stacked beef enchilada casserole

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


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


  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

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  • 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

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.