Beef Enchiladas

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Filled with chile con carne and cheese, these beef enchiladas are the ultimate Mexican comfort food.

Inspired by Sam Sifton’s popular Enchiladas Con Carne in the New York Times, these family-style enchiladas are seriously delicious. You begin by making a quick chili con carne, or chili sauce, with lean ground beef, onions, peppers, spices, tomato sauce, and broth. The sauce is then combined with shredded Mexican cheese and rolled into soft yellow corn tortillas, which are nestled into a baking dish, topped with more sauce and cheese, and then baked until bubbling. The recipe takes about an hour start to finish — perfect for a comforting weekend dinner or weeknight when you’ve got a little extra time.

What You’ll Need To Make Beef Enchiladas

ingredients for enchiladas

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Tenderize the Meat

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, baking soda, and salt. beef, salt, baking soda in bowl

Mash with your hands until evenly combined and let sit on the counter for at least 20 minutes. As it rests, the baking soda raises the pH of the meat, helping to lock in moisture and making the beef tender.

mashing beef

Step 2: Prep

While the beef rests, chop the onion, jalapeño, and garlic and prep your other ingredients.

chopped onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic on cutting board

Step 3: Make the Sauce

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the meat.

browning beef for enchiladas

Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meat to a plate.

browned beef

Add the onion, jalapeño pepper, and garlic to the skillet.

cooking onions, jalapeno, and garlic

Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.

softened onion, jalapeno, and garlic

Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and flour. adding spices and flour to the pan

Cook, stirring constantly, to toast the flour and spices for 1 minute more.

cooking spices and flour

Stir in the tomato sauce.

adding tomato sauce

Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring to combine.

adding chicken broth

Add the beef.

adding the beef to the sauce

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and vigorously simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

thickened enchilada sauce

Step 4: Soften the Tortillas

Pour the oil into a small bowl or ramekin. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of each tortilla with oil, then stack them on a plate and microwave until hot and steamy, about 1-1/2 minutes. This makes them pliable; if you skip this step, they’ll likely tear when you roll them.brushing corn tortillas with oil

Step 5: Assemble the Enchiladas and Bake

Spoon about 1 cup of the sauce evenly into the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish.

spreading some of the enchilada sauce in the baking dish

Working directly on the stack of tortillas, put about 3 tablespoons of cheese and 2 generous tablespoons of the sauce in the center of the top tortilla.

adding cheese and enchilada sauce to the tortillas

Roll it up.

rolling the enchiladas

Place it seam-side down in the pan, and repeat with the remaining tortillas, nestling each one against the last. (You’ll have two rows of 5 enchiladas.)

rolled enchiladas arranged in the baking dish

Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (I like to sprinkle the cheese over the center of each row of enchiladas, rather than all over, so that the tortillas are partially exposed during baking.)

enchiladas covered with sauce and cheese

Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

bubbling enchiladas

Serve and enjoy!

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Beef Enchiladas

Filled with chile con carne and cheese, these beef enchiladas are the ultimate Mexican comfort food.

Servings: 5
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (see note)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the Enchiladas

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing the tortillas
  • 10 (6- to 7-inch) yellow corn tortillas, preferably Mission Super Size "Super Soft"
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, preferably Tilamook

Instructions

  1. Tenderize the Meat: In a medium bowl, combine the beef, baking soda, and salt. Mash with your hands until evenly combined and let sit on the counter for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  3. Make the Sauce: Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meat to a plate.
  4. Add the onion, jalapeño pepper, and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce, then gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring to combine. Add the beef and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and vigorously simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. (The sauce may taste a bit spicy; it will mellow out when combined with the cheese and tortillas.)
  5. When the sauce is almost done, soften the tortillas: Pour the oil into a small bowl or ramekin. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of each tortilla with oil, then stack them on a plate and microwave, uncovered, until hot and steamy, about 1-1/2 minutes.
  6. Assemble the Enchiladas: Spoon about 1 cup of the sauce evenly into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  7. Put about 3 tablespoons of cheese and 2 generous tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each tortilla, then roll the tortillas up and place them seam-side down in the pan, nestling each one against the last. (You'll have two rows of 5 enchiladas.) Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (I like to sprinkle the cheese over the center of each row of enchiladas, rather than all over, so that the tortillas are partially exposed during baking.) Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
  8. Make-Ahead/Freezer Friendly Instructions: The enchiladas can be assembled up to one day ahead of time, tightly covered with foil, and refrigerated until ready to bake. If you go this route, bake for 15 minutes covered with foil, and then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted. The enchiladas can also be frozen for up to 3 months before baking (if frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight before cooking).
  9. Note: Always wear gloves and/or wash your hands very well after working with jalapeños, and keep your hands away from your eyes.
  10. Note: For maximum efficiency, prep the onion, jalapeño and garlic and measure out your ingredients while the beef tenderizes in step 1.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 2 enchiladas
  • Calories: 693
  • Fat: 43 g
  • Saturated fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 41 g
  • Sodium: 918 mg
  • Cholesterol: 126 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Re Nikki Moranville comment February1, 2021: it is baking soda not baking powder you use to treat the hamburger.

