This Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe is incredibly delicious! Shredded chicken smothered in an utterly creamy sauce made with sour cream and one more delicious secret ingredient!
You will be surprised how easy it is to make a layered chicken enchilada casserole with just a few ingredients and my homemade cream of chicken soup (make it either gluten free or with wheat flour) and sour cream.
It is quick and easy to make, with just a few ingredients and will make your enchilada casserole just a bit more healthy. Cream of chicken soup is incredibly versatile, is lighter and low fat than the store-bought, and honestly, it tastes simply better.
For the ultimate casserole experience, I've also added sour cream to the sauce. No need to add tons of cream cheese!
Love this quick and easy chicken enchilada casserole? Over time I've shared with you my favorite Mexican Inspired recipes such as fulfilling Beef Enchilada Casserole, shredded Beef Chimichangas, cheesy Chicken Enchilada made in slow cooker, Shredded Chicken Enchiladas and many other side dishes to serve with yummy enchilada recipe.
There is a skip-to-recipe button in the top left corner along with a clickable table of contents list (just below) that will quickly take you to the part you are more interested in. Enjoy!
Why It's Yummy
- Easy homemade enchilada recipe - Everyone needs a great chicken casserole recipe up in their sleeve to cook during busy weeknights (or at least one cheesy Mexican recipe). It has everything a great casserole for a crowd should have: thick and rich homemade cream of chicken soup sauce, shredded chicken (or use any leftover chicken), and plenty of toppings.
- Quick casserole - It only takes 25-30 minutes to assemble and bake this casserole!
- No special ingredients or Enchilada sauce needed! The best part is that you don't need it because this recipe is for easy chicken enchiladas and it's made with a 10-minute Gluten Free Cream of Chicken Soup (can be made ''with gluten'' too!). Homemade and healthy but If you want your dinner even faster, go for the store-bought cream of chicken (not recommended as high in sodium and plenty of other things!).
- Layered chicken enchilada casserole - No mess and tortilla rolling! Whenever you are craving enchiladas and too lazy to fill and roll all of the tortillas, then this is your quick fix! Instead of the hassle, tortillas are layered between the creamy sauce, chicken, and lots of cheese. Quick, easy, and cheesy!
- Great to make-ahead, for leftovers and is freezer friendly - use rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled or cooked chicken from last night's dinner and store for 2-3 days in an airtight container to make this casserole later. Cream of chicken soup can be made in advance or boguht from store as well. Leftovers freeze and reheat beautifully.
What The Yummy Bowl fans are saying across different platforms:
Made this for dinner and everyone raved about it! Loved the heat of the pickled jalapenos in it...definitely going to make again! Heather, Blog Comments
So good! even my picky eater went back for a second helping! DelisOutH, Pinterest
What is an Enchilada?
Traditional enchiladas are rolled corn tortillas dipped or covered in sauce and filled with various toppings. Enchiladas come from Mexican cuisine and have become very popular in the United States. This recipe however is a little different as we are going to learn how to make layered chicken enchilada casserole instead.
Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole Ingredients
- Cooked Shredded Chicken - for a quick solution, start with rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken from last night's dinner, or slow cooker chicken with or without spices. If you have more time, use fresh chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Boil or bake these in the oven until cooked through. The chicken is ready when a kitchen thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Shred or dice cooked chicken into small pieces.
- Soft Flour Tortillas - both gluten-free (or non-gluten-free popular brands) or use corn tortillas. About 4 inches (10cm) in diameter. Get mini-size tortillas or cut the desired size yourself from a larger tortilla. Previously for larger tortillas, I've also cut these in half, smaller irregular parts or triangles.
- Easy Sour Cream Sauce with Homemade Gluten Free Cream of Chicken Soup - The sauce is made with Gluten Free Cream Of Chicken Soup, BUT it doesn't mean you can't mix things up. Add few tablespoons of Red Enchilada sauce to the mix or use green enchilada sauce, green salsa instead (the last one goes very well with chicken).
- Cheddar Cheese - use a Mexican cheese blend or combine 2-3 cheeses of your choice like Cheddar, Colby or Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack cheese for example.
