30 Minute Mexican Enchiladas

Enchiladas on a black plate

The Spruce

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

This easy Mexican enchiladas recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare for a filling family meal. They can be prepared simply with just cheese, or be spruced up by adding a little bit of beef or chicken to appeal to the meat-eaters in your household.

In their simplest form, authentic enchiladas are simply corn tortillas dipped in a chile sauce and eaten with a fork. They might or might not have a filling and are sometimes topped with a sprinkling of grated cheese or a drizzle of cream.

As enchiladas became popular across the Southwestern United States, they evolved into an oven-baked dish as that appliance is used more commonly in North America than South of the border. Enchiladas are now associated with the casserole classic that we know today.


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  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 16 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 (28-ounce) can enchilada sauce (or 1 homemade ​red enchilada sauce)
  • 2 cups cheese (mozzarella or queso blancograted or shredded)
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese
  • Optional: 1 1/2 cups cooked shredded beef, chicken, or pork

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Enchilada ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Heat oven to 400 F. Pour 1 cup of oil into a medium-sized saucepan and heat until it's hot, but not sizzling. You want to warm the tortillas in the oil, not fry them.

  3. Using tongs, dip each tortilla, one at a time, into the hot oil until it is warmed through and pliable. Remove tortilla from oil and drain it briefly on a paper towel.

    Warming tortillas in a pan
    The Spruce
  4. Pour just enough sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 inch glass baking dish to cover it. Pour the rest of the sauce in a large bowl. Dip a warm tortilla into the sauce and then place it in the bottom of the baking dish.

    Tortillas dipped in enchilada sauce
    The Spruce
  5. Place a little less than 1/4 cup of cheese down the center of the tortilla. If you are adding meat, use a little less cheese. Fold half of the tortilla over the cheese, then the other half, so that the tortilla is rolled around the cheese. Turn it over so it is seam-side down and the weight of the cheese will help keep it in place.

    Tortillas in enchilada sauce with cheese
    The Spruce
  6. Repeat each of those steps for each of the tortillas making two layers of enchiladas in the dish, if necessary. Pour any remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the Cotija cheese over the enchiladas.

    Cheese enchildadas
    The Spruce
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until enchiladas are hot throughout and cheese is melted.

    Cheese Enchiladas
    The Spruce 
  8. Serve your enchiladas with a spatula, four to a plate, and enjoy!


  • The sauce can make things a bit messy, so wear an apron!

Recipe Variations

  • If you want to keep this enchilada vegetarian, but are looking for a bit more of a heartier dish, try sautéing some chopped up bell peppers and onions and adding those to the enchilada when you add the cheese to the tortilla.
  • If you are looking to add some meat to this dish, you can either use shredded cooked chicken or cubed cooked steak and add it to the tortilla when you add the cheese.