Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce is a classic Tex-Mex dish from my childhood. Corn tortillas are stuffed with shredded chicken and smothered in a rich, chile gravy sauce before baked up to perfection with a gooey cheese topping.

homemade enchiladas in bowl topped with chili gravy enchilada sauce

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Homemade Enchilada Recipe

Ever since I took new photos of my Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchiladas, I have been wanting to make my other enchilada recipe and snap some new pics. For some reason, this homemade enchilada recipe was much harder for me to get photos that I was really satisfied with.

The first time I planned photographing these homemade chicken enchiladas I was having a really busy day. I ended up being completely out of Ancho Chile Powder. But, the chicken was already cooked. The tortillas were fried. And the sauce was already in progress.

That is what Logan would call “a big oof!” I should know not to start something without checking that I actually have all of the ingredients first. I had a bunch of other things to do and didn’t have time to run to the store and get some.

So, I ended up using my FREE FIRST DELIVERY on InstaCart with Sprouts to get some delivered to me in under an hour. If you want to try InstaCart, here is a promo code for $10 off InstaCart orders.

While I waited for my delivery, I started working on some of the other things that I needed to do. I also got distracted and made this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel with Real Pumpkin. Then, I tried to squeeze in taking pictures for that recipe.

By the time my ancho chile powder showed up, my kitchen and office were both a huge mess. My day was pretty much in complete disarray with a few too many projects that had been started and not a single one completed. I ended up finishing the enchiladas and taking the photos anyway.

But, the next day when I downloaded them to my computer I hated them. Definitely not my best work. And not something I wanted to post alongside what is arguably one of my most favorite Tex-Mex recipes and definitely my favorite homemade chicken enchilada recipe.

So, a week later and we’re having enchiladas again for dinner because I need to take new photos. In fact, in the span of 8 days, we ate these homemade enchiladas on three different evenings.

Last week we had them a second time, the day after the first time, because Logan and Madeline were both asking for them again. I had leftover fried tortillas and leftover chicken. All I had to do was make more sauce. I also ate them twice for lunch thanks to leftovers.

And I have a pan stashed away in the freezer for the next time we have a busy day or Kevin is traveling and I don’t feel like cooking. The kids definitely were not complaining about any of this. They love this homemade enchilada recipe almost as much as me.

I photographed this recipe again yesterday. And, because my day was much better planned out (despite having a sick kiddo home from school), I was much happier with the results.

After that long story, I’ll leave you with one thing: Make this recipe for Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Chile Gravy ASAP. 

homemade enchiladas in bowl topped with chili gravy enchilada sauce with guac and salsa

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Homemade Enchiladas Ingredients

To make these homemade chicken enchiladas with chile gravy sauce, you’ll need:

  • Canola oil
  • All-purpose flour
  • Butter
  • Spices
  • Chicken broth
  • Beef broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Corn tortillas
  • Crock-Pot Mexican Chicken
  • Shredded Oaxaca cheese
  • Shredded queso quesadilla cheese
  • Toppings of choice

How to Make Homemade Enchiladas

Don’t let the lengthy recipe instructions fool you — this homemade chicken enchiladas recipe is super easy to make! I just like to give detailed instructions since I know making homemade enchiladas intimidates some people.

Here’s how to make homemade enchiladas:

  1. Make the homemade chile gravy sauce. (It’s ready in under 20 minutes).
  2. Fry the corn tortillas for about 10 seconds on either side. You’re looking for them to be crispy, but still malleable.
  3. Fill the homemade chicken enchiladas and place seam-side down in a baking dish.
  4. Once the homemade enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the dish, top with the chile gravy and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Can I Freeze Enchiladas?

Yes, these homemade enchiladas freeze incredibly well! Here are instructions for freezing homemade chicken enchiladas:

  1. Line your baking pan with parchment paper, then assemble the enchiladas all the way up to the baking step.
  2. Instead of baking, place the pan in the freezer. Freeze the enchiladas until solid. Then, lift the frozen enchiladas out of the pan and wrap in plastic wrap.
  3. Place the wrapped enchiladas in either a freezer-safe storage container or a large freezer quality zip top bag.
  4. To bake after freezing: unwrap the enchiladas, place them in your baking pan, and thaw. Then once thawed, proceed with the recipe as directed for baking.
homemade chicken enchiladas in bowl with guacamole and pice de gallo

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Tips for the Best Chicken Enchiladas

I used to use all chicken broth in this homemade enchiladas recipe. I was low once and subbed part beef broth and decided I liked the combo of the two better. But feel free to use whichever you like best.

Before frying the corn tortillas, you need to make sure the oil is hot enough for frying. To see if the oil is hot enough, dip the edge of a corn tortilla into it. If the oil immediately starts sizzling, it’s hot enough.

I know it’s tempting, but don’t overstuff the homemade enchiladas with chicken. If you stuff them with too much chicken they won’t roll up well and will fall apart when you try to take them out of the pan.

