Do you love chicken enchiladas? Are you craving lasagna? Yes! Then let’s smash the two together and make some magic. A chicken enchiladas lasagna recipe your family will love.
Hello enchilada lover! I know you. You are always in the mood for a hot, rolled tortilla. Filled and smothered, dripping with melted cheese.
But sometimes you like to try something new. Enter chicken enchiladas lasagna.
This recipe keeps the chicken enchiladas you love but made in a different way. It’s enchiladas as a casserole. No enchilada rolling in this recipe.
What is chicken enchiladas lasagna? Chicken enchiladas lasagna is a layered casserole, like lasagna. But instead of cooked noodles, you will use corn tortillas. And in place of sausage, you will use flavorful shredded chicken.
This recipe is filled with ingredients you love in a green chili chicken enchilada.
First, you start with layers of tortillas. Corn tortillas are the best. Cotija cheese mixed with cilantro tops the tortillas.
Next, layer chicken smothered in a jalapeno salsa verde sauce. And finally, sprinkle a layer of cheese.
Bake, and you have a delicious dinner the whole family will love.
3 Reasons to Make This Recipe Tonight
- Great way to use up leftovers. Got rotisserie chicken from last night? Have a few remaining corn tortillas? This great recipe will pull it all together in an easy chicken enchilada casserole.
- Delicious flavors. The homemade sauce does not take long to make. But the fresh flavors are incredible.
- Easy to make ahead. There are a few steps in this recipe. And chopping the vegetables takes the longest time.
But if you cut the veggies ahead of time, the dinner will come together quickly. Just what you need on busy nights.
Tips and Tricks to Make Life Easy
- Use precooked chicken. A rotisserie chicken, Costco canned chicken, or leftover cooked chicken are all good choices. Starting with raw chicken will add at least another 30 minutes to the prep time.
- Use a food processor to chop the ingredients. An onion, jalapeno peppers, bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro take time to hand chop. But a food processor can make the job quick and painless. A knife and cutting board can take 20 minutes.
- Substitute corn tortilla chips. You can easily use a layer of corn tortilla strips in place of corn tortillas. They taste great in chicken enchiladas lasagna. However, I don’t recommend flavored chips.
- Use canned green enchilada sauce. The homemade sauce in this recipe really makes the dish taste amazing. But if you are in a hurry, you can open a can of sauce.
Heat it in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. I still recommend starting with the jalapenos, onions, garlic, and bell pepper if you have the time. That will perk up store-bought sauce.
Ingredients for Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna Recipe
The corn flavor of corn tortillas compliments the other flavors in this recipe. I don’t recommend flour tortillas.
Each tortilla layer should completely cover the lower layer. Either overlap the tortillas or cut them into tortilla strips. Slicing them is easy to do with a pizza cutter. Then you can fill in any gaps.
There are many ways to cook chicken, including cooking chicken breasts on the stove. You could also slow cook chicken in the crockpot. Or pressure cook it in the Instant Pot.
A simple seasoning of salt and black pepper is enough. But if you prefer, sprinkle some taco seasoning mix on the chicken before cooking it. Or try some homemade Montreal steak seasoning.
Too busy to cook the chicken? Pick up a rotisserie chicken or open a can of Costco chicken.
Instead of a red enchilada sauce, you will be making homemade enchilada sauce with salsa verde.
Of course, you could open a can of enchilada sauce. But this homemade version tastes so much better than Old El Paso. And it is a quick sauce to make, thanks to cornstarch.
So, what’s in the sauce?
- Fresh jalapenos. Use one to three small to medium jalapenos. Remove the seeds unless you really like them spicy. The more peppers you use, the spicier the dish will be.
I like using two. It gives the chicken enchiladas lasagna a kick without being too spicy.
The best way to cut fresh jalapenos is to wear food service gloves. Cut the top off and then slice the pepper in half.
Use a spoon to scrape the seeds out.
Then cut the peppers into matchstick slices before dicing them.
If you don’t want to deal with hot peppers, use a can of green chiles. They are mild-flavored.
