Chili Cheese Enchiladas

Chili cheese enchiladas are my go-to order at any unknown Tex-Mex restaurant. At even the weakest excuse for a Tex-Mex place — no matter how bland the salsa, how flimsy the chips, or how sweet the margaritas — chili cheese enchiladas usually still turn out okay.


tex-mex cheese enchiladas

When well-executed, chili cheese enchiladas are an absolute delight. Rich red gravy, stringy melted cheese and nutty corn tortillas … I mean, what can go wrong? After a few trials, this recipe here is my ideal when it comes to chili cheese enchiladas. I know you will love it, too. Serve these with Mexican rice, charro beans, and a tiny pile of shredded iceberg on the side to complete the Tex-Mex restaurant experience. And also a margarita. Or several margaritas. Several mango margaritas.

Chili Cheese Enchiladas Video (Scroll down for printable recipe)

Chili Cheese Enchiladas Recipe – Printable


Chili Cheese Enchiladas

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5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 enchiladas 1x
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex


  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced and divided
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • Enhiladas
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound grated cheese


  1. Set oven to 350ºF (or you can microwave)
  2. In a large skillet, brown the meat with HALF of the diced onion, breaking the meat into small pieces. Once fully cooked, remove it to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium until it’s very warm. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Let cook, stirring for about 2 minutes until the color darkens and it starts to smell toasted.
  4. Add all the spices and the tomato paste. It will thicken up immediately but continue stirring until smooth.
  5. Whisk in half the stock and mix until smooth. Add remaining stock and cooked beef and onions. Let simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Warm tortillas in oil until pliable. Mix cheese and remaining diced onion together. Roll 2 tablespoons of cheese into each tortilla and pack them tightly into a 9×13 inch pan.
  7. Spread sauce to cover the enchiladas. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Or microwave for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve with sour cream, fresh chopped onion, rice and beans.


Use whatever chili powder you can get your hands on. I’ve made it with ancho chili powder, guajillo, and New Mexico chili powder and a blend of all 3 and they all turned out fine. My favorite was probably the NM chili powder, though.
The type of cheese is up to you. Some people love and are accustomed to American cheese enchiladas and that is just fine. I prefer a mild or medium yellow cheddar but Monterey Jack is good, too!


  • Serving Size: 2 enchiladas
  • Calories: 458
  • Fat: 23
  • Carbohydrates: 29
  • Protein: 32

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chili cheese enchiladas recipe


  1. The Other Randy on September 25, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Your Cheese Enchiladas with Red Sauce recipe is permanently imprinted on my brain because I’ve made them so many times. I can’t wait to try these.

    I’m going to have to find my bag of Maseca, though. A couple of months ago, my desire for tortilla perfection inspired me to buy a molino and 25 pounds of field corn. So far, my attempts to make fresh masa from scratch have been very disappointing.

    • Hilah on September 26, 2015 at 10:37 am

      That is still one of my favorite enchilada recipes, too. Very different from this one, but there’s room for both.
      I can not believe you attempted making masa from corn. Even if it was a failed attempt, I am impressed nonetheless.

  2. jb on September 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

    this is probably super obvious, but what did you cook your rice with? cilantro? it looks bloody delicious and would make my rice and beans-heavy lunches so much more appetizing 🙂

    • Hilah on September 26, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Man, I had no idea the rice in this picture would get so much attention! People are asking on YouTube, too. 🙂 I just mixed some of this cilantro pesto with the rice once it was cooked. It was good!

      • Alison on September 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        I agree with jb, we want the rice recipe next.

        • Hilah on September 27, 2015 at 7:26 am

          Hi Alison,
          There’s no recipe beyond what I replied above. I just mixed a couple spoonfuls of cilantro pesto into cooked rice.

  3. Allison on September 29, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Hilah, what did you preheat the oven to? We are winging it right now and can’t wait to eat them but just for future reference!

    • Hilah on September 29, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Whoops! It should be 350ºF. Sorry about that, Allison. Good catch!

      • Allison on September 29, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        Thank you!!! We loved them.

  4. Steven on September 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    This was awesome! I made the corn tortillas (from your recipe) and also your smoky black beans to go with it along with white rice. I’ve got a lot of enchilada sauce now–what else can I do with it?

  5. Jen on September 29, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    So uhhhh I hate to be that person so I normally don’t ask this question because…I hate to be that person, and I can usually figure out my own substitutions on my own pretty well. But…we’ve exchanged comments a few times on here before and I also know you’ve done other no-dairy stuff and have a considerable no-dairy following…so…

    What would you fill the enchiladas with for those of us who can’t do dairy? I’m thinking beans, myself. Do you think they’d still be good without any cheese at all? The sauce looks pretty amazing.

    • The Other Randy on September 30, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Jen, I also have an issue with cheese, but mine is with the cholesterol. But I also have friends who I have over for dinner who can’t consume dairy or are vegans. So I have plenty of reasons to look for alternatives. Have you considered making your own dairy-free cheese? Unfortunately, I’ve yet to make any myself, but I’ve found a couple of books with recipes that sound very promising (their recipes for dairy-free butter and egg-free mayonnaise are excellent). I’ll let you know how the melty cheddar recipe works out once I try it this weekend. But you can also google “recipe vegan cheddar cheese”. Most of the recipes are similar and are based on cashews and miso.

      And please don’t feel like you’re being “that person”. “Those people” are annoying. You are definitely not.

    • Hilah on September 30, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      You’re totally not “that” person, Jen! Yes I think pinto beans, whole or smashed, would be great. Sauteed mushrooms, too.

      • Jen on September 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm

        Haha, thanks you guys! I talked to a friend of mine today who makes homemade enchiladas and she has also done a sauteeded (soft, but not mashed) butternut squash filling which sounded really good so I may try that as well!

