A note about the tortillas. Sturdy yellow corn tortillas hold up better in these enchiladas than more delicate white corn tortillas. The corn tortillas must be softened before they are rolled and baked in the casserole. Frying them gently in a little oil greatly enhances the flavor of the tortillas. Do not use flour tortillas for this recipe.

If you don't have green chiles, you can substitute the chiles with a cup of your favorite prepared salsa (cooked, do not use salsa made with fresh, uncooked tomatoes)

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • Peanut oil, canola oil, or other high smoke point oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (or peanut or canola)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 14-ounce can (about 1 3/4 cup) crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
  • 3/4 cup of chopped cooked green chiles (about a 4-ounce can), or 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapeños (more or less to taste, depending on the heat of the chiles and how spicy you want your enchiladas)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 lb (4 cups) of jack cheese, mild cheddar , or a mix, grated
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • Half a head of iceberg lettuce


1 Preheat oven to 350° F.

2 Lightly fry the tortillas to soften: In a large frying pan at medium-high heat add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot (not quite smoking), add a corn tortilla to the pan. Cook it for 2-3 seconds, use a metal spatula to turn it over, and cook it for 2 to 3 seconds more.

Softening corn tortillas before rolling them into enchiladas soften tortillas for enchiladas by frying them first

Lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook the second tortilla for 2-3 seconds, lift both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath.

Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding more oil as needed. This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat.

It's important to pre-cook the tortillas because not only does cooking them help soften them for rolling, cooking them in a little fat helps develop the flavor of the tortillas.

As the tortillas brown a little, remove them to a plate.

Frying corn tortillas for enchiladas stack of tortillas absorb excess fat for making enchiladas

3 Make the enchilada sauce: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

saute onions for enchilada sauce

Add the crushed tomatoes. Add the green chiles. Add 1/2 cup of water. Add the oregano. Bring to a simmer and taste. If the sauce tastes too vinegary, add half a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce. Remove from heat.

Enchilada Sauce with green chilis in skillet

4 Roll up the tortillas with cheese: Put a little olive oil on the bottom of a 3-quart casserole pan. Take a tortilla, cover 2/3 of it lightly with the shredded cheese, then roll up the tortilla and place it in the casserole pan.

Corn tortillas with cheese for enchiladas roll up tortillas for enchiladas recipe

Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled.

Rolled corn tortillas for cheese enchiladas in casserole dish Pan filled with Rolled Cheese Enchiladas

5 Add sauce and cheese: Add sauce to the top of the tortillas in the the casserole pan. Make sure the rolled up tortillas are covered with the sauce. If not, add a little water to thin the sauce to spread it more evenly over the tortillas. Cover the whole thing with the rest of the grated cheese.

Cheese enchiladas covered in homemade enchilada sauce Enchiladas sprinkled with cheese

6 Bake: Put the casserole in the 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Serve with sliced iceberg lettuce that has been dressed only with vinegar and salt. Garnish enchiladas with cilantro and sour cream.

See Perfect Guacamole for a great guacamole avocado side dish.

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  • Bebe

    Years ago my Mexican aunt-by-marriage taught me to make enchiladas. She had to pans going – one with a bit of oil and one with slightly diluted canned red enchilada sauce. The little fry softened the corn tortilla and also sealed it. Then it was dipped into the red sauce and placed in the baking dish to be filled and rolled. One by one. Sauce poured over the lot and cheese on top.

    When I tried it and thought I could skip that little fry in oil, I found that the corn tortillas soaked up the red sauce and became very soggy. Recommend that little extra step.

    • pj

      Thanks; that’s exactly what I came here to find out :). And was reminded that I love some lettuce and tomato with my enchiladas, so that’s on my shopping list.

  • Paula

    Hi Elise…love this site and it is a “go-to” for me anytime I need help or inspiration! Just curious…I printed this recipe back in 2009 and noticed today the recipe is slightly different. I dissolved 3T tomato paste in 1cup water, used 1C salsa and 1C fire roasted tomatoes….did not call for oregano. I am quite sure either recipe is fine but just wondering if there is another recipe or if this just got altered over the years?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Paula, if you asked my mother on any given day how to make her enchiladas, she would give you a slightly different recipe every time! It’s essentially the same recipe. The first time I posted it we used some jarred salsa. There is oregano in the jarred salsa. This time, there’s no jarred salsa, so we need to add oregano in. :-)

  • Sarah

    And! the lettuce salad was the perfect side dish. I used rice vinegar & added some sliced avocado.

  • Sarah

    I love that this is a family recipe. I followed the recipe & techniques carefully except for some tweaks to make it suit my own family (extra oregano, triple garlic, some cumin, and some spicy cooked ground lamb, onion, and herbs mixed in with the filling). Oh, and since we prefer cheese that is not too much cooked, I put the topping cheese on in the last few minutes of baking.