- Salt and black pepper - depending on which condensed cream you'll be using, make sure to taste for seasonings during cooking. The store-bought cream of chicken soup is usually very salty, so just be careful.
- Jalapenos - traditionally a white chicken enchilada is made with fresh or pickled green chilies. The flavor is somewhat similar in both of these, so you can easily substitute jalapenos with chilis.
How Do You Make Chicken Enchilada Casserole?
Prep. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter. You can also use a large dutch oven skillet here.
Make The Cream Of Chicken Soup
You don't necessarily have to use this sauce, but it gives the best result in terms of creaminess and lets you control the amount of sodium that you can't when using a store-bought sauce. My favorite homemade Enchilada sauce or green enchilada sauce are also great substitutions for this casserole.
Make the enchilada sauce by adding other ingredients. In a large bowl add sour cream, gluten free cream of chicken soup, jalapenos, milk, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper, and paprika (and bell pepper if using).
Add one layer of 6 tortillas for the base.
The sauce should be thick but still spreadable between the layers. Depending on the thickness of the cream of chicken soup you might need to add more milk.
Stir with a fork or a whisk to combine.
Assemble the Casserole
Spread a shredded chicken layer on top of the tortillas (2 cups), add half of the creamy sauce, and top with half of the cheese blend.
Repeat the layers (tortillas, chicken, sauce, cheese).
Bake the enchilada casserole for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celcius) or until golden brown, cheese is melted, and bubbly.
Add your favorite enchilada toppings - green onions, fresh cilantro, avocados, tomatoes and sprinkle a pinch of chipotle chili powder on top (optional but gives a little spicy kick and smoky flavor).
Serve With Side Dishes
Want to make it a full meal? Start your dinner with a little aperitive like this mouthwatering Skinny Watermelon Margaritas, a side of Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins. And for dessert this smooth Chocolate Mousse and Spicy Watermelon Basil Margaritas (Frozen) for a digestive course!
The sour cream sauce is not the only great thing in this great weeknight recipe, what makes it special, are the toppings!
Like in the Vegetarian Enchilada recipe, you can use similar topping ideas that will work in most Mexican-inspired food and dinner ideas.
Enchilada Casserole Topping Ideas:
- Diced avocados
- Green onion, scallions, chives
- Drizzle with Sour cream or plain greek yogurt over the top (also coconut yogurt will taste delish!)
- Chile con Queso - a cheesy dip that consists of melted cheese and chili peppers. Or try my Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce instead - the best flavor and texture for vegan cheese sauce I've tried so far!
- Hot sauce such as Homemade Buffalo Sauce, if you feeling extra spicy!
- Jalapenos (fresh or marinated/pickled)
- Diced tomatoes
- Cilantro/Coriander chopped or whole leaves or substitute with Parsley
- Lime, lemon wedges
- Black olives (pitted & sliced) - if serving with olives make sure to drain them from water and extra sodium if used by the manufacturer. They are naturally salty and I would use a small amount or use less salt in the casserole.
- Cotija cheese or feta cheese
- Pickled cabbage
- Gluten-free tortilla chips
Side Dishes For Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Or serve a fresh salad such as Marinated Cucumber, Tomatoes and Onion as a side dish.
- Corn (canned or fresh) - Make my Cajun Corn On The Cob with or without the creamy layer and serve with an enchilada.
- Lime Cilantro Rice
- Avocado crema - mix of avocado, sour cream and lime/lemon juice.
- Pico de gallo (authentic Mexican fresh tomato salsa)
- Pickled Onions
- Easy Pickled Daikon Radish Recipe
Tips For Making The Best Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Corn or Flour Tortillas - choose whatever you are used to as this recipe works with both. Corn tortillas are what traditional enchilada recipes use, but these have a different flavor than wheat or gluten-free flour blend tortillas. For gluten-free, make sure whatever tortillas you are using have a specific GF label on them. Not all corn tortillas are made of 100% corn flour.
