Cheesy beef enchiladas

These creamy, cheesy beef enchiladas are so good, they might just replace a taco Tuesday! 

A close up photo of beef enchiladas

If you’re a fan of bold and satisfying flavors, then you’re in for a treat! Get ready to sink your teeth into a delicious dish of Cheesy Beef Enchiladas! This classic Mexican dish is packed with juicy ground beef, smothered in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce, and topped with a generous amount of ooey-gooey melted cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food that will leave you feeling warm and satisfied with every bite. So, let’s dive in and discover how to make these irresistible Cheesy Beef Enchiladas!

Close up photos of beef enchiladas

Using the chipotles in adobe sauce

Make sure to consider the spice tolerance of those sharing this dish.  The can of chipotles with adobo sauce can add heat quickly, but the flavor is too important not to use in this dish. It brings a lot of flavor and really gives the filling an amazing balance. If you need something low in spice, use only the sauce in the can. That’s what I usually do.

The peppers with their seeds carry the real punch.  If you want to ramp up the spice, use the whole peppers with the seeds, but cut them.  I find that scissors actually work the best.  You also have the option of adding a couple more tablespoons into the enchilada sauce itself.  

Adjust the heat level when you taste the filling at the end, add a little sour cream to calm it down or more adobo to spice it up.  Also, remember that the longer the mixture sits, the spicier it will become.  

Additionally, you can always make small heat adjustments after the final cook with sour cream and avocado as cooling agents or hot sauce, like Cholula, for something different.  

Preparing the ingredients

You can make this dish in your oven or even smoke it for a really nice depth of flavor. It’s totally up to you. If you decide to use your smoker, you can cook everything including the filling, on the smoker in a cast iron pan. Then transfer to a baking dish and proceed as you normally would. If you don’t have a smoker, baking the enchiladas in the oven work great too!

Beef enchilada ingredients laid out

Next, dice up 1 yellow onion and set that aside. You will need a packet of taco seasoning to add to the ground beef when you cook it, but you can also make your own.   To make your own taco seasoning, combine 1 tablespoon of salt, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder. Then add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.  Honestly, the packet of taco seasoning just makes life easy and I’m all about that!

Finally prepare A 9×9 or 8×13 baking dish. The size of the dish does not really matter as long as the rolled tortillas can fit reasonably inside.  I use an 8×13 and can fit 8 rolled up tortillas inside. If you want easy clean-up, opt for a disposable foil baking dish.   

Lastly, spread 2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.  (If you want additional heat, add another tablespoon of the adobo sauce as well.)

Now you are ready to focus on the filling.

Making the beef enchilada filling

The filling is made with ground beef and can be made up to two days ahead. If you cook the ground beef ahead of time just warm it up before stuffing the enchiladas. Sometimes, I will even cook off 5 pounds of ground beef at the beginning of the week and then use it in different recipes.   

Other optional fillings:

  • Chorizo: For a spicy kick
  • Chicken: For those that want something a little leaner
  • Pulled pork: A great way to repurpose leftovers
  • Brisket: Makes an amazing and rich filler for enchiladas.

In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high.  Sauté 1 diced yellow onion in the pan, stirring until the onion is translucent and starting to brown.  If you are a fan of garlic, you can add in minced garlic when the onions are almost done.  Scoop the onions into a bowl and set aside. 

Sautéed onions in a pan
Season your onions with a pinch of salt and pepper

Next, brown the ground beef in the same skillet on medium high.  Make sure to drain off the excess grease.  I think an 80/20 mixture packs the best flavor, but go a little leaner if you like.

When the beef is cooked, turn down the heat to medium.  Add back in the cooked onion, taco seasoning, and 1-2 tablespoons of the chipotle peppers with adobo sauce.  Stir all of the ingredients to coat the beef evenly. 

Next, add ¼ cup of chicken stock, scraping the pan to get all of the excess scraps from the bottom of the pan. This step is important because you do not want little pieces of beef or seasoning to burn on the bottom of the pan, causing your filling to have a bitter aftertaste. I prefer chicken stock because of the flavor balance, but water or beef stock work just as well. 

Gently stir the mixture and sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on top (about 4 ounces).  Keep folding until the cheese has melted and the beef mixture has a creamy texture.  If the mixture looks too dry, add a little more chicken stock, additional cheese, or adobo sauce.  Remember, the adobo will add spice.  If the mixture is too salty, add a tablespoon or two of sour cream to brighten.  

Ground beef and cheese mixture on a wooden spoon

Remove the beef mixture from the heat and set aside.  This will allow it to cool a little before filling the tortillas.

Wrapping it up

Make sure to have a clean, flat surface.  I recommend a cutting board or parchment paper.  Lay a tortilla flat. Load with 3-4 tablespoons of the beef mixture down the center of the tortilla.  Roll the tortilla and lay in the dish, fold side down.  Remember, that dish should already have a little bit of sauce down.  Repeat and place filled tortillas next to each other in the pan. They should be touching each other.    

Ground beef in a tortilla

Then, cover the top of the tortillas with the remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  

Bake in the oven or on your smoker at 350°F for 20 minutes until the sauce is warmed up and the cheese is melted. 

Beef enchiladas in a baking pan on the smoker

The tortillas should firm up a little from the baking as well. I top them with cilantro and additional toppings like pico de Gallo, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and guacamole.  

These are easy to make, affordable and will be done in under an hour. The rich beefy flavor shines through in the soft tortilla covered in red enchilada sauce and gooey cheese. That’s what I call a winner winner, cheesy beef enchilada dinner!

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Cheesy beef enchiladas

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5 from 2 reviews

These creamy, cheesy beef enchiladas are so good, they might just replace a taco Tuesday! This recipe is delicious and only takes 45 minutes.

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pack of taco seasoning
  • 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (Only use 23 tablespoons) 
  • 1/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 19 ounce can of red enchilada sauce
  • 8 tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven or smoker to 350°F.
  2. In a medium sized pan add olive oil on medium heat and cook your diced onions until they soften and start to brown. Scoop them into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Brown the ground beef in the same pan on medium high. Drain the excess grease and turn the heat down to medium.
  4. Stir back in the cooked onions, taco seasoning, 1-2 tablespoons of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (Or just use the liquid for mild)
  5. Add chicken stock, scraping the pan to get all of the excess bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add half of the shredded cheese.
  6. Gently stir the mixture until the cheese has melted and the beef mixture is creamy. Remove pan from heat.
  7. Spread 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
  8. Open a tortilla and fill with 3-4 tablespoons of the beef mixture in the center. Roll the tortilla and lay in the dish, fold side down. Repeat until the entire dish is filled with tortillas from end to end.
  9. Cover the top of the tortillas with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle the remaining amount of cheese on top.
  10. Bake in your oven or smoker for 20 minutes until the sauce is warmed up and the cheese is melted through.
  11. Top with fresh cilantro and any additional toppings you like such as sour cream, pico de Gallo, guacamole, or pickled jalapeños.
  • Author: Jordan Hanger
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Cuisine: Mexican

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4 Comments

  1. We made the enchiladas and they are spectacular. Not only did we woof those for dinner but we had leftovers. They were as amazing the next day. Very easy to make and incredibly delicious.






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