    My only mistake was not making a double batch! I won’t make that mistake again. Everyone was hoping for leftovers, but there are none!

    I did use white corn tortillas since that’s all I had access to today, but they were good quality I think and worked okay. Maybe a little falling apart-ness, but not bad.

    Thank you for this well-written and well-photographed recipe.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, I’m so glad you liked the enchiladas (and the salad)!

  • gigi

    do you cover with foil before putting in the oven? Thanks.

  • Jessica

    The first time I made these they were excellent! I’ve tried to make them 3 more times since and I always end up with a mushy mess. Any tips on how to keep the corn tortillas from turning to mush? I don’t know what I’m doing different!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jessica, the best way to keep the tortillas from turning to mush is to use sturdier tortillas. A lot of the white corn tortillas I see sold at the market these days completely fall apart with the barest of handling. I always look for yellow corn tortillas. They have more flavor and are sturdier.

  • Melanie Banks

    My family loved it! Thank you.

  • Jackie Griffth

    I never comment on web sites BUT you truly deserve one. I make my own red sauce from scratch which I enjoy, but your way of cooking the corn tortilla is GREAT. What a good idea. I use to fry them one at a time and it was so messy. Your way is so much better THANKS!!

  • Teresa

    I used Queso Fresco and Quesadilla cheese to stuff the tortillas. I also used a delicious can of enchilada sauce

    The reason I give this recipe such a high rating is because of the cooking technique for the corn tortillas. One tablespoon of oil can go a VERY long way. The flash fry method brings out the corn flavor of the tortillas. I love this simple, quick recipe. I will be using this recipe often. Thank you!

  • Miriam Unruh

    I grew up with my mom making a similar version, but she put the sour cream in with the cheese; I add cumin to the mix, and if I’m feeling celebratory, shrimp. I often make these along with Bayless’s pork enchiladas (or a version of) and black beans. Absolutely my favorite comfort meal.

  • Linda

    These were AMAZING! I will make them forever. Thank you for sharing your Mom’s recipe with us. ::off to get 2nds::


  • Karen

    I’d love to try this recipe! My son has a peanut allergy and I heard somewhere that you have to be careful with Enchilada Sauce. What’s the connection?

    • Mary Teague

      Mole sauce sometimes has peanut butter in it. I found out the hard way( I have a peanut allergy). Read labels carefully.

  • Tina

    I have made this many, many times – was so glad to see you reposted it! Frying the tortillas is a pain for me, but they turn out to be so delicious that way! Perhaps it’s because I live in the Midwest and we only have the crappy tortillas. So I always make sure to have extra on hand to allow for a few losses. And the iceberg lettuce with the vinegar and salt? WOW! My husband (from Brazil) says it reminds him of something his mom made in his childhood – we now serve that with nearly all Mexican dishes we make. It’s so delicious. As always – thank you for this fantastic recipe. Your website is my FAVORITE recipe website on the internet!

  • Bob

    I liked the recipe, though I changed it a bit. After making the sauce the way the recipe describes, I tasted it and added some Jalapenos I had removed the heat from and then roasted, and some cumin. I also added some finely chopped scallion to the filling. ( I can’t have much heat because I have young kids who eat what I cook )Everyone loved this, especially the iceberg dressed in vinegar and salt, though I like the sound of trying it with lime,
    Thanks! for the recipe

  • Lynda Walton

    These were fantastic! The sauce is amazing. I couldn’t find fire roasted crushed tomatoes, only diced…which I put in food processor and pulsed to a finer consistency. I think the fire roasted really makes a difference, giving the sauce another layer of flavor. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I look forward to trying others.

  • limenotapple

    I always had the mushy tortilla problem too, which is the primary reason I would never make enchiladas at home. I went to the local mexican market and asked them what kind they would use, and they gave me a bag of tortillas of a brand I’ve never seen in the grocery store, and it made a world of difference. It’s totally worth the trip! This was great, and pretty adaptable to taste. I second the person who mentioned lime juice on the lettuce, too!

  • Rachel

    I made these for my boyfriend when we first moved in together and they have been on the weekly rotation ever since. Instead of chilies I use salsa and they go over spectacularly. The fact that they heat up really well is a bonus since it’s just the two of us. Thanks for sharing!

  • shawn h

    I am unimpressed. The sauce was simple. The stuffing to cheesy. Not enough veggies. Lacking in some good mexican flavors. Needs lots more cilantro, some nice hot roasted jalapeno. Some fire roasted dried anchillos etc. The stuffing needs more than just cheese. try some black Beans. Top with some nice black olives.

    sorry I can’t recommend this as written.

  • Sally

    I don’t know how i’ve missed this recipe for so long and I’m glad you reposted it. Based on the ingredients I have on hand, I’m going to make a different sauce, but cheese enchiladas will be lunch today.

