These easy chicken enchiladas, from America’s Test Kitchen, are made right in your toaster oven. Rotisserie chicken, cheese, spices and tomato sauce come together in the quickest and most irresistible way possible.
From making the sauce to cooking the filling, preparing enchiladas can be a labor-intensive endeavor. We set out to streamline this multipot dish and devise a one-pan version easy enough to make in a toaster oven, although they work just as well in a standard oven.
We created our own sauce by combining canned tomato sauce with chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper. Using powdered garlic instead of fresh kept the sauce smooth, meaning there was no need to puree it.
For the filling, we avoided anything that required excessive cooking. Shredded chicken provided nice texture and fit neatly inside the tortillas. Smooth-melting Monterey Jack cheese bound the filling; after spreading some sauce on the bottom of our casserole dish, we filled our tortillas and arranged them seam side down. Topped with the remaining sauce and sprinkled with extra cheese, our nearly effortless enchiladas were ready to go into our toaster oven, and come out ready for eating.
An average-size rotisserie chicken should yield between 3 and 4 cups of shredded meat. This recipe can be halved; use an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan, to make a single row of enchiladas.–America’s Test Kitchen
How do I keep my enchiladas from getting soggy?
Ordinarily, corn tortillas are fried in a little bit of oil before rolling to make them a little more resistant to absorbing too much sauce and to making them more pliable. In this quick and pared-down version, a little swipe with oil before a stint in the microwave is all it takes.
Easy Chicken Enchiladas
- Two (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded (2 cups)
- 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover roast chicken
- 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro divided
- Ten to twelve (6 inch) corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
- Lime wedges for serving
- Adjust standard oven or toaster oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
- In a medium bowl, whisk the tomato sauce, water, chili powder, cumin, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together. Taste, and adjust seasoning, if desired.
- In a separate large bowl, combine 1 cup Monterey Jack, the chicken, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce mixture.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of an 9-by 13-inch (23-by 33-cm) baking dish or pan.
- Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Stack tortillas, wrap in damp dish towel, and place on plate; microwave until warm and pliable, about 1 minute.
- Working with 1 warm tortilla at a time, spread 1/3 cup chicken filling across the center. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and place seam side down in the baking dish, making two rows of enchiladas. Pour remaining sauce over top to cover completely and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup Monterey Jack down center of enchiladas.
- Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted, rotating the dish halfway through baking, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Move the dish to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Fast, fun, delicious, and like the name—easy! These easy chicken enchiladas are the perfect recipe for weekend game days. I made this last night for dinner and we really liked it. We like a little more heat than this had and didn’t like the sweetness from the sugar. I made it again for lunch today and left out the sugar and added some chipotle and cayenne pepper. We liked the second sauce better.
I’ve never oiled tortillas before heating them. This worked great making it easy to fold without breaking. We had avocado and tomatoes with our enchiladas, sour cream would have been good as well.
I love enchiladas! I’ve been cooking green enchiladas (with homemade tomatillo sauce) for some time now, since one friend explained to me how to do it. Later I did some research online in order to improve my method as I do enjoy cooking and eating them.
Reading the recipe, the ingredients and instructions totally seduced me. It was my first-time making enchiladas with a red sauce and I love the flavor (though a little bit too spicy for me), very cheesy and the idea of mixing chicken, sauce and cheese for stuffing these easy chicken enchiladas is a hit. I even invited some friends from Mexico and Peru and they loved them.
These easy chicken enchiladas are delicious, quick to make, and will definitely become a part of my regular dinner rotation. I loved how easy the sauce was to make and the flavor was outstanding.
Regarding the serving size, since these are very cheesy enchiladas, I thought one enchilada was plenty for me when served alongside some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and black beans. My husband, on the other hand, ate two.
Well, this was quite a yummy and rather easy dish to make. As in, one that could be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for baking later. Typically, I’ve always braised my chicken in the enchilada sauce, and using a rotisserie chicken intrigued me, as it certainly cuts down on cooking time. I spent most of my prep time removing the meat from the carcass, and giving it a good shred. I really packed the shredded chicken into my measuring cup, and as my last enchilada only got about ¼ cup of filling, I would recommend to make it a heaped and packed measure.
I used the Leite’s homemade chili seasoning recipe for my chili powder, (I keep a small jar of it at the ready in my pantry.) I must admit, I probably used a bit more cheese to top the easy chicken enchiladas, as it didn’t seem like there was enough when I finished sprinkling it on top. I also finished it for 2 minutes under the broiler as it didn’t seem brown enough for me. I made a lime crema to top it with which was a very nice addition. Served it with a bit of greens, although some Mexican rice and beans would be my next choice.
Comfort food at its best! This easy chicken enchiladas recipe lived up to its promise with its streamlined procedure and delicious results. A few things I learned along the way: This dish is easily customizable. As written it produces a mild dish, but for those who like it spicy, you could easily add in a hotter chili powder, some cayenne or chili flakes. Fillings could be switched up too.
Warming the tortillas helps them stay pliable while filling and rolling, which I did 6 at a time. I used my regular oven and got a head start on dinner by mixing up the sauce and spices ahead of time, allowing the flavors to permeate. I used leftover white and dark meat from a home roasted chicken and topped them with a generous sprinkle of cilantro and toasted pepitas to serve. Side dishes included black beans, rice, and steamed corn. At the table, optional toppings included sour cream, Tajin spice, cilantro pesto, lime wedges, additional cilantro and various hot sauces.
We really appreciated the simplicity and ease of preparation of this dish. The use of “shortcuts” didn’t in any way compromise the quality or flavor of these easy chicken enchiladas. Great accompaniments would be sour cream, guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo, rice, a slaw, refried beans or elote.
This chicken enchiladas recipe is easy, comes together quickly, and is very tasty. I have never made enchiladas before and this recipe seemed too easy but I was pleased with the result. The enchilada sauce is hardly an effort at all and the result is a spicy, flavorful sauce for the dish.
Using a rotisserie chicken saves time and the most difficult part of the recipe is rolling up the enchiladas. I doubled the recipe and cooked the enchiladas for 1/2 hour.
I microwaved the tortillas for 2 minutes. Served it with Mexican rice & corn.
Originally published April 6, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Good enchiladas are one of my favorite foods, I’m always looking for the best, that keeper recipe, and these easy chicken enchiladas may be the one. Sauce is the key to a great enchilada so I was intrigued by the no cook version sauce in this recipe. It’s a quick prep with 1 hour from start to plate and you can easily adjust the spiciness to suit your taste.
The enchiladas are filled with lots of moist chicken and a nice touch of cilantro. I added chopped raw onions and olives to 1/2 of the batch. Only heat 6 tortillas at a time so that they are sufficiently soft to roll firmly without breaking. Nice and quick!