how to make enchilada casserole | kelly’s kitchen

Hello and happy Saturday! Welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen, I am happy you’re here.  Today is May 2nd, it’s my Mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!). She and my husband are having a virtual, long-distance brisket smoke-off today. We will cover how that goes next week… We are a few days away from Cinco de Mayo. I love Cinco de Mayo. As if I needed any reason to eat too much Mexican food or enjoy a couple margaritas, the occasion of Cinco de Mayo just puts us all on the same page for a day. For me, growing up, Cinco de Mayo meant tamales and piñatas (read: CANDY). This week, my intention was to make tamales for y’all, but you need masa for tamales and much like flour at the grocery store, it seems masa is in high demand. Unable to procure masa, I decided to make an enchilada casserole. Not a typical Mexican dish…but, eh, well, these aren’t typical times. So instead, I’m going to show you how to make an enchilada casserole. 

Cinco de Mayo is fervently celebrated in the US and many of us don’t know exactly why. A lot of Americans think it’s Mexico’s Independence Day, but actually it’s the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. In 1862, the Mexican military defeated the French forces of Napoleon III. 

How to make an enchilada casserole

I pretty much threw this one together like a Mexican lasagne; I loosely based what I did on a recipe from Gimme Some Oven. I used some leftover brisket my husband smoked on the smoker a couple weeks ago. I knew I wanted to use it for something, so I froze a bag of the sliced brisket. Other than that, I used a couple cans of beans I had in the pantry – black beans and chickpeas. A can of corn, corn tortillas and a pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend. The enchilada sauce though, I did make from scratch. You can definitely use store-bought. You’ll need somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 cups. 

For the enchilada sauce, Gimme Some Oven has a simple recipe, it’s super easy provided you have chile powder…which I only kind-of have. I have chile powders of all sorts, but strangely, not plain ol’ American chile powder, which is a very mild chile powder (note to self: buy plain ol’ chile powder!). So I improvised with 4 tablespoons of Chipotle chile powder. I offset the heat by adding about a tablespoon of Agave syrup. 

I think this modification worked out because my meat was a smoked brisket so the smokiness of the Chipotle powder went well with the smoked meat. It all thickened up just fine, so I don’t think the Agave messed anything up, it just mellowed the spice of the chile powder. 

Feel free to experiment with whatever you have (I did, and it all worked out ok!). Just be sure you don’t substitute chile powder with cayenne. Cayenne will make the sauce WAY too hot!  I made a double batch of this sauce and I ended up with about ¾ cup leftover, which would be a great sauce or marinade for chicken. Here’s Gimme Some Oven’s recipe for homemade enchilada sauce:

5 from 6 votes

Red Enchilada Sauce

Course Sauce
Servings 2 cups of sauce
Author Gimme Some Oven


  • 2 tbsp Neutral-tasting Oil Olive oil, Avocado oil, Grapeseed oil...
  • 2 tbsp Flour Can be subbed with GF Flour
  • 4 tbsp Chile Powder Not Cayenne!
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings. Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.

¡How to make Enchilada Casserole!

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and get your 9×13 oven safe baking dish (if yours is prone to sticking, spray with a light coat of cooking spray).

Step 2: Dice your onion and bell pepper. Use whatever color you have: red, yellow or white onion; green, yellow, orange or red bell pepper. 

Dish Towel | Cutting Board | Batter Bowl | Le Creuset Baking Dish

Step 3: Open and rinse your beans and corn. I just do it all in a single colander. 

Step 4: Dice, shred or cube your protein. Like I mentioned, I am using leftover brisket, but you can use chicken, pork, chorizo, tofu whatever you like – whatever you have. If you’re using meat, just be sure it’s already cooked through. 

Step 5: On medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons or so of your olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven. Then add your onion and bell pepper. Cook until just soft. 

Lodge Dutch Oven | Wooden Utensil Set

Step 6: Add your beans, corn and meat. Stir to combine and let cook for about 5 minutes, then add 2-3 cups of your enchilada sauce (add as much or as little as you like, since my sauce is pretty spicy, I kept it to 2 ½ cups). Stir to combine and cook long enough to let your meat warm through. Then remove from heat. 

Step 7: Pour about ½ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish and tilt your dish to coat the entire bottom with sauce. Add more sauce if needed. 

Baking Dish | Ball Vintage Canning Jar | Dish Towel 

Step 8: Slice your tortillas in half (to fit better in the rectangular dish) and use about 6-7 halves to cover the sauce.

Step 9: Cover the tortilla layer with a layer of your meat and veg mixture.

Lodge Dutch Oven | Dish Towel | Cutting Board | Baking Dish | Ball Vintage Canning Jar | Wooden Utensil Set

Step 10: Then, cover the meat and veg layer with a layer of the shredded cheese.

