Classic Chicken Enchiladas

Today was supposed to be a productive day…

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I was supposed to go to church. I was supposed to go to brunch. I was supposed to cook. I was supposed to blog. I was supposed to cook more. I was supposed to go grocery shopping. I was supposed to get organized.

I didn’t do any of it.

Why? Because I seem to get temporary amnesia and forget I’m not 22 anymore and can’t handle going out until 1am or consume more than two cocktails without acquiring a pounding headache the next morning and wanting to crawl into a hole and hibernate.

Classic Chicken Enchiladas

I can’t even remember the last time I didn’t blog or do anything productive whatsoever on a Saturday or Sunday. Seriously, I was in bed, switching off between sleeping and watching The Food Network until late afternoon. I only got out of bed to go to the bathroom, get water and make a breakfast I immediately regretted eating.

But you know what?? I kind of enjoyed it, well, the doing nothing part, not the pounding headache.

So instead of feeling guilty about my lackluster go-getter attitude today, I’m going to be thankful I had a full day to catch up on some much needed sleep and just relax.

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My perfectly unproductive day ended blissfully – with these enchiladas.

Of course by now, you know, enchiladas are pretty much my ultimate weakness when it comes to food (along with mac and cheese), I’ve shared these sour cream chipotle enchiladas, these skinny sour cream enchiladas, these sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, and these chicken enchilada empanadas, but what I haven’t shared yet, are just plain old traditional enchiladas.

It’s ‘bout time!

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Usually when making chicken enchiladas I’ll just buy a pre-roasted chicken, but since these are traditional enchiladas without a lot of fuss, I wanted to make make every component from scratch. You, of course, are more than free to buy a store-bought roasted chicken to save some time, just don’t skimp on the homemade enchilada sauce, it’s easy and soo worth it.

The chicken is poached in a bath of water, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onion and garlic for added flavor, shredded, combined with a touch of enchilada sauce and tucked into flour or corn tortillas (your choice!) with plenty of shredded cheddar and monterrey jack cheese. They’re tightly rolled up and nestled into a casserole dish, doused in enchilada sauce and more cheese and then baked until the cheese is melted and everything is bubbly and smelling delicioso.

Serve with lots of fresh cilantro, sour cream and of course, chips and salsa.


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5.0 from 4 reviews
Classic Chicken Enchiladas
Serves: Makes 8 enchiladas
  • 2 large chicken breasts or 1 roitisserie chicken
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stock
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded monterry jack cheese
  • Sour Cream for serving
  • Cilantro for Serving
Enchilada Sauce:
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x12 casserole dish.
  3. Place chicken in large stockpot. Pour enough water to just cover the chicken. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, carrot and celery. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Mix ¼ cup of sauce with chicken.
  5. Place a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Evenly divide filling between 8 tortillas. Place chicken mixture in the middle of the tortilla, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Roll up and place in the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Cover with remaining sauce and then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly.
  9. Serve with chopped cilantro and sour cream.
For the Enchilada Sauce:
  1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.


  1. I love these Nicole! Such a classic, Mexican dish that is always a crowd pleaser! And these photos are gorgeous lady!’ Love love love!

  2. Oh mama. I need this whole pan in my face riiiiiight now.

  3. Ryan Kokemor says:

    These look delicious and your photos are stunning! Thanks for another great recipe.

  4. Perfect go-to Sunday supper recipe, Nicole!

  5. blogging can really start to take over your personal life, so I try and always spare one day a weekend to live blog-free, so def don’t feel guilty! and I feel ya, my hangovers wreck me so hard these days, I’m definitely not in college anymore. but these enchiladas? simply perfect I’d say, and def the sort of food I’m craving when I’ve had one too many ;)

  6. Can it really be an unproductive day if you made these beauties at the end of it?! I love your honesty of going out haha…it happens to the best of us, Nicole! Love me some Mexican! I adore enchiladas…tortillas covered with sauce..hello! I haven’t made them in forever though because I hate using canned sauces. Great yours is homemade ;) Thanks for the recipe! Making this soon!!

  7. These look amazing! I love enchiladas- so good! Definitely need to try the recipe soon :)

  8. Chicken enchiladas are one of our all-time favorite meals. Yours look delicious!

  9. I love enchiladas, and I’m a little bit jealous of how beautifully you managed to photograph these…mine go into the oven looking gorgeous and come out…a little less so :)

  10. Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner says:

    I adore your photos! They are gorgeous. :) I know what you mean about having a lot to do and being productive…all the time. It’s good to do nothing every now and then, even if that was forced upon you from your previous night’s adventures. ;)
    Chicken enchiladas rock and these look amazingly delicious. :)

  11. Nicole, I totally know what you mean about not being productive. I think we put so much on our to-do lists, that we feel guilty if it’s not all checked off.
    I do love how you made these enchiladas! I am a little bit of an addict when it comes to anything like this. Very gorgeous, too!

  12. Oh man, as soon as my busy season is over I am sooo taking a saturday or sunday to just do nothing! I can’t even remember the last time that happened! I’m always on the go it seems like! And these enchiladas look amazing – I can never get enough mexican dishes!

    • We need to do that more often! It’s so easy to just keep going and going and going. We need a break! I can’t ever get enough Mexican either. Mexican for life!

  13. Haha. Nicole, I LOVE reading your posts. I feel like I’m sitting on your porch swing or something. I’ll just ignore that we are both still in our lazy pajamas in this virtual party, you from one-too-many, and me from one-too-many kids. JUST KIDDING! shh. And these enchiladas, oh my cilantro. Yes. Also, this is the first time I have ever seen raw chicken looking beautiful, so bravo!

    • Hahaha thanks Karen! That is just the best compliment I could ask for. :) Someday I’m going to switch from the one-too-many to the one-too-many kids camp. (Hopefully not too far away!)

  14. These look amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I know those days! Loving these photos Nicole – and chicken enchiladas are my favorite. You have me salivating at 830 in the morning haha!

  16. We definitely share a love for all things Mexican food… but can you believe that I’ve never made enchiladas at home????!!!! I know, I know. It’s obviously changing immediately. And I think this will be the recipe to do it. Can’t wait!

  17. Sometimes it’s so nice to spend a whole deal doing absolutely nothing. But these enchiladas look like you could have slaved all day over them! They are picture perfect.

  18. Hello, Nicole! I just discovered your blog during a few minutes of, ah-hem, ‘downtime’ at work … and I’m so happy I did! First of all I love your photos and secondly, I actually love to read people’s ‘classic dish’ recipes. Here in Europe it’s not so obvious how to make enchiladas anyhow … so I for one will be bookmarking this recipe for later! OK, well better get back to work, but I’ll be back! ;-)

    • Thanks for stopping by Helen! Haha love it! We’re all guilty of getting off track at work. I’m especially bad at it! Hope you come back again!

  19. sushnigdha says:

    Your chicken enchiladaschicken enchiladas look absolutely stunning. You are surely one great photographer. Love them :)

  20. sushnigdha says:

    Your chicken enchiladas look absolutely stunning. You are surely one great photographer. Love them :)

  21. I’ve been trying this enchilada sauce.. but it didn’t thickened.. shouldn’t have been some flour in it?

    • Daniele — sorry for the delayed response! The sauce isn’t supposed to be super thick, so I’m sure it was fine! It’s just supposed to (barely) thicken up just a touch while simmering.


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