This easy recipe for chicken enchilada casserole is layers of tortillas, shredded chicken, enchilada sauce and cheese, all baked together to golden brown perfection. A quick and simple meal that the whole family will love!
I make Mexican food for dinner at least once a week, I often whip up shrimp tacos, pork carnitas or this fabulous enchilada casserole. Add your favorite toppings and watch the rave reviews come in!
Sometimes there’s just nothing better than a piping hot casserole, loaded with cheese of course! This easy chicken enchilada casserole is so simple to put together, but really delivers in the flavor department. I love Mexican food, especially enchiladas but sometimes I just don’t have the time to individually roll a million enchiladas. This casserole has all of the same flavors in half the prep time.
How do you make chicken enchilada casserole?
There’s just 5 ingredients in this chicken enchilada casserole – chicken, tortillas, beans, cheese and enchilada sauce. Everything gets stacked together in layers in a casserole before it’s baked to golden brown perfection.
Tips for chicken enchilada casserole
- You can use any type of cooked chicken for this dish. I typically use leftover diced chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. You can also roast chicken for this recipe, or put some chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
- This casserole can be assembled up to 4 hours before you plan to serve it.
- I recommend grating your own cheese for this recipe – it’s a little more work, but freshly grated cheese melts a lot smoother than the pre-shredded kind in a bag.
- This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a large crowd.
Enchilada casserole variations
There are so many different ways to customize this casserole to your preferences!
- Protein: Try using ground turkey, beef or shrimp instead of the chicken.
- Beans: Refried beans and black beans work well if you don’t have pinto beans on hand.
- Tortillas: This recipe works well with both corn and flour tortillas, so choose whichever one your family prefers.
- Cheese: I typically make this dish with Monterey Jack cheese, but other great options are cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack.
- Additions: You can add other ingredients to your casserole such as corn, green chiles, diced bell pepper or sauteed onions.
I love to add toppings to my casserole after it comes out of the oven – it’s an optional step but it really makes this dish special! Some great topping ideas include avocado, olives, red onion, cilantro, tomatoes, sour cream or green chiles.
This is a great recipe to have for those busy nights when you don’t have a ton of time to get dinner on the table. It’s a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults alike.
More great Mexican recipes
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Video
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 8 small tortillas cut into halves, corn or flour
- 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken breast
- 2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 15-ounce can of pinto beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cups red enchilada sauce
- cooking spray
- optional garnishes: olives, sour cream, red onions, cilantro, green onions, avocado, tomato
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan or 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 4 halves of tortilla over the sauce so that the bottom of the pan is covered.
- Layer 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the beans, 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
- Place a second layer of tortillas on top and layer 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the beans, 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/3 cup enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
- Repeat this process one more time for the third layer. Place the remaining tortilla halves over the top and spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top.
- Cover with foil that's been sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.
- Let sit for 5 minutes to firm up, then top with garnishes and serve.
This post was originally published on September 19, 2016 and was updated on March 19, 2019 with new content.
Tried this recipe for the first time and it was a huge hit! Since I never made an enchilada recipe of any kind in my lifetime, I researched quite a few and this was it. Used a store-bought ‘open nature’ roasted chicken from our local supermarket, organic pinto beans, can of organic corn, Ortega mild green chilies (only on bottom layer of corn tortillas) and organic enchilada red sauce. Decided to go for shredded rustic cut Mexican cheese blend. The cold tomato, onion, olive, avocado topping compote made it. It made 2 casserole dinners, and one was enjoyed by my daughter who is expecting in 8 days. Next time will sprinkle with coyotillo cheese. Thank you, Sara, for this easy and delish recipe.
Can this be made and refrigerated overnight before baking?
I wouldn’t recommend it as the tortillas will get very soft and absorb the sauce!
I’ve been using crunchy taco shells to layer this recipe. Thanks to shrinkflation, 12 shells were no longer enough to complete the top layer. Thankfully, I had a fresh bag of Fritos Scoops for the top layer 😂
Awesome recipe. But I mix the chicken, cheese and enchilada sauce, add some taco seasoning and leave out the beans and layer it that way.
Has anyone tried this with green enchilada sauce?
I made this today and it was delicious! I added green chiles, used rotisserie chicken and made my own enchilada sauce. Great recipe!
Yes. It’s great with diced green chilies too.
What sides would be good with this?
You could serve it with Mexican rice or a black bean and corn salad, I have both those recipes on this site!
This was ABSOLUTELY delicious! I added green chilies to the layers and it turned out perfectly. I served it with home made guacamole with black olives added. It added a nice brightness to complement the casserole.
This is almost the exact chicken enchilada recipe I’ve been making for years. Only I don’t include beans and one of my layers is diced green chilis.
I made it for my dad, aunt and cousin when they were staying with me from out of state. My dad only likes cheese enchiladas so I made a (boring) pan without chicken for him and one pan with my usual chicken and cheese. We ate dinner and then throughout the evening people would sneak into the kitchen for another helping. Both pans were completely gone by the end of the night! And I thought I was going to have lots of leftovers making two pans for 4 people! It was a major hit. So much so that they wanted it again on their last night.
I make this at least twice a month if not more for myself because it’s one of my personal favorite dishes too. Plus it’s just too quick and easy when you use diced rotisserie chicken from the deli section. Fast AND delicious. Win win.