Homemade Enchiladas: The Easy Way

I don’t make enchiladas often, but they’re super easy. The main ingredients are as follows, tortillas, filling, and sauce. That’s it.

The art of enchiladas is how you make the sauce and what fillings you choose.

Let me start by saying it’s okay to use ready-made enchilada sauce. It’s not as tasty as homemade but if it’s your first time, it’s an acceptable substitution.

Another thing you should know is that enchiladas taste better the second day. I think it’s because the sauce has time to marry the flavors longer. Don’t hesitate to make extra and then freeze the rest in the right portions for your family. There’s nothing better than popping a ready-made dinner into the oven.

First, the sauce. The recipe is SUPER EASY.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground coriander
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt (more to taste)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup water

Taste test it. I like mine a tad spicier, but the amounts above are for a sauce that's less spicy. Combine all the ingredients in saucepan, mixing well. Simmer and stir over medium heat until smooth and thickened. Makes 2 cups.

Once that’s made, set it aside and start the filling.

Beef Filling

1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 (4.5 oz.) can of chopped green chiles
Salt to taste

12-14 corn tortillas

Fry the onions, then add ground beef. As the beef is cooking, add the green chiles. Don't worry, these are very mild.

Note: Pay no attention to the big green chiles in the picture above. I took the picture before I realized I had a can of mild chiles.

This is the one you want to get.

The filling can be most anything. Ground beef, lean steak, chicken, shrimp, cheese, beans, or spinach.

I must confess I tried to make spinach enchiladas like the ones I’ve had at a restaurant, but I wasn’t happy with the result. The sauce for spinach enchiladas is usually sour cream based, but mine wasn’t as mild as I like it for spinach. The sour cream was over powering—at least to me. For this reason I won’t share the recipe. I’ll have to try it again and experiment some more because I’m really fond of spinach enchiladas.

For the rest, you can use the standard red sauce recipe above.

Have your fillings already set up because you want to do your enchiladas with factory efficiency.

My mother used to soft-fry her corn tortillas first and then fill them, but to cut the fat, you can do without frying. Just make sure the tortillas are soft and pliable so you can roll them without breakage. So you know, I fry the tortillas and to heck with the fat. :)

If you have more willpower than me there are two tricks to get tortillas pliable without the extra oil.
1.  Place them in the microwave for a few seconds.
2. Dip them in your warm enchilada sauce before you fill the tortilla.

The Assembly

Step 1
Pour a little sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.

Get a soft, pliable corn tortilla.

Step 3
Fill the tortilla with your favorite filling. Have several so your family can pick and choose. You can’t go wrong with ground beef, refried beans, and cheese. For more variety, try spinach, shrimp, and shredded chicken. If you use steak you'll want it thinly sliced and slow-cooked for easier eating.

Step 4
Even if you’re not making cheese enchiladas, always included a little shredded cheddar with the filling.  Other extras could include sautéed onions or fresh chopped tomatoes.

Step 5
This is the only hard part. Roll the enchilada tightly, seam side down on the baking dish.

Step 6
Repeat until you fill the entire baking dish. Pour a generous amount of enchilada sauce over all the rolls. Don’t be stingy. Fill until it covers every crevice.

Step 7
Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the entire dish. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until it’s bubbly hot.

Dress with avocado slices, cilantro, and sliced olives.

Voila! Homemade enchiladas.

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Judy here... wonder how it would be with flour tortillas? I'm low-carbing it and they have a low-carb flour tortilla.. haven't seen a low-carb corn tortilla yet. Might need to look.
Maria Zannini said…
Hi Judy! How are you holding up? I know you guys were without power for a while. I hope the damage from Irma wasn't too bad for you.

re: flour
Lots of people use flour. I don't care for it because I prefer the taste of corn tortillas. That and I don't like my flour tortillas to get wet, but many people make their enchiladas with flour. Go for it.
Michael Keyton said…
I made lots of enchilados some time ago when my daughter was going through a Mexican phase. She looked damn silly in the poncho and hat. Don't speak to me about the moustache
marlenedotterer said…
I am untalented and lazy. I make enchilada "casserole." No rolling, same flavor!
Stacy McKitrick said…
It's been awhile since I made enchiladas, but that's because Hubby can't handle the sauce. Yet. But I did like making them because they were so easy (and yummy), and I used canned enchilada sauce (but those cans keep getting smaller, so I'll probably have to get 3 instead of 2 if I ever make it again).
rmacwheeler said…

I'm ready for some now...I'm really salivating
jacabur1 said…
Flour tortilla enchiladas are a hit in our house Maria, even though you are right corn tortillas do taste better. My trick to making super easy, non spicy enchilada sauce is one tried on a whim. I just used a can of condensed tomato soup that had bought for another recipe and could not remember what I planned to use it for. At the time all my cans of tomato sauce were gone and had no meat cooked so made refried bean and cheese enchiladas with the tomato soup and flour tortillas, it was tasty to my husband and myself like that. Especially after it sat overnight and we reheated it the next night for a second meal, the flavor was indeed "married" together as are most things with sauces.

Maria I also love to make "stacked enchiladas" rather than "rolled" because like Marlene it is easier, especially when you make them in a slow cooker rather than bake in the oven.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Somehow I don't think Frances would find that funny. :D
Maria Zannini said…
Marlene: I seriously doubt that on both counts!

I do a variation of your casserole but I call it Mexican pizza. I'll have to make it sometime and take pictures. That's another casserole that freezes well.
Maria Zannini said…
Stacy: I thought those cans got smaller too! I don't buy them since I make the sauce from scratch but I thought they were awfully tiny when I saw them in the store.

You might try Jacabur1's recipe below with tomato soup. Some people use tomato soup as a base because it's milder. This way you can adjust the spices too.
Maria Zannini said…
Mac: That's post hurricane cravings talking. Hope Dina gets home to you soon. Don't want you to starve to death. :)
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: I have another friend that does the tomato soup base. It's a little too mild and creamy for me, but it did have a good flavor. I'm not crazy about flour tortillas in sauce, but Greg loves it. I guess I should've made some special for him. I'm a bad wife. ;)

re: stacked enchiladas
I'm wondering if it's the same as my Mexican casserole. The difference isn't so much the sauce but rather i cook the sauce with the meat. I'll post the recipe in a few weeks.
lv2trnscrb said…
I have always wanted to make enchiladas. This looks relatively easy for my level of cooking. Definitely giving it a shot when the weather cools down a bit!

Maria Zannini said…
Betty: There's a more authentic, but time consuming way using those dry, dark, purple peppers you see in the store, but this recipe is less labor intensive.
jacabur1 said…
The main difference is in mine you use can of cream of chicken soup with 12 ounces of Salsa and that is the sauce rather than tomato sauce or soup. Either tortilla tastes fine for the recipe.
Michael Keyton said…
In that case it shall be our little secret—until she's a huge star and is forced to wear absurd clothing :)
LD Masterson said…
Dang. Now I'm hungry. I wonder if I've got any tortillas in the house... {wanders off toward the kitchen}
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