Repeat steps 8-10 three more times, until you reach the top of your baking dish, finishing with another generous pour of sauce and another sprinkling of cheese. 

Time to bake! Bake covered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbly and browning.

When the top is done to your liking, remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. 

Top with cilantro, pickled jalapeños, or scallions, or olives…whatever you like! 

I topped with cilantro and then set out sour cream, homemade pickled onions, hot sauce, limes and avocado. 

 Le Creuset Baking Dish | Dish Towel | Cutting Board | Chip and Dip

I also set out chips and homemade pico de gallo. Homemade pico is so easy! Take a tomato and remove the seeds. Then dice it up with onion, jalapeño and garlic in whatever ratio you want or have, add a squeeze of lime and a good pinch of salt, stir and it’s done! 

Striped Table Throw

5 from 6 votes

Enchilada Casserole

Course Brunch, Main Course


  • 1 tbsp Oilve Oil
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • 1 Diced Bell Pepper
  • 2 cans Beans Black, Pinto, Chickpea...
  • 1 can Corn
  • 3 cups Protein of your choosing Chicken, Beef, Pork, Tofu...
  • 2-3 cups Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 12 Corn Tortillas Halved
  • 3 cups Shredded Cheese Cheddar, Jack, Mexican Blend...

I hope you fix yourself a margarita and have a festive Cinco de Mayo. Give this enchilada casserole a try. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, and if you don’t have a crowd in your household, the leftovers are delicious and will freeze super well! Thank you for stopping by today, I appreciate all your wonderful support. Don’t forget, you can also find me on facebook and instagram. Thanks so much – I look forward to seeing you again next week! Take care and be well everyone. xo Kelly

Le Creuset Baking Dish | Cutting Board | Chip and Dip | Striped Table Throw



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  1. Karen wrote:

    Hi Beth and Kelly,
    Just dropping you a note to say I made the skillet pizza and it was a huge hit!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • That’s awesome, Karen! So happy it was a hit. Thanks for tuning in! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
    • Sylvia Espinoza wrote:

      5 stars
      Such a treat every Saturday morning now–Kelly and a recipe! Heard myself chuckle out loud when I saw Spanish punctuation on the recipe title. Cute idea! Appreciate the history lesson, too. By the end of the post my mouth was watering! I hope to try your recipe because you offer so many ways to tweak it with what we have on hand. Birthday Blessings to your Mom! Will sit on my hands for the results of the Virtual Smoked Brisket Cook Off. This week hubby and I got a new Ole Smokey…first one in about 30 years. Perhaps a smoked brisket is in our future. Broke it in with beef fajitas, which may be the meat to your casserole recipe. Stay tuned…and keep staying safe, too. Love to all!~

      Posted 5.2.20
      • Hi Sylvia, Thank you so much! That’s great you and your husband got a smoker! You should definitely try a brisket, it’s a long process, but so rewarding. I love using the leftovers in all kinds of dishes. I want to do beef fajitas on ours sometime soon. Sounds delicious! Thanks so much for tuning in this week, see you next week! (Keep me posted on what you and your husband smoke on your Ole Smokey!) 😉 xo Kelly

        Posted 5.2.20
  2. Ann Rourke wrote:

    5 stars
    Thank you Kelly for sharing your recipes. They all look so delicious! We will be trying this enchilada recipe tonight!
    Your photos are beautiful and mouth watering!

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Thank you so much, Ann! I promise you will love this enchilada casserole. We really enjoyed it! Let us know how yours turns out, thanks again! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  3. Betsy Cornell wrote:

    Thanks Kelly, this looks delicious. I like a casserole like this if I’m going to enjoy a few margaritas. . . Love the pictures and step by step directions.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Betsy, the casserole definitely went well with a few margaritas! 🙂 Thank you so much for checking out today’s post. xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  4. Deirdre Cerasa wrote:

    This looks delicious! I enjoy your cooking sessions. Thank you.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Deirdre, Thank you so much for tuning in today! Give this casserole a try, I am sure it will be a hit! Thanks again, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  5. Carroll Niesen wrote:

    Good idea!! And it sounds easy. I think I will try it with some tofu or tempeh.

    You look very pretty in that embroidered blouse!

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Thank you, Carroll, how sweet of you to say. I think this would be great with tempeh, the texture of it would be really nice with the beans and cheese. If you do it that way, definitely let me know how it turns out! Thanks again, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  6. CIndy L wrote:

    5 stars
    We’re still quarantined in Michigan, and that means we’re ordering our groceries and mostly cooking at home (or getting curbside carryout). That means I’m always looking for new recipes that will stretch for a couple of meals. My husband and I love Mexican casseroles, and can typically freeze the leftovers for another lunch or dinner. Can’t wait to try this one. Looks fabulous — and I’ve printed out the recipes. Thank you!

