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

  • Delicious! Our family enjoyed this recipe. Followed recipe as written except used 1/2 of a jalapeño & a flour/corn mix tortilla. Served with your Mexican rice. The meal was 10/10.

    • — TracyV on February 2, 2021
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  • You can make these somewhat vegan by using either a crumble from tofurky or the impossible meat. It will still turn out deli. That is how I roll with these.

    • — Rafael Araya on February 1, 2021
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  • Whipped this up for dinner this evening. I think if I make it enough it will go together a little faster. I used to much filling in the tortillas because I forgot to leave some left for the topping which is a must or the tortillas dry out around the edges. Other than that it was pretty tasty..

    • — Tim L on February 1, 2021
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  • I made the enchiladas on the weekend. My husband pronounced them, ‘excellent’ so I plan to make them next weekend for our family to enjoy during the super bowl! Carolyn

    • — Carolyn christensen on February 1, 2021
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  • Made these last night and were delicious. Question, how could I substitute chicken for the beef? Should I use ground chicken or pulled chicken?

    • — Sue L on February 1, 2021
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    • Hi Sue, I’d go with ground chicken (and glad you enjoyed them)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2021
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  • I made this last night, with some mexican rice. It was really good, my husband really liked it as well. I usually use flour tortillas, but used corn as the recipe called for and I think I like those better. Will be making again for sure.

    • — Beth W. on February 1, 2021
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  • This was the best I have had and have tried several recipes before this one. These are better than the ones at the Mexican Restaurants. I had to use low-carb tortillas but was stick great.
    Husband loved them too. Always love your recipes. Thanks for sharing.

    • — Angela Harris on February 1, 2021
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  • I made this for dinner but subbed the beef for ground turkey. Even with this substitution it still turned out delicious! I also increased the heat with cayenne pepper and more jalapeno. The flavor profile is similar to Jenn’s Chicken Tacos recipe, so if you’re a fan of those you should definitely try this recipe out (and vice versa!). I will definitely make this again!

    • — Julia on January 31, 2021
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    • forgot to add stars

      • — Julia on January 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made this today, easy to follow recipe. Took suggestion and diced the onion, jalapeño, and garlic before cooking beef. Also combined all the dry ingredients together and mixed in a small prep dish before adding it to the onion mixture. Couldn’t find yellow corn tortillas so used white corn tortillas. A little hard to wrap because I added too much meat mixture and then didn’t have enough to cover on top. Only changes I’d make are to make them smaller and add a little more heat/spice. Definitely making again.

    • — Christie Bruns on January 31, 2021
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  • I made these enchiladas yesterday. Everyone loved them. Not too spicy, just right. Easy to make and great tip on preparing the corn tortillas. Thank you!

    • — Michele on January 31, 2021
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  • I have made at least 10 of your recipes and not once have I been disappointed.
    Thank you for keeping me busy and happy in the kitchen especially during the past year.
    Lynne

    • — Lynne on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made the Beef Enchiladas as well as the Mexican Rice (featured in your email of 1/28)
    last evening for our son, his wife and 2 kids – 10 & 8. The only difference I made was to only use 2 Tablespoons of the chili powder – afraid it might be too spicy for the little ones. I needn’t have worried, the whole family loved both dishes and the very picky 8 year old went back for seconds! They also very subtly asked if they could take the few leftovers home, and would I give them the recipes! I have really enjoyed all the recipes I’ve made from your cookbook and am looking forward to getting your next! Will probably buy an extra for our daughter in law! Thanks so much for all your efforts!

    • — Marlene Arild on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • If you would like to make the enchiladas spicier, what do you think about substituting part of the chili powder with ancho chili powder? I don’t know a great deal about the ancho. Thanks

    • — JE on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi JE, Chipotle chili powder will give you more heat than ancho chili powder. You could also add a bit of cayenne pepper or some of the ribs/seeds from the jalapeno.

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made these today and they are great! – the men at my house really liked them. After our meal, my son quickly snatched up all the leftovers to take home with him.
    Since it helps me to read your reviews before I cook one of your recipes, I am reporting in today with a few of my tips in preparing this dish. 1)Chili powder – Be sure to check your stash of seasonings before you begin to make sure you have 3 T of chili powder – that’s a lot. I didn’t do so and only had 2 T and began scratching my head wondering if I could substitute with Ancho Chili powder 2) Tilamook shredded Mexican cheese- yes, Jenn is right, this brand is much better than Sargento , etc. Took me 3 stores to find the Tilamook – it was at Publix! 3) Tortilla size – unfortunately I tried to eyeball the 6-7 inch measurement for the tortilla at the grocery, and bought the wrong size. I bought 8 inch diameter tortillas and they won’t fit 5 and 5 as described in Jenn’s recipe. So if you buy the 8 inch like I did, it makes 6 enchiladas and you can lay them along the length of the dish 4) Flour tortillas vs Corn – corn is probably technically better but my family just likes flour so I made them with flour tortillas and they loved them. 5) 90-10 beef – Yes, Jenn is right about this but if you buy 80-20, just drain the grease after you brown the beef and you may not need the first 2 T oil.

