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Horizontal image of a spatula holding a single enchilada in front of a casserole dish.

Pollo Rojo Enchiladas (Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce)

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


Pollo rojo enchiladas are made with chicken in red chili sauce that provides the best kind of kick to amp up your usual weeknight dinner routine.


  • Cooking oil spray
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups shredded extra sharp white cheddar, divided
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tsp minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Grease a 9-by-11-inch ceramic or metal baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, jalapeno and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Cook uncovered for 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Nestle chicken breasts in sauce, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F, about 12-20 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken and the temperature of your simmer. Remove chicken from sauce and set aside.
  5. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain sauce into a medium bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove all liquid. Place solids left in the strainer in a large bowl.
  6. Season sauce with salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste.
  7. Shred chicken with two forks. Add it to the large bowl with the solids from the strainer, along with 1/4 cup strained sauce.
  8. Add 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro to the chicken mixture. Stir well to combine.
  9. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds on 50% power, until pliable.
  10. Spread tortillas out on a clean work surface and spoon 1/3 cup chicken mixture down the center of each. Roll up and place seam side down in the greased baking dish.
  11. Lightly spray tops with cooking spray. Bake uncovered for 5-7 minutes, to make tortillas crunchy.
  12. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 400˚F. Pour sauce evenly over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: enchilada, chicken, red sauce, casserole