarian enchilada casserole and omit the chicken. Tofu is a great source of protein. If you want to go vegan, replace the hard cheese with a plant-based alternative as well.
Other tips for making this easy chicken enchilada casserole recipe
A very important tip we can share is how to cook the chicken. Ultimately, the chicken needs to soak up the flavors of the enchilada sauce as much as possible. To get the best results, then, cook the chicken in enchilada sauce.
While this recipe produces enchilada casserole with corn tortillas, you can also use flour. Homemade flour tortillas are easy to make. You can make it ahead of time and just heat up in the microwave or a tortilla press when it's time to use it for your chicken enchilada casserole dish.
Our Last Word in Making a Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Enchiladas take a lot of time to make. With our one pot enchilada bake, you get a chance to make a great Mexican dish in a shorter amount of time. It's not a poor imitation of chicken enchilada, too. It's just pure deliciousness in a pot.
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