This amazing gluten-free enchiladas recipe has tender chicken, melty cheese and a flavorful homemade enchilada sauce! Made with 100% gluten-free pantry staples!
With a flavorful homemade gluten-free enchilada sauce, tender chicken and blend of cheese, these enchiladas are a crowd-pleasing favorite.
The search is over! This is hands down my favorite recipe for gluten-free enchiladas with red sauce.
This is one of my family’s very favorite dinners. These gluten-free enchiladas are made with pantry staples that create layers of flavors.
First, make a 15-minute gluten-free enchilada sauce!
One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s made with easy-to-find pantry staples. You’ll start by making a 15-minute homemade enchilada sauce.
Ingredients for the sauce
- Onion/jalapeno: I love the flavor of fresh vegetables in this sauce. After the sauce has simmered you blend it until it’s smooth. The onions/jalapeno will blend up and help thicken the sauce.
- Tomato sauce: Use a canned tomato sauce you like the flavor of.
- Chili powder/oregano/cumin: For the perfect balance of seasoning and flavor.
- Brown sugar: Adds a little sweetness to the sauce and brings out the flavors.
- Chicken stock: You can easily use vegetable stock (or even water) if you prefer. Using a stock will lend more flavor than using water.
- Salt: Be sure to add an extra pinch of salt to the sauce when it’s all finished if needed!
Tip: For a mild sauce remove the ribs/seeds from the jalapeno. For a spicer sauce leave jalapeno seeds and ribs in.
Make the sauce
Once you’ve made the sauce, you’ll add in some chicken breast and let it cook through as the sauce simmers. If you prefer to use rotisserie chicken that will work as well! You can simply add it to the sauce after it’s simmered for 15 minutes.
After you’ve taken the chicken out, you can blend the sauce for a smoother consistency if you like. Or you can leave it with the diced vegetables – either way is delicious!
Next, make the gluten-free enchiladas filling…
Once the chicken is cooked through you’ll shred it and mix it with cilantro, lime juice, a little of the sauce and Monterey jack and sharp cheddar cheese (freshly shredded is best!).
Tip: Freshly shredded cheese that you grate yourself from a block of cheese works best in these enchiladas. It has the best flavor and will melt beautifully!
Before assembling the enchiladas it helps to soften the tortillas in the microwave for a bit. This prevents the tortillas from breaking when you roll up the filling.
Add some of the filling to a softened tortilla and roll it up. You can portion the filling to make 12 enchiladas with this recipe.
Place the rolled enchiladas in a pan. I use a 9×13 pan and place 8 in a row and 4 horizontally on top.
Cover the enchiladas in the sauce. If you like you can blend the sauce for a smoother consistency. No need to put any sauce on the bottom of the pan. It will cover the enchiladas as they cook!
Sprinkle the top of the enchiladas with more cheese before baking.
Cover the pan with foil and bake covered for 20-25 minutes, then uncovered for another 5 minutes to brown the top.
How to serve gluten-free enchiladas
We love serving these with sour cream and hot sauce. I usually serve them with a side of Mexican rice and a big green salad.
When I’m feeding a crowd I’ll often make a double batch and assemble them in foil baking pans for easy clean-up.
Gluten-Free Enchilada Recipe FAQ
Enchiladas are often naturally gluten-free when made with corn tortillas, a sauce that doesn’t have any added flour and a meat/cheese filling. Be sure to check the ingredients for the tortillas, sauce and filling to make sure they don’t contain any wheat ingredients.
Enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas. Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free so they’re perfect to keep these enchiladas gluten-free.
The enchiladas can be made and assembled up to 24 hours in advance. Cover, refrigerate, and then bake a few minutes more than the usual recipe.
To freeze, fully assemble the enchiladas but don’t bake them. Cover them with a double layer of tin foil and put inside a jumbo-size ziploc bag. Or you can just make sure the pan is totally sealed with tin foil. They will keep frozen for 2-3 months. To bake from frozen, bake for 1 1/2 hours covered at 350F then uncover and bake for another hour.
I hope you like this gluten-free enchilada recipe as much as we do. If you try it please leave me a comment/rating below. We’d love to hear from you!
More Gluten-Free Recipes
Gluten-Free Enchiladas (Chicken Red Sauce)
For the Red Sauce:
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
For the Chicken Filling:
- 1- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (2-3 large breasts)
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) sharp cheddar freshly shredded
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Monterey jack cheese freshly shredded
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro minced
- 1 lime
- 12 6-inch soft corn tortillas
Make the Sauce:
- In a large saucepan, add the onion, jalapeno and oil. Cook on medium heat until the vegetables have softened, 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar and salt and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and chicken stock and stir to combine. Nestle in the chicken. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove the chicken and place in a bowl. (Optional but recommended: Carefully pour the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth.) Season the sauce with a touch more salt, if necessary and set aside.
Make the Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add 1 cup of the sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup of the Monterey jack cheese, the cilantro and the juice of 1 lime to the chicken. Mix to combine. (Set aside the rest of the cheese for topping the enchiladas.)
- Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or damp paper towels. Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 20-30 seconds.
- Scoop 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture on top of a tortilla and press it evenly down the middle. (You'll portion the filling to make 12 enchiladas.) Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake covered for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!