    • — JE on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • All great tips, JE – thank you!

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • My family loved your Beef Enchilada recipe ! The red sauce flavor combination is delicious (no more canned sauce after making this one). And the tortilla method is genius. Thanks Jen for another very tasty recipe.

    • — Patricia Copenhaver on January 31, 2021
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  • I made these last night for dinner. They were delicious! They took a bit longer to prep and cook than the recipe suggests, but that’s probably just me. I followed the recipe quite closely. The only differences were minor, to suit our taste for spicy food: I used homemade beef broth instead of chicken, since I had it. I used a very large jalapeno and kept the seeds and ribs in. I couldn’t find the super size corn tortillas so I used the regular sized ones and they worked just fine, with maybe a bit more space between the 2 rows and also at each end. When I tasted the sauce for seasoning as suggested, I needed to add a moderate additional pinch of salt. This might be because I used kosher salt which the recipe didn’t specifically call for. I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to up the spice a bit. As the recipe states, the spice, even with the added cayenne, mellowed quite a bit in the finished dish. My wife and I both thought they were really delicious. She even went back for a third enchilada after finishing the 2 I plated for each of us. She also said I should make them again, which I agree with. I’m very happy I tried this recipe.

    • — David on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • I meant to add that I really liked the method of warming/softening the tortillas by brushing with oil and heating uncovered in the microwave. The only minor issue I had with it was near the bottom of the stack, the tortillas started to stick together a bit when rolling the enchiladas, requiring a bit of care to avoid tearing them.

      • — David on January 31, 2021
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  • I made this recipe last evening for my husband. I changed a few things like using almond flour tortillas. He loved it! Went back for seconds and will add this to a regular meal rotation for sure!

    • — Nurse Jane on January 31, 2021
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  • Made this on the weekend and shared it with my family – my wife thought there could be less chili pwder, but after having this over a bed of chopped lettuce It balanced out the flavors. I would make this again. It was also fun not to use canned enchilada sauce too.

    • — Doug Buxton on January 31, 2021
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  • Excellent!! The flavors were perfect.
    I also served it with your Mexican Rice which was also very good. A great combination. Will definitely make again!

    • — Lisa on January 31, 2021
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  • I made this recipe as described, with one exception. My family prefers flour tortillas rather than corn. In retrospect, I should have skipped the oiling of the tortillas since the flour ones are flexible enough without additional help. They were too soft/soggy, but that is my mistake. The flavor was excellent and this recipe is going in the family cookbook, with my note about not oiling flour tortillas. I served this along with Jen’s Mexican rice – also a hit!

    • — Deb on January 31, 2021
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  • Another winner! These were delicious and easy to make. I served with sliced avocado and sour cream. Thank you Jenn, for sharing your wonderful and easy to follow recipes- I enjoy cooking so much more thanks to you!

    • — Eileen on January 30, 2021
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  • Thank you Jen for another delicious recipe! Generally don’t care for corn tortillas, so thought about switching them out for flour, but glad I didn’t because their flavor and texture are perfect in this recipe. The oil and microwave method of warming up the tortillas is awesome – I love it when I learn something new.

    • — Karen on January 30, 2021
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  • Another amazing recipe Jenn! Nothing but raves!

    • — Kerrie on January 30, 2021
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  • Easy and delicious recipe! We used Impossible ground beef and added pinto beans. Next time we will definitely make Mexican rice on the side.

    • — Loretta Bozza on January 30, 2021
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    • I can’t have wheat flour (celiac) wondering if anyone knows what would be better; just sub an AP Gluten free flour or figure out a cornstarch ratio? Not sure which would be better to thicken! Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

      • — Michelle on February 7, 2021
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  • Another great recipe. My husband is in heaven with your food. The enchiladas were perfection. Thank you over and over.

    • — Virginia Murrell on January 30, 2021
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  • This recipe is amazing! It will be my go to from now on! My husband just kept saying mmmm. Thank you!!

    • — Peggy on January 30, 2021
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  • Wow…made these for dinner tonight and they were delicious! They had great flavor, even a little kick. I did use ‘spicy’ Mexican cheese. Served it with rice and black beans. Will definitely make them again!

    • — Patty on January 30, 2021
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  • I made these Beef Enchiladas for the first time today for my family. It did not disappoint. At first I thought they were going to be super hot and spicy but as Jenn stated in her recipe once you add the cheese it really all comes together for a delicious satisfying meal. Once served, I added a dollop of sour cream and it really put it over the top. Served with a side dish of steamed green beans and a salad and the meal was complete. This was a BIG hit with my family and I will definitely be making it again and again and again…………

    • — Max G. on January 30, 2021
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  • Terrific! Great flavor and so easy to make! Heat up well too the next day.

