Tonight's Dinner: Chicken enchilada casserole recipe

Dec 15, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Chicken enchiladas are a delicious meal, but they can get pretty messy. Why not skip the mess and make a casserole instead? It's just as easy and just as delicious.

I've mentioned on more than one occasion what a big fan I am of Mexican food. It doesn't matter if it's quesadillas, tacos or carnitas; if it comes in a tortilla, I'm in. And since I'm such a big fan, I especially love making Mexican food at home. But the same old tacos and quesadillas, while quick and easy, can get stale pretty quickly, so I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting twists on the classic Mexican dishes I love so much. This casserole from Cooking Light is one such twist I just couldn't pass up.

See, it had everything I loved about enchiladas: the corn tortillas, the salsa, the chicken, the corn and of course the cilantro. But instead of wrapping all of those ingredients up in a tortilla, you layer them in a casserole dish. In the end it looks just like a lasagna, but instead of pasta, you use tortillas. So, if you love enchiladas as much as I do, this is a casserole you absolutely must try. You won't be disappointed.

Chicken enchilada casserole

Serves 4


  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup salsa verde
  • 9 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the skillet with cooking spray and sauté the chicken for four minutes on each side. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until done. Keep the oven on at 425 degrees F while removing the chicken from the pan and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the bones and shred. Discard the bones. Place the shredded meat in a large bowl with one tablespoon of cilantro, the corn, cream cheese, cumin, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  3. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onion and sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add three garlic cloves and sauté for another minute. Add the onion mixture to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Combine the remaining onion, remaining garlic cloves, broth and salsa in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Pour the salsa mixture into a blender, add two tablespoons of cilantro and process until smooth.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tortillas and cook for two minutes per side. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining tortillas. Cut the tortillas into quarters and set aside.
  6. Spread a 1/2 cup of the salsa mixture in a glass or ceramic 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Arrange 12 tortilla quarters over the salsa mixture. Spoon half the chicken mixture over the tortillas. Repeat the layers, ending with the tortillas. Sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Top with the remaining cilantro and serve.

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Black bean and corn enchilada casserole
Chile and cheese enchilada stack