    • Sally

      The lettuce is also good with lime juice and salt. I will be making the enchiladas again.

  • Melissa

    This just may have become my family’s very favorite recipe! All four of us gave this one a “10” and believe me, that never happens in this house. This goes into the regular rotation. Thank you so much! (Love your site, BTW.)

  • Ashley

    When I tryed this recipe for the first time it was quite bland and tasteless, I found the other comments misleading for when I started eating the enchiladas that weren’t very good. I tryed it a second time but this time I put chicken and various types of beans but still without luck they still tasted rather bland.I was very disappointed, but I am still looking for a good enchilada recipe.

  • Cindy

    Made these for company, and we all thought they were just ok. I used jack cheese and followed the recipe as written. Still on the hunt for a more flavorful Tex Mex cheese enchilada. Any suggestions on how to kick these up with more flavor?

    If you want to spice it up a bit, I would add some chipotle powder, or chipotles in adobo to the sauce. ~Elise

  • motomanmatt

    For years I’ve strugled with the corn tortillas splitting and crumbling when I roll them up. Flash frying them on the griddle solves this, making them really flexible! Great! Thanks!!

  • Tina

    These were so delicious! I halved the recipe, as it was just my boyfriend and me. One problem, though…when I was browning the tortillas, the oil started smoking quite a lot and I ended up burning the tortillas (and the pan). Can they be heated/browned at medium heat, or does it have to be on high heat?

    Otherwise, I made the recipe exactly as written (even made the salsa that was linked in the recipe), and it was amazing!

    Hi Tina – good point. When I first wrote up this recipe we were using an electric stove and you really needed to have the burner on high. Now that we have a high BTU gas range, high heat would definitely be too high. I’ve adjusted the recipe to say medium-high. But actually you just need to use good judgement. If the oil is smoking and burning the tortillas, it’s too hot. Reduce the heat. ~Elise

  • Ravi

    Delicious! Delicious! Delicious! Tried the recipe last night and it came out great. The sauce was good enough for 8 tortillas and i stuffed tortillas with sauteed green peppers & zuchini like veggie enchilladas.

  • susan

    Delicious! I made these two nights ago and Isaac(his favorite meal) wants them again tonight! I have many enchiladas in my day, but these were prefect. Although I was hesitant about he salsa(used Herdez), i think this really made these unique and tasty. I made a chicken version and used both white cheddar and a little jack cheese.
    Eli, whom in the past, would not touch this dish, had two helpings! Thanks again, Elise, for always creating the most simpliest of foods taste restaurant worthy! xx

  • m3lb

    What a great recipe! Shared it on my blog this evening. Thank you.

  • Amy

    These were so simple, and delishous – they’ll definitely become a staple in our house. My husband, who detests most things Mexican/Tex-Mex loved them and was upset to find I had already taken the left overs. I can’t wait to try this again and add more to it. I know several readers asked about freezing – has anyone updates as to how they did it and how they turned out? I’d love to do this as a make ahead and freeze prior to baby #2.

  • Ryan Parrish

    Tried these and very similar to what I had in Veracruz Mexico, I used the non fire roasted tomatoes which were good but kinda bland. I couldn’t find jack cheese so I used Monterrey Jack which was good and I added chicken to it which turned out great thanks again!

  • sarah

    Looks great! Make enchiladas all the time, surprised at how many people here kicked at the type of sauce you used when you specifically said it was your own family’s Tex-Mex version… People!

    Anyway, just wanted to say that my own Arizona great-grandmother taught us all to eat enchiladas with an over-easy egg on top for breakfast. At our family reunion in June we ate Bannie’s tacos & enchiladas in her honor! Talk about que bueno!

  • Jennifer H.

    The whole family LOVED this recipe — thanks for posting! We’re not eating meat for a month, so it was perfect. (My husband said they tasted just like his favorite tamales.)

    A few variations: Used white corn tortillas, and instead of frying in oil, simply heated in a dry skillet about 30 seconds per side. Had some homemade enchilada sauce on hand, so I stirred the salsa into that. Added a mixture of black beans, corn, zucchini, avocado and canned, chopped green chilies to the cheese filling to amp up the protein/veggie factor. Baked for 30 min. to ensure all the filling ingredients were hot and allow the tortillas to soak up the sauce.

    Note to Nadia — When I made these with tofu, I simply drained it, mashed it, seasoned with a little salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder, stirred in a can of green chilies and used that for the filling with a little cheese. Turned out great!

  • Nadia Alamo

    Any thoughts on the best ways to add tofu to this recipe? Specifically in terms of seasoning or the need to heat through first? Thanks-

    No idea. I don’t usually cook with tofu. ~Elise

  • Barbi

    I made these for dinner last night and followed the recipe exactly. AWESOME!!!!!!! These were a HUGE hit with my family! Thanx for sharing this recipe Elise, this is going to become one of our family favorites for sure! Made your Spanish Rice recipe as well with this and it was yummy too! They were great together!