    • — Mommo on March 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Mommo, She wrote baking powder, but baking soda is what should be used. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • So delicious! I might make more filling next time because I didn’t have much left for on top. I also used partially cooked flour tortillas that have to be heated on the stove (no micro).

    • — Rachel Schurz on February 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I added the jalapeño seeds since we love spicy food. Thank you for another awesome recipe 🙂

    • — Donna on February 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • Was wonderfully surprised as to the great taste and flavor. I made it with the Mexican rice as you suggested and that was delicious as well.

    So excited!!!!!

    Thanks again,
    Jenn

    • — Kim on February 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jen, I have left over cooked turkey taco meat from a not impressed (not yours of course!) recipe. I figure I’ll tone down on the spice mix & pick up your recipe at “remove meat from pan”, sound right?

    • — Eve on February 19, 2021
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    • Sure, I think you could get away with it. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on February 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • Wonderfully flavored without all the hard work. Yum!

    • — Teri on February 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • These enchiladas were so good. I made them as directed and the taste was perfect. I did have to use smaller (5 inch) corn tortillas because my store didn’t have the bigger ones, so I ended up with 15 enchiladas. Thanks for sharing.

    • — kt on February 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this with the Mexican rice and it was very good. I used a little more cheese, because we love cheese and needed to have it in the oven a LOT longer than 15 minutes – more like half an hour (I had it premade and in the fridge prior to the oven) Corn tortillas are hard to find, I used one that was flour/corn so I was able to skip the whole oil/microwave part of the recipe.

    • — Donna McCoo on February 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • I have to agree, Donna. I premade this one as well, and I think because it was cold coming out of the fridge, the 15 minutes in the oven wasn’t enough time to get it completely hot. My company had to awkwardly heat their portions for a little longer in the microwave. Besides that issue, it’s a five star recipe!

      • — Andrew on February 16, 2021
      • Reply
  • I do not have a microwave. Can you give me an alternative method for softening the tortillas?

    Thanks!

    • — Kim on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, Here are a couple methods you can use. Hope you enjoy the enchiladas!

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • We made these last night to warm ourselves defending against a snowy cold Seattle night. They were excellent. We had some marinated chimichurri beef in the refrigerator that I cut into small bite-sized chunks and sauteed in substitution for the ground beef. It worked very well. Added some finely chopped turmeric to the spice mix and away we went. Served to rave reviews of the “best ever”…….

    • — Christopher on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Apparently corn tortillas are not very popular in my area. Four major grocery stores and not one had them. Is it okay to use four tortillas? Should I adjust the baking time?

    • — Lisa on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Corn tortillas are better for enchiladas but if you can’t find them, flour tortillas should work. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • Really good and nice change from our usual green chili chicken enchiladas. I followed the recipe as written but next time, I would add more heat from the chili. I used Tillamook Rustic Mexican Cheese blend and liked the way the rustic cut melted (more slowly) in the oven.

    • — Margaret on February 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best enchiladas ever! Not as great if made ahead. I loved the flavor when baked right away. But the second time I made it I assembled the day before and the flavor of the corn tortillas was not there. Next time I want to make them ahead I’ll prepare the sauce but not assemble it til just before baking. Thanks for a great recipe, Jenn!

