Easy Beef Enchiladas stuffed with seasoned ground beef, smothered in the best red enchilada sauce, and topped with melted shredded cheese. This recipe makes for great weeknight dinners and the best leftovers for lunch the next day!
These easy beef enchiladas have quickly become a weeknight staple in my house alongside my chicken enchiladas. They’re easy to make, extra saucy and flavorful, and are baked for only 20 minutes in the oven. They’re perfect for any night of the week, and even make a great dish for occasions like Cinco de Mayo.
This is one of those recipes that never gets old. Made with only a handful of ingredients, this recipe is very flexible which makes it easy to meet your budget, serve a crowd, or please your family.
Beef Enchilada Ingredients
To make this recipe, here’s what you need:
- Ground beef – I used lean ground beef, but you can use extra lean or regular. Whatever you have is great!
- Onion, garlic, and jalapeño – These are used to season the beef filling. Feel free to remove the jalapeño seeds for less spice, or omit it altogether.
- Enchilada sauce – You can use any type of enchilada sauce you prefer, but I highly recommend making your own using this easy enchilada sauce recipe or this authentic enchilada sauce recipe if you can! It only takes a few minutes and the flavor is way better than most store-bought versions.
- Flour tortillas – Though most authentic Mexican enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas, I love using flour tortillas when making these because the flour tortillas are stronger and hold up better to the beef filling than corn tortillas do in my opinion. You can use your favorite store-bought variety or you can make your own flour tortillas.
- Shredded cheese – I used a pre-shredded Mexican-blend that I bought at the grocery store made from Monterey Jack, Asadero, Cheddar, and Queso Quesadilla, but feel free to use whatever cheese you have in the fridge. Mozzarella, pepperjack, Oaxaca, and cheddar cheese are all great options.
- Toppings – Such as diced onions, avocado chunks, fresh cilantro, sour cream, shredded lettuce, or a dollop of sour cream.
How to make Beef Enchiladas
First, preheat your oven to 350ºF. While that’s heating up, saute the diced onions and pepper in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until softened and translucent.
Next, add in the ground beef, garlic, and salt. Cook for about 8 minutes until the beef is browned and fully cooked through.
If the meat released a lot of moisture and grease, drain and discard that at this time.
Next, stir in 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce to further season the meat. Give everything a little taste and season with more salt if necessary.
Now it’s time to assemble the enchiladas! I like to lay a tortilla on a plate, spoon in some of beef mixture, sprinkle it with a little shredded cheese, and then roll it up tightly.
Place the rolled up enchiladas in a large baking dish seam side down and top with 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce and a little more shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with diced onions, chopped cilantro, and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- Warm up the tortillas before stuffing and rolling them. I like placing them on a plate, covering them with a damp paper towel, and heating them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. The damp towel will create some steam which will prevent the tortillas from drying out.
- Assemble ahead of time. The enchiladas can be assembled up to 4 hours before baking. Just don’t add the sauce and cheese on top until you’re ready to bake! Cover the baking dish and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready.
Substitutions and Variations
- Add beans: Add a can of beans, like kidney beans, black beans, white beans, or pinto beans into the filling.
- Use a different sauce: If you want to use something other than red enchilada sauce, try making this with green enchilada sauce or even queso dip! Yum!
- If you want to use corn tortillas instead, wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat them in the microwave for 1 minute, flipping them halfway through until all of them are warm and pliable. Since corn tortillas are smaller, you’ll need more of them to use up all the filling.
Sides TO serve with enchiladas
This easy dinner recipe is best enjoyed with lots of tasty side dishes. Try any of these for the perfect pairing:
Storing and Freezing
To store: place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
To freeze: let them cool completely in the fridge. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag and freeze. You can also wrap the enchiladas completely in aluminum foil and freeze. Leave them to thaw in the fridge overnight or bake right from frozen.
To reheat: either microwave them for 2 to 3 minutes or bake in a 350ºF oven until warmed through (about 10 to 20 minutes).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 3/4 cups easy enchilada sauce, divided
- 8 large flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese, divided
- optional toppings: diced onions, chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded lettuce
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and jalapeño. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent.
- Add the ground beef, garlic, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller chunks. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until beef is browned.
- Add 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.
- Microwave the tortillas on a plate for 1 minute, flipping them halfway through until all of them are warm and pliable.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce into a 9×13 baking dish, and spread it out to fully coat the bottom.
- Assemble the enchiladas by filling each tortilla evenly with the beef mixture and 3/4 cup of shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas tightly to close and place in a large baking dish seam side down.
- Pour the remaining 1 1/4 cups enchilada sauce over the tortillas, top with the remaining 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese, and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve immediately and garnish with desired toppings.
- I highly recommend making your own enchilada sauce using this easy enchilada sauce made from dried spices and herbs or this authentic enchilada sauce made from whole dried chiles and Mexican chocolate. If you’re short on time, you can use your favorite store-bought sauce.
- To store enchiladas, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- To freeze enchiladas, let them cool completely in the fridge. Transfer the enchiladas to a freezer safe container or freezer bag and freeze. You can also wrap the enchiladas completely in aluminum foil and freeze.