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How to Freeze Enchiladas

Having freezer enchiladas prepped and ready to bake is a huge time saver on busy weeknights! This post will walk you through how to freeze enchiladas and the best methods for reheating them. 

photo of chicken enchiladas to go with instructions for how to freeze enchiladas

Why Bother Freezing Enchiladas? 

Although enchiladas aren’t difficult to prepare, they can be time consuming. Between making the filling, rolling up each tortilla, and baking them, enchiladas require advance preparation. 

So, why not make an extra pan of enchiladas to freeze for later? You’ve already dirtied your pans, so you might as well make the most of it! 

Having a pan of freezer enchiladas ready to be baked at a moment’s notice is great for busy weeknights. Or, if you have older kids who can safely operate an oven, frozen enchiladas come in handy for nights when they need to feed themselves! 

In this post, I’ll explain how to freeze enchiladas, whether it’s better to freeze cooked or uncooked enchiladas, and how to thaw and reheat enchiladas that have been frozen. 

Do Enchiladas Freeze Well? 

Can you freeze enchiladas? Yes! 

Do they freeze well? It depends. 

In my experience, it’s better to assemble and freeze uncooked enchiladas. This preserves the texture of the filling and tortillas the best and requires less prep on your part. Why waste time baking a pan of enchiladas twice if you don’t have to? 

However, cooked enchiladas can certainly be frozen. It’s just that the tortillas may become soggy or rubbery once reheated. 

I only freeze cooked enchiladas if I wind up with unexpected leftovers. But I’d rather freeze the leftovers and eat a slightly soggy tortilla later than throw out perfectly good enchiladas! 

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, chili gravy sauce before baked up to perfection with a gooey cheese topping.

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Tools Needed to Freeze Enchiladas 

Freezing enchiladas is easy, but you need to seal them up correctly to avoid freezer burn. Here are the supplies you’ll need: 

  • Vacuum sealer and bags: Storing enchiladas in airtight bags helps prevent freezer burn. 
  • Disposable foil pans: You’ll need either vacuum bags OR disposable foil pans. I outline the pros and cons of each in the section below titled “How to Freeze Enchiladas.” 
  • Parchment paper: I prefer lining my baking pans to make transferring the frozen enchiladas easier. 
  • Labeling supplies: Always label frozen enchiladas with the date you made them, plus any additional instructions required for baking them later. 

How to Freeze Enchiladas 

You can freeze a whole pan of enchiladas before or after they’ve been baked. 

I prefer freezing a whole pan of uncooked enchiladas in vacuum bags rather than baking pans. Baking pans take up a lot of space in the freezer, plus I can’t use them when they’re holding frozen enchiladas!

You don’t need to have vacuum bags, though. I’ve given instructions on how to freeze enchiladas in disposable pans as well in the sections below. 

1. Freezing Uncooked Enchiladas 

I prefer freezing uncooked enchiladas. The tortillas don’t become soggy after the enchiladas are baked, and the textures of the dish generally hold up better. 

  1. Line your baking pan with parchment paper. Be sure to take the parchment paper up the sides of the pan to make removing the enchiladas later much easier. 
  2. Assemble the enchiladas in the lined baking dish as the recipe instructs.
  3. Cover the pan with foil, then freeze until completely firm (this could take up to 3 hours). This is called flash freezing.  
  4. Once firm, lift the enchiladas out of the pan using the parchment paper. 
  5. Transfer the frozen enchiladas to a vacuum seal bag, label, and freeze.

Tip: If you don’t have vacuum seal bags, I recommend freezing enchiladas in a disposable foil pan. Wrap the pan in two layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Remove the wrappings prior to baking! 

2. Freezing Cooked Enchiladas 

I typically only freeze cooked enchiladas if I wind up with unexpected leftovers after a family dinner. Cooked enchiladas are safe to freeze, but the tortillas often become soggy or rubbery when the frozen enchiladas are baked. 

  1. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. 
  2. Assemble and bake the enchiladas as instructed.
  3. Let the enchiladas cool completely, then cover with foil and freeze until firm. 
  4. Once firm, lift the enchiladas out of the pan using the parchment paper. 
  5. Transfer the frozen enchiladas to a vacuum seal bag, label, and freeze.

Tip: If you don’t want to mess with transferring the enchiladas to a vacuum bag, you can bake the enchiladas in a freezer-safe or disposable pan and freeze them in it as well. Just make sure to let the enchiladas cool completely before freezing. 

3. Freezing Individual Enchiladas 

If you plan on freezing individual enchiladas, you’ll have to bake them first. 

You could theoretically assemble and freeze individual enchiladas prior to baking them, but there’s no good method I know of to store them that wouldn’t result in the filling spilling out or the sauce leaking. 

  1. Assemble and bake the enchiladas as instructed. 
  2. Let the pan of enchiladas cool completely, then slice into individual servings. 
  3. Transfer each enchilada to a freezer bag or container. I use individual glass containers that are freezer- and microwave-safe. 
  4. OR, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and then in foil before sealing inside a freezer bag. 
  5. Label and freeze. 

Is It Better to Freeze Cooked or Uncooked Enchiladas? 

It depends on your personal preference! 

I prefer to freeze uncooked enchiladas, then bake them just before serving. This preserves the texture of the enchiladas, whereas freezing cooked enchiladas often results in soggy or rubbery tortillas. 

Can You Freeze Leftover Enchiladas? 

Yes! I freeze leftover enchiladas in single servings in freezer-safe glass storage containers. It’s so nice to be able to pull out one enchilada at a time for quick lunches throughout the week. 

