Chicken Enchiladas — A Quick Meal from the Freezer

posted by Andrea | 12/29/2010

Have you ever had one of those days when you can’t decide what to have for dinner, you don’t feel like cooking, and nothing sounds good?

Oh, you have those days often?

Me too!

So I’ve gotten really good at planning ahead and stock-piling my freezer so when one of those days comes along, I am armed and ready!

Some of my favorite freezer foods are soups, stews, casseroles, and… Chicken Enchiladas!

And if you love {or even like} Mexican food, I’m certain you will add this super simple meal to your recipe collection!

One of the reasons I love this recipe is because it has such simple ingredients {plus it tastes really good}.

Another reason I love this recipe is because I can make 3 or 4 meals in about an hour {and did I mention it’s delicious?}


Makes enough for 20 enchiladas

{Print this Recipe}

Meat Mixture:

  • 3 T. cooking oil
  • 3 small onions — chopped
  • 2 4oz. cans chopped green chilies
  • 5 c. cooked & shredded chicken or turkey
  • 3 pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 2 c. water

Cottage Cheese Mixture:

  • 3 c. cottage cheese
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Other Ingredients:

  • 20 8″ tortillas
  • 3 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese — divided
  • 4  10 oz. cans red enchilada sauce (or you can make your own)


I make ALL the enchiladas up at one time.

For the Meat:

  • In a large skillet, heat oil; saute onions and chilies until onions are cooked. {about 5 minutes}
  • Add chicken, taco seasoning, and water; simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Set aside.

For the Cheese:

  • In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper.
  • Set aside.
  • Measure out 2 c. of the shredded cheese {you’ll use the other 1 c. for a topping}


  • Heat tortillas until soft {I just wrap them in a damp paper towel and nuke them in the microwave for a few seconds}
  • Spoon about 4 T. of the meat onto each tortilla.
  • Spoon about 3 T. of the cottage cheese mixture onto the meat mixture.
  • Top with 1 heaping Tablespoon of shredded cheese.
  • Roll up the tortilla and place in a covered baking dish.

That’s it…you’re finished {for now}!

Simply cover your baking dishes, label them, and put them in the freezer.

I like using glass baking dishes with tight-fitting lids so my food doesn’t get freezer-burn or spill. I also like preparing several different size dishes so I can easily adapt our meal for large or small groups. {I often use these meals when I bring food to people from our church, new moms, or someone who is unable to cook — so it’s nice to have different sizes}

Directions for Baking Day:

Now comes the easy part!

  • Pull out a pan of enchiladas in the morning {it doesn’t matter if they are completely defrosted}
  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Pour a can of enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese over the sauce.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes {depending on how frozen they still are}
  • Enjoy!

See, I told you these were easy!

And doesn’t the thought of already-made meals in your freezer sounds like a great way to start out the New Year? If so, make sure you check back here next week Tuesday…I have a guest blogger sharing two more great freezer recipes!!

What are your favorite meals to make ahead and freeze?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!



Filed under: FoodFreezer Cooking

Leave a comment


  1. Jessica Davis


    Question, I was thinking these would be good to save individually or a couple at a time with our food saver/sealer thing (it’s new). If we did that a then froze them, could we microwave them after that? I’m trying to find quick things to heat up postpartum.



    Andrea Reply:

    well it depends… I usually freeze them without the sauce, so if you freeze them individually to reheat later, you’d probably need to freeze the sauce with them. They might be little soggier this way, but not horrible.
    Another option would be to freeze just enough for your family in smaller disposable pans (with or without the sauce). Then you have a full meal ready to go in the oven (or microwave) Without much work.

    Congrats on the soon-to-be new baby!


  2. Tamra


    I’m terribly new to cooking plan-ahead meals and haven’t cooked a ton in my 30 years. Can you tell me what the t stands for in your recipie? I’m not sure if it is teaspoons of tablespoons. I want to get it right because I’m an making some freezer meals not only for myself but my best friend too who is expecting just 3 weeks before me but is having way more complications than me and want to help out being several hours away!
    TIA, Tamra


    Andrea Reply:

    the t is for teaspoon, the T is for Tablespoon 🙂

    Good luck!


