Become a Master of Enchiladas with These Easy Tips and Tricks (2024)

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Enchiladas are one of those foods that, when done correctly, you can’t stop thinking about (what’s better than a spicy, saucy, cheesy tortilla filled with meat or veggies?). But when you make a bad batch, they’re a soggy mess.

There’s no need to let prior Mexican food mishaps hold you back from one of life’s great culinary pleasures—with a few simple tips at your fingers, you can make pitch-perfect enchiladas every time, without breaking a sweat (unless you really go heavy on the hot sauce, of course).

NB: They freeze well, so you can make a batch ahead to last you through the month, and most of the components are make-ahead-friendly (perfect for a Cinco de Mayo party!).

1. Spice Up Your Life

Enchiladas typically rely on red, green, or brown sauces (brown being the Tex-Mex style featuring a mix of gravy and chiles). Whether you use tomato, tomatillos, or just the peppers themselves as the base, make sure your sauce is a good consistency–about that of cream–and has some nice kick. And please, make your own–the jarred stuff is often too sweet and full of salt and preservatives.

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2. Treat Your Tortillas Right

The most important tip for avoiding soggy enchiladas is to briefly fry your tortillas in hot oil before you fill and roll. This creates a little bit of a barrier so that the tortillas don’t soak up too much of the sauce and therefore start to break down.

First, select good, fresh corn tortillas, ideally ones that are made from nixtamal and don’t rely on preservatives. Then, heat oil over medium high and fry tortillas about ten seconds per side, until they just start to crisp and brown. You can drain them on paper towels if you’re wary of too much oil, but don’t worry–they don’t soak up much of it.

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3. Fill ‘Er Up

This is the fun part–selecting a filling to suit your taste. You can go for meats, vegetables, cheese, a combination of the above…there really are no rules here. Think about texture and balance–meats should be ground or slow-cooked and shredded (you don’t want to have to cut through your enchilada to eat it); veggies should be pre-cooked. How spicy you go on the filling should depend on your sauce and your palate. Mild sauces can get an extra kick from fresh chopped jalapeños, while spicy sauces might benefit from vegetables like sweet potato.

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4. Do Skimp on the Sauce

No, legit enchiladas are not supposed to be swimming in sauce as most American preparations might have you believe. You’ll need about 4 cups of sauce for 8 enchiladas.

Before frying your tortillas, spread about a cup of sauce lengthwise down the center of your baking sheet. After frying the tortillas, dip each side in your sauce to coat the whole surface. This method will ensure even distribution—and less sauce means your tortillas are less likely to fall apart. Once you’ve stuffed each tortilla with filling, rolled and placed it (seam-side down) in the pan, pour the remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas—then top with cheese.

5. Balance Things Out with Garnishes

Once your casserole is out of the oven, sprinkle it with tons of toppings to brighten things up and balance the flavors. Sliced radishes, crunchy pickled red onions or jalapenos, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro lighten a heavy, cheesy sauce, lending fresh flavor and bold color. Take simple beef enchiladas in a Tex-Mex direction with dollops of sour cream and chopped raw onion. If you’ve got a spicy sauce, consider adding a cooling element like slices of avocado or crema (Mexican sour cream). For veggie enchiladas, extra shredded cheese never hurts!

Here are some enchilada recipes to get you started:

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Beef Enchiladas

Ground beef, red chile sauce, and Jack cheese—simple, but perfect. Get our Beef Enchiladas recipe.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Luscious slow cooker pulled pork in a complex sauce is fantastic for many things, including filling enchiladas topped with melty cheese. Get our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas recipe.

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Spinach-Mushroom Enchiladas

These vegetarian enchiladas are full of meaty mushrooms and spinach, and blanketed with cheese and tomatillo sauce. (Don’t forget the Margaritas and Black Beans on the side!) Get our Spinach-Mushroom Enchiladas recipe.

Become a Master of Enchiladas with These Easy Tips and Tricks (2024)


What is the secret to good enchiladas? ›

The most important tip for avoiding soggy enchiladas is to briefly fry your tortillas in hot oil before you fill and roll. This creates a little bit of a barrier so that the tortillas don't soak up too much of the sauce and therefore start to break down.

