Ready to serve in 30 minutes, the best cheese enchiladas are made with corn tortillas smothered in red enchilada sauce, filled with plenty of cheese and baked until bubbly. The perfect weeknight meal the entire family will love!
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Red Cheese Enchilada Recipe
When it comes to Mexican food recipes, my claim to fame is not necessarily that they are authentic, but that they are made with simple ingredients, are easy to make, and always taste delicious. These cheese enchiladas are all that and more!
My take on this classic Mexican dish is pure cheesy, saucy, comfort food with signature smoky, spicy, cheesy flavors. Add it to your dinner rotation along with green chicken enchilada casserole and cheesy enchilada pasta!
This recipe for cheese enchiladas is ready to serve in just 30 minutes which makes it perfect for special occasions like Cinco de Mayo as much as it is great for a quick and easy weeknight meal!
Why This Recipe Works
- Incredible flavor. The soft tortillas drenched in tangy smoky enchilada sauce which all coat the melted sharp and spicy cheeses is everything you want in an enchilada recipe!
- A family favorite. If your family loves Mexican food, they’ll love these restaurant-style cheese enchiladas. It’s especially great if you’re looking for meatless recipes your family will love!
- Budget-friendly. Skip ordering out or going out to eat. It’s much more cost-effective to make food at home. It’s also a great idea to make a double batch and freeze half for later.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Red enchilada sauce: For convenience and the sake of time, you can certainly use a can of store-bought enchilada sauce. However, if you do have some extra time to make a homemade enchilada sauce, my red enchilada sauce recipe will make these cheese enchiladas a little extra special.
- Heavy cream or sour cream: This gets added to the enchilada sauce to add richness and turn it into a creamy sauce. It also helps to mellow out the flavors a bit.
- White corn tortillas: These closely resemble flour tortillas in that they are softer than yellow corn tortillas which makes them easier to roll.
- Shredded cheese: We’re using both cheddar cheese and Monterey jack cheese for the filling. Freshly grated is highly recommended for better melting.
- Salt & pepper: A bit of seasoning to taste.
- Optional toppings: Lettuce, cilantro, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, sour cream, cotija cheese, etc.
There are plenty of ways to customize cheese enchiladas. You can swap the cheddar and Monterey Jack for Pepper Jack, Colby, or a Mexican blend.
To keep it vegetarian, add some black beans or refried beans instead! You could also sneak in some sautéed veggies.
How to Make Cheese Enchiladas
- Make red sauce mixture: In a small bowl, combine the enchilada sauce and cream.
- Dip the tortillas. Grab 1 of the corn tortillas and dip it in the enchilada sauce and cream mixture coating both sides.
- Add the filling. To the center of the saucy tortilla, add a small handful of cheese down the center and roll it up leaving it in the dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Lay it flat in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
- Cover with sauce and cheese. Pour the remaining sauce overtop the row of rolled-up enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake. Transfer the baking dish to a preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Cool and serve. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Top with desired toppings and serve while hot!
- Avoid pre-packaged shredded cheese. As I always say, freshly grated cheese from a block is always best! It tastes fresher but also melts much better.
- For a little extra browning on top, feel free to place your cheese enchiladas under the broiler for 1-2 minutes at the end.
- To make these ahead, assemble them without the cheese. Wrap the dish with plastic wrap then place them in the fridge. Top with cheese just before baking.
- Not a finger food! Unlike tacos or quesadillas, enchiladas are best eaten with a knife and fork.
You can. There is some debate as to whether one is more sturdy than the other. Some people find corn tortillas aren’t as absorbent so they don’t become as soggy. However, some find that gluten in the flour tortilla helps hold the structure better.
As long as you’re dipping the tortillas in the sauce and not drenching it, either choice is fine! If they are getting a bit soggy, it just means you need to hurry up and eat your cheese enchiladas faster ;)
Of course, there are some brands that will differ, but overall the 4 most common you’ll find are cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, Asadero, and queso.
No, there’s no need for this cheese enchilada recipe.
Storing, Freezing + Reheating
Keep leftover cheese enchiladas stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
If you have lots left or a second batch to freeze, wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag and keep them frozen for up to 2 months.
Baking the entire batch in a disposable aluminum foil dish is easy if you know you’ll be freezing the whole thing.
Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or in the microwave.
More Enchilada Recipes
- 1 (15-ounce) can red enchilada sauce , or homemade if you have the time
- ¼ cup heavy cream , or sour cream
- 12 white corn tortillas
- 1 (8-ounce) block cheddar cheese , freshly grated
- 1 (8-ounce) block Monterey Jack cheese , freshly grated
- Kosher salt , to taste
- Ground black pepper , to taste
Optional toppings: Lettuce, Cilantro, Sliced black olives, Diced tomatoes, Sour cream, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together the enchilada sauce and heavy cream.
- Dip 1 corn tortilla into the enchilada sauce, coating both sides. This will soften the tortilla and enhance its flavor. Place open in an 11×7-inch baking dish. Add a small handful of cheese down the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the cheese and lay seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, lining them up tightly together.
- Pour any remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with any remaining cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. You can broil the last minute, if desired.
- Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Top with desired toppings and serve while hot.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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