  3. Mary Lynn


    Hi! I am making a big batch of these with my mom this weekend. Quick question – are the 8 inch tortillas best or would you recommend a bigger size? I have the 8 inch but they seems small for the filling? Thanks for your tips!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, either 8″ or 9″ work best — depending on what size pan you’re using. If you’re using an 8″ x 8″ pan or a 9″ x 13″ pan, then the 8″ or 9″ will run the full width of the pan. If you’re using a smaller pan, you might want smaller tortillas (or just fold the ends in)


  4. Candace


    Delicious! I made these today for my son and I. We both enjoyed them. When I told him I was making chicken enchiladas he asked for cheese only and I said no because I was trying a new recipe. The house rule is “try something once”, you won’t be forced to eat things you don’t like. I will also point out that I don’t like cottage cheese, but follow the recipe nonetheless. The enchiladas taste great but my only point is that the tortillas were very soft when you take them out of the oven, a little dough like. Is there a way to get them crisper next time or did I make a mistake? Either way, I’ll be making this dish again to see the results when you freeze your enchiladas.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Candace — we just had them over the weekend too and they were a big hit with our dinner guests 🙂

    As for the tortillas being soft — that’s just because Dave and I like A LOT Of sauce! If you put less sauce, they might not be as soggy. However, they sometimes get too crispy without sauce fully covering them.


  5. Martha Jones


    Doesn’t the glass break?


    Andrea Reply:

    nope 🙂


  6. Freezer Cooking Recipes, Take 1! | 32 Flavors


    […] Chicken Enchiladas. Enchiladas are high maintenance to me. So much assembly. So I split this recipe into three pans, to enjoy three times. Right when I started cooking in the morning, I put some frozen chicken tenderloins in the crockpot on high with salsa and taco seasoning mixed together (so not really sticking to the recipe for the meat mixture at all). Wait – isn’t the tortellini soup in the crockpot, you say? I have two. I used the 4 qt for the chicken, and the 6 qt for the soup. Then I shredded the chicken and assembled the enchiladas as the last recipe. I kept the cottage cheese mixture as it reads. I have frozen with the sauce on and without the sauce on. I haven’t noticed a difference. These are pretty tasty, and you can spice to your preference by choosing the heat of the enchilada sauce. […]

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    […] made these awesome chicken enchiladas last night and put them in the freezer too. What is your go to freezer meal or casserole? I need […]

  8. robyn


    any ideas to replace the cottage cheese? my husband WILL NOT eat it!!!


  9. Angie


    I’m definitely adding this recipe to my list! I have the same question as Libby above- can you give us an idea of how many pounds of chicken to cook to make 5 cups? Thank you so much!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Angie — I’m not sure how many pounds of chicken, but it’s usually about 4-5 good size chicken breasts.


    Candace Reply:

    4 chicken breasts. I cut the recipe in half and 2 breasts from a whole chicken I roasted was enough for 2 1/2’cups of shredded chicken.


  10. Linda Dietz


    Just found this recipe and it looks good! I also especially like the way I was able to print it from your site. Thank you!


  11. Angie


    Heyyyyyyyyyyy Andrea!
    I love your site so much! This sounds good but I don’t like cottage cheese. Any suggestions?
    Hugs for Nora!


  12. Libby


    Made these tonight. Whole family LOVED them–even 17 month old. I either was heavy handed with my chicken scoops, or didn’t cook enough chicken. Only made 15 and I had a lot of the cottage cheese mixture left over. How many pounds of chicken would 5 cups be?


  13. Kristen


    Andrea, these were so good!! We weren’t sure if we should go out for Mother’s Day or if I should cook for the family, but I decided to have everyone over and serve these. Such a good decision – yum!!
    To simplify the first step, the day before making the enchiladas I cooked about 2 pounds of chicken breasts in the Crockpot with a jar of salsa and 1 1/2 taco seasoning packets. After about 3 hours on high and 1 on low, the chicken just shredded right up and was sooo tasty. (I think I could use that meat for chicken tacos if I didn’t feel like the extra steps of making enchiladas.)
    On the side I served a tomato, corn, and black bean salad:

    Thanks so much for the idea! There are still 6 enchiladas in the freezer to take this week to my cousin who just had a baby, and a few cooked ones left over for lunches this week 🙂 I will definitely make again!!


  14. Dabney Morris


    Hi! These look great but I am wondering if I make them Friday afternoon for dinner with friends on Saturday night, will they keep in the fridge or should I freeze them overnight and get them back out the next morning for dinner that night?