        I have experimented with one brand of store-bought “fake cheese”, Daiya, and I’m overall not super impressed with it. Most of the time I’d just as soon leave the cheese off of a dish than try to fake it; cheese-less pizza is more appetizing to me than fake-cheese pizza, for example. I also have a number of other food restrictions which make substitutes difficult. I can’t eat soy or most nuts, for example, cashews being the only exception. I think there are a couple of recipes for nut-cheeses that use cashews that I have seen, that I haven’t tried, that could be interesting. And in fact, I do make vegan parmesan with cashews, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast, that is really good, but that has so far been the extent of my homemade fake-cheese making. 🙂

        • Jen on November 1, 2015 at 7:43 pm

          These were soooo good. I ended up tweaking it a little bit… used a pound of ground meat (wild boar, since that’s what I had in the freezer) and doubled all of the other sauce ingredients, and added a splash of apple cider vinegar since it tasted a little flat when I first tried it. For the filling, as I mentioned above, I roasted some butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and cinnamon, and used that and refried black beans. I ended up making three different pans of this: a small one with no cheese (for me), a small one with no onion (for my husband), and a large one with both cheese and onion for everyone else. They were fantastic! I think my husband and I each have 2 left from our pans but the rest are all gone, and I made like 30 of them total.

          • Hilah on November 2, 2015 at 8:37 am

            Thank you so much for sharing the changes you made, Jen! That sounds super delicious.

          • Jen on February 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm

            Hey, I’m back! So I’ve made these a few times now and they are a hit. They are one of my favorite meals and everyone who I’ve served them to loves them. I made a meatless version for a vegetarian co-worker of my husband’s who likes the enchiladas at their work cafeteria and he loved them. He said they are much better than the ones he gets at work.

            I would like to make them for a couple gluten-free friends of mine. Any thoughts on what to use instead of flour for the roux? I haven’t done much gf cooking before so not sure what the best substitute would be.

          • Hilah on February 19, 2016 at 1:42 pm

            Hooray! That’s great.
            For making a GF sauce, you could use rice flour instead of the wheat flour. It works pretty well to make a roux. I’ve also used GF flour blends (Bob’s Red Mill and the Costco brand one) for roux and they work fine.

          • Jen on February 28, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            So I actually ended up not making a roux at all. I toasted the spices in olive oil and then added a whole can of tomato sauce and let that cook for a minute before adding the chicken stock, and it thickened up great. (I left the meat out this time so it was just a red sauce.)
            The meal went over great with my GF friends and they didn’t get sick at all, which made me so happy ‘cuz I was so careful not to cross contaminate anything for them!

          • Hilah on February 29, 2016 at 9:46 am

            That’s so great to hear! Thanks a bunch for sharing your method. 🙂

          • Jen on February 28, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            That was supposed to be tomato paste, not sauce! Just for reference.

  6. Justin on October 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I made these last night for dinner using gluten-free flour (Namaste brand). I found that the GF flour and oil was very fast to heat up. I also used quite a bit of the chicken stock as the GF flour needed a lot of moisture. But it still turned out REALLY, REALLY GOOD!

    • Hilah on October 14, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Thanks, Justin! I’ve never made a gravy with GF flour. Good to know that it acts a little differently than wheat flour. Glad the enchiladas worked out!

  7. Deanna on October 25, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Dear Hilah,

    I recently discovered you through Yoga with Adriene, the whole “Put it in My Mouth” episode, HILARIOUS, and I’m SOOOO glad that I did. These enchiladas, along with your Mexican rice were ROCKIN’!!! I mean, so yummy/delicious/indulgent! I’m an American expat living in Switzerland and I miss tex-mex the most. So, finding your library of tex-mex video goodness is such a gift of happiness to me. 🙂 Also, you just seem like an awesome human being and I had fun being invited into your kitchen!


    • Hilah on October 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Hooray! Deanna, your message fills me with joy (and a craving for enchiladas). So glad to be able to help you with your TexMex desires. Thanks for writing! Let me know if you ever need a family to come and sleep in a tent in your yard in Switzerland. We won’t mind.

      • Deanna on October 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm

        Hilah, the tent is all set up and ready for you guys! Head on over! 😉 XOXO

  8. SandyToes on November 30, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Terrific recipe, Hilah. Thank you so much. What a wonderful, fast meal. I tweaked it a bit, leaving the beef out of the sauce and using it for the filling. With my usual taco seasonings and some of the chili sauce mixed in, it was so tasty. Like Jen, I splashed in a bit of cider vinegar after tasting the sauce to give it another dimension. A little ancho chili powder in addition to my generic chili powder helped, too. Thanks for mentioning it. Next time I want to try it with your recommended New Mexico chili powder.

    My Dude asked me what brand of enchilada sauce I used, that it was really good and I should buy some more. After I got done laughing, I reminded him that it doesn’t take me 30 minutes to make enchiladas with canned sauce and told him I made it myself.

  9. April on January 22, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I have 1.28 lbs of ground beef. What do i do lol like triple this?

    • Hilah on January 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Hey April! You could triple it and freeze leftover sauce for next time, or just make an extra-meaty enchilada sauce!

    • SandyToes on February 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      You could always make beef enchiladas! We like them even better than the cheese version. Chili sauce and beef filling, it’s a match made in heaven.

  10. Sarah S on December 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    If, like me, you love hot things but your stomach doesn’t, substitute Paprika, Onion powder, and garlic powder for Chile powder. Or sometimes I boil up one Guajillo chile rather then the 5 or whatever the recipe calls for, then dump in the paprika. Still tastes just right, right color, etc. But little capsicum.

    • Hilah on December 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

      Thanks, Sarah!

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