For your next Tex-Mex feast, everyone will love these very best shredded beef enchiladas with a spicy red chile sauce! After filling corn tortillas with succulent, tender beef chuck roast and Hatch green chilies, these meaty enchiladas are covered with plenty of melted cheese and your favorite toppings. Whether you’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo party or just a casual evening with friends, these enchiladas always meet rave reviews.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Loaded with beefy goodness in every bite: These enchiladas are for you, meat lovers. With all that fork-tender shredded beef, these hearty enchiladas will leave you and your guests full and satisfied.
A favorite for casual dinner parties: One pan of enchiladas is perfect for a small gathering of four people, but it’s so simple to double, triple or quadruple the recipe to feed a large crowd. Besides, who doesn’t love a big plate of Mexican food with a margarita on the side?
Prepare ahead of time: Enchiladas are a great make-ahead dish for easy entertaining, and we’ll walk through the process.
Let's first gather our ingredients. Here's what we need to make our beef enchilada recipe.
Shredded beef: If you have a favorite shredded beef recipe, you’re welcome to use that, but I highly recommend my Mexican shredded beef or my Instant Pot shredded beef if you’re short on time. The Mexican shredded beef slowly braises in a red chile sauce, but it does take a few hours to prepare. You can make my Instant Pot shredded beef in about an hour and a half.
Corn tortillas: You should always make enchiladas from corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. While flour tortillas are delicious, they don’t have the right texture and flavor for enchiladas. I grew up in Houston, where Tex-Mex is king. Enchiladas are a Tex-Mex staple, and I can assure you that no respected restaurant in Texas uses flour tortillas for enchiladas.
Cheese: Any type of melting cheese works in this recipe. One of my favorite types of cheese is a Mexican Muenster, but queso asadero and queso Chihuahua both make tasty options. If you can’t get one of those styles, try a Monterey Jack cheese or pepper jack cheese.
Green chilies: You’ll just love the earthy touch green chilies add. You can use freshly roasted green chilies or the canned, jarred or frozen variety.
Red enchilada sauce: I highly recommend my favorite red enchilada sauce recipe. While you can technically use canned enchilada sauce, it’s well-worth your time to whip up a homemade enchilada sauce. The canned stuff lacks serious flavor compared to my sauce, and it’s super quick and easy to prepare.
Make the Red Enchilada Sauce
Step 1: To make our sauce, we whisk together some chili powder and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat for about five minutes (photo 1). This toasts the chili powder to enhance its flavor.
Step 2: Now we slowly whisk in some chicken stock (photo 2). As we pour in the stock, we want to continuously whisk the mixture to prevent the flour from clumping.
Step 3: From here, we stir in tomato sauce, cocoa powder, cumin, garlic powder, espresso powder, onion powder, oregano and cinnamon. We cook the mixture until the sauce thickens, which should take about 10-15 minutes (photo 3). After thickening, we add salt to taste, and our sauce is ready.
See how easy that was? Totally worth making your own sauce.
Prepare the Enchiladas
Step 1: Now let’s start on our enchiladas by heating the oven to 375 degrees F and spreading a layer of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (photo 4). About ½ cup of enchilada sauce will do.
Step 2: We add canola oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, we carefully place a tortilla in the skillet and fry it for about 30 seconds on both sides (photo 5). We’re not looking to deep fry the tortillas until ultra crispy — we’re just frying the tortillas to make them pliable.
Step 3: After frying a tortilla, we spoon shredded Mexican beef, green chilies and cheese on the center of the tortilla (photo 6), roll the tortilla around the beef mixture and place it seam-side down in a casserole dish (photo 7).
Step 4: Once we roll all the tortillas, we cover the top of the enchiladas with the sauce and remaining cheese (photo 8). Now we place the pan in the oven and bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is hot and bubbly.
That’s all it takes to make your very own homemade beef enchiladas.
Topping and Serving Ideas
Of course, enchiladas aren’t complete without your favorite toppings, and you have so many options. These are a few of my favorite enchilada toppings.
- Guacamole or avocado slices
- Sour cream
- Fresh jalapeño slices
- Chopped red onion
- Green onion
- Lime juice
- Hot sauce or a smoky salsa
- Fresh cilantro
And then there’s the question of what to serve on the side. Besides some refried beans, these are a great call.
Chipotle salsa: This salsa is made from roasted tomatoes and spicy chipotle peppers. You’ll just love how the smoky flavors of the chipotle complement the enchilada sauce. Make sure you have plenty of chips on hand as well.
Coconut-lime rice: The sweet coconut cream adds a nice contrast to that red chile enchilada sauce. Who doesn’t love a little sweet and spicy combination?
As promised, let’s review how you can make these enchiladas ahead of serving time.
- Fry and fill the tortillas as originally directed.
- Instead of placing the enchiladas in a baking dish with a layer of sauce, store them in a dry baking dish.
- Cover and refrigerate the enchiladas for up to a day or two.
- Remove the enchiladas from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking to remove the chill for more even cooking.
- Spread the enchilada sauce in a separate baking dish. Carefully move the enchiladas to the sauce-covered dish, and then proceed with the original directions for topping with more sauce, cheese and baking.
Storage, Reheat and Freezing
Enchiladas are best when served fresh, so that’s what I recommend for company. That said, the leftovers still make a tasty lunch or dinner. After baking, you can store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
When you’re ready to reheat the enchiladas, you can pop them in the microwave or cover them with aluminum foil and bake the enchiladas for about 15-20 minutes in a 350-degree F oven. You may want to let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to reheating like we discussed previously.
If you’d like to freeze the enchiladas, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag for up to two months. Place the enchiladas in the refrigerator overnight to thaw before baking the next day. Once they’re thawed, you can place them in the baking dish with the enchilada sauce and cheese — talk about the perfect freezer meal.
