Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Queso Fresco are perfect for a weeknight. The dish is made with both chicken and black beans to create a filling, hearty entrée that your family will love.

cheesy chicken enchiladas in a casserole dish topped with queso fresco and chopped cilantro.

Along with Italian cuisine, Mexican cuisine ranks up there as crowd-friendly. Cheese, meat, tortillas—it’s so easy to love!

These Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Queso Fresco are one of my go-tos when I’m making a baby meal or another meal to take to a friend. They’re hearty, easy to make, and well-loved by adults and children alike.

If there’s one thing I’ve found when delivering a meal to someone going through a transition (like moving, having a baby, recovering from a hospital stay, etc.), it’s that comfort food is king. That doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy food.

But food with some staying power helps fuel them through the day, especially when the day may not involve three square meals.

Casseroles are a classic comfort food, and it helps that they’re easily transportable and able to be reheated without compromising taste and texture.

These enchiladas fit the bill—hearty and comforting, easy to take in a foil pan, and quick to reheat in the oven or microwave.

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red enchiladas topped with queso fresco and cilantro.

They are also a great weeknight meal (just like my Easy Ranch Chicken).

And, they’re easily adaptable. You can swap in ground beef for the chicken, or chicken breasts instead of thighs. You can use more meat and leave out the beans. And you can swap in corn tortillas to make these gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • Flour tortillas or corn tortillas hold the delicious filling
  • The filling is made with diced chicken thighs, black beans, and red onion
  • Both shredded Mexican blend cheese and queso fresco make the enchiladas extra cheesy
  • Enchilada sauce from a jar, a can, or a packet works perfectly here. Use your favorite brand.

There are plenty of recipes for DIY enchilada sauce, but I have yet to find one that I actually like. So I turned to Frontera red enchilada sauce, which comes in packets and can be found in your grocery store’s international foods aisle.

The sauce is perfectly seasoned and has a ton of flavor. If you can’t find it, a canned enchilada sauce would work here, too!

two packets of red enchilada sauce on a beige tablecloth.

Adding authentic flavor

When I created this recipe, I wasn’t out to make the most authentic enchiladas ever (as evidenced by my use of flour tortillas). I also didn’t want to spend time individually frying each tortilla as they traditionally do for enchiladas.

But I did want these Easy Chicken Enchiladas to have elements of authentic flavor. So I used queso fresco, a Mexican farmers cheese that you often see at Mexican restaurants. It has a little bit of a sour flavor to balance out the richness of the enchilada sauce.

round package of queso fresco on a beige tablecloth.

I tossed it with the filling and then also put it on top. It really adds a delicious salty-sour flavor to the dish.

You can find it near the ricotta and feta in the cheese section of your grocery store. It sometimes comes already crumbled, or in one piece like mine was.

How to make chicken enchiladas with queso fresco

Start by sautéing the chicken until cooked through. Then, sauté the onions.

Add the black beans, 1 cup queso fresco, and ⅓ cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine.

chopped chicken and black beans in a red enchilada sauce in a skillet.

Pour some enchilada sauce in a 13×9 inch pan. Tilt the pan so it covers the bottom.

Place ½ cup of the meat and bean mixture down the center of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place in the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and meat mixture.

chicken and black beans on a flour tortilla, next to a casserole dish filled with enchilada sauce and a rolled enchilada.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the Mexican blend cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, then top with the remaining queso fresco and chopped cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze enchiladas?

Bake enchiladas as directed, then cover the pan with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and replace the foil. Heat in a 350°F oven for 1 hour, or until warm throughout.

Can I make enchiladas gluten-free?

Use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas to make gluten-free enchiladas. Be sure to check the label on your enchilada sauce to ensure that it does not contain gluten.

Can I make enchiladas ahead of time?

Roll the enchiladas and cover with the sauce and cheese. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. When you’re ready to bake them, add 5–10 minutes to the baking time.

a pan of enchiladas next to a bowl of mexican rice.

What to serve with enchiladas

Authentic Mexican Rice is a great accompaniment to enchiladas. Add a salad and dinner is done!

To drink, Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Iced Tea) is super refreshing and complements the enchiladas beautifully.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!

📖 Recipe

enchiladas with red sauce and crumbled queso fresco in a blue casserole dish.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Queso Fresco

Published by Kate
These easy enchiladas are classic comfort food. They’re great for a weeknight meal (they can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to bake) and they’re a good option to deliver to a friend in need of a home cooked meal.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 806 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can substitute chicken breasts)
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 16 oz red enchilada sauce (I used two 8-oz Frontera packets)
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For garnish: chopped cilantro, ½ cup queso fresco

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Place the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4–5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown on the other side, about 4–5 more minutes.  
  • Remove the chicken and place on a cutting board. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3–4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Empty the enchilada sauce into a 2-cup measuring cup. You’ll have a scant 2 cups.
  • Chop the chicken into ½ inch pieces. Add it back to the skillet with the red onion. Add the black beans, 1 cup queso fresco, and ⅓ cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Pour ½ cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan. Tip the pan until the sauce covers the entire bottom.
  • Place a tortilla on a flat surface. Using a pastry brush, brush the tortilla lightly with some of the remaining enchilada sauce. Place a heaping ½ cup of the meat and bean mixture down the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla, making sure that the filling doesn’t escape. Place the filled tortilla in the pan. Repeat with the remaining 7 tortillas.
  • Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Top with 1.5 cups of Mexican blend cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the filling is bubbly. Top with cilantro and additional queso fresco if desired, and serve.

Notes

I like Frontera enchilada sauce for its rich flavor. If you can’t find it, a canned enchilada sauce works here, too.
You can substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts for the chicken thighs if you prefer.
Make ahead option: prepare the recipe as directed but do not bake. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake them, add an additional 5–10 minutes to the baking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 2enchiladasCalories: 806kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 56gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 2742mgPotassium: 882mgFiber: 11gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1313IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 569mgIron: 6mg
Keyword chicken enchiladas, enchiladas
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!

3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Super easy and most delicious! Have used this recipe at home and for pot lucks.

  2. 5 stars
    One of our favorite recipes. This was simple yet it has some complexity flavor. We smoked our chicken first and that seemed to elevate the experience.

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