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Chicken Enchilada

Chicken enchilada is a Mexican dish of chicken-filled sauced and baked flour or corn tortilla rolls. Canned or freshly prepared enchilada sauce is poured over the chicken filled tortillas which are then sprinkled with grated or shredded cheese and baked until the cheese melts.

Popular Methods of Preparation

Classic Chicken Enchilada

Ingredients – Chopped chicken, margarine or butter, all purpose flour, chopped green chilies, salt, onions, enchilada sauce, ground coriander, sour cream, corn tortillas, chicken broth and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Preparation – All the ingredients except the tortillas are cooked to a thick and creamy mixture and spooned on to each tortilla, which are then rolled, covered with the enchilada sauce, topped with more cheese and baked uncovered in oven until brown and bubbly.

Quick Chicken Enchilada

Ingredients – Commercially sold chicken and cheese enchilada soup mix, enchilada sauce, pre-cooked shredded chicken, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, corn tortillas and green onions.

Preparation – A mixture of all the ingredients except the sauce are spooned onto the tortillas, which are rolled and covered with a mixture of the enchilada sauce and remaining soup mix. The rolls are topped with more cheese and baked. The inclusion of ready ingredients like commercially sourced enchilada sauce and soup mix make the preparation much quicker.

White Chicken Enchilada

Ingredients – Chicken broth, pre-cooked shredded chicken, corn tortillas, onion, canola oil, Jalapeno, heavy cream, butter, sour cream, paprika, flour, Monterey Jack cheese, Picante sauce, salt and pepper and cilantro.

Preparation – The tortillas are fried to soften and rolled with a mixture of sautéed onion, jalapenos, chicken, green chilies, broth, cream, cheese, seasoning and paprika. The enchilada rolls are then baked with extra cheese topping and served with picante sauce and cilantro garnish. Since, the tomato or green chili paste is missing in the enchilada sauce prepared for this dish, it is retains a white color, hence the name.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients – Enchilada sauce, corn tortillas, cooked and shredded chicken, jalapeno peppers, sour cream, shredded Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese and red onion rings.

Preparation – The tortillas are placed in a casserole layered with enchilada sauce and are spooned with a mixture of chicken, enchilada sauce, pepper, sour cream and cheeses on top. More such layers of tortilla are arranged like a stack inside the casserole finishing off with the enchilada sauce and cheese topping and the dish is baked until bubbly. It is then served with the ring onions as garnish.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients – Onion, chicken broth, chicken breasts, enchilada sauce, masa harina dissolved in water, grated cheddar and Monterey Jack, tortilla chips, garlic, salt and pepper and chili powder.

Preparation – There are several ways of making this soup of which one recipe suggests simmering the sautéed and shredded chicken breasts, onions and garlic in chicken broth and then boiling the mixture with Masa Harina, enchilada sauce, chili powder, salt, cheddar and cumin until a thick soup is formed. The soup is served with a garnish of crushed tortilla chips and shredded Jack and Cheddar cheese.


Chicken enchilada can be presented with a garnish of fresh cilantro, onion rings, sour cream, scallion and/or chopped tomatoes. Often, the dish is served with a topping of avocado slices or chopped lettuce. Beans and Spanish rice make ideal accompaniments to this dish.

Healthy Variations

Chicken enchilada being enriched with cream, hot spices and cheese, most often can also be cooked in a healthier way by opting out certain ingredients and including certain healthier alternatives.

Low fat Chicken Enchilada – The sauce for this preparation is made by simmering together chicken broth, salt and pepper, cumin and tomato sauce. The tortillas are rolled with a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, pre-cooked chicken pieces, broth, salt and tomato sauce. Finally, the rolls are covered with the freshly prepared enchilada sauce, sprinkled with shredded low fat Mexican cheese and baked. Owing to the choice of ingredients containing no or low fat, this dish is called low fat chicken enchilada.

Atkins Diet Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Paillard – The chicken breast slices are pounded and sautéed with garlic, enchilada sauce, cream cheese and cheddar and baked with an onion and pepper mixture after being topped with more cheese. This dish omits the tortilla rolls which make it a perfect low carb dish.

Gluten-free chicken enchilada – A mixture of green chilies, chicken, lime juice, yogurt, cumin and cracked pepper are rolled inside yellow or white corn tortillas (which are gluten free tortillas), covered with the enchilada sauce, sprinkled with sharp cheddar cheese and baked.

Healthy Chicken Enchilada Casserole Verde – Extra thin corn tortillas are arranged in a baking dish layered with tomatillo sauce and spooned at the top with a mixture of crumbled Cotija, shredded low fat Mexican cheese blend, Greek yoghurt and shredded chicken breast. The layers are repeated finishing off with the chili verde sauce and more cheese sprinkles at the top. The dish is baked and served with guacamole. The use of low fat cheese, yogurt and thin corn tortillas makes this dish healthier.

Low Sodium Chicken Enchilada – The skinless chicken is pan steamed and shredded and cooked with flour, garlic, cumin, adobo, chipotles, cumin, low sodium chicken broth, salt and pepper and rolled inside the tortillas. The rolls are bathed in the remaining sauce, topped with Monterey Jack cheese and oven baked till bubbly.

Recipes by Celebrity Chefs

Chicken Enchilada by Tyler Florence

In one of his chicken enchilada preparations, Tyler Florence suggests shredding the chicken sautéed with garlic powder, Mexican spice mix and cumin and then combining it with a mixture of sautéed onion, garlic, tomatoes, corn and chilies along with some flour to combine them well. The tortillas are rolled with this mixture, bathed in the enchilada sauce, topped with shredded Jack and Cheddar cheeses and baked until the cheese has melted.

Chicken Enchilada by Rachael Ray

The tortillas are rolled with a cooked mixture of shredded skinless chicken, bay leaf, chicken broth, oregano, onion, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt. An enchilada sauce made of tomato sauce, cayenne pepper sauce, chili powder, Monterey Jack cheese and ground cinnamon is poured over the rolls, which are again topped with cheese and the dish is baked.

Further Reading

Chicken enchilada recipe by New York Times