- Make this casserole dairy free - use your favorite vegan cheese, plant-based sour cream, or yogurt instead. For the cream of chicken soup, substitute the butter with vegan or coconut butter and use plant-based milk instead. You could even omit the cheese entirely in this recipe as the white sauce is what makes this casserole so flavorful and creamy.
- The best thing about this casserole is that you can make it with leftover chicken from last night's dinner or buy a rotisserie chicken instead.
- The tortillas will be softened after baking but still keep most of their shape. The longer casserole sits the softer the tortillas will become.
- This recipe can be doubled easily to feed a large crowd.
- For the cheese to melt better, grate it yourself rather than buying already pre-shredded cheese.
There are still plenty of variations when it comes down to making a Mexican chicken casserole:
- When combining the sauce, I like to add ½ cup of sweet canned, frozen or fresh boiled/grilled corn, black beans, diced yellow or even green bell peppers, ½ cup of finely sliced (diced) mushrooms (part of your ''5 A Day'' :));
- Cook onion - Add ½ of sweet or white onion (or 2 teaspoon onion powder), diced. If you have more prep time, cook it separately until translucent and transfer it to the sauce mix. Otherwise, just follow the recipe instructions.
- Chicken - substitute with slow cooker pulled beef or cooked ground beef of the same amount (4 cups). Have you tried my Beef Enchilada Casserole yet?
- Canned Jalapenos or mild green chiles - substitute with 4 ounce can of Green chilis. You can change the spice levels easily according to your family's needs. The flavor of this cheesy chicken enchilada casserole is mildly spicy so that the whole family can enjoy this great recipe. You can change the spice levels easily according to your family's needs. Although for very picky eaters I'd leave the peppers out completely.
- Spices. If you want to make it spicy try adding cayenne pepper, chili flakes to taste (mix it with the sauce). My favorite spices to add smoky flavor are also ground cumin, ground chipotle, chili powder.
- Traditional enchilada recipes require reheating the flour tortillas for easier rolling and stretchy texture. This is not needed here as we are going to cover them with layers and layers of chicken mixture and Cream of Chicken Soup sauce. I highly recommend making a double batch of sauce and making a chicken noodle soup, chicken pasta, mushroom pasta for dinner the next day.
- Make it vegetarian - substitute chicken with canned beans (I like to use at least 2 different beans here such as red kidney beans, pinto beans or black beans), cooked lentils or even lightly sauteed mushrooms.
- If you find the flavor too creamy or want to try something new next time, add some spices! Old El Paso has great pre-mixes available and adding a couple of spoonfuls of taco seasoning, fajita chicken mix will give this white chicken enchilada a new spin!
Storing, Freezing and Make Ahead Instructions
To Store. Keep refrigerated, covered and for best results, consume the casserole right away within 24 hours. The longer it sits the softer tortillas get. It will be fine to consume within 2 days or so however the texture will be very different from what it suppose to be when eaten right away after baking.
Making Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole Ahead
To make ahead you could use rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled or cooked chicken from last night's dinner, and store for 2-3 days in an airtight container to make this casserole later. Cream of chicken soup can be made in advance or like the chicken, bought from the store. I don't recommend assembling the casserole ahead as the texture of the tortillas will become very soft once mixed in the creamy sauce.
Freezing Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This casserole can be frozen for up to 2-3 months, however, I don't recommend freezing these if possible. The reason is simple, the texture of corn tortillas (or whatever tortillas you are using) will not be the same as these will become soggy once in the casserole. The longer these tortillas stay mixed in the sauce, the more soft and mushy they become.
Easy Mexican Inspired Recipes
If you are a frequent visitor on this site, you've probably noticed that my favorite foods of all time are Mexican recipes and Asian/Indian fusion dishes.
They pack so much flavor and are always nutritious which makes me feel full (without excessive snacking) for long long times. If you're like me, you'll love my other favorite Mexican meals such as Chicken Tacos, Steak Fajita Tacos, Bean and Corn Quesadillas, Chicken Taquitos, White Bean Chicken Chili.
Also, at the Yummy Bowl, you'll find plenty of tasty chicken recipes that are very popular as well.
