Cheese and Onion Enchiladas for dinner on a weeknight? Is that legal?!
This is a simple, rewarding dish that requires very little brainpower and it will give you a massive upgrade compared to takeout options.
Plus there's a good chance you already have all the ingredients you need to make it. Sound too good to be true?
How To Make Cheese and Onion Enchiladas
As usual, it's best to stick the tomatoes in the oven before you do anything else -- 20 minutes at 400F will do the job, but I usually just grab 'em when I need 'em. Other ways to roast tomatoes.
You've got some leeway on the dried chiles, but I always recommend starting with whole chiles instead of powder as that will give you a bump in flavor.
I used a combo of Anchos and Guajillos for this batch:
4 Ancho dried chiles
2 Guajillo dried chiles
I think Anchos are the perfect fit for enchilada sauces -- they're loaded with flavor so please use them when available! More info on Ancho chiles.
Don't sweat it if you don't have Guajillos on hand -- I just like to combine Guajillos or New Mexicans with Anchos for another layer of flavor, but they are definitely optional.
As usual, try to use dried chiles that are pliable and squishy -- if they're hard and brittle then they are past their prime.
After de-stemming and de-seeding the chiles, we'll wake them up in the oven (400F) for a couple minutes. Other ways to roast dried chiles.
Once they're warm and fragrant you can add them to a bowl and cover them with the hottest tap water you've got. This will reconstitute the chiles and make them more amenable to being ground up.
Meanwhile, get a roughly chopped onion and 3 garlic cloves cooking in a glug of oil over medium heat.
Once the onion is starting to brown you can add this mixture to a blender where it will wait patiently for:
the roasted tomatoes
the drained, reconstituted chiles
3 cups of stock
Once combined we'll cook the sauce for a few minutes in the same pan that cooked the onion and garlic.
We'll also add:
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
1/2 teaspoon salt
some freshly cracked black pepper
I usually make these Cheese and Onion Enchiladas extra goopy, so I leave this sauce a bit liquidy. But keep in mind that you can always thicken up the sauce by letting it simmer over mediumish heat.
Be sure to warm up your corn tortillas before rolling them -- this will help prevent cracking. You can either stick them in the oven for 1-2 minutes or cover them with a damp paper towel and nuke them for 60 seconds.
Once warm, you can load up your tortillas with plenty of cheese and finely chopped raw onion.
Roll tight and place them seam side down in a baking dish. I usually put a thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the baking dish to prevent sticking.
Once you've rolled them you can cover them with the enchilada sauce.
You'll have loads of sauce so I usually drench them to get max goop factor, but keep in mind that you can always bake the rolled tortillas plain and add the sauce after the fact if you want a less goopy version.
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Top with your choice of fixings and serve immediately. I topped with Queso Fresco and freshly chopped cilantro.
If all went according to plan you've got a massively satisfying meal on your hands.
The cheese and onion combo is such a treat in baked corn tortillas -- it's a unique flavor profile when there's no competing protein and it's worth a go if you're new to it.
Plus there's a good chance you already have all the ingredients on hand, so what's stopping you?!
These Cheese and Onion Enchiladas are also wildly versatile, so feel free to get creative with the toppings. Just no skimping on the dried chiles 🙂
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Cheese and Onion Enchiladas
- 4 Ancho dried chiles
- 2 Guajillo dried chiles
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 cups stock
- 2 plum tomatoes
- 1/2 lb. melting cheese (I used Jack)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped (for the filling)
- 8-10 corn tortillas
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- Queso Fresco (optional)
- freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
- Start by rinsing and de-stemming the tomatoes. Roast them in the oven (400F) for 20 minutes or until you need them.
- Wipe off any dusty crevasses on the dried chiles, then de-stem and de-seed them. Roast the chile pieces in the oven at 400F for 1-2 minutes. Once roasted you can add the chile pieces to a bowl, cover with hot tap water, and let them reconstitute for 20-30 minutes.
- Roughly chop an onion. Saute the onion in a glug of oil over medium heat along with 3 whole, peeled garlic cloves. Cook until the onion is starting to brown.
- Note: before draining the dried chiles you can take a taste of their soaking liquid. If you like the flavor you are welcome to use it in place of stock for the sauce. If, like me, you think it tastes bitter then it's best to use stock for your enchilada sauces.