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Cindy, We are all about the leftovers here, too. My husband and I have been working from home for several months now and having leftovers for lunch is the best! This casserole will not disappoint and since you can substitute for what you have on hand, it’s a great way to use up leftover meat, or veggies. Let me know how you like it! Take care up in Michigan, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  7. Carolyn wrote:

    I’m definitely trying this recipe. It sounds delicious. I look forward to your recipes.
    Happy birthday to your mom!

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Thanks so much Carolyn! Let me know how your casserole comes out! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  8. Terry ran wrote:

    5 stars
    Thank you for the birthday wishes Kelly,
    I have never made this into a casserole. I will give it a shot. It looks delicious …

    Posted 5.2.20
  9. Mary wrote:

    Looks delicious! May try it with some smoked chicken leftovers I have in the freezer.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Mary, smoked chicken would go great! Let me know if you try and it comes out for you. Thank you for tuning in this week! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  10. Laura wrote:

    Kelly, I can’t wait to try this recipe. I like how you used leftover smoked brisket. That adds a depth of flavor for sure. Another great recipe! !Gacias

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hello Laura! Yes, the smokiness was a really great flavor for this dish. You can get some smokiness even if you aren’t using smoked meat, just add in some Chipotle powder, either in your enchilada sauce, or sprinkle some in when you’re cooking your meat and veg on the stovetop. Have a great weekend, thanks for stopping by today! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  11. Julie Greene wrote:

    Hi Kelly,
    You hit another home run with your enchilada casserole. Casseroles are great because you can clean up the kitchen and enjoy a cocktail while the dish is baking, not to mention at least two meals for the price of one prep. Really look forward to your Saturday morning cooking class. Thank you and thank you to Beth for bringing you to us.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Julie, Thank you so much! I am really happy y’all are enjoying this new Saturday column. I am very thankful to Beth for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas with all of you! I am right there with you on the casserole being a genius invention! In addition to all the points you make, I would say they’re also great for cleaning out the fridge – you can throw almost anything in and it’s gonna work out great! Thank you for tuning in today, see you next week! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  12. Andrea wrote:

    Oh, Kelly! That looks delicious. Love that you improvised, it makes cooking during Covid19 shortages much easier. Yeast and flour are the new toilet paper 🤣 which is now readily available. The hoarders have moved on. Also love that this is not only flavourful but also very high in fibre. My hips thank you 🥂

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Andrea, the shortages are for real! I haven’t seen flour at any of my grocery stores for over a month! I am happy I had just stocked my flour bin before all this started… Improvisation and intuition are my modes of cooking; I love to use recipes as “suggestions” and then just go with what I have. It makes cooking so pleasurable and not stressful. 🙂 And thanks for the shout-out to fiber – I love beans! Thank you so much for tuning in today, be well. xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  13. regina wrote:

    Hi Kelly,
    this looks georgeous! thank you for this delicious recipe! (which is not so easy to copy in Austria 😉 due to ingredients)

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hi Regina! Thanks so much for reading today’s post. I wonder if there are substitutions you can try to get an approximation…? 🧐 It’s always interesting to consider what is hard to come by in other countries, when it comes to food and cooking ingredients. Thanks again for stopping by today! Take care in Austria! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  14. Roberta wrote:

    Wow, Kelly, I was looking for a new, easy recipe for Cinco de Mayo. Has all the ingredients I love.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Hey Roberta! Thanks so much for tuning in today. I am so happy to have brought some inspiration to you. Take care and have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  15. Mary wrote:

    5 stars
    I made your French omelet and it was delicious, an improvement on the technique I have used for the last 50 years. Thank you for the recipe and inspiration.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • That’s wonderful, Mary! I am so happy to hear that you made it and it worked out so well. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  16. Terry wrote:

    Looks good, Kelly! Thank you.

    Posted 5.2.20
    • Sure thing, Terry! Thank you so much for stopping by today, take care xo Kelly

      Posted 5.2.20
  17. Suzanne Smith wrote:

    5 stars
    Yum–this looks delicious. I love the idea of layering things. I know I’d like this. I’ll have to give this a whirl. Thanks for the idea! Please tell your mom happy birthday!

    Posted 5.3.20
    • Hi Suzanne, Thank you so much! I am sure you will like this casserole. Try it out and let us know what you think! Thanks so much for tuning in this week, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.4.20
  18. Rory wrote:

    Yumm the casserole sounds delicious. I really like the pink and yellow blouse!

    Posted 5.4.20
    • Hey Rory, Thank you so much for stopping by; the casserole was a big hit at my house! Isn’t that blouse fun?! It’s so festive for Cinco de Mayo too (I got it at J.Crew). Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.4.20

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