If you’ve traveled to Mexico or have been to a Mexican restaurant, you’re probably familiar with or even loving enchiladas. They are basically a tortilla filled with delicious ingredients and topped with a flavorful sauce.
On a busy weekday, these make-ahead chicken enchiladas are a proven way to indulge your taste senses while also giving you and your family some breathing room. They are packed with flavor and only take a few minutes to prepare.
But, can they be made ahead of time?
Let’s find out right now.
Can Chicken Enchiladas Be Made Ahead Of Time?
Yes, you can make them ahead of time!
The great thing about making an enchilada in the comfort of your kitchen is that you have complete control over the ingredients and the cooking process. IT doesn’t take too much time for this dish, either.
Eat them straight immediately, or freeze a couple of batches for those nights when you don’t feel like shopping or cooking – it’s all worth-noting experience.
Why Should You Do So?
Save the time
Make the sauce and assemble the enchiladas ahead of time, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 24 hours. Then just pop them in the oven when it’s time for dinner!
Save more food
These make excellent leftovers and meal prep. You can prepare extra just to save it in the freezer. With a vacuum-sealed or freezer-safe Ziploc bag, it is possible to store yours in the freezer for up to three months.
What Are The Steps To Do So?
Step 1: Prep veggies and cheese
Green pepper and onion should be chopped into small bits, and cheese should be shredded.
Step 2: Combine all dairy and vegetable ingredients in a mixing bowl
In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, green pepper, onion, and shredded cheese.
Step 3: Shred your chicken
Shred chicken with two forks by holding a large portion in place with one fork and pulling and shredding the chicken into little bits with the other.
Step 4: Mix ingredients
Combine the shredded chicken, dairy, and vegetables in a large mixing bowl and stir until everything is uniformly covered.
Step 5: Prepare & fill tortillas
Warm up your tortilla stack in the microwave for 20 seconds to make it simpler to deal with. Scoop your preferred portion of the mixture into the center of the tortilla with a small spoon, leaving room on the ends.
Step 6: Prepare to freeze chicken enchiladas
- Determine how many of them you can fit in your baking dish, then tear a piece of saran wrap long enough to wrap the enchiladas tightly.
- Place the seam of the enchiladas on the cling film and roll it up tight as a bug! There is no need to add any sauce.
- Place your wrapped tortillas within a piece of aluminum foil that is twice the length of your baking dish to create your freezing pocket.
- Fold your foil in half and coil it securely.
- Freeze for up to 30 days in advance.
When you’re ready to make your scrumptious chicken enchiladas, freeze your red enchilada sauce in an ice cube tray.
Step 7: Bake chicken enchiladas
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Enchilada sauce should be used to coat the baking dish.
- Coat the enchiladas in sauce, seam side down, on a baking dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, with shredded cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Thaw a few cans of enchilada sauce. ice cubes in a microwave-safe basin and sauce in a baking dish
- Put frozen enchiladas in a baking dish with a few sauce ice cubes strewn about.
- 10 minutes in the oven
- Remove them from the oven and distribute the sauce around with a small spoon.
- Add the shredded cheese and bake for another 15 minutes, wrapped in foil.
- Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and begun to color.
- Try this strategy to avoid storing the baking dish in the freezer for weeks.
- Wrap plastic wrap around a 3-quart rectangular baking dish.
- Make the casserole in the prepared dish and place it in the freezer overnight.
- Remove the plastic wrap-lined food from the freezer, place it in the freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Remove the plastic wrap and return the food to the original baking dish when ready to defrost.
- Thaw and bake according to package directions.
Will Doing So Make Them Less Delicious?
The above method will result in one of the most delicious Mexican meals you’ll ever have! It’s loaded with shredded chicken and cheese, then baked for 20 minutes with a quick red enchilada sauce.
This easy evening supper is based on a homemade classic that has been a family favorite for generations. So there is no way that your food will become less delicious.
Are Chicken Enchiladas A Main Dish?
These are a Mexican dish that has gained popularity around the world, particularly in the United States. They are essentially maize tortillas stuffed with a variety of meats, cheeses, beans, and veggies.
To make chicken enchiladas, a unique Mexican sauce is frequently poured over the rolled tortilla. Enchiladas are considered the main dish because they can be eaten on their own or with rice.
How Do You Make Crispy Enchiladas?
Place the chicken strips on a layer of paper towels and set them aside to defrost for about 20 minutes at room temperature. (This will make it easier to cut some of the thicker strips into lengths that will fit better inside the rolled tortillas.)
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes, or until onions are transparent. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced significantly, before adding the green chiles and tomatoes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the bottom of a 9×13” baking dish, pour about 14 cups of the enchilada sauce. Fill a shallow bowl, such as a pie pan, with the remaining sauce. Gently dip a tortilla into the enchilada sauce until it is completely covered.
Spoon part of the green chili-tomato mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish, then top with a chicken strip. If some of the thicker strips are too long to fit inside a tortilla, split them in half lengthwise.
Roll up the enchilada and arrange it in a single layer in the baking dish, seam side down. Continue with the remaining tortillas until the baking dish is completely filled. Don’t worry if some of the enchiladas are thicker than others; the baking process will blend them all together.
Pour any remaining green chili-tomato mixture over the tortillas before finishing with the remaining enchilada sauce. Bake for 25 minutes with the cheese sprinkled on top. Serve with chopped cilantro or scallions as a garnish.
The Best Way to Freeze Them?
- Keeping the sauce separate from the enchiladas is the best method to freeze them. This is because the sauce soaks into the tortillas, making them extremely soggy while also reducing the amount of sauce available.
- To freeze fully constructed chicken enchiladas, allow the sauce and enchiladas to cool completely before assembling. The reason for this is that when both the tortillas and the sauce are cold, the sauce absorbs less.
- Bake from frozen enchiladas – The enchiladas can be baked straight from the freezer. If assembling the enchiladas individually, I thaw the sauce (a brief zap in the microwave would suffice), pour it over the frozen enchiladas, top with cheese, and bake.
What To Serve With Enchiladas?
Serve your Enchiladas with sour cream, guacamole or avocado sauce, or Pico de Gallo (tomato salsa) to dollop on top if you want to go all out.
Pico de Gallo is a great way to include additional vegetables in your dinner. Cucumber salad with herb & garlic dressing is another solid favorite; it’s light and refreshing, and provides a nice contrast to the warm, cheesy Enchilada flavors!
Otherwise, try this Chipotle Lime Roasted Cauliflower, which also has a Mexican flavor profile.
Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.