  • Caroline

    For years I thought enchiladas were some heavy, excessively cheesy concoction. Just recently I discovered they’re rather light, especially if you can control the amount of cheese going into them. Which led me, instinctively, to your blog, because I know you have a solid Tex-Mex repertoire…

    So I made these last night and they were so fantastic that I’m already making a shopping list for the next batch. I filled them with a mixture of black beans and vegetables (squash, zucchini, and corn) that roasted in the oven while I prepared the sauce. Next time I’ll give the sauce a whirl in the blender, as I’m used to it being “saucier” and didn’t like the chunks, but otherwise this recipe is perfect!

    Also, thanks for sharing that tortilla-warming method– I had never seen it and it really speeds up the process. :)

  • Jenna

    These enchiladas were fantastic! So simple and so flavorful. Frying the tortillas in oil before baking makes a world of difference from other enchilada recipes. I’m eating the leftovers at my desk now and had to comment. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Amanda

    This might be stupid, but how do you dress the iceberg lettuce? What is the ratio between vinegar/salt/lettuce? Should the vinegar be sprinkled on, or should I see vinegar collecting at the bottom of the bowl?

    Sprinkle the vinegar on, and sprinkle on salt. Toss. Taste. The vinegar should not be collecting at the bottom of the bowl. ~Elise

  • Stephanie

    Elise, when you mentioned this recipe at Blogher Food, I knew I had to try it. And it certainly lived up to all my hopes and more. I couldn’t find fire roasted crushed tomatoes, so sadly, I had to use plain. So I added about a table spoon of ancho chili powder and a teaspoon of cumin to the sauce to give it a little more flavor. I found really good corn tortillas made fresh at a Mexican grocery store. I know that helped. It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’m already looking forward to the leftovers tonight. I think you said this is the recipe that made you want to start this blog (to record your family’s food traditions). I can see why.

    Hi Stephanie, I’m so glad you tried it! It’s my favorite home comfort food recipe on the site. We always try to make enough for leftovers, which we usually scarf down for breakfast. ~Elise

  • Augie Gramaglia

    This is a great website and I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Are there any brands of cheese you would recommend? I typically buy the bags of premium blend mexican cheese for a dish like this to save time/money and was wondering which you liked the best.

    No brands in particular. ~Elise

  • amazoncat

    Great recipe, just tried it – extremely yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer B.

    GREAT RECIPE!! I originally stumbled on this website about 2 years ago and have cooked this enchilada recipe multiple times since then. I have added beef inside the rolled tortillas and chopped/sautéed potatoes a separate time and wanted to say that this recipe has so many possibilities for extra add ins. I love these enchiladas, my husband does and everybody that I’ve cooked it for has always over complimented me on how authentic and delicious they taste. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

    – Jennifer B.

  • Jenny

    I loved all the flavors in this recipe, but my tortillas turned out extremely mushy too. I noticed one post mentioned dipping the tortillas in tomato sauce to soften them up. The corn tortillas I bought were already soft out of the package. Are they supposed to be crisp when purchased? My grocery store didn’t have much of a selection – perhaps I’ll stop at a Mexican grocery out of town next time I’m down that way.

    Unfortunately, there is a wide variety of tortilla quality levels out there. Some packaged corn tortillas just don’t hold up well. Others will hold their shape better. Trader Joe’s in California sells a pretty good brand, but from what I understand, the TJs in Massachusetts sell a wimpy brand. Shop around. See if you can find a brand of tortillas that is a little thicker and sturdier. I do recommend checking out the nearest Mexican market. ~Elise

  • John

    I followed the recipe to the T (except for using Flour tortilia) and the enchiladas turned out to be quite soggy…any tips / clues?

    Yes, don’t use flour tortillas. This recipe calls for corn tortillas. They cannot be interchanged in this recipe. ~Elise

  • Ginger

    I was wondering if it is possible to make this recipe the day ahead, and then bake it the next day? Has anyone tried this? If so, how long did you bake it after taking it out of the refrigerator? I’m excited to try this recipe :).

    That would be easy enough to do. Just bake it until it is heated through and the cheese is melted. ~Elise

  • Guillermo from Boston

    I am going to try the recipe but I have to say no one in my family, or circle of friends, in Mexico ever used canned tomatoes of any kind to make salsas. Ever. Restaurants may do but the homemade enchiladas always have been the best tasting, even better than the famous enchiladas suizas from Sanborns.

    This is a great website, thank you!

  • Stacia

    Quick question – what kind of vinegar do you use to dress the iceberg lettuce? I have never dressed lettuce with vinegar before. Apple cider, red wine, white?

    Any of those. We usually use cider vinegar or rice vinegar. ~Elise

  • Anonymous

    Anyone tried making this recipe ahead?

