Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Casserole has all the flavors of chicken enchiladas and you can make it in a slow cooker. Every bite contains tender chicken and corn tortillas in a savory enchilada sauce with lots of melted gooey cheese. This easy recipe is a perfect meal with simple ingredients you can enjoy on Taco Tuesday or any night of the week.
I love recipes that contain mostly pantry and refrigerator staples and this chicken enchilada casserole that is cooked in a slow cooker is one of my favorites. It has just a few minutes of prep and then cooks for hours without attention.
In this recipe, you get all the flavors of chicken enchiladas without filling and rolling tortillas in this crock pot version of an enchilada casserole. Tender chicken, black beans, cheddar cheese, and corn tortillas combine in minutes and then cook low and slow in a savory red enchilada sauce. Not only is it flavorful, but it’s also easy to make with simple ingredients that are likely already in your kitchen.
It begins with chicken breasts cooked low and slow in red enchilada sauce. The chicken is easily shredded and returned to the sauce and quickly combined with bite-sized pieces of corn tortillas, black beans, and shredded cheese... and then cooked until everything is hot and bubbly.
This is one of those slow cooker recipes that the whole family will love. Not only is it a delicious meal, but it makes up with very little prep and hands-on time so it is perfect for busy weeknights.
So, let's cook!
Here's what you need for this slow cooker chicken enchilada casserole:
- Red Enchilada Sauce - This can be homemade enchilada sauce or from a can. I use mild sauce, but you can use your favorite level of spice.
- Garlic Powder - Garlic powder will give a boost of garlic flavor without adding salt and will enhance any canned enchilada sauce. If you are using homemade enchilada sauce you can omit adding it.
- Ground Cumin - Cumin is a warm, savory spice that is highly aromatic and found in many cultures throughout the world. It is often found in chile powders. If you are using homemade enchilada sauce you can omit adding it.
- Dried Oregano - Oregano is an herb that adds warm aromatic notes to sauces and dishes. If you are using homemade enchilada sauce you can omit adding it too.
- Boneless Skinless Raw Chicken Breasts - You can get chicken breasts already boned with the skin removed from your local grocer. Check that there is no extra fat and remove it with a sharp knife.
- Corn Tortillas - Corn tortillas are best in this recipe. This recipe is scaled to use the larger 6-inch tortillas, but you can use smaller corn tortillas too. Just add a couple more tortillas to make up for the smaller volume. Do not try to substitute flour tortillas. Unfortunately, they do not hold up well and will become gummy in this casserole.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese - I prefer to shred a good quality block of cheese myself but you can use a pre-shredded cheese in this dish. My favorite brand is Tillamook.
- Black Beans - These can be from a can, drained, rinsed, or freshly cooked and drained.
- Sour Cream - Tangy and refreshing this is a great accompaniment to the spiced enchilada sauce of the dish.
- Cilantro - Some people love cilantro and others think it tastes like soap. If you like cilantro you will enjoy it as a garnish for this dish. It is refreshing and makes the flavors pop.
Please see the recipe card for the exact quantities.
PRO TIP - For the fastest preparation, measure and combine the enchilada sauce and seasonings and set the chicken to cook. Then shred the cheese, cut the tortillas, and drain and rinse the black beans.
Put the enchilada sauce, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano into a crock pot and mix it well.
Place the chicken breasts into the sauce and cook the chicken for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
When the chicken is cooked, use two forks and shred the chicken. You can shred the chicken in the crock pot, or move it to a plate to shred it, and then return it to the pot.
Add the cut corn tortillas, ½ cup of cheese, and ¾ of the black beans to the shredded chicken and sauce mixture, and stir until well combined.
Smooth the top of the chicken enchilada mixture with the back of a spoon. Top with the remaining cheese and the remaining black beans.
Cover and continue to cook on low for an additional hour or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy. Garnish with sour cream and chopped cilantro, your favorite toppings, or hot sauce, if desired.
My Top Tips
♡ Not everyone can eat spicy, hot foods. Choose a mild red enchilada sauce and if you still need less spice, use half enchilada sauce and half plain tomato sauce to make the sauce more mild.
♡ If you are using homemade enchilada sauce you can omit adding the additional herbs and spices of garlic powder, ground cumin, and dried oregano.
Substitutions & Variations
- Add Green Chiles. If you like the flavor of green chiles you can add one small can when adding the cut tortillas.
- Substitute Black Olives. Change out the black beans for a cup of sliced black olives for a more savory taste.
- Substitute Chicken Thighs. You can substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breasts in this recipe.
- Add More Spicy Heat. If you prefer it spicy hot add your favorite hot sauce to bring on the heat. Great choices are Cholula, Tapatío, Tiger Sauce, and Tabasco.
- Use Rotisserie Chicken. Cut the cooking time in half by using already-cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken instead of fresh chicken. Mix everything together in the crock pot except the topping of 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese and ½ of the black beans. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and black beans and continue to cook for an hour until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup Variation
Cut the corn tortillas into strips and make as directed but at step 4 add all of the black beans, 1½ cups of corn kernels, 2 cups of chicken broth or stock, and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours or until hot and bubbly. Spoon into bowls and serve with everyone's favorite toppings and tortilla chips.
This recipe is scaled for a 4-quart crock pot but you can use any slow cooker that holds at least 16 cups.
Make-Ahead & Storage
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and In the freezer for up to 1 month.
To reheat add a couple of tablespoons of water to the casserole. Then reheat in the microwave or in a large skillet over medium heat, until bubbly and thoroughly hot.
More Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes
Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 28 Ounces Red Enchilada Sauce, Mild
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, 3 to 4 Half Breasts
- 8 Corn Tortillas, 6-inch, Cut into Small Pieces
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Divided
- 1 Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
- ½ Cup Sour Cream
- ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro Leaves
- Put the enchilada sauce, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano into a crock pot and mix it well.28 Ounces Red Enchilada Sauce, 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder, ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin, 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Place the chicken breasts into the sauce and cook the chicken for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- When the chicken is cooked, use two forks and shred the chicken. You can shred the chicken in the crock pot, or move it to a plate to shred it, and then return it to the pot.
- Add the cut corn tortillas, ½ cup of cheese, and ¾ of the black beans to the shredded chicken and sauce mixture, and stir until well combined.8 Corn Tortillas, 6-inch
- Smooth the top of the chicken enchilada mixture with the back of a spoon. Top with the remaining cheese and the remaining black beans.Cover and continue to cook on low for an additional hour or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
- Serve and enjoy. Garnish with sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.½ Cup Sour Cream, ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro Leaves
Encharted Cook Notes
Per 1 serving. All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.