Beef Enchiladas

5 from 1 vote
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posted: 01/25/20

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

Beef Enchiladas are a delicious dinner that you can make ahead or freeze for later. The best enchilada sauce will make this a new family favorite.

overhead of beef enchiladas in a ceramic baking dish, garnished with black olives and cilantro

As I mentioned the other day, I’m obsessing over my new enchilada sauce recipe. I’m not saying I would drink it . . . I’m also not saying I wouldn’t.

This Enchilada Sauce is the secret ingredient that makes this recipe PERFECT.

I have a few tricks that make this recipe a little bit faster and saves you some time. They make the time you spend on homemade enchilada sauce completely worth it.

pouring homemade enchilada sauce over a baking dish full of beef enchiladas

HOW TO MAKE BEEF ENCHILADAS

This is quick overview of what you are going to do and when. For the full list of ingredients and printable recipe, head to the bottom of the post.

  1. Preheat your oven.
  2. Gather all of your ingredients, measure your spices, cut your onions, and grate your cheese.
  3. In a large skillet sauté onion in oil to make enchilada sauce.
  4. Add in seasonings and flour.
  5. Whisk in chicken stock and tomato sauce, stir in garlic, and let simmer for five minutes.
  6. While you are on the step of sautéing the onions for the enchilada sauce, start cooking your beef in a separate large skillet to make the filling.
  7. When the beef is broken up, add the second onion, and cook until the beef is cooked through.
  8. Drain the fat from the beef, and stir in some green chiles.
  9. Puree your enchilada sauce, and stir 1/2 a cup of it into the beef.
  10. Pour another 1/2 cup in the bottom of the baking dish.
  11. Assemble the enchiladas by putting 1/4 cup of the beef mixture in each tortilla, along with a little cheese. Place in the baking dish seam side down.
  12. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce and the rest of the cheese over the top and bake until bubbly.

It seems like a lot. But I promise it’s not. You are basically just making enchilada sauce and cooking beef at the same time.

This is a recipe that once you do it one time, you can do it in your sleep.

overhead of beef enchilada recipe in a ceramic baking dish with blue handles sitting on a wire cooling rack with cilantro around it on a marble counter top

HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE

I am going to bat for the home team here and say that my enchilada sauce is what really puts this recipe over the top.

That said, I do not judge people based on their cooking. If you don’t have time to make enchilada sauce, make this recipe about twice as easy and fast, and just use two cups store bought sauce.

Or make my sauce ahead of time. Just saying.

CORN TORTILLAS VS. FLOUR TORTILLAS

One way you can make this easier is with store bought sauce.

I opted to make the sauce from scratch and take a different short cut by using flour tortillas.

Traditional enchiladas use corn tortillas, and the flavor is better with corn. However, they are difficult to roll unless you either dip them in enchilada sauce (messy) or lightly pan fry them (no thanks).

While you are getting a less authentic flavor here with flour tortillas, I think in this case the time saved is worth it.

side view of a blue ceramic baking dish filled with ground beef enchiladas sitting on a wire cooling rack with cilantro around it

MAKE AHEAD

The ultimate way to make these a fast weeknight dinner is to make them the day before.

When making in advance, instead of putting them in the oven, wrap them in aluminum foil and bake within 24 hours.

You can also freeze this recipe. Make in a disposable baking tray and wrap it three times and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When baking, transfer from the freezer to the preheated oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Make life SUPER easy and make two batches at a time, one to bake tomorrow and one to freeze for later.

THE THREE WAYS WE CAN MAKE THIS EASIER

So, to summarize like I’m back in 8th grade English:

  1. Use store bought sauce instead of making it from scratch. (I didn’t think the time saved was worth sacrificing flavor.)
  2. Use flour tortillas instead of making corn tortillas easier to roll. (I did think the time saved was worth it.)
  3. Make these the day before and pop them in the oven when you get home from work.

OTHER GREAT ENCHILADA RECIPES

If you make this enchilada recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

two easy beef enchiladas sitting on a white plate, garnished with black olive slices and fresh cilantro next to a cooling rack that has a baking dish on it and a fork next to it
side view of a blue ceramic baking dish filled with ground beef enchiladas sitting on a wire cooling rack with cilantro around it
5 from 1 vote

Beef Enchiladas

Serves: 6 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Beef Enchiladas are a delicious dinner that you can make ahead or freeze for later. The best enchilada sauce will make this a new family favorite.

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 Enchiladas

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small yellow diced
  • 4.5 ounces diced green chiles
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 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.
  • 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 into the beef filling and stir to combine.
  • Working with one flour tortilla at a time, add 1/4 cup of the beef filling and about a tablespoon of the shredded cheese. Roll and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue with all 8 flour tortillas. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, and then top with the remaining 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: 1.3enchiladas Calories: 516kcal (26%) Carbohydrates: 30g (10%) Protein: 32g (64%) Fat: 27g (42%) Saturated Fat: 11g (69%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 87mg (29%) Sodium: 1586mg (69%) Potassium: 503mg (14%) Fiber: 17g (71%) Sugar: 7g (8%) Vitamin A: 11IU Vitamin C: 8mg (10%) Calcium: 46mg (5%) Iron: 24mg (133%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
side view of a blue ceramic baking dish filled with ground beef enchiladas sitting on a wire cooling rack with cilantro around it

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Beef Enchiladas

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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. Cheryl Sommerville says

    You can still use corn tortillas by placing them in a damp paper towel and zapping them for a minute in the microwave. That way they fold easier. I personally prefer corn and it makes about a dozen because they’re smaller.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yeah, I did that method too, and they still didn’t roll as easily as the flour. But I agree with you, they are delicious.

      • Donna F. Harrison says

        I make enchiladas made with corn tortillas by frying them in hot oil very briefly so that they’re pliable. Then lay them flat on a paper towel-lined pan or countertop. This is how we make soft tacos as well. I don’t care for enchiladas made with flour tortillas because they get kinda slimy after a while.

        • Lisa Longley says

          Hi Donna! I actually mention in the post about pan frying them as a method of softening and the fact that I chose not to for ease of making them. These didn’t turn out slimy at all, but certainly everyone has different tastes and I fully support people doing what works for them in their own kitchens.

  2. Tiffany says

    What seasonings would you recommend to replace the chili powder? Can I just leave it out? We are a little sensitive to the chili powder and would love any suggestions on how to make this without chili powder. Thank you and can’t wait to make the enchiladas!

    • Tiffany says

      Maybe paprika?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I wold have to try it with other seasonings to really tell you for sure, but googling it, it looks like you would go with paprika, garlic & onion powder, some paprika, and cumin.

  3. Scarlet says

    These beef enchiladas look so good and sound surprisingly easy. I have to try this recipe. Thanks!

  4. Linda Gandy says

    5 stars
    Made the enchiladas tonight. They were amazing. My husband loves them. I will definitely make these again!!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      So happy you liked them Linda!

  5. Jo Campbell says

    Would a chicken substitute for beef work in this?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yes! Just use shredded chicken.

  6. Kathryn says

    Use Cooking Spray To lightly Coat the Tortillas: Spray the tortillas with a light coating of cooking spray and bake them for a couple minutes in a moderate oven before assembling and freezing the enchiladas. In addition to preventing sogginess, this softens them enough so that they’re pliant enough to roll easily. Makes assembly a breeze!

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