    • — Pam on February 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this and your Mexican Rice recipe last night. Both were wonderful! Followed the recipe exactly and it was absolutely delicious. The only thing I will do differently next time is use restraint when adding the filling and cheese to the tortillas! I always tend to overfill. Thank you for another excellent recipe

    • — Mary R on February 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I made the Beef Enchilada but the heat was too much for me and my wife and the cheese and tortillas did not mask the heat. I was not sure about the baking soda added to the meat but I followed the recipe to the T and it seemed that the beef was tasty and tender. I used ground chuck from Fresh Market. The recipe was delicious but we were overwhelmed by the pepper. I will definitely make this again but tone down the pepper quantities. Thanks, Gene

    • — Gene M on February 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. I’ve never been a fan of Mexican food mainly because restaurant fare has always been blah with the exception of frozen margaritas. I braved the freezing rain and drove to the store just to get the Tillamook cheese and it was well worth it. Didn’t even need the Mexican rice and refried beans – just some fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. Even though the recipe feeds six, my husband and I are well into our second helpings so for us it’s a recipe that feeds two with just enough left over for a late afternoon snack. Thanks Jenn for another great recipe. Now I’ll have some of your chocolate pudding for dessert which puts the boxed stuff to shame.

    • — Marilyn Segal on February 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • Dear Jenn,

    I used your recipe for beef enchiladas and they are the best I’ve ever made, and maybe the best I’ve ever eaten! I love the tips you include in your recipes – like tenderizing the ground beef and how you brush the tortillas with oil and then heat in the microwave. Genius! I didn’t get a picture of the enchiladas because I ate them right away, but I will definitely make them again. Every recipe of yours that I’ve tried comes out restaurant quality, and the instructions are so easy to follow. I’m so grateful for you! Thank you for all you do.

    Warm regards,

    Lila Kingfisher – a big fan!

    • — Lila Kingfisher on February 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • My favorite high-quality Mexican restaurant couldn’t do better! Absolutely 5-stars. Follow this recipe exactly as written. And yes, you really should add 3 TABLESPOONS of chili powder. The end result is not too hot or spicy. It is just a wonderful flavor. My husband absolutely loved this and he is an extremely picky eater. Looking forward to making this for company sometime. Enjoy!

    • — Peg Reiter on February 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • I am enjoying Jenn’s recipes so when I saw this I was excited to make it. I read the reviews first and everyone seems to enjoy it. My only comment is it is spicy! For my taste, it was too much chili powder. I write this only for those that do not want that much spice and want to tone it down a little.

    • — Leah Eggen on February 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Could these be made vegetarian by using black beans? If yes, how much black beans do you recommend and would the recipe need any other adjustments?

    • — Dale on February 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Dale, I haven’t tried it, so I can’t say for sure, but I think it would work. I’d guesstimate you’d need 1-1/2 to 2 cans black beans (and you can skip the baking soda step as you won’t be treating the meat). Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious! A lovely family meal when served with Mexican rice. At first, we thought the Mexican rice was a bit bland, but when eaten with the enchiladas, it makes for a tasty bite. Do chop the onion, jalapeño and garlic while the beef is tenderizing and mix the spices and flour together so you are ready to mix everything quickly when making the sauce. Also note that you’ll need two packages of the Tilamook cheese to make 3 cups.

    • — Jo-Anne B on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these this week and they are terrific! The sauce is perfect just as written. Softening the tortillas in the microwave was a new trick to me and it really works. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Kathryn & Otis on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can these be assembled, frozen and then cooked? If so what do you suggest?

    • — Wendy B. on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes, they can. See the bottom of the recipe for Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • These were so good, definitely adding to my recipe rotation! The beef was noticeably more tender after mixing it with the baking soda.

    • — Jeanine Miller on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love to make the recipe but can’t find the large corn tortillas. Where did you buy yours? Love everyone of your recipes.

    • — Linda Buttles on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, So glad you like the recipes! I just buy the tortillas at my local grocery store (Giant). 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • So very delicious–I give them 5 stars. Very easy to make also.

    • — Kathleen Severson on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these the other night. Absolutely delicious. I love it that I can cook so many different, wonderful meals. Thank you.

    • — Virginia Murrell on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love these! I liked the hint for softening the tortillas in the microwave. Way less messy than dipping in the sauce before rolling as my other recipe has you do. And I like the homemade enchilada sauce, as I can’t take a lot of spice so this lets me control it for my heat level. This is a keeper.

    • — Janna Olsen on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • So delicious. I loved the the way the ground beef was incorporated into the sauce. Also what a great idea to lightly brush the tortillas with oil and warm in the microwave rather than frying in oil. Not only easier but healthier as well!!! Thank you Jenn for another great recipe!! Blessings.

    • — Marcie Lomeli on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I cannot wait to try this!

    • — Tom Rudd on February 3, 2021
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  • These were yummy, and I liked the method of making the tortillas pliable. Unfortunately, I only had chipotle chili powder, so I used that, not realizing it was much spicier than my regular chili powder. My mistake! Look forward to making them again with the right ingredients!

