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Beef Enchilada Casserole

4.95 from 35 votes
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posted: 06/23/21

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Beef Enchilada Casserole is a delicious and comforting recipe that you will love. It comes together quicker than traditional enchiladas, but is still amazing with my homemade enchilada sauce.

overhead of beef enchilada casserole cut into pieces in baking dish

My husband and I have been talking a lot lately, as our kids are getting older, about how much we cherish dinner time. With our lives so busy, it seems like the best time to get precious moments with our kids and talk to them.

At the same time, making dinner can feel so difficult some days. It feels like we are doing our very best and as long as the kids eat something it is a win.

It is days like this when we love to be able to pull out a premade casserole. Delicious casseroles that are easy to cook from frozen or can be made the night before are such a lifesaver to preserving family dinner time. This Enchilada Casserole is just that, a lifesaver.

overhead view of ground beef enchilada casserole in a baking dish garnished with chopped cilantro

How to Make Enchilada Casserole

Putting together an enchilada casserole is simple. As always, this is a brief overview. Make sure to see the full recipe instructions below.

  1. Cook the ground beef on the stove top, adding in onions, salt and pepper.
  2. Finish up the filing. After the beef is cooked, drain the fat and add in a little enchilada sauce and some black beans. (See alternatives below.)
  3. Construct the casserole. Dip corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce and line the bottom of the dish with them. Top with half the beef mixture and some cheese.
  4. Repeat for a second layer and bake.

This casserole is much faster if you don’t make your own enchilada sauce. So while I will always vote for you to use my sauce, do what works best for you!

piece of cheese enchilada casserole being lifted out of baking dish

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

As mentioned above, this recipe is easier when you use store-bought sauce, but my enchilada sauce recipe tastes much better than store bought.

You can opt to make my enchilada sauce a few days in advance when you have some extra time. Or, you can make it as you cook the beef. Multitasking is my very best friend in the kitchen.

Do not skip this recipe because you are afraid of making your own sauce. If that is what is holding you back, just buy a can at the store. Time around the table is as important as what is on it.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Corn for Beans: Do you have someone in your house who doesn’t like black beans? You can swap it for 1 cup of frozen corn instead.
  • Switch Up the Cheese: If you can’t find Colby Jack Cheese (our favorite), or don’t like it, try a mild cheddar or Pepper Jack.
  • Make It Spicer: If you are looking to add more kick to this recipe, you can grab a can of hot green chiles instead of mild. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the homemade enchilada sauce.
  • Chicken for Beef: You can easily make this a chicken enchilada casserole by using shredded chicken instead. Replace the beef with 3 cups cooked chicken.

Corn or Flour Tortillas

I have made enchiladas using both corn and flour tortillas. In my Chicken Enchiladas I take the time to dip flour tortillas in enchilada sauce before rolling them. Nothing beats that flavor combination. In my Beef Enchilada Recipe I use flour tortillas and skip dipping – a time saver for sure.

In this recipe, we are not rolling our tortillas, and I went with the traditional corn. Corn tortillas are the perfect flavor for an enchilada recipe. I recommend you try this recipe with corn rather than flour, even if your family leans towards flour tortillas.

close up overhead of easy enchilada casserole in a baking dish that has been cut into pieces

Make Beef Enchilada Casserole Ahead

You can make this enchilada casserole the night before. Make it through step 9. Then cover the casserole with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

Bake right from the refrigerator in a preheated oven (350 degrees) until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes.

How to Freeze Enchilada Casserole

This ground beef enchilada casserole can also be made ahead and frozen. I think it is a great idea to double the ingredients when you are making this and bake one casserole, while freezing the other.

Make this recipe through step 9. Wrap the finished (unbaked) casserole three times in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to three months.

Bake from frozen in your preheated oven (350 degrees) for 35 to 45 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

I recommend making this casserole in a disposable container if you plan on freezing it. Taking a glass casserole dish from the freezer and putting it in a hot oven can result in it cracking and breaking.

enchilada casserole recipe cut (like a lasagna) on a plate and topped with fresh tomatoes and olive slices

Other Great Cassroles

If you love the idea of pulling a pre made casserole out of the refrigerator or freezer, you will love some of these other casserole recipes:

If you make this Beef Enchilada Casserole or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment letting me know what you think. I love hearing how your family likes my recipes.

close up overhead of easy enchilada casserole in a baking dish that has been cut into pieces
4.95 from 35 votes

Beef Enchilada Casserole

Serves: 8 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Beef Enchilada Casserole is a delicious and comforting recipe that you will love. It comes together quicker than traditional enchiladas, but is still amazing with my homemade enchilada sauce.

Ingredients

Enchilada Sauce (see note)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

For Casserole

  • 1 pound ground beef (read how to use replace the beef with chicken)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4.5 ounces diced green chiles
  • 15 ounces black beans drained and rinsed
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
  • 3 cups shredded colby jack cheese see note

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large skillet for the enchilada sauce, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • While the onion is cooking, add the ground beef to a separate skillet to make the enchilada filling, breaking it up and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Once broken up, add the second diced onion and cook until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir chili powder and cumin into the onion for the enchilada sauce and cook for about thirty seconds. Then stir in 1 tablespoon all purpose flour. Slowly whisk in chicken stock. Then stir in the tomato sauce and minced garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  • Once the beef is cooked through, remove from the heat, drain the fat and stir in the green chiles and black beans.
  • Transfer the enchilada sauce to a blender and blend to make smooth (optional). Pour 1/2 cup in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce into the beef mixture.
  • Dip 6 tortillas in the remaining sauce to coat them and line the bottom of the casserole dish with them.
  • Divide the beef mixture in half, and add half of it to the top the tortillas in the pan. Top with 1 cup of cheese.
  • Dip the remaining 6 tortillas in the enchilada suce and top with the remaining beef mixture and 2 cups colby jack cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Notes

You can replace this enchilada sauce recipe with two cups of store bought sauce.
The preparation time for this recipe includes shredding Colby Jack cheese from the block. I highly recommend using block cheese and shredding it yourself as it melts significantly better.
Serving: 1piece Calories: 445kcal (22%) Carbohydrates: 32g (11%) Protein: 29g (58%) Fat: 23g (35%) Saturated Fat: 10g (63%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 80mg (27%) Sodium: 1058mg (46%) Potassium: 380mg (11%) Fiber: 6g (25%) Sugar: 5g (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
close up overhead of easy enchilada casserole in a baking dish that has been cut into pieces

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Beef Enchilada Casserole

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Tina Hicks says

    I need to lower the heat of the sauce.How would I do that?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Like lower the spiciness? This sauce really isn’t spicy. I know that is subjective, but really, there isn’t much that brings the sauce spice. The chili powder is it, and if you take that out or lessen it, it is really going to mess with the flavor.

  2. Christina says

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS!!! I made exactly per directions and I wouldn’t change a thing. Topped it with some sour cream and green onions. Will definitely make again. Thank You!!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad it was a hit, Christina!

  3. Amy T. says

    4 stars
    Originally I bought a couple of cans of red enchilada sauce to make this recipe, but after seeing how easy the homemade sauce was to make …. I made it! So glad I did! I think it definitely added something special to the overall taste. I omitted the beans but other than that followed the recipe exactly. This is the perfect dish to make when you want something easy to put together with great flavor. I’m looking forward to doubling the recipe and making it for kids and grandkids the next time they come over. Thanks for showing me that red sauce is not as difficult as I had imagined!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you liked it!

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