These Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas is the fastest Mexican night enchis meal ever! Make shredded chicken in an instant with a pressure cooker for this flavorful baked dish.
I love making these Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas because they’re faster than traditional chicken enchiladas but just as flavorful! They’re made with taco-seasoned chicken, diced tomatoes, two cheeses, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice all wrapped in warm, saucy tortillas.
If you’ve been around here long enough, you know that we really love Mexican and Tex-Mex food. So this recipe slips so perfectly into my wheelhouse that I couldn’t help but share it.
The Key to Easy Chicken Enchiladas
The pressure cooker makes my Mexican shredded chicken recipe in a flash, which I just love for busy weeknights, especially with a hungry toddler in the house. And the key to making these enchiladas a super fast meal is to make the chicken a few days before you need it.
That’s right! Sometimes time just isn’t on my side so the Instant Pot allows me to make my shredded chicken in about 1/4 of the time it takes for the crock pot to make the same recipe.
And a bonus here is that this shredded chicken recipe makes a lot of chicken – more than you’ll need for just this enchilada recipe. So you can make it on the weekend when you have a few extra minutes and then portion it out for multiple meals during the week or freeze a bunch of it for future meals. Your choice!
When you’re ready to make dinner, just pull out a batch of shredded chicken along with the rest of the pantry staple ingredients you’ll need, and pop these easy chicken enchiladas into the oven!
This is a basic shopping list for the best chicken enchilada recipe, but the full list of ingredients is in the recipe card below so be sure to keep scrolling down to check it out!
For the Mexican shredded chicken:
- Canola oil
- Salt and pepper
- Taco seasoning
- A can of diced tomatoes
- Boneless chicken thighs and breasts – You can use both or either!
For the enchiladas:
- Tortillas — corn or flour
- Enchilada sauce
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Black beans
- Lime juice
I like to garnish my chicken enchiladas with sour cream, lime juice, and even more cilantro!
Are Chicken Enchiladas Better with Corn or Flour Tortillas?
There are two types of tortillas to choose from: flour and corn. They’re made with different ingredients, but you might be wondering what is the best tortilla for enchiladas?
Traditionally, they’re made with corn tortillas, which have slightly more flavor and bite than flour tortillas. However, flour tortillas are much easier to roll without cracking, so I prefer flour tortillas for my chicken enchiladas.
I’ve made both corn tortillas and flour tortillas pretty frequently over the years and I love both of those recipes equally. If you’re short on time, store-bought 10-inch tortillas work just fine for enchiladas so don’t stress about making everything homemade for this recipe.
How to Make Enchiladas with the Instant Pot
Here are the steps for how to make these cheesy, saucy chicken enchiladas. The full instruction list is in the recipe card below, so be sure to check it out!
STEP 1: First, make the shredded chicken! You can do this any way you prefer, but I like to use the Instant Pot. Set it to sauté mode and cook the oil, onions, and a little salt and pepper until the onions are soft.
STEP 2: Then, add the garlic and taco seasoning and sauté until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, a little more salt and pepper, and nestle the chicken into the sauce.
STEP 3: Now, seal the Instant Pot and set it to high pressure for 20 minutes. When the chicken is done, shred it with forks. I like to add a little liquid from the pot to the shredded chicken to keep it from drying out.
STEP 4: To assemble these easy chicken enchiladas, mix some enchilada sauce, cheese, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice into the shredded chicken.
STEP 5: To make tortillas easier to roll, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds. Then, spoon some of the chicken mixture into the center and roll the tortillas.
PRO TIP: At this point, you can freeze your enchiladas if you want! Just pour the enchilada sauce into a small zip-top bag and freeze it along with the enchiladas. See the Notes below in the recipe card for instructions on baking from the freezer.
STEP 6: Finally, bake the enchiladas uncovered for a few minutes until the tops begin to brown. Then, slather them with enchilada sauce and some more shredded cheese and keep baking. Cover and bake until everything is heated through. If you want browned cheese, take the foil off for the last few minutes of baking.
