This recipe for easy beef enchiladas is perfect for meal planning or a quick-and-easy weeknight dinner.
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Looking for something simple that you can make with a handful of pantry staples? This recipe for easy beef enchiladas is it. It’s packed full of flavor and is perfect for an easy dinner to feed the whole family. Here’s how to make this decadent dinner.
What Ingredients Are in Easy Beef Enchiladas?
While you could certainly make all of the ingredients from scratch, we use packaged Spanish rice and an envelope of taco seasoning as a shortcut.
For the ground beef, we recommend 90/10 ground beef. It’s ground from lean sirloin, so it won’t exude as much fat and grease as it cooks.
Finally, the most important question of the day: What are the best tortillas to use for enchiladas? Corn tortillas are the traditional standard for enchiladas, but we find them difficult to work with. If they’re not treated correctly, they can fall apart or become soggy in the sauce. We recommend using the more pliable, easier-to-work-with flour tortillas. (Unless you’re gluten-free, of course!)
Cast-iron skillet. Our go-to cookware for making the filling is a Lodge cast-iron skillet. Since it’s oven-safe, you could also clean out the skillet after browning the beef and use it to bake the filled enchiladas, turning this recipe into a one-pan meal.
Spatula. We also recommend picking up a heavy-duty spatula. These enchiladas have a ton of filling, and they’ll weigh down a flimsy tool. Use this heat-resistant GIR spatula to spread sauce, stir the filling and scrape the pan clean.
13×9 dish. Investing in a gorgeous 13×9 baking dishcreates a stellar tableside presentation. We love this Emile Henry version that comes in five classic colors. Find more Mexican cooking tools.
Step 1: Prepare the filling
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Preparing the fillings for enchiladas is a two-step process: Cook the rice, then use it to create the beefy filling. Start by preparing the rice mix according to the package directions.
While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the beef until it’s no longer pink. Drain any excess grease and add the taco seasoning, 1-1/4 cups of the enchilada sauce and the cooked rice.
Step 2: Fill the tortillas
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Preheat the oven to 350° F and spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish with a spatula.
To fill the enchiladas, spoon about 2/3 cup of the beef mixture down the center of each tortilla. Add a tablespoon of cheese and roll the tortillas closed. Place the filled tortillas, seam-side down, on the prepared baking dish. The enchiladas will be nestled right next to each other, and that’s okay.
When all the tortillas are filled and placed in the dish, pour just enough of the remaining sauce on top of the enchiladas. You may not need all the sauce—you just need enough to coat the top without it spilling over on the sides to keep the tortillas from getting soggy. Top the mixture with the remaining sauce and cheese.
Step 3: Bake to perfection
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Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Let the enchiladas cool for at least 5 minutes before dishing them out with a spatula. Top each enchilada with the garnishes of choice. You can’t go wrong with sour cream, avocado, chopped green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, pickled jalapenos, salsa or sliced black olives.
Each enchilada contains about 415 calories, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein and 17 grams of fat. With some smart substitutions, this recipe can easily be adapted for low-calorie diets. Try using lean ground turkey instead of ground beef. To reduce the carbohydrates, try using cauliflower rice instead of white rice.
What to Serve with Enchiladas
Since these enchiladas are stuffed with beef and rice, they’re perfectly filling as-is. You really don’t need any side dishes, but we usually make one anyway.
The best way to store leftover enchiladas is in the freezer. When the enchiladas are completely cooled, scoop the enchiladas into a freezer-safe food storage container. Cover the container with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. To freeze individual enchiladas, freeze the sauce on the side and wrap each enchilada tightly in plastic wrap before wrapping them in aluminum foil. When you’re ready to eat, thaw the enchiladas in the refrigerator overnight and bake them in the oven.
Leftover enchiladas taste great, although they can get a little soggy as the tortillas continue to soak in moisture in the refrigerator. It’s best to reheat them in a 350° F oven or a toaster oven to help crisp up the edges. A microwave will certainly work in a pinch, but the reheated enchiladas will definitely be very soft.
Beef Enchilada FAQs
How do I prevent tortillas from getting soggy?
The best way to keep your enchiladas from becoming soggy is to avoid coating tortillas with too much sauce. We like to sauce our enchiladas by coating the bottom of the casserole dish with a layer of enchilada sauce and putting the sauce inside the rolled tortillas. To finish, we pour just enough sauce just over the top of the enchiladas to coat the tortillas.