- Yellow onions, green peppers, and garlic. The onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno pepper combine to make a fantastic enchilada sauce. Chop onion and pepper into small pieces. Mince the garlic.
- Salsa verde. The tomatillos in salsa verde balance out the heat of the onion and peppers. It makes the enchilada sauce so tasty, you may even want to eat a cup of the sauce by itself.
- Chicken broth. Use chicken stock or broth as the base for the lasagna enchilada sauce. Homemade or store-bought. I like the Better than Bouillon brand.
- Cream. You may be tempted to use low-fat milk in place of cream. However, cream is one of the best dairy products to use in a sauce. It is thick and lends creaminess.
But best of all, it does not break down when heated the way milk does. Its high fat content prevents it from separating. And that is a really good thing in a sauce.
- Cornstarch. When you make a cornstarch slurry, you can thicken the sauce in just a minute or two. Cornstarch is the secret ingredient to a quick, easy sauce.
Instead of a ricotta and parsley mixture layered in Italian lasagna, you have Cotija cheese mixed with fresh cilantro.
The Cotija cheese has a similar texture to ricotta. However, it is a salty cheese. You probably will not need to add any extra salt to the casserole.
Pepper Jack Cheese
Pepper jack cheese gives the casserole a kick that you will love. However, you can substitute Monterey Jack cheese if you want. Even cheddar cheese is a good alternative.
How to Make the Best Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna Recipe
Prep the Ingredients
STEP 1: Wash the jalapenos and green bell pepper.
STEP 2: Remove the stem and seeds from the jalapenos. Mince them.
STEP 3: Mince the green bell pepper, onion, and garlic cloves.
STEP 4: Mince the cilantro separately.
STEP 5: Crumble the Cotija cheese into a small bowl.
STEP 6: Stir the cilantro into the Cotija cheese. Set this mixture aside.
STEP 7: Shred the pepper jack cheese.
Make the Sauce
STEP 1: Make cornstarch slurry. Whisk the cornstarch into ½ cup of chicken broth. Set aside.
STEP 2: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the jalapenos, green bell pepper, and onion.
STEP 3: Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften. This will take 5 to 7 minutes.
STEP 4: Stir in the minced garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes.
STEP 5: Pour in the remainder of the chicken broth, salsa verde, and heavy cream.
STEP 6: Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. The broth should start to simmer but does not need to come to a boil.
STEP 7: Give the cornstarch slurry a quick whisk to refresh it. Slowly pour it into the sauce.
STEP 8: Stir as the sauce starts to thicken and begins to bubble. Cook for 1 more minute. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Assemble and Bake the Casserole
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
STEP 2: Lightly spoon enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. You just need a thin layer (about ⅓ cup sauce) at the bottom of the dish.
STEP 3: Add the shredded chicken to the rest of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine.
STEP 4: Layer the corn tortillas on top of the sauce in the casserole dish. Cut the remaining tortillas into strips, if necessary, to make a complete tortilla layer.
STEP 5: Spread half of the Cotija/cilantro mixture onto the tortillas.
STEP 6: Spoon half of the chicken and sauce mixture onto the Cotija/cilantro layer.
STEP 7: Sprinkle half of the pepper jack cheese onto the chicken layer.
STEP 8: Repeat layers beginning with the tortillas. Sprinkle on the rest of the Cotija and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the last bit of cheese on top.
STEP 9: Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbly.
STEP 10: Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken as it cools.
STEP 11: Garnish with sour cream, green onions, avocado, or a sprinkle of lime juice.
What to Serve with Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna
- Side of black beans. Make black beans from scratch in the Instant Pot. The fresh taste will blow you away.
- Seasoned rice. Try a Taco Bell copycat rice dish. It is made with tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and other spices.
- Garden salad. A salad as a side dish is hard to beat. Especially when it has fresh seasonal veggies.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna
Got leftovers? Lucky you! Now you have lunch tomorrow.
Store the remaining casserole in an airtight in the refrigerator. The lasagna will last up to three days in the fridge.
How to Reheat in the Microwave
The microwave is the best way to reheat individual portions of the casserole.
- Dish out a serving onto a microwave-safe plate.