More Easy Mexican Recipes:

Looking some more of my favorite favorite Mexican recipes? Check out some of these recipes, or browse the recipe index archives for even more great recipe ideas:

Try a fun summer take on tacos with this recipe for Chicken Tacos with Grilled Corn Tomato Salsa. Chicken is flavored with a tasty Chipotle Lime Marinade and then grilled. Instead of traditional salsa, fresh, sweet summer corn is grilled until charred and combined with tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, and cilantro.

Kale, purple cabbage, carrot, and red bell pepper are tossed with a jalapeño lime vinaigrette for a healthy Mexican inspired Cilantro Lime Kale Slaw.

Shredded Beef, Black Bean and Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos are a healthier take on Chile Rellenos.

Besides this recipe for homemade enchiladas, my other favorite enchilada recipe is this recipe for Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchiladas. Corn tortillas are filled with tender, shredded chicken, black beans, and fresh spinach. Then, smothered in two contrasting sauces for one amazing  recipe.

In this Mango Salsa with Grilled Corn and Blistered Red Pepper, juicy mango pairs well with grilled corn and blistered red bell peppers for a sweet and savory summertime salsa.

This Crock-Pot Queso con Carne can be enjoyed as an appetizer, or it can be drizzled over tacos, burrito bowls, nachos, and more. It’s a crowd favorite every time I make it!

What meal brings back fond childhood memories for you?

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Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce

Yield: serves 6
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce is a classic Tex-Mex dish from my childhood. Corn tortillas are stuffed with shredded chicken and smothered in a rich, chile gravy sauce before baked up to perfection with a gooey cheese topping.

Ingredients

For the Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoon Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • pinch Allspice
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Beef Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt

For the Chicken Enchiladas:

Toppings

Instructions

Prepare the Crock Pot Mexican Chicken as directed in the recipe. Set aside.

For the Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce:

  1. Add the oil to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk in to form a roux, cooking for about a minute to eliminate the raw flour taste.
  2. Then, stir in the chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, and allspice. Let cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
  3. Then, slowly add the chicken broth making sure to whisk as you pour so as to eliminate any lumps. Do the same with the beef broth.
  4. Add the tomato paste and whisk in to the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. If the sauce begins to thicken too much, additional broth may be added. It should be the consistency of gravy.
  6. Taste, then season with salt according to your preferences.

To Fry the Tortillas:

  1. Add approximately 3/4 - 1 inch deep of canola oil in a well-seasoned cast iron pan.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high or high heat (I find that high works best on my gas stove).
  3. Heat the oil until it is ready to fry the tortillas. When the oil is ready, the edge of a tortilla will sizzle when dipped into the oil.
  4. Add the tortillas one at a time and fry for about 10-15 seconds on each side, turning using kitchen tongs. Drain the tortillas on a paper towel lined cooling rack.
  5. They should be slightly crispy but malleable enough that they are easy to roll without breaking.

To Assemble the Enchiladas:

  1. Spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of your preferred baking pan.
  2. Divide the chicken evenly between the 12 tortillas, placing a small amount of shredded chicken in the center of each fried tortilla, being careful not to overstuff.
  3. Roll the tortilla up and place it seam side down the prepared baking pan.
  4. You can use a 9x9 baking pan and assemble 2 rows of 6 enchiladas or a 9x13 inch pan and assemble one row of 12 running down the middle of the pan.
  5. Once you have rolled all of the tortillas, pour the remaining sauce on top. Top the sauce with shredded cheese.
  6. If desired you may add cilantro leaves before or after baking for a garnish.
  7. Cover the pan with foil (see: How to Make Non-Stick Foil at Home - this helps the cheese not stick to the foil) and bake at 425 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubble and the enchiladas are heated through.
  8. Serve with your choice toppings, such as: cilantro, pico de gallo, 5 Minute Basic Guacamole, and/or sour cream.

Recipe Updates:

  • Originally I used 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoon oil in the sauce. I cut back to 3 tablespoons total to eliminate a few calories. I think it still tastes great!
  • The only other update is that I used to use all chicken broth. I was low once and subbed part beef broth and decided I liked the combo of the two better. Feel free to use what you like best.

Notes

Freezing Instructions

This recipe freezes well.

  1. Line your baking pan with parchment paper, then assemble the enchiladas all the way up to the baking step.
  2. Instead of baking, place the pan in the freezer. Freeze the enchiladas until solid. Then, lift the frozen enchiladas out of the pan and wrap in plastic wrap. Then place wrapped enchiladas in either a freezer safe storage container or a large freezer quality zip top bag.
  3. To bake after freezing: unwrap the enchiladas, place them in your baking pan, and thaw. Then once thawed, proceed with the recipe as directed for baking.

Recipe adapted from The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos by Robb Walsh.

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