A sheet pan full of Shredded Beef Enchiladas—is there anything more comforting? This recipe is not traditional, but it is delicious and features the most flavorful Mexican Shredded Beef, cumin-infused enchilada sauce and loads of melty cheese.
I also include a recipe for an easy and very delicious enchilada sauce. Though if you want to save some time, grab a store-bought jar (or two—you’ll need 2 ½ cups) instead. I also use sharp white Cheddar, but chihuahua cheese or pepper Jack will work just as nicely.
- Olive oil: use a flavorful olive oil (extra-virgin works), but no need to use an expensive one.
- Onion: I recommend using a white onion—it adds depth of flavor white still being fairly light and bright. A yellow onion will also work.
- Tomato paste: you’ll need quite a bit of tomato paste—half a cup to be exact. So grab one of those small slender cans of tomato paste.
- Chipotles in Adobo: the main flavor of the sauce is chipotle! You’ll chop up some of the chipotle and also use some of the adobo sauce they’re canned in.
- Garlic: as always, fresh is best! You’ll need two large cloves of garlic.
- Cumin Seeds: these add tons of flavor. If you haven’t cooked with cumin seeds, you’re in for a treat! You can also use cumin seeds in my Cheese Biscuits and Sopa de Fideo.
- Beef broth: I usually use Better than Bouillon to make beef broth in a pinch. You can also used canned or boxed broth—you’ll need 2 cups.
- Mexican Shredded Beef: I recommend making my Mexican shredded beef and using it to make a couple of meals. Make the Shredded Beef Tacos then use the leftover shredded beef to make these enchiladas.
- Cilantro: you’ll use the leaves and the tender stems (the stems are just as flavorful as the leaves!). Grab one bunch of cilantro and save a few stems for servings/garnish.
- Tortillas: you can use either corn or flour tortillas here. Seek out 6-inch tortillas.
- Cabbage: not traditional, but absolutely delicious. I like to add shredded cabbage to the beef filling in these enchiladas. It adds a nice texture and is a great way to sneak some veggies in. Use green cabbage, but avoid using napa cabbage or savoy cabbage.
- Cheese: I recommend using sharp white Cheddar, though chihuahua cheese would also be a great option. You’ll need 8 ounces.
How to Make Shredded Beef Enchiladas
- Start making the homemade enchilada sauce. Saute the chopped onion until it’s softened and starting to brown.
- Add the tomato paste to the onion and cook until a deep fond forms on the bottom of the pan. This will give the sauce a lot of depth of flavor!
- Add the chipotles, adobo and cumin seeds and cook just until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan with broth then slowly stir in all of the broth. Simmer the sauce until it’s thickened, this will take about 10 minutes.
- Purée the sauce in a blender until smooth; then set this aside until ready to assemble. You can also prepare this up to 4 days ahead of time. When you’re ready to assemble, reheat the sauce in the microwave just to warm it through a bit.
- In preparation for assembly you’ll need to do a few things. First, toss the shredded beef with the chopped cilantro. Shred the cabbage and shred the cheese. And finally, warm the tortillas (if using corn tortillas) by wrapping them in a very dmap paper towel and microwaving for about a minute.
- Now it’s time to assemble! Spread some of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a quarter sheet pan (or 9×13-inch baking dish).
- In a separate shallow bowl, add the remaining enchilada sauce. Dip the tortilla in the sauce on one side, then place the tortilla, sauce-side-up, on a work surface. Arrange some of the beef filling and some of the shredded cabbage in the center of the tortilla.
- Roll the tortilla over the filling into a tight roll. Place the enchilada, seam-side-down in the prepared sheet pan. Then repeating filling and rolling with remaining tortillas and fillings.
- Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the enchiladas.
- Bake at 350ºF until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 35 minutes.
What Cut of Beef to Use
I recommend using a beef brisket. I like to cook a 4-pound beef brisket and use half of the Mexican Shredded Beef to make tacos and use the other half to make these enchiladas.
The beef brisket can be cooked in a slow cooker (instead of a Dutch oven in the oven) for 4–5 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Follow the recipe instructions of the Shredded Beef up until the braising (step 7).
