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The Complete Recipe
The amounts may be adjusted for how many enchiladas you want to make. You can also freeze leftover enchiladas, so if you can make a whole pan of them, you’ll have dinner ready for another day. Freezing and re-heating instructions are included at the end.
This recipe uses a 9″x13″ pan and yields approximately 20-24 enchiladas, working to fit as many into the pan as possible. You will be using a conventional oven pre-heated to 350°F
Half of one small onion, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 ½ cups* shredded, hard-style cheddar cheese or a mix of cheddar and jack cheeses (do not use any soft, processed cheeses)
*½-cup of the cheese is reserved for the top of the enchiladas before baking.
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic salt
Black ground pepper to taste
Approximately 2 dozen corn tortillas
I like the ‘Food for Life’ organic sprouted corn tortillas or the '365' brand from Whole Foods Market. They’re very good, with a rich corn taste that won’t get completely lost in your enchiladas. However, any good brand such as Mission will work fine, too. If you’re inclined to make your own, all the better!
¼-½ cup olive oil
For cooking the corn tortillas
1 large (28-oz.) can enchilada sauce of your choice
This sauce is red. It can be any brand and can be mild, medium or hot depending on what you like. I like mild, and it still comes out a little spicy using the mild sauce.
Prepping the Onions*
Gather all ingredients first. Start by mincing the onion. Heat the 2 T of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the minced onions to the heated oil.
Cook the onions until soft and glassy. This will only take a few minutes. Do not allow them to brown. Turn the heat down or temporarily remove from heat should any edges start to brown. Continue stirring until all of them are softened, glassy and heated through. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
*If you wish, you can skip the cooking of the onions and put them directly into the recipe raw. This gives a sharper onion taste with the cheese, which some prefer. The onions will still be cooked within the enchiladas during the oven phase.
Preparing the Cheese Mixture
While the onions cook and subsequently cool, combine the shredded cheese, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
When the onions are no longer too hot to the touch, combine them with the shredded cheese, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
Preparing the Corn Tortillas
Pour ¼ cup or so of olive oil into a large skillet or pancake pan. You don’t need an inch deep of oil, but don’t be afraid to use some oil.
Heat over medium heat until the pan and oil are hot.
Cook the tortillas very briefly to soften and heat them, but do not overcook to the point where they harden. This will be about a minute on each side. Adjust your heat if necessary.
Move the tortillas around the pan if the oil coverage is sporadic so that they pick up the oil and are nicely coated while cooking. Transfer to a covered dish so they remain warm, flexible and continue to steam. You can line the dish with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Add additional oil to the pan and wait for the oil to reheat before adding new tortillas as needed. Heating the tortillas briefly in oil gives them a better taste and also makes them pliable for rolling into enchiladas.
Making the Enchiladas
Pour half a can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your 9″x13″ pan.
Start with one tortilla and place a large spoonful of cheese mixture on the half of the tortilla that is closest to you.
Next, starting with the tortilla edge closest to you, roll the tortilla up somewhat tightly, away from you.
After rolling each enchilada, place it in the pan. Continue until pan is filled. Line the enchiladas up next to each other neatly. You can usually squeeze another one or two in once you reach the end of the pan.
Fill the pan with as many enchiladas as will fit, squeezing them in next to each other. Some may need to be turned perpendicular in order to fill the pan. Pour the remaining can and a half of enchilada sauce over the top, making sure to cover all exposed tortillas as fully as possible.
Sprinkle any remaining cheese mixture, along with the ½ cup reserved cheddar cheese, over the top.
Ready For the Oven
Preheat oven to 350°F and cover the enchiladas with foil. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Use caution when peeling back the foil, as steam will escape.
Use a spatula to remove sections of enchiladas for plating, usually 2-3 enchiladas per serving. Serve enchiladas with beans, rice or a salad.
In the event you have leftover enchiladas, these will freeze very well in freezer-safe, zipper-style plastic bags or in Tupperware-style containers.
Reheating Frozen Enchiladas
I recommend thawing frozen enchiladas first, as a large frozen batch of enchiladas will tend to over-cook and dry out on the outer edges and remain frozen in the middle. Place them in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours to defrost, depending on how large a batch you’re working with. Thawed enchiladas can be re-heated as a whole or as individual servings in the microwave, or you can re-heat the entire batch in a conventional oven.
Microwave: Remember, all microwaves are different so you’ll need to adjust the time accordingly. Once thawed, you can plate the enchiladas for individual servings and re-heat each plate for 2-3 minutes. You can also re-heat the entire batch at once.
For individual servings place enchiladas on a microwave safe serving plate, cover with a microwave safe covering and microwave for approximately 2 minutes. Test and continue to re-heat for an additional 30 seconds as needed until well heated.
To re-heat a previously frozen batch, place enchiladas in a microwave safe dish. Depending on how large a batch you’re re-heating you’ll want to start out with 4 minutes, then turn and test for cold spots. Continue to re-heat in 30-second intervals until heated thoroughly.
Conventional Oven: Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the entire batch of enchiladas in an oven-proof pan or dish and cover with foil wrap. (I don’t recommend re-heating individual servings in a conventional oven. The enchiladas will be more likely to dry out, and it will not be time or energy efficient.) Re-heat your batch for 20-30 minutes, depending on how many enchiladas you are re-heating. Check the inner enchiladas for cold spots and continue at 5-minute intervals until they reach the desired temperature.