Whenever I come across Mexican restaurants, I never make it out 4 out of 5 times without getting myself some enchiladas. I wanted a burrito at one point and realized they’re so similar yet so different at the same time. When I tried to make my own enchiladas at home, I enjoyed every bit of variation I could do by baking enchiladas myself rather than getting them from the store.
Scroll down as I share how to make enchiladas, how long to cook enchiladas, and the different ways you can pump up their flavor and fillings.
What are Enchiladas?
Enchiladas is a classic Mexican dish made of corn tortilla wrapped around a filling, covered with sauce. Enchilada fillings can vary from person to person, cook by cook. The most classic fillings for enchiladas are beef, chicken, cheese, beans, and vegetables.
Enchiladas are often served covered with sauce. Usually, tomato or flavored chili sauce, as the name enchilada literally means ‘to cover with chili.’
Enchilada vs. Burrito: What’s the difference
The main difference between an enchilada and a burrito is their tortilla. While a burrito is wrapped with a flour tortilla, an enchilada is covered with a corn tortilla.
Both can have similar fillings, but putting sauce over a burrito does not make it an enchilada.
How to Make Enchiladas
Because this article is about enchiladas, let’s hop in on how to cook enchiladas.
This recipe focuses on how long to cook enchiladas in the oven, specifically my favorite chicken enchiladas (of course, you can choose beef as your protein!)
Preheat your oven to 350°F while preparing your enchiladas. Meanwhile, combine shredded chicken and enchilada sauce in a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper to taste. For shredded or cubed chicken, I usually go for chicken breasts and shred them by hand into strips. You can add green chilies, onions, beans, and shredded cheese.
Grab your corn tortillas for the perfect enchilada wrap texture, and fry them quickly for 10 seconds on each side on a heated skillet with a bit of oil. You can also microwave them for 1 minute to bring out their corn flavor and prevent the tortilla from falling apart.
Place even amounts of the chicken and enchilada sauce mixture onto the corn tortilla and arrange them into a baking dish. Then, cover the wrapped tortilla with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese.
On how long to bake enchiladas, you can bake them for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until they are hot and the cheddar cheese on top is bubbly. Remember to bake them uncovered! After taking it out of the oven, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
How Long to Cook Enchiladas
The baking process of enchiladas can take 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how thoroughly heated and cooked your enchilada is.
What’s great about homemade enchiladas is that you can pre-prepare the fillings (whether you’re going for beef or chicken enchiladas) and wrap them in a tortilla whenever you feel like cooking them. Cooking the fillings takes at most 10 to 20 minutes. You can also wrap the fillings with tortillas ahead of time, refrigerate or freeze them and bake them when needed.
Baking frozen enchiladas can take from 35 to 40 minutes at 350°F, or you can let them thaw in the refrigerator and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Let them cool down before wrapping them with a disposable foil container to freeze enchiladas. If you’re snacking on them, you can choose to individually wrap them in foil so you can just take one when needed.
How to Make Enchilada Sauce
What sets enchilada apart from other Mexican cuisine is its enchilada sauce. Sure, you can buy canned enchilada sauce in the supermarket if you’re feeling under the weather, but a homemade enchilada is best paired with a homemade enchilada sauce.
To make the homemade enchilada sauce, you would only need tomato paste, olive oil, all-purpose flour, and your choice of spices and herbs (I like the heat, so I level it up with heaps of chili powder) broth.
Start by making a roux by whisking flour and oil together to thicken the sauce. Then, add all the herbs and spices of your choice. I like mine with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Add the broth carefully and whisk so the flour doesn’t lump, then add the tomato paste.
Let them simmer for 10 minutes, and there you have your homemade enchilada sauce. Of course, if you’re serving enchiladas for kids, you may want to double down on the chili powder.
How to Make Beef Enchiladas
Other than chicken, another option for filling enchiladas is the classic beef enchiladas. To make beef enchilada, you need one pound of lean ground beef instead of shredded chicken.
To cook the ground beef and prepare them for filling, brown the ground beef over a skillet or pan on medium-high heat and drain the excess fat away before stirring in the enchilada sauce and other spices and herbs.
Afterward, prepare the enchilada as you would on the chicken enchilada as discussed above, and there you have a classic enchilada for beef lovers.
Enchiladas are traditional Mexican dishes that are ideally consumed at any time of the day. They are perfect for brunch, snacks, or dinner. They originated as Mexican street food with basically just corn tortillas dipped in chili sauce with no fillings, which has soon evolved into the enchilada with numerous filings and a variety of sauces we know of today.