    We make extra of this every time we make it, just so we can have leftovers. Reheats well. You can easily make this a day ahead of time and just heat it in the oven before serving. ~Elise

  • Maria

    Mmmm….made these for dinner tonight, they are so delicious! Thanks for sharing your family recipe, I will be adding this to my own family recipe file.

  • Julie

    Why can’t we use fresh salsa? I have a delicious jar of fresh salsa from a friend that I’m dying to use. Should i risk it?

    Would you cook fresh tomatoes for only 10 minutes for a spaghetti sauce? No. The sauce for these enchiladas is a cooked tomato sauce with cooked chiles. If you want to try cooking your fresh salsa for a half hour first, then by all means, try it and let us know how it turns out. My guess is that you will be better off with the cooked/canned type of salsa and that cooking the fresh salsa isn’t going to yield the best results. ~Elise

  • Sarah

    Anyone ever used canned enchilada sauce? They carry the Hatch brand at my grocery store and I was thinking about trying it.

    You can use canned enchilada sauce in place of step 2 in this recipe, but the taste will be completely different. They will however still be perfectly acceptable enchiladas. Check out the red chili chicken enchiladas here on this site for a different take on enchiladas. ~Elise

  • rose

    I suppose I had unrealistic expectations about this recipe based on all of the reviews, and for the most part, it was pretty darn good…but there were a few hiccups. Now I understand what you mean about this being a “tex-mex” version – we added chipotles in adobo sauce to give the sauce a bit more smoky-ness and heat. We also added roasted pasilla peppers to the enchiladas to jazz them up a bit. These were really good but the tomato-y flavor of the sauce was a bit flat without tweaking. Thanks for sharing –

  • Kyle

    Thanks for the recipe, gonna try it on the weekend. Just wondering, can I add ground beef to this, like put it inside the tortilla? Thanks!

    Sure, just brown the beef first. You might want to add a little chile powder, oregano, and salt to the beef. ~Elise

  • helen hilton

    Yes, this is more Tex-Mex. In Mexico we don’t use sour cream or cheddar cheese. We use queso regional, fresh white cheese, or Chihuahua, sort of Jack. And we always use iceberg lettuce too! This is a keeper, thanks.

  • Kathy S.

    Made these tonight – The taste was great but the tortillas were like mush. What did I do wrong?

    That’s a tough one, it really depends on the thickness and quality of the tortillas. I find it very hard to buy good corn tortillas outside of the southwest. We get some good ones at Trader Joe’s here in Sacramento, but when I’ve gone to a TJ’s in Massachusetts even the clerk there admitted their tortillas weren’t as good. By good I mean able to hold up to the frying, rolling, and baking. If you have a choice of brands of corn tortillas, try to pick the thickest ones. ~Elise

  • B.Short- Yucca Valley,Ca.

    I agree with Elise,
    Contrary to popular belief, iceberg lettuce indeed is flavorful. The way to choose the head you will use is to scrape the stem portion where it has been cut, then simply sniff. What you smell is what you get! If the lettuce smells sweet and palatable, it will taste that way also. However, if the odor is bitter or pungent, that instead is how it will taste. Its crisp, watery texture is a definite compliment to ANY saucy Mexican dish. Ole’

  • Bob Clark

    I find to soften tortillas is easier to
    put 2-3 between a wet kitchen towel and
    microwave for 45 seconds.

  • Kim

    I just made enchiladas.I am in North Central British Columbia Canada and Mexican Food is only to be had by our friends or the recipes they have passed to us. I just did this recipe mixed with the Chichen Enchilada Recipe, but I used beef. I followed the Carnitas Recipe for the beef, pulled the beef and then baked it in the oven at 400 stirring occasionally then used it with a bit of cheese to stuff the amazing corn soaked fried tortillas…wow.

    I loved the dipping the corn tortillas in the salsa and then frying..they were so easy to work with and so delicious..My husband arrived home as we were setting the Enchiladas in the oven and his comment was “Its smells like Mexico” I did use my own Guac recipe (similiar to yours, no cilantro) I did a cooked salsa verde I learned from a Mexican girlfriend and a salsa mexicana I learnt from my many trips to the Costa Maya and inland Mexico Guanajuato.

    Thank you for the great site, there are recipes here I know I can work with to regionalize the Mexican dishes our family loves, I so would like a Mole Recipe….please

    Mole please elise…..mucho gracias
    Ft St James,BC
    & Mahahual, QRoo, Mx

  • Brian

    That looks good. I make mine with salsa verde.

    9-11 tomatillos (husk tomatoes)
    7 or more jalapeno peppers
    3/4 yellow onion
    2 cloves garlic
    Bundle of cilantro
    Salt to taste (chicken bullion can be substituted)
    1/2 lemon

    Dice and saute the onions until slightly brown, then slice up and saute the tomatillos and jalapeno peppers. Blend using food processor pulse mode. Crush garlic with the flat of a knife and add to blender. Add the cilantro, including the stems (careful not to gum up the blender.) Squeeze the lemon into the mixture and add the salt. The salt is necessary, and without it the salsa tastes weird. Shallots can be substituted for the onion.