For the absolute best enchiladas, we want to use a chuck roast rather than a round roast. With chuck roast, we get loads of wonderful fat marbling to make a shredded beef that’s beyond juicy, tender and flavorful. A round roast is much leaner.
Not only does this make the tortillas pliable for easier rolling, but it also toasts the masa to make for a more flavorful enchilada, and it prevents the tortillas from getting too soggy. This step takes hardly any time, so please don’t skip this for best results.
I do not recommend substituting flour tortillas. Once covered in the sauce, flour tortillas turn gummy after baking. Authentic enchiladas always use corn tortillas.
We want to bake our enchiladas uncovered. You’ll love how this lets the edges of the tortillas crisp up for a nice texture.
Variations and Substitutions
Another reason to love enchiladas — you have so many customization options. Here are a few ways you can tweak the recipe to get even more uses out of it.
- Swap the red enchilada sauce for another variety, such as this creamy green enchilada sauce from my poblano enchiladas or a sour cream sauce from my jerk chicken enchiladas.
- Don’t have time to make shredded beef? Use seasoned ground beef instead.
- Substitute the Hatch green chilies for roasted poblanos or jalapeños.
- Use this as a base enchilada recipe for other proteins, such as chorizo, chicken or pork.
- Skip the protein altogether and make them into vegetarian enchiladas by using mushrooms, black beans or butternut squash as your main filling.
Let the enchiladas rest before serving: When the enchiladas come out of the oven, they need a few minutes to set. Otherwise, they have a tendency to fall apart. Give them five minutes before removing them with a spatula.
Fill the tortillas immediately after frying: Once the tortillas lose their heat, they won’t be pliable, so work quickly. Have your shredded beef, cheese and green chilies ready for filling.
Use fresh tortillas: Fresh tortillas roll much easier without breaking, even after frying.
Make sure you always place the enchiladas with the seam side facing down: This prevents them from unraveling.
Don’t forget to spread enchilada sauce on the bottom of your baking dish: If you use a dry baking pan, the enchiladas will stick.
Freeze any remaining enchilada sauce for future batches: My enchilada sauce should give you enough to make two batches. You can store it in the freezer for three to six months.
You’ll love a bold stout with these beefy enchiladas. With that chuck roast, we want a big beer that can stand up to a rich meat, and the roasted malt matches nicely to the strong chile notes in the sauce.
If you’d rather sip on wine, a full-bodied malbec works well. Like the stout, it’s big enough to stand up to the beef, and it comes with some nice fruity notes to counter the spice. Plus, it doesn't have too many tannins, which can clash with the red chile sauce.
Naturally, some tequila cocktails are also a favorite with enchiladas. For a margarita, my Cadillac margarita with its rich Grand Mariner is a good call, or you can check out this guide to fruity margaritas if that’s more your style. Or perhaps you’d like some tequila cocktails that aren’t margaritas — try my tequila sour or tequila smash.
When you need the perfect Tex-Mex dinner, you’ll love these delicious shredded beef enchiladas. With that perfect spicy red sauce and loads of juicy chuck roast, everyone will devour these enchiladas in no time.
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Shredded Beef Enchiladas With Red Sauce
- 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish
Red Enchilada Sauce
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt to taste starting with about ½ teaspoon and adding more if necessary
Shredded Beef Enchiladas
- 1 ½ cups red enchilada sauce divided
- Canola oil
- 8 corn tortillas not flour tortillas
- 1 ½ cups shredded beef
- 3 cups white melting cheese divided (see notes)
- ¼ cup roasted green chilies jarred, frozen, canned or freshly roasted
- Desired toppings such as avocado slices, lime wedges, red onion, cilantro, sour cream and salsa
Red Enchilada Sauce
- Over medium heat, add flour and chili powders in a dry small saucepan and whisk constantly for about five minutes.
- Slowly stir in stock. Continue to whisk to keep the flour from clumping.
- Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, cumin, garlic powder, espresso powder, onion powder, oregano and cinnamon. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Taste and add salt.
Shredded Beef Enchiladas
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread about ½ cup of the red enchilada sauce on the bottom of a greased baking dish. Set the rest of the enchilada sauce aside.
- Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a clean skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Place a corn tortilla in the oil and cook for 30 seconds. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds.
- While the corn tortilla is still warm, add 2 tablespoons shredded beef, 1 tablespoon shredded cheese and ½ tablespoon green chilies to the center of the tortilla. Fold each side of the tortilla toward the center to roll the enchilada and place seam-side down in the baking pan. Repeat with all tortillas. If necessary, add more oil to the skillet.
- Top the enchiladas with the remaining 1 cup enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let sit for about five minutes to set and prevent the enchiladas from falling apart when serving. Garnish with desired toppings. Enjoy!
- If you need a recipe for shredded beef, try my Mexican shredded beef or Instant Pot shredded beef.
- For the enchilada sauce, you can substitute the chipotle chili powder for another tablespoon of the regular chili powder.
- The enchilada should give you about enough for two batches of enchilada sauce. You can freeze the leftovers for three to six months.
- Fresh tortillas roll more easily without breaking than old tortillas.
- To make ahead, fry and fill the tortillas as originally directed. Instead of placing the enchiladas in a baking dish with a layer of sauce, store them in a dry baking dish. Cover and refrigerate the enchiladas for up to a day or two. Remove the enchiladas from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking to remove the chill for more even cooking. Spread the enchilada sauce in a separate baking dish. Carefully move the enchiladas to the sauce-covered dish, and then proceed with the original directions for topping with more sauce, cheese and baking.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.