Are you looking for a fresh new dinner recipe? This slow cooker chicken enchilada casserole is the perfect dish to make when you want something warm and comforting. It's easy to prepare, so it's great if you have a busy schedule or are just starting out in the kitchen. Plus, this recipe is loaded with extra veggies!
Once your family tastes this delicious dish, they will be asking for seconds every night.
If you love Mexican food but don't always have time to cook up an authentic meal at home, then this slow cooker chicken enchilada casserole is definitely worth trying out! The best part about cooking with a slow cooker is that all of the ingredients get combined while simmering on low heat until everything becomes tender and flavorful. Your whole family will love coming home after work knowing there's a hot meal waiting for them on the table. What more could anyone ask for?
boneless skinless chicken breasts - I leave them whole and cook them, then shred them once done. This makes it easy because there's little prep work needed.
red enchilada sauce - the Frontera Red Chili Enchilada Sauce is my favorite if I'm not using homemade. I love the flavor and the fact it uses wholesome ingredients and no inflammatory oils.
chicken broth or stock - I buy the organic chicken stock from Costco in bulk because we use a lot of it!
canned black beans - I like the low sodium version, but you can use any you like. You could even use a flavored version.
veggies, diced (I used zucchini, corn, red bell pepper, jalapeño and red onion)
corn tortillas - you can use white or yellow, whichever you prefer.
shredded cheese - I like shredded cheese from the block, always, for best results. This means the cheese doesn't have any of the additive anti-caking agents and melts and tastes better.
How do I make Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole?
I love making an enchilada casserole like this rather than enchiladas. Instead of doing all the work to roll up the tortillas, which are often difficult to remove from the pan anyway, you just chop and mix! This lends itself to the slow cooker anyway, and the results are just as tasty and so much easier to dish up.
To make this meal, you'll add everything except the tortillas and cheese to the slow cooker and let it cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6. Once the chicken is fully cooked, you can grab a couple of forks and shred it up (remove it to another bowl if this is easier).
Then stir the chicken, chopped up tortillas, and half of the cheese back into the slow cooker. Top with the remaining cheese and let it heat through for around 30 minutes on high.
What kind of tortillas can I use?
Yellow or white corn tortillas will work the best. You could use flour tortillas, although they will change the texture of this dish and it may be a little more soft/soggy.
Can I substitute the meat?
You could easily use cooked ground beef or chicken or cooked rotisserie chicken instead. If you do so, there is no need to cook the meat in the slow cooker, only the veggies. Therefore I suggest reducing the initial cook time by about half.
If you prefer a vegetarian version, try adding extra black beans or another variety of beans like pinto. Again, initial cook time should be cut in half.
What kinds of veggies work best?
Because of the relatively short cook time of this recipe, many veggies will work. I don't suggest using root veggies as the cooking time will probably not be compatible with the other veggies.
- any kind of peppers, finely diced
- squash, like yellow or zucchini
- fresh tomatoes
- shredded brussels sprouts
- small chopped broccoli or cauliflower
There may be others! Let your imagination guide you here!
What kind of enchilada sauce should I use?
This dish is best made with red enchilada sauce. Ideally, you'll use your favorite homemade or store-bought sauce, but be sure it's a little thicker variety so that it doesn't make your dish watery in the slow cooker.
What kind of slow cooker do I need?
While I prefer a casserole slow cooker for this recipe, really any slow cooker will work. I like the casserole shape because it actually ends up more like a casserole and ensures a more even distribution of the sauce to the ingredients, but any slow cooker 4 quarts or larger will work.
What side dishes go well with this?
I like this dish best with simple sides. It is very flavorful and not too spicy (vs many other enchilada recipes).
Try some of these:
Can I make this ahead of time?
You can make this recipe up to the point of adding the tortillas and cheese. Add to a baggie and refrigerate for 1-2 days until ready to cook. This would be great to prepare the night before and dump in the slow cooker on your way out in the morning.
Does this freeze well?
You can freeze the baggie you prepped above or freeze the leftovers. Just make sure to remove any excess air from the container to avoid freezer burn.
Allergen Friendly Notes
As long as you double check the ingredients (especially the tortillas and enchilada sauce) to ensure they are gluten-free, this dish is gluten-free friendly.
To make it dairy-free simply swap for a dairy-free cheese option like Violife.
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup diced zucchini 1 small zucchini
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- ½ cup diced red pepper ½ red bell pepper
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced and ribs and seeds removed
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 8 oz corn tortillas
- 8 oz shredded cheese
- Add all ingredients except tortillas and cheese to slow cooker and stir to combine
- Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 until chicken is cooked through
- Remove and shred chicken and return to slow cooker
- Roughly chop the tortillas and stir into mixture along with 4 oz of the cheese
- Top with remaining cheese, cover and let continue to cook for about 30 minutes on high
- if subbing leftover cooked chicken or cooked ground meat for raw, reduce initial cooking time by half
- feel free to sub different veggies if desired, see list above for recommendations
- leftovers can be stored in fridge up to 3 days or in freezer with all air removed for 3 months
- can be prepped ahead to the point of adding the tortillas and cheese, then refrigerated in a separate baggie or container until ready to cook