How to keep flour tortillas from getting soggy in enchiladas? ›

After you fry and drain the tortilla, dip both sides into your enchilada sauce to coat the entire tortilla. Dipping your tortillas in sauce will ensure even distribution — and means you can use less sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, which will prevent them from getting soggy.

What are important facts about enchiladas? ›

Originally, enchiladas were created within the Aztec empire. But the food that the Aztecs ate underwent modifications after the Spanish conquistadors invaded what would become Latin America. The Spanish added meat to the wraps being made by the Aztecs, as well as spicy sauces.

Do enchiladas taste better with corn or flour tortillas? ›

Corn tortillas go well with Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and tamales. They are also perfect for use in tostadas, sopes, and quesadillas. Flour tortillas are often used in burritos, fajitas, and chimichangas. They are also great for making quesadillas, sweet dishes like dessert tacos, and breakfast burritos.

Should you cover enchiladas when you bake them? ›

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until the enchiladas are cooked through and the tortillas are slightly crispy on the outside. Transfer the baking dish to a wire baking rack. Serve. Serve the enchiladas immediately while they're nice and hot and melty, garnished with lots of fresh toppings.

What is the best melting cheese for enchiladas? ›

Use a melting cheese like Monterey Jack, cheddar, Colby, or pepper jack. Mexican restaurants typically use queso fresco, asadero, or a combination. Use a variety of at least two to switch up the taste.

How to make enchiladas more crispy? ›

Tips for keeping your flour tortillas from getting soggy in enchiladas. Try preheating your enchilada pan in the oven before you start cooking. Adding your tortillas intoan already-warm pan instead of a cold one will help them start cooking and getting crispy right away, rather than risking sogginess.

How to keep enchiladas from getting hard on the bottom? ›

Some recipes suggest spreading a little sauce (½ cup for a 3-quart baking dish) on the bottom of the pan before adding enchiladas. This keeps the tortillas from sticking to the pan or getting tough on the bottom.

Should I fry flour tortillas before making enchiladas? ›

Frying them gently in a little oil greatly enhances the flavor of the tortillas.

Why do Mexicans eat enchiladas? ›

The roots of enchilada date back to the Aztec Empire. Its long history goes way back to pre-Columbian days when eating foods wrapped in a tortilla was the most popular way to eat in the Aztec Empire, particularly in the region of Mexico by the Yucatan.

What is enchilada sauce made of? ›

What is Enchilada Sauce? Red enchilada sauce may also be called salsa roja, salsa roja para enchiladas or mole rojo. It is a sauce made out of ancho/ pasilla/New Mexico and/or Cascabel chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, broth, cumin, oregano, etc. all blended together then simmered until thickened.

What were enchiladas originally called? ›

But the Aztecs were the first to develop the first 'true' enchilada. As its Nahuatl name, chīllapīzzali (literally 'chilli-flute'), suggests, its most distinctive ingredient was the chilli pepper.

What size tortilla is best for enchiladas? ›

Here's a quick rundown of which tortillas might work best with which food:
  • Tacos: 8-inch corn tortillas.
  • Burritos: 10-inch (or larger) flour tortillas.
  • Quesadillas: 10-inch tortillas.
  • Enchiladas: 10-inch flour or corn tortillas.

Can you make enchiladas ahead of time or do they get soggy? ›

Wrap the pan tightly with foil. Then you can either refrigerate the enchiladas for up to 3 days, then bake as directed. Or you can freeze the enchiladas for up to 3 months, then let them thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake as directed.

How do you make enchiladas crispy and not soggy? ›

Bake the enchiladas before adding sauce

Another thing you can try is baking your enchiladas after filling them until the tortillas are just be-ginning to get brown and starting to crisp. Then, add your cheese and sauce on top and bake them again until the cheese is melted.

Should enchiladas be with or without foil? ›

Unless you are baking from frozen, then you will need to keep them covered for part of the baking time so that enchiladas will cook through before drying out. If you want soft, yet not soggy enchiladas, cover for the first 20 minutes of baking, then remove the foil for the final portion of baking.

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