Storage, Freezing and Reheating
There are a few ways to go about prepping and storing these enchiladas. For starters, store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Thaw the enchiladas overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and enjoying.
You can reheat leftovers in the oven at 350ºF for 10 or so minutes—just be sure to cover the pan tightly in foil to encourage steaming, not drying out (you can even add a splash of water or broth to the pan to help things along).
Alternatively, you can reheat them on the stove top in a large sauté pan—this is my preferred method. Add a hearty splash of beef broth or water and reheat, covered, over medium heat until warmed through and most of the water has been evaporated, this will take about 8 minutes.
You can also completely assemble these ahead of time and bake them when you’re ready. Assemble the enchiladas as written then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 3 days (or freeze for up to 3 months).
When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and bake as directed. If frozen, allow the enchiladas to thaw overnight before baking as directed.
Topping and Serving
These enchiladas don’t need much, but I do love to serve them with fresh cilantro and a fresh pico de gallo or Tomato and Chipotle Salsa. Guacamole, sour cream and pickled jalapeños are also great topping options.
- It is absolutely key to slightly warm up corn tortillas before rolling them. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 45-60 seconds until they are warm and pliable. Keep them wrapped up so they stay moist and warm, then remove tortillas, one by one, as you’re assembling.
- You will not use all of the chipotles from the can so I recommend transferring them to a small airtight container or zipper-lock bag and freezing them.
Why freeze them? First of all, food should not be stored in tin cans that have been opened (it’s technically safe but the flavors can change over time). Plus, chipotles are notorious for spoiling quickly in the refrigerator, even if stored in an airtight container. Because of that, I recommend freezing them!
Absolutely! Just use fresh parsley instead.
I use a 4-pound brisket and split it between two meals. The first meal I make tacos and second meal I make these enchiladas.
I recommend thawing the frozen beef before filling the tortillas and assembling.
You can cook the beef brisket in an instant pot for 90 minutes on high pressure. Naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes before quick releasing and removing the lid.
Great! You can freeze the baked enchiladas or freeze the assembled pre-baked enchiladas. Either way, allow the enchiladas to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking or reheating.
Before assembling, wrap the tortillas in a very damp paper towel and microwave for about 45 seconds, or until they are warm and pliable. This will keep them from splitting.
The shredded beef recipe uses whole coriander seeds. You can skip the toasting of the spices and just use ground coriander, or you can skip it altogether.
Shredded Beef Enchiladas Recipe
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 4 chipotles in adobo, chopped + 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 cups (1 pound) cooked Mexican Shredded Beef
- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
- 3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
- Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium until shimmering.
- Add 1 chopped onion and season with ½ teaspoon salt; cook, until starting to brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add ½ cup tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until a deep fond forms on bottom of pan, 2 minutes.
- Add 4 chopped chipotles, 2 tablespoons adobo, 2 sliced cloves garlic and 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Slowly stir in 2 cups broth; bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Allow sauce to cool slightly then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat oven to 350ºF (176ºC) with rack set in middle position.
- Toss 3 cups shredded beef and ½ cups chopped cilantro together; set aside.
- Spread ½ cup enchilada sauce on bottom of a quarter sheet pan (can also use a 9✕13-inch baking dish). Transfer reaming sauce to a large, shallow dish.
- If using corn tortillas, wrap 12 tortillas in a moist paper towel and microwave for 30–60 seconds until warm and pliable.
- Dip a tortilla in sauce on one side, place sauce-side up on a work surface, arrange about ¼ cup shredded beef in a line across center of tortilla, arrange ¼ cup cabbage alongside beef. Roll tortilla over filling and place seam-side down in prepared sheet pan. Repeat dipping, filling and rolling with remaining tortillas, beef and cabbage.
- Spread remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle evenly with 2 cups shredded Cheddar.
- Bake enchiladas until cheese is melted and starting to brown on top, 35–45 minutes.
- Top with chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
You will not use all of the chipotles from the can so I recommend transferring them to a small airtight container or zipper-lock bag and freezing them. Why freeze them? First of all, food should not be stored in tin cans that have been opened (it’s technically safe but the flavors can change over time). Plus, chipotles are notorious for spoiling quickly in the refrigerator, even if stored in an airtight container. Because of that, I recommend freezing them!