Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

Enchiladas Rojas de Pollo con Queso Derretido


  • 4 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chile guajillos, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire roasted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, plus a little extra for the tortillas
  • 2 cups chicken broth, plus a little extra if necessary
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 generous cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely shredded cooked chicken (you’ll need about half of a large rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
  • 1 small white onion, cut into rings, for garnish
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


Set a skillet over medium heat.  When hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them to the hot surface with a spatula until aromatic and lightened in color underneath—about 10 seconds per side.  (If you see more than a whiff of smoke, they’re burning.)  Transfer toasted chiles to a blender jar.  Add the garlic, tomatoes with their juice, cumin and black pepper.  Blend to a as smooth a consistency as possible. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)

Heat the oil in a medium-large (5- to 6-quart) saucepan over medium-high heat.  Set a medium-mesh strainer over the pot and pour in the sauce.  Press through the strainer to remove bits of skin, remove the strainer, then stir the sauce until it’s reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, 5 to 7 minutes.  Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes while you prepare the tortillas, filling and toppings.

Lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet and spray or brush lightly on both sides with oil; stack them in twos.  Slide the tortillas into the oven and bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stack them in a single pile; cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

Taste and season the sauce with salt, usually about 1 ½ teaspoons, and the sugar.  Stir in additional broth if the sauce has thickened beyond the consistency of light cream soup. Spread about ½ cup sauce over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir another ½ cup into the chicken. Lay out a warm tortilla, top with a portion of chicken and roll up.  Lay in the baking dish, then continue filling and rolling tortillas until all are used.  Ladle the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is starting to brown (the chicken should be warm by then).  Sprinkle with onion rings and cilantro sprigs, and you’re ready for dinner.


  1. I tried this recipe today and it turned out delicious! Best enchiladas I have ever tasted. The extra step of making enchilada sauce is worth it compared to using the can.
    One note is the recipe lists 8 ounces as the amount of chicken. I would recommend using 1 1/2 pounds of shredded chicken to make 12 enchiladas.

  2. there seems to be a a problem with the new display for the recipes (“Powered by WP Ultimate Recipe”)

    … the ingredients are listed but the directions for cooking are not!!

  3. If you like spicy food, I recommend adding more spice to this. (Crushed ghost chili flakes, habanero or jalapeño)

  4. This was so easy to make and delicious. I was skeptical that the red chili enchilada sauce would turn out, but it’s excellent. Made these for my hubby. He loves them. Thank you for the recipe!

  5. Thank you for the inspiration! I am vegetarian, my husband is a meat eater from Jalisco, MX and our little one (LO) can’t tolerate spicy foods at the moment so I made several modifications using ingredients I had in our fridge. I was looking for a recipe to transform our terribly dry low carb flour tortillas into something edible. Normally we have corn tortillas in our house as we prefer them over flour ones; however, I wanted use what we had and not waste food. The end result was delicious and the process was super easy especially for a mother of a LO. My LO even helped. This was my first time making enchiladas.

    Sauce modifications: No tomatillos, no sugar, 1 roasted ancho to replace other chiles so it wouldn’t be too spicy for Tomas. Roasted garlic, cilantro, salt and lemon for the sauce. No broth and no heating of the sauce.

    Filling : cooked squash in the microwave, uncooked mushrooms, diced cashews and a little bit of cheese in some of them. 

    Tortillas: flour. I skipped putting them in the oven since they are more pliable compared to corn tortillas.

    Topping: pepper jack cheese.

    Cooked at 350.

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