clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
Cheese Enchilada Casserole with (or without) chicken.

Chicken Enchilada Bake with Red Chili Sauce

  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


The BEST cheese enchiladas aren’t rolled – they’re layered. Easy cheesy enchilada casserole requires just three ingredients: corn tortillas, lots (and lots!) of cheese, and a kick-ass red chili enchilada sauce. Layer it up with (or without) chicken for super easy cheese enchiladas with very little fuss.


For the red enchilada sauce:

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 6 tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 48 oz red chili puree (I use one 24 oz bag mild and one 24 oz bag hot)
  • 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

To assemble the chicken enchilada bake:

  • 1618 corn tortillas
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups red chili enchilada sauce
  • 22 oz grated Colby Jack, or Sharp or Medium Cheddar cheese
  • 12 cups shredded roast chicken  (optional)
  • Sour Cream


Make the red chili enchilada sauce:

  1. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, sugar, and salt to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the flour is beginning to brown slightly.
  3. Add the minced garlic and spice mix and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
  4. Add the red chili paste and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the paste has darkened and thickened a bit.
  5. Stir in the water or broth and Worcestershire sauce and let simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more sugar and salt if desired.

Assemble the Chicken Enchilada Bake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spread about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Add a  layer of 5 or 6 corn tortillas over the sauce, their edges overlapping. I usually tear a few in half so that I can place the straight edges along the straight edges of the pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese and 1/3 of the chicken (if using). Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese.
  3. Repeat layering so that you have three layers of tortillas, cheese and chicken, and sauce. Over the top layer, add the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
  4. Set the pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cheese on top is completely melted and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges of the pan. Check on the enchilada casserole a couple of times while baking and if the cheese is starting to brown, spray a sheet of aluminum foil lightly with non-stick spray and lay it loosely over the top of the bake.
  5. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.


  • If making this as a part of Weekly Winter Meal Plan #1, reserve  1 1/4 cups of the enchilada sauce in two portions: 1 cup for tortilla soup and ¼ cup for stuffed poblanos peppers.
  • Enchilada sauce freezes well. I suggest freezing it in small portions so that you have the option of using a small amount to flavor something like tacos or soup.

Keywords: enchiladas, cheese, dinner recipe, casserole, Mexican food, enchilada sauce, red chili