How Do Mexican Restaurants Make Their Enchiladas?

Mexican restaurants have mastered the art of creating enchiladas that are bursting with flavor and authenticity. Their secret lies in a combination of carefully selected ingredients, traditional techniques, and a deep understanding of Mexican cuisine. By analyzing the methods and recipes used by these establishments, we can uncover the secrets behind their delectable enchiladas.

The Foundation: Fresh, High-Quality Ingredients

The foundation of any great enchilada lies in the quality of its ingredients. Mexican restaurants prioritize using fresh, locally sourced produce, meats, and spices to ensure the vibrant flavors of their dishes.

  • Tortillas: The backbone of an enchilada is its tortilla. Mexican restaurants typically use corn tortillas, which are made from freshly ground corn and have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor. These tortillas are often made in-house to guarantee their freshness and authenticity.

  • Meat: The filling of an enchilada can vary, but some of the most popular options include ground beef, shredded chicken, or cheese. Mexican restaurants often use high-quality cuts of meat and season them generously with a blend of spices to create a flavorful filling.

  • Sauce: The enchilada sauce is what brings the dish together, adding a layer of richness and complexity. Mexican restaurants typically use a homemade sauce made from a combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, onions, and spices. The sauce is simmered for hours to develop a deep, robust flavor.

The Technique: Traditional Methods with a Modern Twist

Mexican restaurants employ a combination of traditional and modern techniques to create their enchiladas.

  • Frying the Tortillas: Before filling the tortillas, Mexican restaurants often lightly fry them in hot oil. This process creates a slight crispiness on the outside while keeping the inside soft and pliable.

  • Filling and Rolling: The tortillas are then filled with a generous amount of the seasoned meat or cheese filling. They are then carefully rolled up and placed in a baking dish.

  • Smothering in Sauce: The filled tortillas are then smothered in the flavorful enchilada sauce. This sauce not only adds flavor but also helps to keep the enchiladas moist and prevents them from drying out.

  • Baking: The enchiladas are baked in the oven until the sauce is bubbly and the tortillas are heated through. This final step melts the cheese and allows the flavors to meld together.

The Secret: Authenticity and Attention to Detail

The key to creating enchiladas like Mexican restaurants lies in authenticity and attention to detail.

  • Homemade Sauces: Mexican restaurants take pride in making their enchilada sauces from scratch. This allows them to control the ingredients and flavors, ensuring a unique and flavorful sauce.

  • Fresh Ingredients: The use of fresh, high-quality ingredients is paramount to achieving the vibrant flavors of Mexican cuisine. Mexican restaurants prioritize sourcing their ingredients locally to guarantee freshness.

  • Traditional Techniques: While Mexican restaurants may incorporate modern equipment and techniques, they remain rooted in traditional methods. This ensures that their enchiladas retain the authentic flavors and textures of Mexican cuisine.

Creating enchiladas like Mexican restaurants requires a combination of fresh ingredients, traditional techniques, and a deep understanding of Mexican cuisine. By following these principles, home cooks can recreate the vibrant flavors and authentic textures of these beloved dishes. Whether it’s for a family meal or a special occasion, homemade enchiladas can bring the taste of Mexico to any table.

Steps to Make It

  • Gather the ingredients. Leah Maroney
  • Heat the oil in a heat-resistant shallow dish or skillet over very low heat. You want it very warm but not burning hot.
  • To keep the tortillas warm, place another heat-resistant dish or skillet over low heat.
  • To make each tortilla pliable and thoroughly warmed, dip it into the warm oil for 5 to 8 seconds.
  • Before using them, place them in the warming pan to keep them warm. Leah Maroney .
  • To make it easier to dip the tortillas in the enchilada sauce—whether homemade or bought—place it in a shallow dish or bowl.
  • Leah Maroney Take one tortilla and gently dip it into the sauce, coating it all the way through.
  • Do the same with all the tortillas.
  • Position the tortilla coated in sauce at the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Put two to three tablespoons of cheese—or your preferred filling—down the center. Add shredded cheese on top of the filling, if it’s chicken or beef. Leah Maroney .
  • Fold one side over, then the other side.
  • Place the enchilada in the baking dish after turning it over, seam side down, to keep the tortilla closed.
  • Repeat with each tortilla until you have filled the dish. You will use 10 to 14 tortillas, depending on the size of the tortillas and the amount of filling used.
  • Over all of the enchiladas in the baking dish, evenly distribute the remaining sauce. Leah Maroney .
  • Any leftover cheese should be sprinkled on top of the enchiladas in the baking dish. Leah Maroney .
  • Heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling and melted cheese is achieved. Leah Maroney .
  • Before serving, try to let the enchiladas cool for ten minutes. Serve them with guacamole, Mexican yellow rice, refried beans, and a lettuce and tomato salad topped with crumbled Cotija cheese, a Mexican equivalent of Parmesan cheese. Leah Maroney .
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • For ease of preparation, purchase preshredded chicken from the grocery store’s deli or purchase a rotisserie chicken and shred the breast meat for your filling.

Mexican RED CHILE SAUCE Recipe for Tamales, Enchiladas, Asado, Chili con Carne & More


What is the secret to good enchiladas?

Fry each of your tortillas in hot oil before adding in your enchilada filling. This will help keep the tortillas from soaking up too much of your sauce too quickly, which can also cause them to break apart.

Are restaurant enchiladas made with corn or flour tortillas?

While some recipes use flour tortillas, corn tortillas are traditional — and for good reason — are the better option for enchiladas. Corn tortillas have a distinct flavor that plays a key part of the enchilada experience, compared to flour tortillas, which are more like a blank slate.

What kind of cheese do Mexican restaurants use in enchiladas?

Traditional Mexican enchiladas are usually finished with Mexican crema and queso fresco or cotija cheese, instead of the yellow cheese typical of Tex-Mex enchiladas.

Do Mexicans use flour tortillas for enchiladas?

Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditionally used in Mexican-style enchiladas, but I typically use flour tortillas (which are more commonly used in Tex-Mex and American-style enchiladas) since they are much easier to roll. That said, just about any style of tortillas will work in this recipe.

How are enchiladas made?

Corn tortillas that are used to prepare enchiladas are usually fried before being dipped in a hot sauce, known as mole. They are then garnished with the main ingredient: usually chicken, beef, red kidney beans or cheese. But this mode of preparation has evolved over time. The enchiladas as we know them today are the result of various influences.

Are enchiladas Mexican?

Enchiladas are a typical dish of Mexico, which are particularly popular in the north. They consist of corn tortillas soaked in a spicy sauce, that are stuffed with meat, red beans or cheeses. What is the origin of enchiladas? Corn tortillas that are used to prepare enchiladas are usually fried before being dipped in a hot sauce, known as mole.

How do you cook enchiladas in a frying pan?

Drain any excess oil from the frying pan where you fried the tortillas. Pour the sauce into the skillet to warm it at medium-low heat. Dip each tortilla into the warm salsa, then, with the help of a large spatula, fold the tortilla in half, and place it on your serving plate. Place 3 enchiladas per plate.

How do you cook chicken enchiladas?

Enchiladas are rolled corn tortillas that are stuffed with meat, cheese, beans or potatoes before being covered with a chili pepper sauce. In a frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and sauté the chicken. Add half of the garlic and cook for 15 minutes, until golden brown, stirring regularly. Set aside.

Leave a Comment