Red Cheese Enchiladas

Restaurant-Style Red Cheese Enchiladas recipe – an old family favorite recipe that is simply the best. Corn tortillas filled with cheese, chile puree, salt & garlic pepper and topped with more cheese!

Cheese Enchiladas aka Mexican Enchiladas

Red Enchiladas AKA Mexican Enchiladas

My mom is full Mexican and has spoiled us with her delicious Mexican food my entire life. 🙂 I know I’ve posted a few of our favorite family Mexican dishes on here before, but one I have yet to share with you is our Red Cheese Enchiladas (aka Mexican Enchiladas).

This is a recipe my mom has had for years (my great-grandma Bean Burro used it!) and it’s the one we use whenever we have Cheese Enchiladas. We’ve tried canned red enchilada sauces and they don’t even compare. They aren’t authentic and don’t have the delicious flavor you can find in restaurant-style cheese enchiladas.

And don’t be scared – this enchilada sauce recipe is simple and can be made ahead of time! We also use it in our famous Beef Empanadas recipe.

How to Make Cheese Enchiladas process pics

How to Make Cheese Enchiladas

Making your own red sauce may seem difficult, but we promise it’s not. It doesn’t take long either. The only thing that may need changing is the amount of chili powder you use, so test that out and see what you like best.

Having said that, we are huge fans of Gebhardt Chili Powder and only use that when making our red sauce. 😉

SAUCE. To make these enchiladas, you have to begin with the red sauce (be sure to check out our red enchilada sauce recipe for more tips and tricks). This is made by adding oil to pot and heating on Medium heat. Pour in flour and create a roux by whisking together for 1-2 minutes.

Add chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and oregano and mix until clumpy. Pour in chicken broth, whisking the entire time and until there are no more clumps. Heat for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Once the sauce is done you are ready to start making the enchiladas. NOTE: Our favorite kind of tortillas to use are the Kroger yellow corn tortillas – they work like a charm.

DIP, FILL + ROLL. Get your pan close to your sauce, along with a bowl of cheese, and your tortillas. Dip each tortilla into the sauce until soft and put into greased dish. Add ¼ cup cheese and roll up and push to the end of the pan.

BAKE. Continue doing this with your tortillas until your pan is full. From there you will pour the excess sauce over your tortillas. Sprinkle the top with more cheese, then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Red Enchiladas with cheese on top in baking dish

Can you make cheese enchiladas ahead of time?

Yes, we always do! In fact, I like to make them in the morning or even the day before if things are crazy. I will typically make the enchiladas and stop before adding shredded cheese on top. I store in the fridge by covering tightly and when ready to bake, I top with cheese and bake. I may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time.

Can you freeze cheese enchiladaS?

We freeze enchiladas all the time. We often double the batch and will place the second batch in a freezer safe pan and then cover with foil tightly and place in a freezer bag. This can keep for up to 2 months. Just take out to thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

What to serve with cheese enchiladas:

Cheese Enchilada Recipe in baking dish

Eek! These are my favorite!! I actually love all sorts of enchiladas but this sauce just brings back so many memories of eating them as a child. My great-grandma Bean Burro (that’s what we called her but her last name was really Gutierrez) made them and my mom learned from her and my grandma Luna. 😉

Best of all, it really is an easy recipe and tastes like it came straight from the restaurant! Oh, so so yummy!

For more enchilada recipes, check out:

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Cheese Enchilada Recipe

4.85 from 126 votes
Restaurant-Style Red Cheese Enchiladas - Corn tortillas filled with cheese, chile puree, salt & garlic pepper and topped with more cheese!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 64 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp Gebhardt Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Mexican Cheese


  • Add oil to pot and heat on Medium. Pour in flour and whisk together and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and oregano and mix until clumpy. Pour in chicken broth, whisking the entire time and until there are no more clumps. Heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  • After you have made your sauce, you will want to dip your corn tortillas in the sauce until they are soft and immediately put it into a greased 11x7 pan.
  • From there you will add cheese (I use the Mexican Blended Cheese), roll it up and push it to the end of the pan.
  • Continue doing this with your tortillas until your pan is full. From there you will pour the excess sauce over your tortillas. Sprinkle the top with more cheese. (You can also prepare this in advance and refrigerate until ready to cook).
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.


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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    We love Mexican food and enchiladas are always a hit. Kristen’s cheese enchiladas are tops! Easy weeknight meal that’s a crowd pleaser.

  2. 5 stars
    No more canned red sauce for us! This recipe is so easy to make, and I can increase the heat based on who is eating! My kids love these enchiladas. I usually make a smaller pan, since we have little eaters, but I always do the full sauce recipe because it’s so delicious and we want extra sauce!

