Easy Chicken Enchiladas Using Leftover Chicken

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

How To Make the Easiest-Ever Chicken Enchiladas

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Making chicken enchiladas is, hands-down, my favorite way to transform leftovers into an easy, flavorful dinner. Tender roasted chicken gets dressed up with spicy, enchilada sauce, covered in shredded cheese, then wrapped in tender tortillas and baked until warm. What’s not to love?

On nights when you need the cozy comfort of enchiladas ASAP (and isn’t that most nights?), this 30-minute version is here for you. While the recipe relies on shortcut ingredients, the resulting chicken enchiladas certainly aren’t short on flavor or satisfaction.

4 Key Steps for the Best, Easiest Chicken Enchiladas

1. Use leftover chicken. You can totally use any leftover chicken for enchiladas, but grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the deli at the supermarket is ok, too. Ultimately, you won’t be able to tell the difference, thanks to the flavor and moisture you’ll add when you toss together the filling.

2. Amp up the flavor with canned chiles. Speaking of the filling, we’re adding a can of diced green chiles to the enchilada sauce to boost its flavor and increase its yield. No need to measure anything here — just stir together an entire 15-ounce can of sauce and four-ounce can of chiles.

3. Add sauce three ways. You’ll add some of the sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish, stir some into the filling, and pour the rest all over the enchiladas in the pan. This will ensure that the enchiladas reach creamy, tender perfection.

4. Roll, tuck, repeat. To assemble the enchiladas, you’ll fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of filling and roll to close. Place seam side down in the pan, tuck it over, and repeat. The tortillas will need to be nice and snug for all of them to fit.

Make-Ahead and Serving Options for Easy Enchiladas

You can assemble this casserole a day in advance or freeze for future baking — just be sure to bring it to room temperature before baking. You’ll know it’s done when the sauce is bubbling, the cheese is melted and browned, and the ends of the tortillas are nice and crisp.

As for serving, a flurry of fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream are just about all this easy casserole needs.

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Chicken Enchiladas

YIELD Serves 4 to 8

PREP TIME 15 minutes

COOK TIME 20 minutes to 25 minutes 


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (15-ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles (do not drain)
  • 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken (from a 3 to 4 -pound cooked chicken)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and divided
  • 8 (10-inch) large flour tortillas



  1. Heat the oven and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Make the sauce. Stir the enchilada sauce and the green chiles and their liquid together in a small bowl. Transfer 1 cup of this sauce into the bottom of the baking dish; set aside.
  3. Make the filling. Place the chicken, black beans, 2 cups of the shredded cheese, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce mixture, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a medium bowl. Use tongs to toss the mixture and coat the chicken and cheese with the sauce.
  4. Roll the tortillas. Working with one tortilla at a time, arrange ¾ cup of the filling down the center of the tortilla. Wrap the tortilla tightly around the filling and move the tortilla seam side down to the baking dish, tucking the ends of the tortillas underneath to close the ends. As you continue to add filled tortillas to the pan push the filled tortillas together to create a tight casserole.
  5. Top the enchiladas. Top the filled enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce mixture (you’ll have about 3/4 cup). Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Bake until the enchilada sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Cool the enchiladas for 5 minutes before sprinkling the remaining cilantro on top and serving.


Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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