    This is a general salsa verde recipe (can be spicy if more chilis are added), but it worked great for enchiladas tonight. I used chicken, but it is just as good with cheese. Flour tortillas do work, but I prefer corn.

  • Kristin

    I just made these last night. They were so yummy. Even my 5 year old son, who saw me chopping onions and told me he wasn’t hungry, said they were delicious. Thanks for the great recipe.


  • Paulina

    Que sabroso….I’m only 15.5 and I made this for my family. Added sauteed chicken, sauteed in cream cheese.
    Great salsa recipe..
    I was looking for something authentic, most Mexican recipes that can be found are very Americanized.
    Gracias. ;-)

    Hi Paulina, glad you liked it! Just so you know, this recipe is way more “TexMex” than Mexican. ~Elise

  • JaneHutchi

    WOW! I’ve never made enchiladas before and I did a search for a recipe on the internet. Am I ever glad that this one came up at the top of the list. Absolutely delicious! The only comment I would have is that, in the case of my family, anyway, the recipe really serves 6-8. We added the Spanish Rice recipe and refried beans (from the can, no time for the ‘real deal’- maybe next time) as sides to the enchiladas, which is probably why they fed so many. Glad to have discovered you. I’ll be back.


  • Mike C.

    I love enchiladas, and have put up with the fatty, oily fried corn tortillas since I left New Mexico. For lower fat, and better overall eating, I’d recommend just dipping the tortillas in the sauce for a moment before rolling them, so they’re bendy. Flour tortillas work good, too.

    I understood the recipe better when it was said to be “texan”, where they deep fry everything.

  • Emilia

    I didn’t necessarily use the whole recipe but the part that worked the best (and I’ve made my share of pans of enchiladas) was the preparation of the tortillas – it worked wonderfully – the oil stacking method you described so perfectly! Your writing skills are outstanding.

    Thank you for this site – I find wonderful things and this time the results were so great I had to post!

    ~Happy Eating

  • Becky

    The sauce used in this recipe are for entomatadas, which is a tomato-based sauce. The sauce for enchiladas is made from dried chile.

    So, how do you make the sauce for enchiladas? Easy! This is my mom’s recipe. Buy a bag of dried chile pods (like the New Mexican chile pods), tear off the stems, remove the seeds, and soak the pods in warm water (for several minutes) to soften them. Once soft, add the pods, 3-4 garlic cloves, 1/2 tablespoon or so of cumin, and about 1 cup of the water used to soak the pods into a blender. You might have to add more water until you get a smooth consistency. Blend until smooth. Done!

    This sauce is (somewhat) spicy, darker, and delicious! If you use the entire dried chile bag, you’ll have leftover enchilada sauce that you can freeze and use for later. Buen provecho!

  • Jennifer Martin

    This is an absolutely amazing enchilada recipe! I am only 18 and when I served this dish for dinner my whole family said that I should be a cook and that it tasted like a restaurant plate. GREAT RECIPE! I love it! Thank you!

  • kiki

    I like this recipe and will try it tonight. I always fry in rice bran oil because there is no real flavor and the smoke point is higher than grapeseed oil and peanut oil. Plus, rice oil has more antioxidants and vitamin E than most oils.

  • beth

    Eventhough I had a fight with my kitchen, this recipe is the bomb!!!!!!! It is very easy to do and makes your mouth water. I made mine like the recipe but I added olives and chicken to the cheese and I served it with rice and beans. thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I used demulas mango salsa with this recipe good stuff.

  • Lynn

    There is just my husband and I and as you cannot make enchiladas for just 2, I invited the neighbors. This recipe is a real hit!!! I used Trader Joe’s salsa, and it was really fresh and not canned tasting. I rolled up leftover chicken, also, along with the cheese and it works! Thanks a lot. I just found this website, searching for enchiladas, and it is already one of my favorites!

  • Kavi

    Trying out the recipe as I type…. judging from all the comments, looks like it’s gonna be a yummy dinner at my place tonight! :) Not much of a baker, so forgive my ignorance – but do you cover the casserole before putting in oven?

  • Jenn

    YES! I have been searching for a good cheese enchilada recipe forever. I made a 1/2 batch of these bad boys last week and they were perfect! I used Trader Joe’s Salsa Authentica to make the the sauce – it’s a nice, thin, tomatoey salsa.

    I also made some homemade salsa on the stovetop to use up the rest of the big can of crushed tomatoes. I added onion, garlic, salt, chipotle in adobo, and a lot of fresh cilantro. Perfect on top of the enchiladas!!

