Delicious, hot and bubbly chicken enchilada casserole has all the flavor of traditional enchiladas, without the extra carbs. It’s also much less work!
I’m so in love with this casserole! It’s so delicious, so filling, and so easy to make. My entire family loves it and requests it often. And leftovers are great too.
The secret is in the seasonings. They make the dish truly taste like enchiladas, just without the tortillas. And not using tortillas means that this casserole isn’t just keto and gluten-free – it’s also VERY easy to make.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty enchilada casserole (exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
- Olive oil: A delicious and healthy oil. But if you’re unsure about cooking with it, you can use avocado oil instead.
- Aromatics: Garlic and onion.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use. A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs less than a teaspoon of regular salt.
- Spices: Chili powder and ground cumin.
- Canned tomato sauce.
- Shredded chicken: I often use pre-cooked chicken breast. You can also use rotisserie chicken, but remove the skin.
- Diced Chile peppers.
- Fresh cilantro.
- Shredded cheddar: I like to use sharp or even extra-sharp cheddar.
How do you make enchilada casserole in the oven?
It’s such an easy recipe! So much easier than making enchiladas. You simply mix together shredded baked chicken breast, chile peppers, enchilada sauce, and grated cheddar.
To keep it low carb, omit the beans and the tortillas, and bake until hot and bubbly. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. These are the basic steps:
- Make the sauce. First, you prepare the enchilada sauce, using the first five ingredients listed above.
- Mix the ingredients. Next, you combine the shredded chicken with the sauce and the remaining ingredients, reserving one cup of cheese.
- Bake. Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish, sprinkle with the reserved cheese, and bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes at 400°F.
A good keto substitute for enchiladas
This enchilada casserole isn’t just lower in carbs – it’s also a lot less work than traditional enchiladas.
We used to have a wonderful neighbor. She came here from Mexico as a kid. She loved everything about the USA and was so proud when she got her citizenship and was able to vote. But in her cooking, she remained loyal (thankfully) to her Mexican upbringing.
She used to invite us for dinner once in a while, and almost always, she made chicken enchiladas. They were so incredibly good! The seasoning was out of this world, the chicken tender and flavorful, the cheese sharp and bubbly. My kids loved it too, even the Picky Eater.
These days I eat a low carb diet, but I suspect that if we were still her neighbors, I would have made an exception for those amazing enchiladas!
Since those enchiladas are no longer part of our life, I do find that this recipe is a good substitute. And you know what? The Picky Eater likes it too. 😀
Can I use prepared enchilada sauce?
Of course! In fact, if you use store-bought sauce and shredded rotisserie chicken, this recipe becomes ridiculously easy and super quick. Just make sure that you’re OK with the sauce ingredients and with its carb count.
When I go this route I use Whole Foods Market’s enchilada sauce, which has 4 grams of carbs for 1/4 cup. I find that I need to use 3 cups, which means I need to buy two jars.
As for the shredded rotisserie chicken, you will probably need to buy two of them and use half of the second one, unless the one you buy is very large.
How to serve enchilada casserole?
It’s a rich casserole, so it’s best paired with a simple vegetable side dish. I often serve it with one of the following:
What about leftovers?
Leftovers of this tasty chicken enchilada casserole keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. You can also reheat them in a 300°F oven.
More easy casseroles that you might enjoy
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- Olive oil spray
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, minced (6 oz)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (no salt/sugar added)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 lb. cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded (from 4 medium or 3 large chicken breasts)
- 1 (4 oz can) diced green chile peppers
- 1/2 cup packed minced fresh cilantro (1 oz)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with olive oil spray.
- Prepare the sauce: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, black pepper, chili powder and cumin, and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- You can strain the enchilada sauce if you wish. I usually don't.
- In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, the enchilada sauce, chile peppers, cilantro and 1 cup cheese.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.