Shredded Beef Enchiladas

My family LOVES Mexican food!  Were talking L-O-V-E-S  it!

We eat it at least once a week if not more often. Living in SoCal we have a lot of great authentic restaurants to choose from. But, honestly, there’s nothing like homemade Mexican food.

In my family, we’re constantly looking out for great Mexican food recipes. As you can imagine, there aren’t many recipes that fit that bill. So I was excited to have everybody at the dinner table give a big “thumbs up” to this new recipe for beef enchiladas.

These authentic beef enchiladas are delicious, sure to be a regular at your dinner table soon too. Tender, slow-cooked shredded beef and a sassy cheese combination are the backbone of this dish. Wrap up that delicious mixture in a warm tortilla and top it all off with a generous helping of sour cream.

You’ll notice that this beef enchilada recipe calls for using beef chuck for the cut of meat. Using the chuck adds a ton of flavor to the finished product—it’s a huge step up from ground beef enchiladas. Mixing up the cooked chuck with the onion, crushed tomatoes, garlic, and the other seasoning makes for an incredibly full-bodied meat base.

The recipe also calls for using flour tortillas. I’ve never been fond of beef enchiladas with corn tortillas; flour tortillas are more versatile and often blister when cooked, which compliments the flavor of the meat.

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

What really makes these enchiladas shine is the sauce. The meat in these shredded beef enchiladas is braised in a tomato-chili based sauce. The beef cooks slowly, so the sauce infuses it with a wonderful savory flavor. Then, when everything is finished cooking, the sauce is used to dress the enchiladas.

I would drink this sauce plain…

…Okay, so maybe not. But in all seriousness, this is one of the best enchilada sauces I’ve ever had—I would easily put it up against any restaurant sauce. It makes the whole thing come together. The sauce is especially good at transforming the beef enchilada casserole from a more casserole flavor—plain and dense—into a sassy and flavorful evening dish.

If you have leftover sauce do not throw it away. Let me repeat that for emphasis: do not throw any extra sauce away. It’s too good to go to waste. Use it for eggs ranchero or toss it in with some rotisserie chicken for quick chicken tacos.

And of course, any weeknight regular has to be simple. It’s no good to spend six hours making dinner every week. That’s another reason why I love these easy beef enchiladas. The cook time aside, it’s just not hard at all to throw together this delicious meal.

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

The reason this meal works great for a weeknight is that you can make it a day or two ahead of time. It tastes just as good, and then it’s really easy to finish off on a busy night. Make the beef enchiladas through step four and then refrigerate. Wait until you’re ready to pop the casserole in the oven to sauce it and sprinkle cheese over the top.

With beef enchiladas, sour cream is the traditional topper. But I’ve had one or two picky guests (you know the ones) who just will not eat anything with sour cream on it. There are a lot of things you could use as a sour cream substitute with this recipe (cottage cheese, evaporated milk, etc.), but my favorite has always been plain yogurt. It’s a little less flavorful than having sour cream on the enchiladas, but if you have picky guests that can sometimes be a good thing. Plus, plain yogurt is a healthier option too! Just make sure you’re not buying any kind of flavored yogurt at the story—strawberry mango wouldn’t taste too good on top of this savory meat and cheese dish.

Weeknight meals are tough for me. I’m tired from work and pushed for time before my children’s evening activities start. The last thing I want to do is fight with everyone about what our weekly meal schedule is going to contain. Luckily, I can easily rely on this beef enchiladas recipe. It’s a staple in our house—I’m sure it’ll soon be a staple in yours.

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Recipe Notes: 

  • After the beef gets shredded, toss it with one cup of the (spectacular) sauce before assembling the enchiladas. Don’t skip this, the sauce toss is an important step in making the meat taste so good.
  • Make sure to note that the cheese mixture is divided. Half of the cheese is used inside the enchiladas—it gets all melty and delicious and mixed with that savory shredded beef. The other half is reserved to sprinkle on top of enchiladas once they’re assembled. Believe me, smothering your enchiladas in melted cheese is exactly what you want. It finishes off this beautiful dinner dish perfectly.
  • Feel free to switch up the type of cheese you use. While the cheddar/Monterey jack combination is excellent with this recipe, I sometimes use cotija and pepper jack cheese instead. Both are wonderful, and can be switched out to vary the dish weekly.
  • Some people (like my son) really like these enchiladas served spicy! In order to heat up the enchilada sauce you can add cayenne powder in addition to the chili powder. Alternatively, you can hot sauce to it after the chicken broth.
  • While we’re talking about the heat level, it’s good to know that some companies (Penzeys, for example) make chili powder that comes in different levels. My family loves using a medium heat chili powder—it’s the right amount of heat to start off the recipe with. My son adds extra cayenne powder and hot sauce. That gets a little too hot for me, but he loves things spicy!
  • Don’t forget to add some of the sauce to the bottom of the pan before you assemble the enchiladas. It prevents the enchiladas from sticking to the bottom of the pan and makes sure they don’t get too tough on the underside.
  • In order to prevent your tortillas from getting soggy, some people recommend frying them until they’re crispy before wrapping up the meat and cheese. Truthfully, I’ve never had an issue with this recipe getting soggy. But, if you’d like to try frying the tortillas, I recommend frying them just a little bit. Don’t overdo it; they’ll have time to cook in the oven too.

Check Out These Enchiladas Recipes!

Chicken Enchiladas– Shredded Chicken loaded with lots of chicken,  gooey cheese, sour cream and mild green chilies!

White Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce – Thick and rich sauce layered with gooey ooey cheese!

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas – These have a perfect touch of sour and sweet infused throughout!

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats – Ooey Gooey cheese layered on zucchini, perfect meal or party favorite!