Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce

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.

Save this recipe for Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce  to Pinterest!

Ever since I took new photos of my Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchilada, I have been wanting to make my other enchilada recipe and snap some new pics.

For some reason, this recipe was much harder for me to get photos that I was really satisfied with.

The first time I planned photographing this recipe 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 Texas enchilada recipe.

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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 Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce 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 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 Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy ASAP. 

Save this recipe for Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce  to Pinterest!

This post was first written September 8, 2011. The original post follows:

I have been on the hunt for the perfect Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce since 2002,.

That’s about 9 years from the date that this post was originally written

Around the time that I was in my junior year of college, my dad moved away from Texas.

Birthday dinner’s at Pappasito’s, our family’s favorite Tex-Mex place, became few and far between for all parties involved.

Dad loves what he call’s “the brown sauce” that Pappasito’s uses on their chicken enchiladas and often talks about our old birthday traditions at Pappasito’s with fondness.

Save this recipe for Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce  to Pinterest!

He’s even gone so far as to call me while on a business trip because he has a “dilemma.”

Said “dilemma” usually results in him asking me if he should go to Pappasito’s or not.

When I say “of course,” he usually informs me that he’s already on his way there, but that he needs help deciding on what item on the menu he should order.

Funny it may be, it is also infuriating (in a sweet way) that he gets to eat at one of my favorite childhood restaurants while I don’t.

On another occasion, I remember receiving a phone call from my dad to keep an eye out in the mail because he had sent me a little surprise.

A few days later, I recieved a Pappasito’s take-out menu in the mail as a souvenir from one of my dad’s business trips.

Since moving away from Houston, I have made a lot of enchilada recipes.

This Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce is the closest I’ve found to replicating one of our favorite restaurant treats.

My friend Amber said about this recipe:

“Enchiladas are comfort food to me the way matzo ball soup might be to someone on the East Coast.

It’s just one of those satisfying meals that sounds good no matter what time of day it is, where you are, or whether or not you’ve just eaten.”

Amen to that!

Chicken Enchiladas (and Tex-Mex food in general) bring back memories of my childhood, birthday dinners at home with mom and dinner dates with dad.

I’ve made this recipe two or three times in the last month.

Every single time I bit into a fork-full it is bliss.

Save this recipe for Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce  to Pinterest!

If you typically purchase canned enchilada sauce rather than making homemade, you’re going to want to stop that right now.

This Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce is what makes the dish.

It is so rich with flavor!

You could easily make a double or triple batch of the sauce, it’s not hard at all, and freeze it in individual recipe sized portions.

In fact, with this Crock Pot Mexican Chicken stashed away in your freezer along with a batch of the Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce, this enchilada recipe will come together in hardly any time at all.

Don’t skimp on frying the tortillas either; remember this is comfort food – not diet food.

What meal brings back fond childhood memories for you?

Looking for more 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 Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce, my other favorite enchilada recipe is this recipe for Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchilada.

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.

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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.


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:



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.


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.

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