For corn tortillas, it’s really important to fry the tortillas before filling them. Heat an inch of fryer oil in a large skillet. When it’s hot enough to bubble, add one tortilla at a time. Cook them for 10 seconds on each side before transferring them to a paper towel to drain and cool. The oil will protect the delicate corn from absorbing too much sauce. When they’re all heated, fill and roll as normal.
How do I make the best enchilada sauce?
Store-bought sauce makes it easy to put dinner on the table in a flash, but homemade enchilada sauce is surprisingly easy to make. We like to whip up a batch on the weekend and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
Red enchilada sauce starts with rehydrating dried chilies. Place four stemmed and seeded guajillo chilies in a saucepan with two cups of chicken stock. Water will also work, but chicken stock is more flavorful. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove the pot from the heat. Cover the pot and let it sit for 15 minutes to let the chilies soften. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.
Then, pull out the blender. Add the softened chilies, a couple of cloves of peeled garlic, a 28-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and a pinch of ground cumin and kosher salt. Puree the mixture until it’s really smooth, adding some of the soaking liquid if you need to get things going.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan and cook it over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until it’s as thick as tomato paste. Then, add the strained soaking liquid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. If it needs it, add a pinch of sugar at the end to amp up the sweetness.
Can I make my own taco seasoning?
All you need to make homemade taco seasoning is a tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon each of smoked paprika, garlic powder and ground cumin, and a half teaspoon of oregano and onion powder. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and that’s it.
If you want to amp up the spice, you can also add red chili flakes or ground cayenne. Combine the ingredients, seal them tightly in a jar and you’ll have premade taco seasoning for a year.
My daughter has the best cream cheese chicken enchiladas recipe I've ever tried. She brought 10 pans of it to my wedding reception and they were the biggest hit of all the food. So many guests wanted the recipe, we sent it out with our Christmas cards. —Pat Coffee, Kingston, Washington
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Whether served for meatless Monday or your family's everyday vegetarian meal, these unconventional vegetarian skillet enchiladas will satisfy everyone. Garnish with the optional toppings or other favorites like tortilla chips and extra shredded cheese. —Susan Court, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
As a busy wife and mother of two young sons, I rely on this handy recipe for slow-cooker enchiladas. I layer enchilada ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on and forget about it. With a bit of spice, these hearty enchiladas are especially nice during the colder months. —Mary Luebbert, Benton, Kansas
North meets south of the border in this dish. I roll our local Alaskan halibut into tortillas. It's one of my most requested recipes and a mainstay for potlucks and wedding buffets. —Carole Derifield, Valdez, Alaska
This is not a drill. These buffalo chicken enchiladas—filled with tender rotisserie chicken, lots of cheese and, of course, Buffalo sauce—are a craveworthy, easy and delicious meal. The entire family will ask for them again and again. —Becky Hardin, St. Peters, Missouri
When I don’t feel like pulling out the slow cooker, my next favorite weeknight meal is this warm black bean enchilada casserole! This recipe is easy and tasty. What’s even better is that it's gluten-free, and could also be made dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan. —Kristine Fretwell, Mission, British Columbia
Cooked chicken strips and canned enchilada sauce hurry along this zesty entree. I came up with this spicy chicken enchiladas recipe shortly after I got married. It's a delicious dinner for two that's easy to double for company. &mdashAmy Dando, Apalachin, New York
Enchiladas are a favorite dish in our home. Our little girl, who calls them laladas, especially loves them. This is a really tasty take on the classic southwestern dish. —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
I created this thick and creamy soup by adapting several recipes into one. Although previously a slow-cooker soup, the pressure cooker brings it to the table much sooner. It’s an easy dinner when you want a delicious chicken soup with lots of flavor. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
I served this entree to my husband, my sister and my brother-in-law, who is a hard-to-please eater. He said he liked it and even took leftovers for lunch the next day—I was thrilled! —Rebecca Stout, Conroe, Texas
I made this soup to please my daughters’ craving for creaminess, my husband’s for spice and mine for white beans. Garnish with jalapenos, sour cream and green onions. —Darcy Gonzalez, Palmdale, California
Beef enchiladas are typically prepared with corn tortillas, but my husband, Jeff, and I prefer flour tortillas. I use them in this saucy casserole that has irresistible home-cooked flavor and a subtle kick. —Jennifer Standridge, Dallas, Georgia
My hearty, delicious, nutrient-packed vegetarian dish is amazingly healthy. Everyone I've made it for has loved it—even carnivores! I always make two batches and freeze one. You'll want to eat this every week! —Elizabeth Lindemann, Salem, Massachusetts
Use up leftovers and clean out the fridge by making these super simple and tasty stuffed peppers! This is an ideal weekend meal that you can put together quickly and let cook while you run errands. —Katie Jasiewicz, Belle Isle, Florida
My husband likes some heat in our meals, but our children—not so much. This is the best of both worlds. Serve with additional chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream if desired. —Dana Beery, Ione, Washington
Whether canned or homemade, cranberry sauce delivers a healthy dose of vitamins to this dish. A little bit sweet and a little bit smoky, these enchiladas are a delightful way to use leftover chicken or turkey. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
I like to top this wonderful meatless meal with lettuce and serve it with extra picante sauce. It's quick, easy, filled with fresh flavor and definitely satisfying! —Lesley Tragesser, Charleston, Missouri
These vegetarian enchiladas use a lot of garden favorites in a quick weeknight meal. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have from your garden—yellow summer squash, eggplant and corn all taste great here, too.
—Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grv, Utah
These beef enchiladas verdes are easy to make ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. After quickly cooking the tortillas in hot oil, I layer them between paper napkins to soak up excess oil. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
Shrimp and crab cooked with a flavorful sauce add up to outstanding enchiladas. I made them for an annual fundraiser, and now they’re always in demand. Spice up the recipe to your taste by adding more green chiles and salsa. —Evelyn Gebhardt, Kasilof, Alaska
When I'm expecting company for brunch, the menu often features this tried-and-true casserole. With ham, eggs and plenty of cheese, the enchiladas are flavorful, hearty and fun. And they're easy to assemble the day before.
—Gail Sykora, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
This chicken enchiladas recipe is so quick and easy, and I always receive a ton of compliments. It quickly becomes a favorite of friends whenever I share the recipe. Modify the spiciness with the intensity of the salsa and the green chiles to suit your taste. —Kristi Black, Harrison Township, Michigan
Everyone will devour this layered southwestern casserole when you bring it to the table. It boasts familiar enchilada flavors in every mouthwatering bite. Feel free to use ground beef in place of the ground turkey if you'd like. —Julie Cackler, West Des Moines, Iowa
What's the quickest and tastiest way to bring the flavor to your favorite chicken tortilla soup? Instant Pot! This soup delivers a big bowl of fresh comfort—just ask my husband. Toppings like avocado, sour cream and tortilla strips are a must. —Heather Sewell, Harrisonville, Missouri
My husband loves this casserole, so it never lasts too long in our house. Packed with black beans, cheese, tomatoes and southwestern flavor, it's an impressive-looking entree that's as simple as it is delicious. —Marsha Wills, Homosassa, Florida
These chicken enchiladas put a little zip into any menu. The rolled tortillas are filled with a hearty mixture of cheese, chicken and green chiles, and then topped with a creamy sauce and more cheese. I sometimes use leftover turkey instead of chicken. —Karen Bourne, Magrath, Alberta
Enchiladas get a beefy boost of goodness from slow-cooked roast. When the meat is done, assemble with tortillas and bake. Top with lettuce and tomatoes if desired. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Quick-cooking seafood and mildly spicy chile peppers and salsa make this dish a flavor adventure that my family loves. I’ve made it with chicken instead of fish too. Just saute until done. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
With a toddler in the house, I look for foods that are a snap to make. Loaded with beef, cheese and a flavorful rice mix, these enchiladas come together without a fuss. But they’re so good that guests think I spent hours in the kitchen. —Jennifer Smith, Colona, Illinois
I started making these enchiladas last year during the Lenten season. It allows my family to observe Lent and still enjoy Mexican food. When I brought it to school, my co-workers couldn't get enough of it.—Mari Acedo, Chandler, Arizona
I discovered a different way to serve economical turkey thighs. I simmer them in tomato sauce, green chiles and seasonings until they're tender and flavorful, then serve them in tortillas with our favorite fresh toppings. —Stella Schams, Tempe, Arizona
In our women's group, we take turns making brunch. I was tired of the same casseroles, so I created this breakfast enchilada casserole. The recipe requests keep coming. —Julia Huntington, Cheyenne, Wyoming
You won't bring home leftovers when you take these easy enchiladas to a potluck. With a homemade tomato sauce and cheesy filling, they always go fast. You can substitute any type of cheese you wish. —Ashley Schackow, Defiance, Ohio
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.