    • — Esther on January 30, 2021
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  • This is a really good recipe. My husband couldn’t stop raving about it. I did add a small amount of chipolte in adobe sauce that I had leftover. It added a little more smokey flavor. Glad I decided to make it.

    • — Kathy Bedard on January 30, 2021
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  • These were delicious. Your method for prepping the tortillas is so much easier then heating each one individually in a fry pan. I will make again.

    • — Margaret Loudin on January 30, 2021
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  • This is a delicious and easy dinner. I did not change a thing and it is now in my weekly rotation! Make it – your family will thank you!

    • — Denise Veggerby on January 30, 2021
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  • Hi! This looks really good and I am planning on making it today. I already have the ingredients together. One question, though: Why do you call for chicken broth for a beef chili? I have both homemade chicken broth and beef broth. I wonder should I use the homemade beef broth in this dish?

    • — David on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi David, I went with chicken broth because it was called for in the original NYT recipe this was based on. You could use either though – it won’t make much difference.

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2021
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  • I made the enchiladas with ground turkey because my family does not eat red meat. I’ve been making similar enchiladas for years but there were two different techniques that I liked in this recipe we’re 1) mixing the meat with the sauce (I always pour it over the contents of enchilada) and 2) softening the tortillas in the microwave (I previously fried them lightly, one at a time). It’s a great recipe. Not too much cheese, which is a nice change as well.

    • — Lyn McCarty on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • I want to make these and was wondering if I could add a small amount of chipoltes (sp) in adobe sauce> I have some leftover from a previous recipe and thought a small amount might be good. Thanks. Love your recipes.

    • — Kathy Bedard on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Kathy, but know it will add some heat.

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2021
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  • I made these and we loved them! I’d take a picture but they didn’t last that long!! Haha! Love your recipes, Jenn! So many of them are family favorites.

    • — Deb on January 30, 2021
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  • This is by far one of the best enchilada casserole recipes I have made! Sharing it with all my friends who love to cook! Thank you for sharing :))

    • — Amy on January 30, 2021
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  • Made these last night and LOVED them! Used can of diced tomatoes as that’s what I had and loved the addition of chunk to the sauce. Next time I’ll add, as one reviewer suggested, black beans to the sauce. Delicious..thank you!

    • — Cook from Philadelphia on January 30, 2021
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  • I enjoyed some of the techniques in this recipe that were new to me, starting with the addition of salt and baking soda to the ground beef, and brushing oil on the tortillas before filling and rolling – both helpful. I’ve made enchiladas with canned sauce before and this “from scratch” recipe has much better flavor! Because my husband and I prefer mild sauce, I omitted the jalapeño and reduced the chili powder – and even with these changes, the enchiladas were a delicious success! I’ll make them again!

    • — Amy on January 30, 2021
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  • Delicious! This will be our go to recipe from now on!

    • — Michael Shockley on January 29, 2021
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  • Absolutely love this! Another great recipe! Thank you.

    • — Taylor on January 29, 2021
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  • I am a chef also. If you make the sauce, not my recipe, and bathe the tortillas in before rolling it, is loverly. Will provide recipe if needed.
    Up here in Vancouver.

    • — april ramsay on January 29, 2021
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  • Absolutely delicious! My husband, “Chef Jeff” made them for Friday date night dinner and they were better than our local Mexican restaurant.

    • — Leslie on January 29, 2021
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  • Fantastic recipe. The seasoning in the sauce is just perfect. The sauce was so silky. No reason to order enchiladas in a Mexican restaurant again when you can make this delicious dish.I am a huge fan of your cookbook. I hope you will included this recipe in your second cookbook.

    • — Colleen Hanks on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was enjoyed by the whole family…except for my daughter who is a vegetarian! But she loved the Mexican rice I made with it! I doubled the sauce recipe, since I knew we probably wouldn’t have leftovers from the first batch. I’ll either make a second batch, freeze the sauce, or use it on nachos.

    • — Anna Maria DiPaola on January 29, 2021
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  • Delicious! Easy with almost all then ingredients on hand, definitely a keeper. Thanks.

    • — TJ on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is really tasty and my family enjoyed every bite. Great recipes as always. Thanks!

    • — Renee on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • These were delicious and easy to make. I also added a can of green chiles and they through it over the top.

    • — dagmar piegler on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great recipe. Delicious and easy and fast to make.

    • — Jeannie Bowes on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these last night and thought they were very tasty. I also made the suggested Mexican Rice as a side dish.
    I enjoy making your recipes and love to look through your site for ideas. Thank you.

    • — Marci Glenn on January 29, 2021
    • Reply

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