Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

In these Lighter Chicken Enchiladas cooked shredded chicken is mixed with a light chipotle sauce, stuffed into tortillas, topped with muenster cheese and baked until gooey and delicious! Yields 8 enchiladas or 4 servings (2 each).

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

I’ve never met an enchilada I didn’t like. Stuffed and baked tortillas topped with sauce and cheese? What’s not to love?

I’m a little particular about my enchiladas. I prefer homemade enchilada red sauce (shocker right?) over store-bought, I love those crispy tortilla edges, so I go for and end piece every time. What I love about this particular enchilada recipe is that the sauce is different. Yes, enchiladas without a red sauce!

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

This sauce is made by sautéing onions, peepers, garlic, cumin and chipotles. A quick and simple roux plus broth makes for a lighter, creamy and broth-like sauce.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

First gather all your ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need; 3 to 4 cups shredded chicken (either roasted or rotisserie), olive oil, 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, 1 cup diced yellow onion, 3 cloves fresh garlic, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 to 3 small chipotles (finely chopped) in adobo plus 1 to 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, 1-3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 10 tortillas (I like whole wheat or the corn and flour blend) and Muenster cheese.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Start by spraying a 9×13 baking dish  with olive oil spray, then set it off to the side. Then heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Next add in 1 cup finely dice onion and 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.

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Once the peppers and onions are soft and translucent, add in the teaspoon of cumin and 3 cloves minced garlic, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

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Next add in a 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted, then stir in the 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour. Stir until a wet paste forms and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Then add in the minced chipotles and 1 to 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, more or less to taste.

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Next stir in 1-3/4 cup of chicken broth. Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Then taste and season with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper, about 1/8 teaspoon give or take.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Take 3/4 cup of the sauce and it to the shredded chicken, tossing to combine.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Next spread a 1/2 cup or so of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

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Spoon some of the chicken mixture down one side of a tortilla. Tuck, roll and repeat. Line them up, seam side down, in the baking dish.

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Then pour all of the remaining sauce over top of the rolled enchiladas, use a spoon to smooth it out over top.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Lastly, grate about 1 cup or more (you decide) of Muenster cheese and then sprinkle it over top.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Finally slide the pan of lighter chicken enchiladas onto the middle rack of your preheated 400° oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden in spots.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

With enchiladas, sometimes I cover with foil and sometimes I don’t. For some reason, with this recipe, I never cover it. The cheese melts and turns golden brown and where the cheese touches the pan, it gets super crispy.

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Allow these lighter chicken enchiladas to cool for a minute while you finish prepping some easy toppings.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

We like ours with a little sour cream, a few dashes of hot sauce, green onions and some torn cilantro leaves. But you could so do chopped tomatoes, raw onion or sliced fresh jalapeños.

These lighter chicken enchiladas are definitely a family favorite in our house and I hope they are in yours too!

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

Enjoy! And if you give this Lighter Chicken Enchiladas recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 4 servings (2 each)

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas
In these Lighter Chicken Enchiladas cooked shredded chicken is mixed with a light chipotle sauce, stuffed into tortillas, topped with muenster cheese and baked until gooey and delicious! Yields 8 enchiladas or 4 servings (2 each).
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour



  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves peeled fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 small chipotle peppers (in adobo), minced
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1-3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



  1. Spray the bottom and sides of a 13x9 baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400°.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large, 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the finely diced onion and peppers, season with a pinch of salt and then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Next, add in the garlic and cumin. Cook 1 minute before adding in adding in the butter. Once melted, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Then add in the chipotle peppers and 1 to 2 teaspoons adobo sauce. Stir while slowing pouring in the broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer while stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. In a bowl, combine all of the shredded chicken with 3/4 cup of the sauce. Then spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  6. Spoon a little of the chicken mixture down one side of tortilla, tuck and roll, placing it seem side down into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling
  7. Pour the remaining sauce over top of the enchiladas and spread using a spatula before sprinkling with the grated Muenster cheese.
  8. Bake, uncovered, in your preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted and is golden brown in spots.
  9. Allow to cool slightly, before serving with desired toppings.


