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Red Chicken Enchiladas

Well darnit!!! I didn’t notice until AFTER taking these out of the oven that the cheese had slid between each enchilada instead of on top of them. Oh well. At least these Red Chicken Enchiladas were still delicious.

Usually when I make enchiladas I make the Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas, but I’ve been wanting to try the Cook’s Illustrated version and it did not disappoint. I loved making my own red sauce. It was so flavorful!!! Totally worth it. I did change a few things when I made this so that my brother in law could eat it, but other than that I followed the recipe exactly.

The Spanish rice was also delicious. It did make a lot, but don’t you worry, we will be using the leftovers for the pork tostadas later. The rice had great flavor and I think at least part of that was due to toasting the rice before cooking it. The hubby and I prefer to do that to our rice so we knew this was going to be a good recipe.

What Is The Difference Between Enchilada and Burrito?

There are really two differences between enchiladas and burritos.

Enchiladas are small corn tortillas wrapped around a filling.

They’re usually served in a bed of sauce with a sprinkling of cheese on top.

Burritos usually are made with flour tortillas, and the sauce is served on the side.

Can Enchiladas Be Made Ahead?

You can assemble enchiladas ahead of time, and bake when you are ready to serve.

Wrap the assembled enchiladas in plastic wrap and foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Can Enchiladas Be Frozen?

You can keep enchiladas in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

To freeze, wrap the entire pan of enchiladas in foil, crimping the edges for a tight seal.

Freeze enchiladas for up to 3 months.

Red Chicken Enchiladas

Red Chicken Enchiladas

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6


Recipe By Cook's Illustrated

  • 1 onion medium, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapenos seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tomato seeded and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded sharp white, divided
  • 1 cup cheese shredded monterey jack, divided
  • ½ cup cilantro minced fresh
  • 12 tortillas 6-inch soft corn
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tomatoes ripe, about 12 ounces, cored and quartered
  • 1 onion medium, preferably white, peeled, trimmed of root end, and quartered
  • 3 jalapeno chiles medium
  • 2 cups rice long grain white
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups chicken broth low-sodium or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves minced fresh-I omitted this
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving


Chicken Enchiladas

  • Combine the onion, jalapeno and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook just until fragrant, less than 30 seconds.
  • Mix in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through (160? F on an instant-read thermometer), about 12-20 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
  • Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the onions and tomatoes to extract as much liquid as possible.
  • Transfer the reserved solids to a large bowl and set aside.
  • Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  • Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the onion mixture.
  • Add in ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of each of the shredded cheeses, and the cilantro.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • Oil a 9 x 13  baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds, until warm and pliable.
  • Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down.
  • Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.
  • Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 400  F.  Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce oven the top.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spanish Rice

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Process tomatoes and onion in food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl if necessary.
  • Transfer mixture to liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess so that volume equals 2 cups).
  • Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños and discard; mince flesh and set aside.
  • Mince remaining jalapeño, including ribs and seeds; set aside.
  • Place rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Shake rice vigorously in strainer to remove all excess water.
  • Heat oil in heavy-bottomed ovensafe 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drop 3 or 4 grains rice in oil; if grains sizzle, oil is ready. Add rice and fry, stirring frequently, until rice is light golden and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and seeded minced jalapeños; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil.
  • Cover pan and transfer to oven; bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.
  • Stir in cilantro and reserved minced jalapeño with seeds to taste.
  • Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.
Nutrition Facts
Red Chicken Enchiladas
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 834 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 88mg29%
Sodium 2023mg88%
Potassium 1103mg32%
Carbohydrates 97g32%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 1871IU37%
Vitamin C 42mg51%
Calcium 404mg40%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment


  • This was delicious! I added some smoked paprika and adobo chili sauce to the enchilada sauce. I did not add the sugar and I don’t think anything was lacking in the finished product.

    • Reply
  • Carrian, I made these enchiladas last weekend.. They were so good! I have loved your blog way before I started my own! I love all your recipes : )

    • Reply
  • I love enchiladas!Yours look wonderful!

    • Reply
  • Carrian,

    You know I'm a sucker for anything Cooks Illustrated. I've been wanting to try these for a while. I can't wait until I'm off this diet and can give it a go.

    • Reply
  • This enchiladas you have so flavor fully prepared here makes me want to hop on a plane & go to Mexico.Your beautiful pictures and step by step instructions are so thoughtfully written!

    • Reply

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