Stacked Beef Enchiladas (AKA Mexican Lasagna)

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With layers of corn tortillas, spicy ground beef, salsa and cheese, this stacked beef enchilada casserole is a family-pleaser.

stacked beef enchilada casserole

You know when you make a dish for the first time and your whole family loves it, and you’re elated because you’ve found a new recipe to add to your repertoire forever? That’s how I felt the first time I cooked these hearty stacked beef enchiladas.

With layers of corn tortillas, spicy ground beef, roasted tomato salsa, and cheese, it’s a cross between traditional rolled enchiladas and lasagna — yet easier to make than both. It’s a great make-ahead dish for a potluck or big family dinner. And if you prepare the sauce in advance, it’s doable on a weeknight, too.

What you’ll need to make stacked beef enchiladas

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

how to make stacked beef enchiladas

To begin, combine the ground beef and the baking soda in a large bowl. The baking soda raises the pH of the meat, helping to lock in moisture and make the beef melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Mix with your hands until evenly combined.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Let sit on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Toss the tomatoes, onions, and garlic with the vegetable oil directly on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until softened and charred, 12 to15 minutes (if the vegetables are browning too quickly, give them a quick stir with a rubber spatula).

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Transfer the vegetables and juices to a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper and pulse until just slightly chunky — then toss in the cilantro leaves.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Pulse until the cilantro is chopped. Set the sauce aside.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently and breaking into pieces, until just slightly pink, about 2 minutes.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes more, or until cooked through.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

To assemble the casserole: Preheat oven to 350°F and move the oven rack to the center position. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside 1 cup of the sauce for the top of the casserole. (You want to ensure that you have enough to cover the top layer of tortillas, otherwise they won’t cook through.) Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a layer of tortillas, overlapping them slightly.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Spoon half of the beef (and any juices) over the tortillas, followed by half of the sauce.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the sauce.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Repeat with another layer of tortillas, the remaining beef, remaining sauce, and 1/3 of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Spread the reserved sauce over the tortillas and cover completely.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over top.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is completely melted.

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

Enjoy!

Stacked Beef Enchilada Casserole

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Stacked Beef Enchiladas (AKA Mexican Lasagna)

With layers of corn tortillas, spicy ground beef, salsa and cheese, this stacked beef enchilada casserole is a family-pleaser.

Servings: 8
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Beef

  • 1-1/2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (see note)
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

For the Sauce

  • 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1.3 lb), quartered
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

For Assembling

  • 10 (8-in) yellow corn tortillas, cut into quarters (I use Mission brand)
  • 4 cups (12 oz) shredded Mexican blend cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and the baking soda. Mix with your hands until evenly combined. Let sit on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. While the beef sits, prepare the sauce. Set an oven rack about 5 inches beneath the heating element and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Toss the tomatoes, onions, and garlic with the vegetable oil directly on the prepared baking sheet. Broil until softened and charred, 12 to15 minutes (if the vegetables are browning too quickly, give them a quick stir with a rubber spatula). Transfer the vegetables and juices to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper and pulse until just slightly chunky. Add the cilantro and pulse until the cilantro is chopped. Set the sauce aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently and breaking into pieces, until just slightly pink, about 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes more, or until cooked through.
  5. To assemble: Preheat oven to 350°F and move the oven rack to the center position. Lightly oil a 9x13-in glass or ceramic baking dish.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of the sauce for the top of the casserole. (You want to ensure that you have enough to cover the top layer of tortillas, otherwise they won't cook through.)
  7. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a layer of tortillas, overlapping them slightly. Spoon half of the beef (and any juices) over the tortillas. Top with half of the sauce and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, the remaining beef, remaining sauce, and 1/3 of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas. Spread the reserved sauce over the tortillas and cover completely. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over top. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is completely melted.
  8. Note: Chipotle chili powder is smoky and hot and makes this dish a little spicy. For a milder dish, replace the chipotle chili powder with ancho chili powder, which isn't as hot.
  9. MAKE-AHEAD/FREEZER-FRIENDLY INSTRUCTIONS: The casserole can be prepared ahead of time, tightly covered with foil, and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to 3 months before baking (if frozen, defrost in the refrigerator before cooking). It can also be fully baked, tightly covered with foil, and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat: defrost if necessary and heat the covered casserole in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until hot. If you'd rather reheat individual servings, small portions can be zapped in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 491
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Sodium: 608 mg
  • Cholesterol: 96 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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Can you freeze this?