Serve with: sliced avocado, plain greek yogurt or sour cream, hot sauce, sliced green onions and chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590 Total Fat: 21.1g Saturated Fat: 10.1g Cholesterol: 124mg Sodium: 438mg Carbohydrates: 51.8g Fiber: 7.5g Sugar: 2.3g Protein: 46.8g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
[this post contains affiliate links.]

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas l

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45 Responses to “Lighter Chicken Enchiladas”

  1. #
    Heather — August 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I love enchi’s any way I can get ’em! I love the sauce in this version…I kinda want to just drink it!

  2. #
    Blog is the New Black — August 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Even though I DO like the red sauce…. your version looks terrific!

    • simplyscratch replied: — August 28th, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

      Thanks Liz! 🙂

  3. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — August 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Mmmm these look delicious. I love the red sauce, but my hips could use this lighter version! Pinning…

  4. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — August 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    LOL, we just made chicken enchiladas this weekend…using a can of that red sauce you’re not such a big fan of. Honestly, I’m not huge on the red sauce either but everything else in enchiladas is so delicious that I guess my brain phases it out 😉 I’m psyched about the sauce you make for your enchiladas! It looks fresh and delicious and I WAY prefer it over the canned stuff!

    • simplyscratch replied: — August 28th, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

      I know whatcha mean. I’d use the red sauce totally thinking they couldn’t be full-on enchiladas without it… but after I stopped using the can, I never went back!

  5. #
    Courtney — August 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    YUM!!! I can’t wait to make these- we don’t care for the red sauce either. My family will LOVE these.

  6. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I honestly have NEVER seen a more perfect enchilada. Your chicken breasts look mouthwatering as-is too! I’ve got to try this recipe one day because my boyfriend LOVES enchiladas. But in an effort to keep things healthy around the kitchen, I would definitely come back to these. Also, I always love looking at your step-by-step photography too Laurie! It’s a big help.

  7. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — August 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I am DYING right now for 39 billion of these.

    • simplyscratch replied: — August 28th, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

      That’s so funny… because I happen to have 39 billion left over from the weekend! Wierd!? Pick up some wine on your way over!

  8. #
    Denise — August 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I prefer a green enchilada sauce over the red sauce but, honestly, I can think of probably 1000 things this sauce would be good with….yummy! I know I will be making this soon!!

  9. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — August 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I’m so picky about the red sauce. There are some restaurants whose sauce I just love, but most store bought sauces stink! I’m fine without because these look fantastic!

  10. #
    Amber Genise — August 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I am a red sauce girl, but your recipe looks delish! I love all the pictures as well, nice attention to detail.

    I haven’t made echiladas at home in quite along time, but I think this may be the week due to your post.

    Good work!

    Amber Genise

    • simplyscratch replied: — August 28th, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

      Thanks Amber! 🙂

  11. #
    Jessie {Life As A Strawberry} — August 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    What a relief to find someone else who isn’t an oodles-of-red-enchilada sauce fan! I’d rather leave it than take it on most occasions. These look awesome!

  12. #
    JulieD — August 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    This looks amazing!!! I love it!

  13. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — August 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I am not overly excited over the red sauce on enchiladas. But this…. THIS I could eat tons of! These look great.

  14. #
    Jessica — August 28, 2012 at 12:33 am

    ahhhh! love these so much!

  15. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — August 28, 2012 at 2:07 am

    oh dear god, i’m dying over these right now. i’m a HUGE mexican food girl and these have just kick started my taste buds!

  16. #
    Rachel Cooks — August 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I love enchiladas! These look so fantastic!

  17. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — August 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I want these SO much!

  18. #
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Enchiladas are the best! I love the chipotle sauce!

  19. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — August 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I’m a huge enchilada fan so I am over the moon for these! They look amazing, and they’re lighter! What more could I ask for? 🙂

  20. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — August 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I love Mexican anything, and enchiladas are a favorite. I love this brothy chipolte sauce, these are a must make!

  21. #
    @dressesau — August 29, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I love enchiladas! These look so fantastic!

