These Chicken Slow Cooker Enchiladas are spicy, tangy, cheesy, and delicious. Tender chicken, bold enchilada sauce, chewy tortillas, and rich, melty cheese combine to make a dish perfect for a weeknight meal or a gathering with friends!
Why You'll Love This Dish
Chicken enchiladas are super flavorful. The red enchilada sauce has a spicy, tangy tomato base seasoned with cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano.
Adding lime juice to the shredded chicken adds just a hint more fresh flavor, and it's all topped with rich, melty cheese.
This enchilada recipe is easy to prepare! Most of the cook time can be spent doing something else thanks to the handy crock pot. Once the chicken is cooked, all you need to do is shred the chicken and assemble the enchiladas.
And if you're running low on time, you could add the tortillas in layers instead of rolling them individually to make a chicken enchilada casserole.
They're spicy but not too spicy. And if you're sensitive to heat, you can use mild enchilada sauce.
It's pretty easy to make substitutions and additions. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, corn tortillas or flour tortillas, and add whatever toppings you like - sour cream, guacamole or avocado, green onions, olives, and cilantro are favorites.
Also, everyone loves this dish. Kids and adults are both equally excited about an enchilada dinner. I hope you'll love this recipe, too!
What You'll Need
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First and foremost, you will also need a slow cooker! This is my absolute favorite. It's sturdy, holds the lid tight, and has an optional meat thermometer that you can insert through the lid without removing it.
- Corn Tortillas I use corn tortillas here, but you can also use flour tortillas or even whole wheat tortillas.
- Chicken Breast is great here, but chicken thighs work equally well.
- Enchilada Sauce I recommend the Mission brand hot enchilada sauce, but feel free to use mild enchilada sauce or a different brand of your choosing. You can also make homemade enchilada sauce.
- Green Chilis You can use chopped, canned green chilis or make your own roasted jalapenos to add to this dish.
- Fresh Limes Lime juice is another good option here.
- Shredded Cheese I like to use a Mexican cheese blend here, but any melting cheese will work well. You could use just cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, or other cheese you have on hand.
- Spices Here I call for cumin, chili powder, coriander, and oregano. These are not essential to the dish and you can use just the canned enchilada sauce, but I love the flavor they add.
- Kosher Salt I use the brand Diamond Crystal. This salt is shaped into flakes rather than concentrated grains, so it is easier to adjust the salt in a recipe without oversalting.
- Olive Oil You can also use grapeseed oil, avocado oil, or canola oil to give a quick fry to your corn tortillas so they don't crack when you are rolling the enchiladas.
- Sour Cream
- Green Onions/Scallions
- Avocado or Guacamole
- Black Olives
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas
Step One To make enchiladas, place the chicken and sauce, green chilis, and spices in the base of the slow cooker. You'll want to use only one of the cans of sauce here and reserve the rest for later.
Step Two Cook the chicken. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or cook on low to 6 to 8 hours.
Step Three Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return the chicken mixture to the enchilada sauce.
Step Four Meanwhile, fry your tortillas on both sides for about 30 seconds.
Step Five Take a bit of the chicken mixture and a little of the sauce and roll it in a tortilla. Place the tortilla back in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Step Six Once all of the enchiladas have been assembled, cover them with the remaining enchilada sauce and the cup of cheese. Return the lid to the slow cooker and heat on high for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Step Eight Top with your favorite items and serve!
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole Layer the tortillas instead of rolling for a quick casserole.
Enchilada Chicken You can omit the tortillas and make a slow cooker shredded chicken perfect for adding to taco bowls, tacos, burritos - whatever sounds good!
Green Enchiladas Use green enchilada sauce here instead.
Rotisserie Chicken Make this easy recipe even easier by shredding rotisserie chicken, heating it through in the enchilada sauce, then assembling the enchiladas.
Frozen Chicken Feel free to use frozen chicken here. However, it may take longer to cook. Check to ensure the chicken has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit before shredding.
How to Store
Fridge Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer You can freeze the enchiladas in a freezer-safe container like a tightly covered baking dish. They are best frozen before you add the cheese. They will stay good for up to 3 months. Add the cheese after thawing while reheating.
Reheating To reheat from the fridge, you can place the enchiladas in a baking dish and reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 to 30 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave for a few minutes.
To reheat from frozen, let thaw in the fridge overnight, then follow the directions above.
Is it OK to put raw chicken in the slow cooker? Absolutely! It's my preferred method of preparing chicken in the slow cooker.
Is it better to cook chicken on high or low in the slow cooker? In my experience, with a good-quality crockpot, you will not notice much difference. However, if you have time, the chicken may be a bit more tender on the low setting.
Why do you dip tortillas in oil for enchiladas? This prevents the corn tortillas from cracking when you roll the enchiladas. It also creates a bit of a barrier between the tortilla itself and the enchilada sauce, preventing it from getting soggy quickly.
- Fry your tortillas quickly in a bit of oil. Without this step, I found that the corn tortillas in particular cracked and split, making it very difficult to roll.
- Make this recipe ahead. You can make this recipe ahead of time and use it for school or work lunches, an easy dinner, or freeze the entire recipe to eat later or deliver to a friend.
- Invest in a meat thermometer. It's important your chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to check the temperature with a reliable thermometer.
How to Serve
These easy slow cooker chicken enchiladas are great on their own, but here are some ideas for serving:
Salads A fresh salad would be lovely. Try it with this delicious Lemon Herb Vinaigrette.
This would also be wonderful with spicy pickled onions!
Recipes You'll Love
If you're in the mood for more Mexican food, try these:
Chicken Slow Cooker Enchiladas
- 8 corn tortillas small soft taco size
- olive oil spray
- 1 pound chicken breast boneless, skinless
- 2 cans enchilada sauce 10 ounces each
- 1 can green chilis chopped, 4 ounces
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 limes juice of, approximately 2 to 4 tablespoons
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper optional, to taste
- avocado or guacamole
- green onions/scallions
- fresh cilantro
- sliced black olives
- sour cream
- hot sauce or salsa
- Place the chicken, 1 can of enchilada sauce, green chilis, and spices in the base of the slow cooker.
- Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or cook on low to 6 to 8 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return the chicken mixture to the enchilada sauce.
- Meanwhile, fry your tortillas in a bit of olive oil spray over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side.
- Take a bit of the chicken mixture and a little of the sauce and roll it in a tortilla. Place the tortilla back in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Once all of the enchiladas have been assembled, cover them with the remaining enchilada sauce, squeeze over the lime juice, and add the cup of cheese on top.
- Return the lid to the slow cooker and heat on high for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Add your favorite toppings and serve!
- You can use chicken thighs in place of chicken breasts.
- Frozen chicken is fine to use - just be sure to check that it's reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit before shredding.
- Flour tortillas can be substituted.
- In place of olive oil spray, you can use olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or another neutral oil.
- When assembling the enchiladas, I usually just scoot the chicken to the side as I'm building the enchiladas, but you can also put the chicken in a bowl.
- If you want super cheesy enchiladas, there's no problem adding lots of cheese. Measure cheese with your heart, as they say.
- Fridge Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
- Freezer You can freeze the enchiladas in a freezer-safe container like a tightly covered baking dish. They are best frozen before you add the cheese. They will stay good for up to 3 months. Add the cheese after thawing while reheating.
- To reheat from fridge, you can place the enchiladas in a baking dish and reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 to 30 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave for a few minutes.
- To reheat from frozen, let thaw in the fridge overnight, then follow the directions above.