- Cover with a paper towel and heat in the microwave for one minute. Check the temperature and heat in 20 to 30-second intervals until it is warm enough to eat.
How to Reheat in the Oven
Reheating in the oven is best for warming a large portion, although it will take longer.
- Heat the oven to 300° F (150° C).
- Transfer the lasagna to a casserole pan.
- Warm for 20 to 30 minutes.
How to Freeze Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna
For more extended storage, freeze the leftover lasagna. Chicken enchilada casserole freezes well, although the sauce will thicken.
Place the remains in an airtight freezer container or a freezer zip-top bag. Label the bag with the contents and date. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
For more convenience, store the casserole in individual serving freezer containers. Then you can pull out just what you need.
To Thaw: Remove the frozen casserole from the freezer. Place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. (Individual portions will take less time to thaw.)
Reheat before eating.
Can You Make Chicken Enchiladas Casserole Ahead?
It is easy to make this recipe early – either part of the recipe or the whole casserole.
- Meal prep: Chop the veggies and cook the chicken. When you are ready to assemble the lasagna, make the sauce.
- Make the whole chicken enchiladas lasagna recipe ahead: Make the casserole and then cover the casserole pan with aluminum foil. Place it in the refrigerator overnight.
Take the pan out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before baking.
Hungry for More Mexican Food?
Try these Mexican recipes.
- White chicken chili. Combine chicken, white beans, and salsa verde to make chili. A touch of cream cheese makes this dish ultra-creamy. If you want to go lighter, there are plenty of cream cheese substitutes.
Don’t forget to check out all the delicious chicken chili sides.
- Chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce. Transform dinner when you learn how to make chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce. The easy 5-minute sour cream sauce will change your life.
Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna
- 2 fresh jalapenos seeds removed and minced (5 to 8 tablespoons)
- ½ cup of green bell peppers minced
- ½ cup of yellow onion minced
- 2 garlic cloves
- ⅓ to ½ cup of cilantro minced
- 8 oz. of Cotija cheese crumbled
- 8 oz. of pepper jack cheese shredded
- 2 cups of chicken broth separated
- 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 cups of salsa verde
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- salt to taste you may not need any
- 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken
- 12 corn tortillas
Prep the Ingredients
- WASH the jalapenos and green bell pepper.
- REMOVE the stem and seeds from the peppers. Mince them.
- MINCE the onion, garlic cloves, and the cilantro.
- CRUMBLE the Cotija cheese into a small bowl.
- STIR the cilantro into the Cotija cheese. Set this mixture aside.
- SHRED the pepper jack cheese.
Make the Sauce
- MAKE the cornstarch slurry. Whisk the cornstarch into ½ cup of the chicken broth. Set aside.
- HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the jalapenos, green bell pepper, and onion.
- COOK, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften. This will take 5 to 7 minutes.
- STIR in the minced garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- POUR in the remainder of the chicken broth, salsa verde, and heavy cream.
- STIR and COOK for about 5 minutes. The broth should start to simmer, but does not need to come to a boil.
- GIVE the cornstarch slurry a quick whisk to refresh it. Slowly pour it into the sauce.
- STIR as the sauce starts to thicken and begins to bubble. Cook for 1 more minute. Remove the sauce from the heat. Taste and add salt if necessary. Most sauces won't need any because of the salt in the chicken broth.
- Assemble and Bake the Lasagna
- PREHEAT oven to 350° F (175° C).
- SPOON the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. You just need a thin layer.
- ADD the shredded chicken to the rest of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine.
- LAYER the corn tortillas on top of the sauce in the casserole dish. Cut the tortillas into strips, if necessary to make a complete tortilla layer.
- SPREAD half of the Cotija/cilantro mixture onto the tortillas.
- SPOON half of the chicken and sauce mixture onto the Cotija/cilantro layer.
- SPRINKLE half of the pepper jack cheese onto the chicken layer.
- REPEAT with tortillas, the remainder of the Cotija, the chicken, and the pepper jack cheese.
- BAKE in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbly.
- REMOVE from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken as it cools.
- GARNISH with cilantro, avocado, green onions, or red bell peppers.