    • — Jamie on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe. The family loved it and they can be hard to satisfy. All of your recipes are user friendly and turn out great! Thanks for sharing!!

    • — Karen on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • We made these enchiladas and found them to be very easy to make I made corn tortillas what a difference that made, We loved them and two days later made fantatic left overs.

    • — Greg and Sherry Heiden on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was great!

    • — Sarah O on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Well….what can I say….my family were fighting over the leftovers!!

    • — Jane on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made alot of Jenn’s recipes but this is the first one I’ve ever commented on. I have to preface this with I am half Mexican. My mother and grandmother were famous for their enchilada’s. Unfortunately they are both gone and I lost my Grandmother’s recipe. So I was hesitant to do this knowing what I was competing with!

    Well it was one of the BEST I’ve ever had! I had to make a few tweaks as I did not have everything called for and my wife did not want the jalapeño:(

    I did not have tomato sauce so I made my own with tomato paste and water in a one to one ratio. Then I seasoned it with Italian seasoning and salt. That was it. It turned out perfect.

    In place of the jalapeño I used Tabasco Pepper sauce sprinkled liberally in the sauce. Just as Jenn said it would, it mellowed with cooking. I also added 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey to the sauce and mixed it all in. I like my sauces on the sweet side. I simmered the sauce for over an hour and it mixed with the Tabasco perfectly and turned into a wonderfully perfect sauce.

    The only other change was Instead of corn tortilla’s which I was out of, I used Don Pancho’s Golden Blend tortilla’s. They are on the larger side which was perfect for double wrapping the enchilada. This made it much easier to put in the pan.

    My wife loved this dish! So did I for that matter. It’s one of the best enchilada’s I’ve ever had!

    Way to go Jenn!

    • — Bob Sweet on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • By the way, I heated the tortilla’s in hot oil and then transferred to a plate before building the enchilada. – FYI…

      • — Bob Sweet on February 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Loved by my husband and picky son! The filling was seriously delicious.

    • — JL on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Easy, quick and filled with flavor. I will make this again and again. Long time fan of your recipes.

    • — ed gerrard on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello! I have a lot of sauce left, can I freeze it and use it later?

    • — UK on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • These were delicious!! Followed the instructions and actually had so much fun making this. Big hit with the family, smiles all around.

    • — Shelly on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can the enchiladas be made ahead of time, be wrapped and refrigerated until baking? Or will they turn soggy

    • — Melissa on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes, they can be made ahead — see the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made these last night and everyone loved them! Full of flavor. Loved the way you softened the tortillas…I will do that from now on…mine always tore in the past but now I know the SECRET! Thank you!! This does call for 3 Tablespoons of Chili Powder…would just warn everyone to make sure you have that much before cooking…I added all of it and it was wonderful!

    • — Beverly on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • A very solid enchilada recipe. I substituted ground turkey for the beef and it was delicious. The flavors are very balanced. I couldn’t find the larger corn tortillas, so I used smaller ones. I ended up making 12 enchiladas instead of 10. I think next time I’ll look for the larger tortillas and add a bit more jalapeno to kick up the heat.

    • — Stacy on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • The recipe instructions and choice of ingredients appears so much simpler then how I have been making enchiladas. My family grew up, in San Antonio and chili powder was a component to just about every meal, that would include breakfast, lunch and dinners. I was pleased that you used corn tortillas, if you access to fresh corn tortillas you will certainly notice the difference in texture and thickness. Chili powders are also very different, I now live in Houston and have asked the local grocer to stock brands I grew up with, and when my sister and her husband move to the Washington, D.C. area, he always appreciated receiving some by mail. I will make this recipe this weekend, thank you.

    • — Carl R. on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my new go-to enchiladas recipe! Absolutely delicious and so comforting. I made it for my parents who have been sick and they loved it. Also made a pan for my family, who woofed it down. I recommend adding your favorite hot sauce on top to spice it up even more. Otherwise, I followed the recipe to a t (except subbed in a half a cup tomato paste for the sauce as I ran out) and it was perfection!

    • — Deborah Arca on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad this was a hit (and hope your parents feel better soon)!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe! The recipe is easy and makes for a delicious dinner. The addition of the chicken broth is what made it unique and the soft corn tortillas added a lot to the flavor. I also like that this dish can be made ahead of time and frozen. Will certainly be making this again!

    • — Maria F. on February 2, 2021
    • Reply

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