What to Make with Shredded Chicken
You can make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot, in a crock pot, or on the stove top! I usually use the Instant Pot for this Mexican shredded chicken recipe because it’s a great quick and easy meal prep ingredient that lasts a few days in the fridge and can be used in a million ways.
I love a good, simple Chicken Tamale Pie because it’s so comforting but really easy! It reminds me of my childhood with every bite.
There’s no better party food than 7 Layer Dip! This one is packed with shredded chicken, cream cheese, refried beans, tomatoes, corn, and more shredded cheese. Everyone wins!
If you’re into loaded baked potatoes, my Chicken Taco Loaded Potatoes are also a fantastic way to use that leftover chicken.
And of course, shredded chicken tacos with your favorite toppings are great with this chicken too!
What to Serve with Chicken Enchiladas
There’s so many quick and easy sides for chicken enchiladas. I always serve mine with rice and beans.
Skip the line at Chipotle and make your own cilantro lime rice! It’s so simple and can be the base of all your burritos and taco bowls.
For the shredded chicken:
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup (2 packets) store-bought or homemade taco seasoning
- 14 oz petite diced tomatoes
- 1 ¼ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (see Note below)
- 1 ¼ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (see Note below)
- 12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas (see Note below)
- Cooking spray
For the enchiladas:
- ½ of the chicken from the recipe above
- 1 can of enchilada sauce or 1 batch of homemade sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- Juice of ½ lime
- Sour cream
- Lime wedges
- Extra chopped cilantro
- To make the shredded chicken: Heat the Instant Pot (see note below) on Saute setting with the time set to 8 minutes. Add oil, onions, and good pinch of salt and a few cranks of pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onions have softened. Stir in the garlic and taco seasoning, and cook for about 1 minute, until they become fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, and ½ teaspoon of salt, and a few cranks of black pepper. Turn the cooker off. Nestle the chicken into the sauce.
- Close the Instant Pot, ensuring the valve is set to "Sealing," and turn the Pressure setting on. Set the Pressure setting to High and set the time to 20 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot has timed out and has started on the Warm setting, allow the pot to natural release (this will take about 40 minutes) or carefully quick release the pressure manually according to your cooker's instruction manual.
- Once the pot has fully depressurized and there is no more steam releasing from the Venting valve, open the lid, and transfer the chicken to a bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes. Shred with two forks. Add some of the liquid from the pot to the chicken to keep it moist. Use the chicken immediately and cool then transfer the leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
- To assemble and bake the enchiladas: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425° F. Lightly spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or cut half of it into bite-sized pieces (you'll need about 4 cups of chicken). Add the chicken to the bowl along with some of the juices and the onion mixture from the Instant Pot. Add in ¼ cup enchilada sauce, 1 cup of each cheese, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss to combine.
- Stack and wrap the tortillas in a moist paper towel, place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds. (If your tortillas are freshly made, you can skip this step.) Working with one tortilla at a time (keep the others inside the warm towel), place ⅓ cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in the baking dish. At this point, you can bake or freeze the enchiladas - see Note below for freezing instructions!
- Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, for 7 to 9 minutes, until the tortillas are starting to brown slightly on the top.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400° F. Remove the dish from the oven and cover the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese lightly browns, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving garnished with sour cream, lime juice, and cilantro.
- The recipe for the chicken will make more than you need for these enchiladas. Either freeze the leftovers for another use, double this recipe, or use the leftovers for another recipe (see the post above for suggestions!).
- You can use a mix of thighs and breasts or either of them on their own. This recipe will work for 2 ½ pounds of whatever boneless chicken you have!
- Feel free to use store-bought tortillas here. But if you want to make your own, I've got 2 GREAT recipes for you: corn tortillas | flour tortillas
- Freezer Instructions: At the end of Step 6, you can freeze the enchiladas in a glass or disposable aluminum baking pan. Freeze the remaining enchilada sauce in a zipper bag, laid flat in the freezer. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400° F and bake directly from the freezer, covered with foil for 45 minutes. Thaw the sauce and cover the enchiladas with it. Bake for another 15 minutes then sprinkle cheese over the enchiladas; bake for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sides of the enchiladas in the middle of the pan are hot.
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