How to Thaw Frozen Enchiladas 

You don’t actually need to thaw frozen enchiladas prior to baking them. 

In fact, frozen uncooked enchiladas should be baked from frozen. This helps preserve the texture of the tortillas and prevents them from becoming soggy. 

However, cooked enchiladas can be thawed or baked from frozen. It’s your choice! 

To thaw frozen enchiladas: Place them in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then, bake as instructed. 

I don’t recommend thawing frozen enchiladas in the microwave. That can make the cheese and / or tortillas dry or rubbery. 

Tip: If the enchiladas were sealed in a vacuum bag, transfer them to a baking dish before thawing them. If you wait to transfer them to a baking dish once they’re fully thawed, you’ll have a big mess on your hands! 

How Soon Should You Bake Thawed Enchiladas? 

If you opt to thaw the enchiladas before baking them, you’ll need to cook them within 24 hours. 

How to Cook Frozen Enchiladas 

Before baking your freezer enchiladas, transfer them from the vacuum seal bag to a baking dish if needed. Once the enchiladas are in a parchment paper-lined baking dish, you can bake them as instructed below. 

Here’s how long to bake frozen enchiladas: 

  • If the enchiladas are frozen: Bake at 350F covered with foil for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. 
  • If the enchiladas are thawed: Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake another 5 to 10 minutes. 

Can You Microwave Frozen Enchiladas? 

Yes, but I prefer not to as the cheese and tortillas often dry out or become rubbery. 

However, you can microwave one to two enchiladas at a time at full power for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, if desired. 

This is the quickest way to cook freezer enchiladas (thawed or still frozen), but it also causes the texture of the enchiladas to change. 

How Long Do Frozen Enchiladas Last? 

Freeze enchiladas will last up to 3 months, if stored correctly. After that point they’ll still be safe to eat, but they may develop freezer burn which could cause textural changes. 

Easy Enchilada Recipes that Freeze Well

Any of the easy enchilada recipes listed below can be frozen and baked off later! Freeze the enchiladas cooked or uncooked, whichever works best for you. 

More Freezer Tutorials: 

Knowing how to freeze soup and which soups that freeze well makes meal prep a breeze! In this post, I share the best ways to freeze soup, plus how to defrost soup and which soups you can and can’t freeze.

Freezing strawberries is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round! This guide explains how to freeze strawberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen strawberries and using them in recipes.

Freezing spinach is really simple, and handy if you would like to have extra vegetables stored in your freezer. Come learn all about the 4 different ways I like to freeze spinach and several ideas for what to make with frozen spinach!

Can you freeze butter? Absolutely! In this post, I walk you through how to freeze butter and how to defrost it. Plus, I answer other FAQs about freezing butter. 

Freezing pie dough is a great way to save time when preparing for busy holidays! This post will show you how to freeze pie dough, how to freeze unbaked pie crusts, answer questions about freezing and thawing pie dough, and shares some of my favorite pie recipes.

Who doesn’t love a good kitchen tip? Looking for more kitchen tutorials? Check out the entire Kitchen Tips and Tricks archive for lots of great ideas!

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pan of chicken enchiladas

How to Freeze Enchiladas

Yield: 1 pan of enchiladas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freezing Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Having freezer enchiladas prepped and ready to bake is a huge time saver on busy weeknights! This post will walk you through how to freeze enchiladas and the best methods for reheating them.

Ingredients

  • Enchiladas (baked or unbaked)
  • Vacuum sealer and bags (or disposable foil pans)
  • Parchment paper
  • Labeling supplies

Instructions

Freezing Uncooked Enchiladas 

  1. Line your baking pan with parchment paper. Be sure to take the parchment paper up the sides of the pan to make removing the enchiladas later much easier. 
  2. Assemble the enchiladas in the lined baking dish as the recipe instructs.
  3. Cover the pan with foil, then freeze until completely firm (this could take up to 3 hours). This is called flash freezing.  
  4. Once firm, lift the enchiladas out of the pan using the parchment paper. 
  5. Transfer the frozen enchiladas to a vacuum seal bag, label, and freeze.

Tip: If you don’t have vacuum seal bags, I recommend freezing enchiladas in a disposable foil pan. Wrap the pan in two layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Remove the wrappings prior to baking! 

Freezing Cooked Enchiladas 

  1. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. 
  2. Assemble and bake the enchiladas as instructed.
  3. Let the enchiladas cool completely, then cover with foil and freeze until firm. 
  4. Once firm, lift the enchiladas out of the pan using the parchment paper. 
  5. Transfer the frozen enchiladas to a vacuum seal bag, label, and freeze.

Tip: If you don’t want to mess with transferring the enchiladas to a vacuum bag, you can bake the enchiladas in a freezer-safe or disposable pan and freeze them in it as well. Just make sure to let the enchiladas cool completely before freezing. 

Freezing Individual Enchiladas 

  1. Assemble and bake the enchiladas as instructed. 
  2. Let the pan of enchiladas cool completely, then slice into individual servings. 
  3. Transfer each enchilada to a freezer bag or container. I use individual glass containers that are freezer- and microwave-safe. 
  4. OR, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and then in foil before sealing inside a freezer bag. 
  5. Label and freeze.

Cooking Frozen Enchiladas

If the enchiladas are frozen: Bake at 350F covered with foil for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. 

If the enchiladas are thawed: Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake another 5 to 10 minutes.

Notes

Please read the post above for detailed instructions on thawing and cooking frozen enchiladas.

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