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 in love with this casserole! It’s so delicious, so filling, and so easy to make. And leftovers are great too.
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
- Aromatics: Garlic and onion
- Salt and pepper
- Spices: Chili powder and cumin
- Canned tomato sauce
- Shredded chicken
- Diced Chile peppers
- Shredded 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:
- First, you prepare the enchilada sauce, using the first five ingredients listed above.
- Next, you combine the shredded chicken with the sauce and the remaining ingredients, reserving one cup of cheese.
- 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 a 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.
Is this enchilada casserole healthy?
That would depend on your definition of “healthy.” This casserole has no tortillas, so it’s relatively low in calories and it’s also gluten-free. I also make it without beans, which reduces the carb load even further.
All the ingredients used here are widely accepted as healthy – chicken, tomatoes, onion, olive oil and spices.
As for the cheese, interestingly, in recent research, dairy fat was not associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (source: Harvard Medical School).
However, if you have a specific issue that requires you to minimize your consumption of saturated fat, then it’s possible that this recipe is not the best fit for you.
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 for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave on 50% power, or in a 300°F oven.
More easy casseroles 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 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.
- 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.