If you like Chicken Enchiladas, you are going to love this Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole. This simple recipe delivers all the flavors of enchiladas, minus the work!
Why You Will Love This Enchilada Casserole
- Quick & Easy Recipe. This chicken enchilada casserole recipe comes together with just 5 minutes of prep. It is seriously by simply mixing, layering, and baking--adding up to about 5 minutes of prep work--seriously one of the easiest meals ever! Which makes it perfect for those insanely busy days!
- Delivers Authentic Flavor Fast. Made with enchilada sauce, tender chicken, and a creamy filling, Chicken Enchilada Casserole has all the flavor of classic chicken enchiladas, yet comes together in mere minutes.
- Family-Favorite. This easy recipe for Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a family favorite and can be adapted for food allergies or to use up what you have on hand.
Notes On Ingredients
- Tortillas: Use store-bought or homemade flour tortillas or corn tortillas if you'd prefer. Corn tortillas will give this dish a more authentic taste, but my family prefers the flavor of flour tortillas. Any size tortilla works, you will just need to use enough fully cover the casserole dish three times.
- Chicken: This recipe calls for diced, cooked chicken. Use leftover store-bought or homemade rotisserie chicken, Instant Pot Chicken Breast, or Baked Split Chicken Breasts. Any leftover chicken you have on hand.
- Cream Cheese: Use full-fat or reduced-fat cream cheese. I don't recommend fat-free cream cheese as the flavor is not the same and it will not give the enchilada casserole the same creamy, richness that makes this dish so good.
- Diced Green Chiles: Be sure your canned diced green chiles are labeled mild unless you want a really spicy enchilada bake.
- Enchilada Sauce: Use your favorite green or red store-bought or homemade enchilada sauce or make a spin on Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas, and use store-bought or homemade salsa verde.
- Cheese: Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or a Mexican blend of shredded cheese are all great options for this casserole.
- Seasonings: The green chiles and enchilada sauce provide the dish with amazing flavor, so I find I only need to add garlic powder, cumin, and a pinch of salt to the filling.
Tips For Making Enchilada Casserole
This enchilada casserole comes together by simply mixing, layering, and baking, it is one of the EASIEST dinner recipes to make. You can find the full recipe with detailed instructions in the recipe card, but I do have some tips to help ensure the best results!
Tip #1: Use room-temperature cream cheese. It is best to use softened or room-temperature cream cheese so that can easily combine with the chicken, spices, and green chiles. You want every bite to be super creamy and flavorful.
Tip #2: Don't go crazy with the sauce. The enchilada sauce is meant to flavor the dish, but you don't want to use too much, as that can result in a soggy casserole.
Tip #3 Repeat the layers twice and finish with an additional layer of tortillas and cheese. This will ensure the enchilada casserole is substantial and filling.
Tip #4: Cover with foil before baking. You want to bake this enchilada casserole covered with foil for the first 30 minutes of baking time. This will allow the casserole to warm through without drying out. I do recommend removing the foil for the last 10 minutes to help brown the cheese.
Tip #5: Let rest before slicing. Just like lasagna, enchilada casserole slices more uniformly if you let it rest for a few minutes after baking.
Tip #6: Add toppings. Topping this enchilada casserole with diced tomatoes, minced onions, cilantro, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, and/or sour cream adds a nice fresh contrast to the creamy casserole.
Variations on Enchilada Casserole
- Gluten-Free Enchilada Casserole: Use your favorite corn tortilla or gluten-free tortilla.
- Green Enchilada Casserole: Instead of using red enchilada sauce, you can opt to use your favorite green enchilada sauce or salsa verde.
- Vegetarian Option: I have made this recipe using pinto beans and sofritas with delicious results. You can opt to use 3 cups of pinto beans or 3 cups of sofritas or a combination of the two for a hearty, vegetarian enchilada casserole.
- Like it spicy? Use pepper jack cheese and/or hot diced green chiles.
- No chicken? Instead of cooked chicken, use leftover taco meat, Instant Pot Barbacoa, or Instant Pot Carnitas. If using seasoned cooked meat, I would omit the addition of cumin and garlic powder, as the meat is already flavored.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Refrigerate: Leftover chicken enchilada casserole can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Reheat: If reheating several servings at once, you may opt to transfer the leftover casserole to a baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through about 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, you can dish out individual servings of the leftover casserole onto a heat-safe plate and microwave in 1-minute intervals until heated.
- Freezing: I don't recommend freezing leftovers due to the cream cheese. It may separate with thawed.
More Easy Tex-Mex Recipes
- Tamale Pie
- The Best Taco Meat Recipe
- Instant Pot Taco Lasagna
- Taco Salad
- Crockpot Salsa Chicken
- Shredded Chicken Tacos
Need more inspiration for planning meals that your family will love? Sign up for my FREE Meal Plans and each week you will get a meal plan with a shopping list.
If you tried this simple Enchilada Casserole, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Cooking spray
- 2-¼ cups enchilada sauce red or green
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 8 ounces mild diced green chiles 2 (4oz) cans
- 3 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 6 large or 8 medium tortillas corn or flour
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 2-quart or 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, diced green chiles, chicken, garlic powder, cumin, and salt together until everything is well distributed.
- Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 2-3 tortillas, cutting in half to fit if needed, over the sauce so that the bottom of the pan is covered.
- Spread half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas. Drizzle ½ cup of the enchilada sauce over the mixture of chicken, and then sprinkle with ½ cup of cheese.
- Top with a second layer of tortillas. Spread the remaining half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, drizzle with ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with ½ cup of shredded cheese.
- Top with a final layer of tortillas and then pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas, spreading to cover. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the tortillas.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with desired toppings.