- Drain the dried chiles. Add the drained chiles, the roasted tomatoes, the onion-garlic mixture, and 3 cups of stock to a blender. Blend until smooth. You can optionally strain the blender sauce through a fine mesh sieve and discard the leftover seeds and skin, but lately I skip this step.
- Cook the enchilada sauce for a few minutes over medium heat in the same pan that cooked the onion-garlic mixture. Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Let simmer for a few minutes and then take a final taste for seasoning.
- Warm up the corn tortillas in the oven for 1-2 minutes, or cover them with a damp paper towel and nuke them in the microwave for 60 seconds.
- Shred 1/2 lb. of melting cheese (I used Jack) and finely chop 1/2 an onion for the insides of the enchiladas.
- To build the enchiladas, start by adding a few tablespoons of the sauce to a plate. Dredge a tortilla in the sauce and flip it over. Fill with plenty of cheese and finely chopped onion. Roll tight and set them seam side down in a baking dish. You can add some sauce to the baking dish to prevent sticking. You'll get about 8-10 enchiladas from this recipe, depending on how much filling you use in each tortilla -- I loaded these up and got 8 enchiladas from this batch.
- Cover the rolled enchiladas with sauce and bake for 8-10 minutes (400F) or until the cheese is melted. Top with your choice of fixings (I used Queso Fresco and freshly chopped cilantro) and serve immediately.
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Oh yes! Been searching for a recipe like this.
Once again thanks for the very detailed information! I picked this recipe as I was catering for a vegetarian and a few kids. On Saturday morning I made the sauce and then just before they all arrived I made us the enchiladas. I think I should’ve cooked the onion a bit before putting in with the cheese filling. Anyway super gooey and I would definitely make again!!
Yeah I know what you mean about the onion Benny. Raw white onion is pungent and if it dominates the flavor too much for your palate you can always roast it a bit first or bake the enchiladas slightly longer to mellow it out. Cheers.
What kind of stock do you use?
Hi Donna. I go back and forth between this veggie stock and this chicken stock. Cheers.
I tried using dried chilies several times I usually use New Mexico and Ancho by BADIA. I use chicken stock, plum tomato's and white onions. I tend to reduce till the sauce is the thickness of a gravy. It always turns out bitter. Any ideas?? Thanks
Hey Adam! Yeah I've been through this before, the bitterness is coming from the chiles. I use the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes to complement the chiles but there's a chance your palate prefers even less of the dried chile flavor. I would cut back on the number of chiles used, or simply add more tomatoes, and then see how it tastes to you. It's also worth confirming that the chiles aren't being roasted for too long as this increases bitterness too -- just enough roasting to get the chiles warm and fragrant is fine. Cheers.
I read that the bitterness is in the veins that run along the inside of the Chiles. You could try removing them for a less bitter taste.
Seriously, Patrick, I could write this note on any of your recipes...Excelente! I served these with your pickled carrots/jalapeños & crema. Yum! My husband laughs at me that I'm learning how to cook more authentic Mexican food from a guy from IN/HI. 😁. But he admits freely, you know your stuff! You've really amped up the meals we have on our table. We're now even planting veggies in our garden that coincide more with Mexican foods. We LOVE it all! Thanks so much, Patrick!!
Ha thanks much Suzy, I'm so glad you are finding some keepers on my site! Sound like you've got a bounty of fresh veggies coming your way this summer, tomatillos too?
Oh, yes! Most definitely. And I just made your salsa verde! Oh my gosh! I am impressed with myself! Haha! I did what you always recommend and roasted them along with the jalapeños and YUM!! It made my grilled hamburger absolutely next level. Hope you're staying well & look forward to more culinary delights coming from your kitchen. 😁
Ahh lucky you making Salsa Verde with homegrown tomatillos. BTW if you ever reach a point where you are overflowing with tomatillos then it's worth making a batch of Pickled Tomatillos. Cheers.
love them ‼️
Hey Patrick, this is a simple and flavorful enchilada. Would the taste change much with red instead of white onions?
Hey Mario! Feel free to use red onion as you'll get an equally good result. White onion is just a bit more sharp and pungent. Cheers.
Awesome! I would call this a "poor man's" enchilada!