    Andrea Reply:

    Dabney, make them on Friday BUT don’t put the sauce or cheese on top. Keep them in the fridge, and pour the sauce/cheese on top before you put them in the oven on Saturday. They will be amazing 🙂


  15. Cathy


    If you lived closer I would definitely consider it. I love children and I have been very lucky to have been a stay at home mom and now by choice a stay at home grandma. My kids and all my friends know that when the front blinds are down, that means its nap time and you don’t mess with grandma and her nap time lol thanx


  16. Cathy


    Trying these tonight, also passed it on to my daughter-in-laws. Btw thanx Andrea I do enjoy following you. my life is hectic and crazy just like everybody else. I am a busy stay at home grandma and I love it. Yesterday I had all 6 asleep at the same time. Ages are 7, 6, 5, 2 1/2, 7 months and almost 7 months. So its one of those times that we take to pat ourselves on the back and relax. Thanx again


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Cathy — are you available for hire? I could use you to get Nora down for a nap!!
    Hope you love the enchiladas!


  17. Kathleen


    Made these for the first time this weekend–in a word, AWESOME. Thank you so much for sharing!


  18. Chelsea


    We tried these and loved them! I made a few variations based on what we had on hand, but my husband said he would buy them at a restaurant, and that’s a huge compliment from him. Thanks for the recipe! You couldn’t even tell they were from the freezer. 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    yay — so happy you like them. This is one of my favorite recipes (both for our own family and also to bring to friends or relatives). We usually have at least one pan of enchiladas in the freezer at all times 🙂


  19. Cathy


    Another idea: I make a pan full, cook and divide all the enchiladas in sets of one or two wrapped in foil and freeze. I have six main courses . Heat up in the oven for 30 minutes (350°) or microwave for 2-3 minutes (minus the foil).


  20. Angela


    Something I’ve also done to save the expense of extra pans in the freezer is I double layer my pans with plastic wrap then fill the pans. Once the enchladas are frozen use the wrap to take out of the pans and wrap up. Then you can either wrap with another layer of foil or plastic wrap and label. When you are ready to cook you can pull from freezer, unwrap and put back into pan for defrost/cooking.


  21. Kristina


    Hi, i was wondering how long you think these will keep in the freezer?


  22. Jillian


    just made these this past weekend for my pre baby freeze stock up and they are awesome! So yummy and easy


  23. Carrie


    I put the enchilada sauce on and froze it….didn’t read the direction carefully I guess….do you think it will still be ok.


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Carrie, it should be fine. Although you might want to add a bit more sauce after you defrost them. The main reason I add the sauce AFTER I defrost them is because otherwise the tortillas soak up the sauce during the defrosting process and then were a little dryer and more “crunchy” than if I put the sauce on right before I baked them.


  24. Shana


    Made these last night and they were YUMMY!


  25. Karyn


    Question…almost every blogger that posts freezer recipes has a section of foods that DO NOT freeze well. On that is sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese…etc because they separate. Yet they all have a freezer recipe with one of them in it… is ok in certain recipes???? Please email me the answer.


  26. Tiffany


    When you take them out on freezer day, how long do you let them sit out? Is it from morning to afternoon? Do you have any other freezer meals, lunches, or snack recipes, or do you know a good place to get them? Thanks!! 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    I often take them out of the freezer the night before and let them deforst in the fridge. However, you could also just take them out in the morning and have them sit out on the counter.

    And yes, pretty much any recipe on my website can be frozen and saved for later… just check out my recipe box 🙂


  27. Lora


    Hi Andrea- I’m thinking of making this recipe for a frozen dinner exchange I do with some friends here in Nica. We don’t have enchilada sauce here and in this post you mention you can make your own. Have you done that before? Do you have a recipe that you like? I can probably google one…but I thought I’d check with you first to see if you have one you’ve tried and liked.


    Andrea Reply:

    Lora, I always use sauce from the can– because I’m always in a hurry 🙂
    I would go to to look for a recipe — they should have a bunch! Good luck!


    Lora Reply:

    Ok! I’ll give that a try.
    Thanks 🙂


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    […] cooked the chicken for the the soup I went a head and cooked the chicken that I needed to make this enchilada recipe.  I went with this one over the many other recipes that I saw on Pintrest because it seemed the […]

  29. Megan


    Have you ever made these with beef? Just curious how they would be. My husband won’t eat anything chicken Mexican dishes. Silly husband 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Nope, I’ve never made them with beef b/c we LOVE chicken/Mexican. However, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine — give it a try!


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    […] I also try to use up things that I have on hand. After making Simple Organized Living‘s Chicken Enchiladas last week I had a few tortilla’s left […]

  31. Jen


    Sounds delicious! I’ll have to remember to come back here when I am stocking the freezer. Thanks for sharing!


  32. Sarah


    Thank you! I am tired of our old recipe and have been looking for a new one…can’t wait to make them!