  • Adam

    I really enjoyed your recipe. Very quick and easy. Next time I might cut down on the cheese a bit and include some black beans sauteed with cumin and bay leaves in the enchilada stuffing. Mmmmm….

  • Sandy

    I noticed on the Chicken Enchiladas you suggested grape oil (and other oils) for their high heat tolerance. How about trying “Rice Bran Oil”, which leaves no aftertaste like olive oil does, and has an extremely high heat tolerance (more so than the others mentioned). I think many people don’t know of this wonderful oil (and it doesn’t go rancid either).

    Note from Elise: I’ve heard good things about rice bran oil.

  • Shelley

    I came to this site looking for a good way to soft fry the tortillas and found this great stacking idea. I have to make 4 dozen enchiladas for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. I usually use Las Palmas enchilada sauce and ground or shedded beef with onions in addition to the cheese. I also put slided olives on top.

    I will try 1 doz. with your sauce and see what the crowd thinks.

    Thank you so much!

    P.S. I rolled 100 taquitos last night! It’s so much better to make your own good Mexican food than to pay a bundle at a restaurant. You can do for pennies what they charge big buck for.

  • Elise

    Hi Ted,

    If your salsa’s onions are crunchy, then they probably aren’t cooked, in which case you want to take another look at the salsa you are using. You should be using a cooked salsa, not a fresh tomato/onion salsa. Cooked salsas look more like a chunky pasta sauce. Also, this recipe calls for corn tortillas, not flour tortillas. Corn tortillas do not come in burrito size.

  • Ted

    wonderful recipe, the salsa I used had crunchy onions and so maybe I should cook the sauce for a while? Plus I put too much sauce on the enchiladas and they became soggy and broke apart. Still the taste was good. I used jack and sharp chedder separately and together. Do most people use taco sized or burritto size tortillas? Thanks I was looking for a simple cheese enchilada recipe and this one seems fine.


    Thanks for the recipe. I added meat to the sauce and to the Enchiladas. Turned out terrific. I should have put some cheese under the layer of meat sauce added at the end to make it cheesier, but now I know, thanks again.

  • Enrique

    My family calls this particular recipe Entomatadas (Enchiladas are the ones with a darker sauce).

    I wonder if thats just a thing my family does?

    Note from Elise: Hi Enrique, these enchiladas are Tex Mex, not Mexican, which is where there may be some confusion.

  • Collin

    Great Recipie, I have always had a problem with the tortillas breaking when I wraped them, I guess frying the tortillas for a few seconds is the secret. thanks.

  • Elise

    Hi Sherry – so glad you liked it. If you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes, just use regular canned whole tomatoes. The fire roasted just have the perfect flavor for the enchiladas, that’s all. I think fire roasting just refers to the cooking method. I’ve never found any bell peppers in the fire roasted tomatoes that we use.

  • Sherry

    Wonderful enchiladas!! Thanks for the recipe and for the tips on how to use corn tortillas! I must say I raised my eyebrows when I saw the vinegar and salt on the lettuce…but I tried it anyway. I think that one thing took the enchiladas from good to GREAT-the flavors blended so well! I am looking forward to making this again–with YOUR salsa. Do you have any suggestions of what to use when you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes and isn’t “fire roasted” a term that usually means it has bell peppers in it?
    Thanks again, this ones a keeper!

  • Lou

    Your Mother’s Mexican recipes are so wonderful, especially this one. Does she have a favorite way to make shredded beef for use in enchiladas, tacos etc.? Though many cookbooks have versions, those from personal collections of a cook who knows best from years of experience are most treasured and appreciated. This would be a great addition to your collcection of Mexican/Southwest favorites. Thank you. Lou

  • Andy

    This is a great variation on Enchiladas, i made my own salsa, and I used green onions in it. I also added chicken also. I was suprised about how great it tasted. All 6 of us liked it “4 kids.” I would recomend this to anyone that wants GREAT HOME MADE TASTE.

  • Dianne Brown

    I have made this recipe two weekends in a row. First for my husband, second for company. It is absolutely delicious and makes a beautiful presentation. The seasoned lettuce and cilantro on top is a great touch! My guest ask me if I was Mexican, because it was so authentic!

  • Kyro

    I love this recipe; I would suggest it to anyone.

  • Aaron

    Sounds good, but why oh why commit the sacrilege of using Iceberg lettuce? The stuff is cheap and awful, a pretend vegetable mass-produced for the sake of the bank balances of bad restaurants who couldn’t care less about food and less still about good vegetables. It has no flavour whatsoever!

    • Elise

      Hi Aaron,

      I appreciate your your sentiments regarding iceberg lettuce. I have to laugh though, I haven’t been served a salad with iceberg lettuce in a restaurant here in California for years.

