Beef and cheese enchiladas are a family-favorite dish that you can assemble in just fifteen minutes, sure to be a dinner-time hit. Creamy seasoned beef rolled up with tortillas and topped with sauce are baked until bubbly.
Homemade beef enchiladas taste great and they’re one of those dishes everyone seems to enjoy which makes it a win-win in my book. Throw it together for a delicious week night dinner.
Most beef enchilada recipes in my neck of the woods are just seasoned ground beef with enchilada sauce on top. These beef and cheese enchiladas have so much more flavor. The beef is cooked with onions, garlic, chili powder and cumin, giving it a great flavor before you even add sauce.
Then instead of just adding enchilada sauce, you add sour cream and cheese to the flavored beef mixture creating a creamy filling. The enchilada sauce goes on the bottom of the pan and then covers the stuffed tortillas.
There’s no such thing as too many Tex-Mex or Mexican inspired recipes! If you love these flavors, you need to try white queso dip, one pot Southwest chicken and rice, and an easy Tex-Mex squash casserole.
What are enchiladas?
Enchiladas are a Mexican dish made with tortillas wrapped around meat and cheese (or just cheese) and then topped with a spicy sauce and sprinkled with cheese. They’re baked in the oven before serving.
Here, we are swapping out the corn tortillas for flour tortillas which I find are much easier to roll and the corn taste is not needed with all the other flavors. However, you can easily substitute corn tortillas in this recipe.
Why you’ll love it
- Hearty and satisfying. These enchiladas are filled with so much goodness! Serve them up with some rice or beans and you’ve got an amazing meal!
- Family-favorite meal. This dish is popular with kids and adults. The seasoning is mild except for the jalapenos on top which you can easily leave off.
- Quick and easy. This dish goes together so fast even with rolling the tortillas making it perfect any day of the week.
What you’ll need
The best beef enchiladas are made with a handful of simple ingredients you can find at just about any grocery store.
- Ground beef: You can use any type of ground beef. Just be sure if you use one with a higher fat content that you drain off the grease after cooking.
- Onion: You’ll need about a half a cup. You can also use green onions if you prefer a milder taste.
- Spices: The beef mixture is seasoned with chili powder and ground cumin.
- Garlic: Use fresh minced garlic to cook with the beef.
- Colby jack cheese or cheddar: A blend of Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses works perfectly for making this ground beef enchilada recipe. You can also use sharp cheddar cheese for a bolder flavor or go with Monterey Jack cheese on its own or use a Mexican-blend shredded cheese.
- Sour cream: Mixed with the beef to give it a creamy texture.
- Enchilada sauce: Use canned red enchilada sauce to save some time but you can also make your own homemade enchilada sauce if you’ve got the time!
- Flour tortillas: Makes rolling enchiladas super easy to do.
- Jalapenos: I prefer using jarred jalapenos which are a little less spicy than fresh.
How to Make Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas
Step 1: prepare the filling
Cook the beef, green onions, chili powder, garlic, cumin, and salt in a large skillet over medium heat until the meat is cooked through.
Remove the skillet from the heat and drain off any excess fat.
Add cheese and sour cream and stir to mix everything together.
Step 2: roll the enchiladas
Spread some of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Add one-half cup of filling to each tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place seam-side down in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese and add jalapeños to the top.
Step 3: bake in the oven
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Variations and Substitutions
There are a few ways to change up this recipe to fit different diets or simply to try something different.
- Ground turkey: Swap the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken if you are looking for another option for meat. Ground turkey is usually lower in fat and a healthier alternative to ground beef.
- Chopped chicken: Use shredded or chopped rotisserie chicken in place of the ground meat. You will need to quickly saute the onions and spices in a bit of oil first.
- Corn tortillas: Swap the flour tortillas for corn to make this a gluten-free dish.
- Beans: Swap the meat for beans to make vegetarian enchiladas. Black beans, refried beans, and pinto beans are some great options.
- Change up the sauce: Go with green instead of red. Green enchilada sauce is made with a milder form of chilies and tomatillos so it has a much brighter, tangy flavor.
- Veggies: Add some of your favorite veggies such as diced zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers with any type of filling for some added nutrition.
What to Serve With Enchiladas
Toppings: Serve up additional toppings on the table for everyone to add to their enchiladas. Pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, fresh cilantro, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and sliced jalapenos are just a few.
Side dishes: Traditionally enchiladas are served with refried beans, or black beans and a side of rice. You can also add a salad, such as this mango avocado broccoli slaw, or a simple veggie like skillet charred corn.
How to Store
Leftovers: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days or you can store them after cooking in the freezer for up to three months.
Make ahead: Beef enchiladas are perfect for making ahead of time for a quick weeknight meal. After rolling and covering them with sauce, wrap them up tightly to store in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to cook them, remove from the freezer to thaw overnight in the fridge. Top with cheese and bake in the oven. You will need to extend the cooking time since the ingredients are all cold.
Reheat: Heat them in a microwave-safe container in the microwave or return them to a baking pan and heat in the oven at 350° until heated through.
FAQ and Tips
Is it better to use corn or flour tortillas for enchiladas?
Both work great! Corn tortillas are the more traditional and authentic type of tortilla used to make enchiladas but they are a bit more brittle to roll. Heating them up a bit softens them making it easier to roll. Flour tortillas are definitely easier to roll up without splitting the tortilla and taste great too!
Should you cook enchiladas covered or uncovered?
You can cook either way but I prefer cooking them uncovered so the cheese browns up a bit. If cooking them from a refrigerated state, covering them will help them heat up more quickly. Then uncover them for the last ten minutes of cooking time to allow them to brown up.
More Ground Beef Recipes
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Beef and Cheese Enchiladas
- 1 ½ lb ground beef
- ½ cup onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups cheddar cheese 12 ounces
- 1 cup sour cream
- 12 ounces enchilada sauce
- 8 10-inch flour tortillas
- jarred jalapenos optional
- Preheat the oven to 425º.
- In a large skillet, add beef, onions, chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. If there is excess fat, drain.
- Remove from heat and add 2 cups of grated cheese and sour cream and stir to combine.
- Spread ¾ cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Roll ½ cup of filling into each tortilla and roll tightly. Place seam side down in the baking dish.
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Add jalapeños to the top if desired.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Be sure to place the rolled tortillas seam-side down in the baking pan. This keeps them from opening up when cooked.
- Drain off any excess fat after cooking the beef.
- Bake uncovered to brown the cheese a bit.