And the best part is that they are very easy to make (like most of my recipes!) and all, are suitable for a total beginner.
Some of the gluten-free trending chicken recipes include Chicken Wrap , Creamy Chicken Tacos, Chicken With Spinach, Chicken Zucchini Casserole, Curry Chicken Noodles, Chicken Enchiladas, and many more.
For more easy gluten free Chicken recipes check out my Chicken recipe index here.
You'll find very easy and popular Mexican style recipes including more enchilada recipes that I have made to my taste and liking below:
For enchiladas and enchilada casserole it is best to use a wide and large baking dish, at least 9 x 13 inches. I like to use a dish with deep edges so I can cover my enchiladas with plenty of creamy sauce.
Theoretically speaking, you can definitely freeze enchilada casserole. But creamy chicken enchilada casserole is not your best candidate here. Sour cream and any creamy sauces have a tendency to separate after thawing and simply don’t have the flavor and texture that they used to have once cooked for the first time. Also the tortillas become very soft and soggy. Enchilada casseroles made with red enchilada sauces happen to freeze much better.
You are in luck! This enchilada casserole is made with a delicious creamy base that is completely gluten-free. I used my Gluten-Free Cream Of Chicken Soup and sour cream for the sauce, corn or gluten-free tortillas, and other ingredients that are already naturally gluten-free. When in doubt, always look for the appropriate gluten-free labeling on the package of any product you are buying.
For this particular chicken enchilada casserole, we don’t necessarily need to cover the dish with aluminum foil. The casserole will cook rather quickly because we are already using pre-cooked chicken. The only thing that will need to cook through are the tortillas, they will soak up the creamy sauce nicely and become soft. The cheese will melt better and become golden brown if not covered.
My 15 minute recipe for red Enchilada sauce is a great start, it's quick and easy and can be stored in the refrigerator for days.
I hope you enjoy this easy creamy chicken enchilada casserole recipe, please let me know if you make it!
Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 12 pcs tortillas gluten free or corn
- 4 cups chicken shredded* (about 2 large chicken breasts)
- 2 tablespoon pickled jalapeno
- 1 teaspoon onion powder or about half of a medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup Cream Of Chicken Soup see notes
- 1 cup Mozzarella grated
- 1 cup strong Cheddar cheese* grated
- ½ cup sour cream or yogurt
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder regular or smoked!
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Garnish: diced tomato or pico de gallo, diced avocado, parsley or cilantro leaves, chopped.
- 3 tablespoon or more milk (optional, depending on how thick is the condensed soup you are using)
- Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter.
- Lay 6 tortillas for the base.
- In a larger mixing bowl add sour cream, cream of chicken soup, jalapenos, milk, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper, and paprika. Stir with a fork or a whisk to combine. The sauce should be thick but still spreadable between the layers. Depending on the thickness of the cream of chicken soup you might need to add more milk.
- Spread a chicken layer on top of the tortillas (2 cups), add half of the sauce, and top with half of the cheese blend.
- Repeat the layers (tortilla, chicken, sauce, cheese).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celcius) or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with plenty of toppings!
- Chicken - rotisserie or slow cooker chicken with some spices will work too here.
- Tortillas - about 10cm diameter. Get mini-size tortillas or cut the desired size yourself out of larger tortillas.
- For a healthier sauce use my Cream Of Chicken Soup recipe
- Cheese - use a Mexican cheese blend or combine 2-3 cheeses of your choice like Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack for example. Grate the cheese yourself so it melt beautifully.
- Salt and pepper - depending on which condensed cream you are using you may want to be careful with the amount of extra salt and pepper you’ll be adding. Just add to taste when mixing the sauce.
- Additions & Variations: When mixing the sauce, I like to add ½ cup of sweet canned or ½ cup of fresh corn or diced yellow or even green bell pepper; or ½ cup of finely sliced (diced) mushrooms; or ½ of a whole sweet or white onion (or 2 teaspoon onion powder), diced (cooked prior, but totally optional as you can add it raw to the mix too and it will bake wonderfully!);
- Creamy Sauce - the sauce should be thick but not too thick, you may want to thin it with some milk.