  3. 5 stars
    I never realized how easy it is to make homemade enchilada sauce! I had always used it from a can and never really loved the flavor unless I mixed green with red and it still never tasted like all of the yummy enchiladas from our favorite restaurants. Then I found this recipe and I have never looked back! It is seriously so good and so easy. I make it so often that I have it memorized and it quickly has become a family favorite.

  4. 5 stars
    I have made these enchiladas at least 10 times now. I’m sorry it took so long to comment and rate! 🙂 These are absolutely delicious and the only thing I do different is – 1. I can’t ever seem to *not* tear my tortillas when dipping them in the sauce, so I just put a layer of sauce, layer of torn tortillas, cheese, sauce and then another layer of tortillas and sauce. Kind of like an enchilada lasagna! Tastes exactly the same and keeps me sane haha. And 2. We add onions because we’re onion fans in this family! Otherwise I make it as-is.

    Thank you so much for such a great recipe! It’s a weekly dinner in our house now!

  5. 5 stars
    I’d been using Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce, better than the canned sauces, but this recipe was not only easy but much better than TJ’s sauce! Delicious! I’ll never buy TJ’s sauce again! I made these twice. Tweaked the recipe the 2nd time.

    Question: the description on the recipe says the tortillas are “…filled with… garlic pepper…” but I don’t see garlic pepper in the recipe? Why the reference to garlic pepper?

    First time I tried this sauce I used a Target brand chili pepper. The sauce was dark, taste was good but not great. Bought the Gebhardt chili powder on Amazon, I immediately noticed it was lighter in color and smelled much better (not as strong) than Target brand I used. The sauce tasted significantly better with Gebhardt.

    I didn’t cover the enchiladas before putting in the oven first time I made these. Cheese was dried out. Though the recipe doesn’t say it, definitely recommend covering in foil!

    Sauce was too salty the first time, so 2nd time I completely left out the 1/2 tsp salt. Sodium from chicken broth was plenty of salt. Sauce still tasted great!

    Corn tortillas tore when rolling up like others have complained about. Second time, I wrapped tortillas in foil, put in oven on low temp just to warm while putting everything else together and not one of them tore.

    I love garlic so pressed 3 garlic cloves through a garlic press into the sauce instead of the powder. Delicious! Like the suggestion of onion powder someone had. I’ll try that next time!

    I made 8 enchiladas the first time then squeezed in 2 more the second time so was able to use all 10 from the package. Used 16 oz of cheese, 1/2 cheddar, 1/2 pepper jack. Yum! Used “super size” tortillas but they still aren’t as big as the ones you get in the restaurants!

    1. Thank you for sharing what you do. That’s just in the description of what is inside. Garlic pepper isn’t on the list. I list adding a little though.

  6. 5 stars
    Wow! Who knew making your own enchilada sauce was so easy. I’ll never buy another canned sauce again. I added a little more chicken broth to thin out just a bit. I also used a blend of Monterey Jack and cheddar. For a little twist I added a half of a yellow onion and whole jalapeno finely chopped to the cheese filling. My family really loved these enchiladas! Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    My gram made these with gebhardt for us, especially during lent. Lol, actually she still makes them. When I visit her this is in her rotation. We didn’t use oregano, and added chopped onions. She always made them on the stove, never in the oven. One of my favorite things to eat to this day!! Glad you’re sharing this so others can enjoy its deliciousness. ❤️

  8. 4 stars
    Very nice recipe. On par with most of the ‘grubbier’ mom and pop type restaurants here in South Texas where I go for ‘authentic.’ Bolner’s ‘Fiesta’ brand chili powder and cumin are my go-tos.

  9. Flavor is very good. But, there is a lot left out about tortilla technique. I found that the tortillas have to be heated before using them, otherwise they all break apart. Technique in a recipe is just as important as taste! Thanks for sharing. *put tortillas in microwave for 20 seconds 2 at a time.

  10. 5 stars
    Used this as a base recipe then added black beans, onions and sharp white cheddar cheese for the filling. Absolutely delicious I can’t wait to share this recipe with friends and make again.

  11. 1 star
    Don’t know what I did wrong but all I got is a mess. The corn tortillas split and cracked when I tried dipping them in the sauce. I ended up filling and rolling them in the pan without dipping them first. I poured the sauce over the top, spread it around with a spoon and am praying it bakes up ok.

    1. How did it bake up? I hope it was ok 🙂 I usually barely & quickly dip. They don’t have to be soaking in it. You could try heating them up a little bit too in the microwave.

  12. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday & it was delicious
    Due to the bad storm I couldn’t get corn tortillas & had to use flour. I didn’t dip them but covered the bottom of the dish with sauce & added chicken This will now be on our menu Thank you

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