      The reason you use iceberg lettuce as an accompaniment to the enchiladas is because it’s the best lettuce for the job in this case. It has a high water content, and it holds its shape when you dress it with salt and vinegar. It is also crunchy. So the taste complement is the cool, salty, crunchy of the salad to the hot, cheesy, smoothness of the enchiladas. It really is the best lettuce for this use.

      If you don’t have access to iceberg lettuce, or are allergic to it as some people are, use another type of lettuce, but make thin slices of the ends of the lettuce that are closest to the core – the whitest, crunchiest part of the lettuce, not the greenest, leafiest end.

      • cindy

        I certainly agree with your using iceberg lettuce! I never use it for salads but always for tacos or enchiladas because, like you said, you need it for the crunch if nothing else. Romaine just doesn’t cut it for this.

        • Laura

          There is nothing worse than limp lettuce in tacos or other tex-mex food!!

      • Debbie

        The biggest hit at my house with any Tex-Mex meal is shredded iceberg lettuce dressed with salt and red wine vinegar. Learned about it right here on Simply Recipes!

        • Elise

          I know, isn’t it perfect? You can use any vinegar by the way—cider, white, red wine, even seasoned rice vinegar. It’s just the cool crunch of the lettuce with the acidic tang that balances out the hot cheesiness of Tex Mex that’s so good.

    • Tina

      Just yesterday I noticed iceberg lettuce on the cafe menu at Chez Panisse! (you can go to their website if you like; the item was : Riverdog Farm Iceberg Lettuce with Creamy Garlic Dressing, Marinated Beets, and Tarragon, $9) It reminded me how Marion Cunningham always championed the crunchy coolness of iceberg, even when it was most uncool to do so. I love lettuce, and I am delighted with the transformation of the American salad and the great bounty of varieties at our farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Along with our mesclun, little gems, and red oak leaf, surely there is a place for iceberg, too :)
      BTW I just finished a breakfast of rojo rice with a side of shredded iceberg.

      • Tina

        And if iceberg displeases you, raw cabbage slaw is wonderful with enchiladas, too.

  • JohnStanfield

    I’ve always hated homemade enchiladas because I’ve always had to use various packets of “mix with water” powder. I tried this recipe tonight, which was the first time I “made” sauce. WOW! I’m saving this recipe forever!

  • Elise

    Hi Jason – jack cheese works well too. Half the time we use jack.

    Hi Theresa – Pace works, as well as Green Mountain salsa. Pace is less expensive.

  • theresa

    I’m planning on trying this with prepared salsa. Do you have a favorite brand that works well with this recipe?

  • Anonymous

    I tried this last night and it was just too tomatoey. I used jarred salsa and fire roasted tomatoes? And followed the rest of the recipe as written. Is there a particular kind of salsa that works well? I love the idea of this recipe but it just wasn’t tasty with the salsa I tried. DH was nice about it but he didn’t take any leftovers to work like he normally does.

  • jason

    Nice recipe, but I recommend using jack cheese instead of cheddar.

  • rebecca

    this was so great!!!!

    A friend of mine made chicken enchiladas and he did something that would admittedly make die hard, traditional enchilada fans scream – he cooked shredded chicken in a skillet, then mixed cream cheese in with it! my first thought was “eeeew”, but they turned out delicious!

    thanks for the great site!

    • Laura

      I grew up with my mom making a very similar enchilada recipe, but she added shredded chicken, pepper Jack instead of cheddar, and some cream cheese as well. Thank you so much for the great technique of stacking the tortillas. I’ve tried many different ways to prep tortillas while trying to avoid much oil and have never seen this method before!

  • Kristi

    This recipe looks really good, but I have one question. I have an onion allergy. Certain recipes are fine omitting it, any idea about this one? I have traditionally stayed away from Enchiladas because of onion and would like to try this (I have a salsa I love using). My husband loves enchiladas and I know he would like me to make them.

    Note from Elise: What do you usually substitute for onions? Don’t know what to say here other than try it without the onions and see if you like it.

    • Victoria

      Kristi, there is a spice that a lot of Indian dishes use instead of onion. It’s called Asafetida and is a strong onion & garlic flavour. Maybe that might work in some of your dishes?

  • judy Corbett

    can this recipe be prepared and then frozen before the final heating (ie. cheese melting)?

    • Elise

      Hi Judy – I’ve never tried freezing them. They do, however, refrigerate well and make great leftovers.

  • Dina T


    Your receipe was JUST WONDERFUL!!! I still have to taste in my mouth. The receipe was to a “T”. Thank you for this wonderful receipe site.

  • Cathy

    These are really easy to make. I made them for my Spanish class and they loved them.

  • Mary

    Thanks for the great recipe. I didn’t know how to cook with corn tortillas and your method worked wonderfully. The sauce is yummy as written and I can envision using it as a launching pad for experimentation.

  • lisa

    Wow! The sauce is awesome! THanks for the great recipe!

  • stacy Dyer

    I really liked this enchilada recipe! Thanks for the great site!