Chicken Enchilada Casserole is saucy and delicious! Enchilada-sauced corn tortillas are layered with a flavorful chicken-and-bean filling and topped with plenty of cheese. The casserole is baked to bubbly cheesy perfection and topped with your favorite enchilada toppings.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Chicken enchiladas are one of my favorite meals and honestly, I like this casserole even better. There is the perfect ratio of tortilla to filling to cheese and there is so much flavor in every single bite.
It’s a meal I could probably eat every night and never be sick of it (I mean, if chicken gyros didn’t also exist).
This casserole is a great meal to bring to a family in need or a friend that’s recently had a baby. It’s pure comfort food and very filling. It also freezes and thaws well (more on that later).
How to make Chicken Enchilada Casserole
The step-by-step photos in the collage beneath this text correlate to the numbered descriptions below.
- Start by adding oil, the diced onion, and diced pepper to a large skillet.
- Stir until quite tender — these veggies don’t get much of a chance to become tender later on, so take your time here. We’ll also add in some seasonings and garlic to get this filling extra fragrant.
- While the veggies are sauteing, work on chopping up a rotisserie chicken (makes this recipe so fast). Add the chopped chicken, chili beans, black beans, diced green chilies, and frozen corn to the skillet.
- Pour enchilada sauce over everything to get it nice and saucy.
- Stir the enchilada sauce into everything gently — we don’t want to mash up the beans or disintegrate the chicken.
- The filling is done! Season this filling to taste with salt and pepper.
Once the filling is finished, it’s all about layering tortillas, filling, and cheese. The layering is fun and goes quickly and then this casserole is ready to bake!
- Vegetarian enchilada casserole: Swap out the chicken for an extra can of black beans.
- Hot and spicy: For more heat, add a diced jalapeño into the filling. You could also add a few teaspoons of chipotle sauce (from a can of chipotles) into the filling for a smokier heat.
- Your own sauce: Make homemade enchilada sauce instead of store-bought.
- Swap the cheeses: For a spicier Chicken Enchilada Casserole, use pepper-jack cheese instead of Monterrey jack.
Whatever you typically like on chicken enchiladas will go great on this casserole. Below are some ideas for how to top your casserole:
- Fresh lime juice: This adds so much freshness to the casserole!
- Cilantro: Finely dice or just pull off a few pieces to top the casserole.
- Sour cream: fat-free or light sour cream is also a great option
- Avocado: Thinly sliced ripe avocado is my favorite topping! Guacamole is also delicious.
- Cherry tomatoes: Dice up a few ripe cherry tomatoes or add a spoonful of pico de gallo on top for some freshness.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole notes
- The heat in chili powder varies greatly from brand to brand. I use McCormick’s® chili powder (not sponsored) in this recipe and don’t find it to be spicy.
- Enchilada sauces also vary greatly in spice intensities. (Trader Joe’s® enchilada sauce is too hot for my kids even though I love it!) For this chicken enchilada casserole, I use Old El Paso® (again, not sponsored). I use their mild red enchilada sauce which no one in my family finds too hot.
- If you make homemade enchilada sauce for this recipe, taste and adjust other seasonings so this casserole isn’t overly spicy, if that is a concern.
- I recommend freshly grated cheese for this recipe. Packaged grated cheese has a cellulose coating (so it doesn’t stick together in the package) that keeps it from melting as nicely into this casserole.
- I love using chili beans in this recipe because they’re slow simmered in a sauce which adds even more flavor to the filling. Chili beans are typically with other beans in the grocery store. I use Bush’s® pinto beans in a mild chili sauce (not sponsored), but feel free to substitute regular (drained and rinsed) pinto beans instead.
Freezing Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Prepare according to the directions below and either bake immediately or freeze unbaked.
To freeze: Prepare in a freezer-to-oven container and cover tightly. I usually cover with plastic wrap and then foil. Make sure the container is safe to put in the oven without cracking.
Baking from frozen: Remove from freezer, remove plastic and foil, and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 and 1/2 hours (or until cheese is melted and center of the dish is warm).
More easy chicken recipes
- Pesto Chicken Salad layered on croissants
- Quinoa Enchilada Bake with sweet potatoes
- Rotisserie Chicken Tacos ready in about 20 minutes!
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup Olive Garden copycat
- Chicken Enchilada Pasta all the flavors of chicken enchiladas in a cheesy pasta dish
This Chicken enchilada casserole is saucy and delicious! Enchilada-sauced corn tortillas are layered with a flavorful chicken-and-bean filling and topped with plenty of cheese. The casserole is baked to bubbly cheesy perfection and topped with your favorite enchilada toppings.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup EACH: diced yellow onion, diced red bell pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon EACH: ground chili powder, ground cumin
- 1 can (4 ounces) fire-roasted diced green chiles
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 ounces) chili beans (pinto beans in mild sauce) (or plain pinto beans that have been drained and rinsed) (See Note 1)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
- 3 cups red mild enchilada sauce, separated (I use Old El Paso mild)
- 16 corn tortillas halved
- 2 cups freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups freshly grated Monterrey jack cheese
- toppings: chopped fresh cilantro diced red onion, thinly-sliced green onion and/or diced avocado
- Salt and pepper
PREP: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
CHICKEN FILLING: Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large pan and heat to medium high. Once oil is shimmering, add in the 1 cup diced yellow onion and 1 cup diced red pepper. Stir for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds; reduce the heat if it starts to burn. Add in the 1 teaspoon of chili powder and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Stir for another 30 seconds to a minute or until fragrant. Reduce the heat to low. Add in the can of diced green chilies (undrained), 1 can drained and rinsed black beans, 1 can undrained chili beans (or drained pinto beans), 1 cup frozen corn, 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken, and 2 cups mild enchilada sauce. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir gently until combined and warmed through and then remove from the heat.
ASSEMBLE: Pour 1/2 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in the prepared 9x13-inch pan. Add 8 tortilla halves to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon 1/3 of the chicken sauce on top. Add 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese. Add another 8 tortilla halves on top. Another 1/3 of the chicken mixture, 1/2 cup more cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup more Monterrey jack cheese. Add another layer of 8 tortilla halves, remaining 1/3 of chicken mixture, another 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, another 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese. Finish by adding one more layer of tortilla halves and the final remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese.
BAKE: Lightly spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and secure over dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melty and gooey on top.
SERVE: While the casserole is finishing baking, prep the toppings. Thinly slice an avocado and some cherry tomatoes, dice some cilantro, slice some limes, or prep whatever toppings you prefer. Remove casserole from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. Serve casserole with toppings of choice; we like a squirt or two of fresh lime, sprinkle of cilantro, fresh sliced avocado, a few cherry tomatoes, and some sour cream. Enjoy hot.
Note 1: I love using chili beans in this recipe because they're slow simmered in a sauce and add even more flavor to the filling. Chili beans are typically with other beans in the grocery store. I use Bush's pinto beans in a mild chili sauce (not sponsored), but feel free to substitute regular (drained and rinsed) pinto beans instead.