    • — Trisha Esnard on September 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – see the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe deserves 10 stars! My 93 year old dad kept saying it was delicious! He was thrilled with the great taste without any ‘spicy-heat’……thanks to the ancho chili powder. This is a keeper, and I will be making it for company! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • — Barbara Kettler on September 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • New favourite Mexican Meal at our house! Thanks for another winning dish Jenn

    • — Melissa on September 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was really fun to make. I made it the day before our party and put it, unbaked, in the refrigerator. Everyone had seconds. It’s just delicious!

    • — Victoria Wilson on September 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this tonight. Delicious! I did add about 1/2 cup of sour cream to the sauce and it was great.

    • — sv on June 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was really really good. I substituted ground turkey and did a mix of ancho and chipotle powder. Otherwise follow the recipe as written. The sauce is so good and all the flavors came together really well. I’ve made this before with ground beef and think I might prefer it with the ground turkey as it’s already a pretty heavy dish. Will definitely be making again!

    • — Lesley K. on May 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • Husband keeps saying “that is so good!”. He also said “this is a keeper, honey”.
    I enjoyed it too.

    • — Jennifer Hughes on May 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Fantastic! Served with sliced avocados and black beans. Super easy, and the sauce is divine.

    • — Bethany on May 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • If I swap ground turkey for the ground beef, should I still prep the meat with the baking soda?

    • — Adriana L on May 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • No, you can skip the baking soda step. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious! My office mate, Jane, made this over the weekend and brought a serving to me. I LOVED it! So I made this last night for us and visiting family and it was devoured! The only thing I did differently was I used Siete’s almond tortillas as that was what Jane had used and I liked it so much. Definitely will be made in our home on a regular basis! Thanks for a great meal!

    • — ann blystone on March 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious and so easy! I made this the other day and we all loved it! We Texans can be picky when it comes to Mexican food, but we all agreed to add this to the rotation. I followed the recipe except I didn’t realize my corn tortillas were the smaller 5″ or 6″ size. It still worked, but next time I will make sure to use the larger one.

    • — Emily on March 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this today. Couldn’t believe the great taste of the sauce and how easy it was to make. We loved it! Every recipe I’ve used on your site has been a keeper (key lime pie, baked ziti, crab cakes) Thanks for such great recipes.

    • — Marsha on March 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • I just made it. Delicious!!!
    I served it with black beans. I followed the recipe except I used an extra 2 tomatoes (because I wouldn’t have used them otherwise). Plenty of sauce. Very flavorful and delicious.
    Soooooooo tasty. My 11yo LOVED it

    • — Antionette on March 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    So far, all the recipes I tried from your site has been a huge hit in my house. This recipe will also be going into my recipe box. The only regret I have is not doubling the sauce!

    • — Kreider’s Kitchen on March 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Same!!!!! Definitely needed more sauce.

      • — Ck on June 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made this 2 days ahead for an easy weeknight meal.
    I only had a pound of ground beef, and used the same measurements of spices, and to bulk it up I added a can of rinsed black beans and a cup of frozen corn.
    It was fantastic! Nice flavor, served with a dollop of sour cream and fresh avocado

    • — Life of Fragrances on February 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great flavor! My entire family loved this dish. Tip: I made the salsa the night before. I put it in a jar in the fridge overnight. The next day I assemble the rest of the dish and popped it in the oven for a super simple weeknight meal.

    • — Catherine F on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are the BOMB!!!!! So easy and so good! Didn’t change a thing.

    • — Beverly on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello Jenn
    Have you ever made your stacked beef enchiladas recipe with flour tortillas? Asking because dear spouse did the food shopping and came home with package of 10 flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas that I’d asked him to pick up. Don’t really want him to go out again especially having to be so careful.
    Thank you

    • — Joycelyn on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Joycelyn, Glad you enjoyed this! I do think corn tortillas hold up better here, but some readers have commented that they have used flour tortillas with success. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • These were fantastic! Everyone loved them and paired with Chicken Nachos.

    • — mikermeals on January 31, 2021
    • Reply

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