  22. #
    Jackie — August 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Laurie

    I do not like cumin, is there another spice I could use in place of the cumin.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 4th, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

      That’s a toughy… You could try ancho chili powder, maybe start with a 1/2 teaspoon, taste and adjust. 🙂

  23. #
    Morgan — September 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    PLEASE correct the step-by-step directions to reflect the correct amount of flour. I just nearly RUINED our dinner because the directions say to add a cup of flour instead of 1/4 cup!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 4th, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

      Gah! Thanks and done!

  24. #
    Lynn — September 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I made the enchiladas this past weekend. Oh my! So DELICIOUS!!!!! Love the kick to the receipe! Thanks for sharing.

  25. #
    Catia Capiga — October 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I LOVE mexican food!!! Thanks for sharing… on a scale from 1 – 10 how spicy is this recipe as is? Also, any chance you have the nutritional value? I will be trying this soon…

  26. #
    Lauren @ Part Time House Wife — October 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I LOVE the simmer picture. The bubbles are perfect!

  27. #
    Nicole — October 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I made these last night and I just want you to know – they were FANTASTIC. Surpassed my already-high expectations. Could’ve eaten the entire pan myself. I will absolutely be making these again.
    I love spicy and the level of heat was perfect for me, but my boyfriend had to eat them with a large glass of milk – it was almost too much for him! Can you recommend a way to dial back the heat without sacrificing flavor?
    Also, this is the first I’ve used chipotles in adobo. Should I freeze the leftovers, or do they keep well in the fridge? (Or do you have another wonderful recipe I should try them in?) 🙂

  28. #
    Gail — November 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Made these for dinner tonight, they were AWESOME! I would have never thought of using muenster with Mexican food. Life changing. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  29. #
    julia-collegechefwannabe — December 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I live in a crappy apartment in my college town and don’t have access to a grill, what would suggest instead of grilling the chicken breasts? Btw, I love your blog, I make your broccoli and cheddar cheese soup all the time, and the homestyle chicken.

  30. #
    kita — May 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Just repinned these on Pinterest and dont care that Im almost a year late to the party – need them. ;D

    • simplyscratch replied: — May 1st, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

      You’re never late my friend! 😉

  31. #
    Hope — May 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I’m also late but I had to say I loved this! I have been searching forever for an alternative sauce for enchiladas. Red sauce, tomato sauce, chile sauce…they all upset my stomach. With your recipe I just left the chiles out-perfect. Love your site btw.

    • simplyscratch replied: — May 12th, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

      Thanks Hope! So glad 🙂

  32. #
    Deanne — March 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I was so excited to make these for dinner tonight AND THEY WERE AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe! I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

  33. #
    Heather — November 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I have a bone to pick with this recipe. For the record, I have tried and am a fan of your other recipes. However, the amount of chicken in this recipe simply did not fill 8 tortillas for us. May I suggest that you list a range of 2-4 grilled chicken breasts instead?

    The sauce, however, is heavenly. I will think twice about using the pre-made store-bought red stuff in the future.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — November 22nd, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

      Hi Heather! I guess it depends on how big (or small) the chicken breasts are but I will definitely make a note in the recipe. Thanks for leaving your review! 🙂

  34. #
    Kim — August 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    My family LOVES this recipe! Thank you for sharing! Just wondering if you’ve ever made it ahead of time and frozen it? Do you have any tips for successfully freezing the unbaked casserole?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 6th, 2015 @ 11:52 am

      Hi Kim! I have yet to freeze these… but I’d imagine they would freeze beautifully. If you give it a go and would be willing to write back and keep me posted… that would be awesome! 🙂

  35. #
    Sunshine — May 7, 2016 at 10:45 am

    An enchilada without enchilada sauce is simply a burrito with sauce. The very term “enchilada” means red, spicy sauce. It’s fine to go this route of course — who am I? — but to call it an enchilada is like calling a rabbit a kitty. Not the same thing. Store bought tortillas have so little similarity to the real deal and making tortillas is a snap. Store bought tortillas are like stretchy things that clump inside your mouth. ugh. Once you discover how to make a simple tortilla, you won’t go back. It’s like discovering what a tomato really tastes like — when you grow your own. Try it once or twice …and you’ll understand what I mean! 🙂

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