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

  • My husband tries to sneak this recipe into our rotation every few weeks because he loves it so much. We try to have only a few recipes we make often because we love making new dishes. These enchiladas this one pushed another meal out of our rotation because it is so good. I think my husband would lick the plate if we were not watching.

    • — Autumn on September 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these enchiladas for a family birthday dinner. They smelled good, looked restaurant quality, and tasted amazing! I adjusted the seasoning as suggested after the sauce had a chance to thicken but this recipe was spot on! Leftovers are even better. The tip on how to soften the tortillas was so helpful. I’ve since used it in making other recipes.

    • — Denise on July 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • This turned out very well but next time I’ll make another 1/2 batch of sauce as I could have used a bit more to cover the enchiladas. I’m in Canada so can’t get the Tillamook cheese but I made a mix using 2 types of very old cheddar. The Mission tortillas are not readily available here either. The tortillas I used are apparently a gourmet brand made in Canada to a traditional Mexican recipe but they tasted doughy and didn’t look at all like the Mission tortillas. We seem to have lots of brand options in a wheat/corn blend – would those work?

    In spite of the tortilla challenge the recipe is a home run. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Liz on June 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, Glad you liked them! I’ve never had/used tortillas that are a wheat-corn blend, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out with these.

      • — Jenn on June 28, 2021
      • Reply
    • If you have a Sobey’s close by they sell corn tortillas (white or yellow) in their bread aisle that work perfectly for this recipe.

      • — Julie on July 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • This was a little more labor-intensive than I originally expected, but the results were worth it. It seriously tasted like enchiladas from a Mexican restaurant! Be sure to use the corn tortillas. To me, thats what made the flavor authentic.

    • — Heather J Raider on June 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a superb recipe for old Mexican-style enchiladas. Gracias!

    • — Gina Stevens on May 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Accidentally bought slices of cheese instead of blocks or grated and wondered if it’s OK if I just layer the slices🤔😨

    • — Diana on May 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Diana, it’s not optimal but it should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • I live in Canada and cannot find the Tillamook cheese.

    Please suggest a substitute.

    Also, can I use hot chilli powder in this recipe?

    • — Diana on May 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Diana, Any good quality brand of shredded Mexcian blend cheese should work, and yes, if you’re good with heat, you can use hot chili powder (just keep in mind that it calls for 3 tablespoons so you may want to swap out 1 or 2 to ensure it’s not too spicy). Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Fantastic! My family rated this a FAVORITE 🙂
    I was worried about the 3 tbsp chili powder and did not level measure on this round (first time) because my daughter is not a fan of spicy food. Next time I will use all 3 tbsp as they did not come out too spicy at all. Thank you for another fabulous recipe!

    • — Lulu on May 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Substituted beef with chicken mince, as we don’t eat beef.
    What a lovely meal we’ve had this evening. Not complicated, ingredients easily accessible. Two teens & hubby very happy. Thanks

    • — Iqbal Dhadda on May 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • I followed this recipe exactly, minus the onions due to dietary restrictions. The first problem I had was that it took me nearly 2 hours to get these in the oven, not 20 minutes (though it was my first time and I was quite exhausted). The next thing I ran into was that the tortillas fused into one massive block when microwaved. At first I was impressed how soft they were and not dried out (as flour tortillas would be if microwaved without a damp paper towel). Most of them tore when I rolled them. After all that work, everything in the pan came out dark brown or black. I was hopeful, but this made for a frustrating evening and dinner ruined for the family.

    • — Ian on May 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made these a few times, and my family loves them. Due to diet restrictions, can I use almond flour instead of regular flour?

    • — Anna on April 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like them! Yes, I think almond flour should be fine here.

      • — Jenn on April 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • Could this be made with the ‘stacked’ style rather than rolling the enchiladas? Hopefully the oil treatment of the tortillas would help keep their integrity and keep them from becoming too mushy.

    • — Carol on April 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, Yes I think it would work. I also have a stacked beef enchilada that you could try instead. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on April 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • These are phenomenal enchiladas, they have an authentic flavor that is superb. They are now on the regular menu for our house.

    Thank you for sharing

    • — Randy Sampson on April 1, 2021
    • Reply

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