Who needs a recipe?! These easy enchilada filling ideas will help you get your creativity flowing—and help make dinnertime a whole lot tastier.
Enchiladas y’all. The dinner that comes together in a few minutes and is always a family favorite. Enchiladas are a Mexican dish that evolved from street food to filled and rolled corn tortillas arranged in a casserole and covered in sauce before being baked.
You’ve seen our beef enchilada recipe, and tried it (right?). Now it’s time to up your game. We love enchiladas for being a budget friendly, flexible dish, which is why we wanted to give you some simple variations on the original with these easy enchilada filling ideas.
Hopefully one of these inspires you to take on the whole enchilada!
Here’s a fun fact to share at the dinner table. Enchiladas originated with the Nahuatl people of Mexico. Their word for the dish is chīllapītzalli, a portmanteau of “chili”, chīlli and the Nahuatl word for “flute”, tlapītzalli. Littles will have fun learning to pronounce that!
Sweet Potato and Bean
This is a wild ride and well-worth taking. Steam sweet potatoes and mash until smooth with a pat or two of butter. Stir in some cooked beans, pre-made salsa, and a large pinch of dried oregano, then roll into your tortillas. Arrange in a baking dish, with the seam sides down. Top with your favorite enchilada sauce and shredded cheese (to make this vegan, just leave off the cheese). Bake until bubbly and serve with lime and avocado. An easy enchilada filling idea for Meatless Monday!
Barbecue Brisket Enchiladas
It’s a wonderful world we live in, because we can buy pre-cooked brisket on a whim. For this version of enchiladas, the filling should be shredded brisket mixed with a touch of your favorite BBQ sauce, diced tomato, corn, and some cooked beans—go wild and try baked beans or use pinto or black beans. For the sauce, stir together 1 part plain tomato sauce with 1 part BBQ sauce. Top everything with cheese and bake until warm. Serve with a side of rice and sautéed bell pepper.
This is a dreamy enchilada filling idea to feed a big family or bring out when you’re hosting brunch. Voila, breakfast is served. In a large skillet, cook some crumbled breakfast sausage with onion, diced bell pepper, and spinach (or whatever vegetables your family prefers). Add eggs and scramble. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. When it’s cooled, roll into tortillas with some cheese. Top with enchilada sauce, shredded frozen hash brown potatoes, and cheese. Bake until the hash browns are cooked.
There’s something so deeply glorious about enmoladas, which is enchiladas in mole sauce. Bonus is your littles will get a giggle knowing that mole has just a tiny bit of chocolate in it. Who would have guessed? You can buy mole in the grocery store, or seek out a local source at a Mexican grocery store or a restaurant that sells their own. To make, fry your tortillas in a neutral oil then dip in the mole sauce. Fill with warm shredded rotisserie chicken (or leftovers from our Instant Pot Whole Chicken!) and a bit of cheese—either cotija or shredded Monterrey Jack. Roll up and spoon warm sauce all over. Broil for minute or two then serve with cilantro and green onion.
There’s a little part of me that wonders what this would be like using fish sticks, but that’s another enchilada filling idea for another time. Slightly under-cook some mild fish like tilapia or cod with cumin, chili power (not the spicy kind) and a squeeze of lime. Let cool and roll into tortillas. Top with mild green salsa or tomatillo sauce. Bake and serve with, cilantro or parsley, lime rice, and refried beans.