When I think of traditional and tasty Mexican recipes for a crowd, I think of these shredded beef enchiladas. They're wrapped in a corn tortilla, stuffed with tender beef, and covered in cheese and red sauce. It's a easy dinner idea that's oozing with an authentic southwestern flavor.
This recipe includes instructions on how to braise the beef on the stovetop, but there are instructions to make it in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker in the recipe notes.
This shredded beef enchilada recipe will be a hit on Cinco de Mayo – or any night around the dinner table.
Through cooking demos, cooking classes, tours of beef farms, and more, we've mastered how to prepare and diversify beef recipes to enjoy any day of the week. And these shredded beef enchiladas might be one of our favorites to date!
They're oozing with bold spices and texture like the best Mexican food is. You're going to want to eat the enchilada filling with a spoon straight out of the pot! And the gluten-free enchilada sauce is rich and bold.
You could also try these enchiladas rojas, made with dried chilis and Mexican spices.
Reasons to Love These Shredded Beef Enchiladas
- Hearty: With its high protein content, low fat, and essential nutrients, the beef in these enchiladas packs a ton of flavor and nutrition. A 3oz. serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein and 10 essential nutrients, all wrapped up into one tasty package.
- Serve a crowd: Because they’re so filling, one dish makes plenty to go around.
- Easy to make ahead: You can easily prepare the filling in advance and store it in an airtight container. Just fill and bake the enchiladas the next day or when you're ready to eat.
- They’re absolutely delicious: The meat is so tender and juicy. The melted cheese is ooey-gooey. The sauce packs just the right amount of heat and the toppings tie it all together. You’re going to want this dish over and over again. Have I mentioned yet that these are the best-shredded beef enchiladas?
Ingredients You Need
Here are the simple ingredients for this shredded beef enchiladas recipe. Most are pantry staples and easy to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Beef chuck roast: Chuck roast is a flavorful cut of beef that comes from the shoulder area of the cow, and has enough marbling to keep the meat moist and fork tender when cooked low and slow.
- Mexican spices: Smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder give it that perfect smoky flavor.
- Oil: Use avocado or olive oil to brown the meat.
- Onion: Purple onion is a popular choice for enchiladas, but white, yellow, or sweet onions can be used. Just be sure to chop them up small enough that they don’t overpower the dish.
- Garlic: Opt for fresh garlic cloves if possible.
- Beef broth: Adds a savory flavor to the dish and is the main braising liquid for the beef.
- Tomato paste: Helps to thicken the broth and add a little flavor to the beef.
- Crushed tomatoes: These add a little sweetness and authentic Mexican flavor.
- Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice adds a little tang to the broth.
- Enchilada sauce: It's up to you to use red enchilada sauce or green enchilada sauce. We always opt for homemade gluten-free enchilada sauce, but store-bought canned enchilada sauce like Siete to keep is and clean.
- Tortillas: Authentic enchiladas are made with corn, but you can use flour tortillas, or a grain-free tortilla, like Siete.
- Shredded Mexican cheese: Enchiladas aren't complete without melted cheese. A Mexican blend or cheddar cheese is best. To keep them dairy free, top them with vegan cashew queso.
- Toppings: Add sour cream, avocado, cilantro, shredded lettuce, jalapeno, cotija cheese, red onion, pico de gallo, black olives, and/or guacamole. You could also make avocado crema or jalapeno ranch for the top.
How to Make Shredded Beef Enchiladas
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. These shredded beef enchiladas are really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Make the Mexican Shredded Beef
Combine the spices in a medium-sized bowl. Pat the beef dry and use your hands to rub the spice mix evenly into all sides of the beef.
Sear the seasoned beef in two batches until crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer them to a plate or cutting board.
Reduce the stove to medium heat and add the sliced onion, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Pour in the beef broth, scraping along the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine. Place the roast back into the pot in a single layer. The meat should sit just above the liquid line.
Tip: For a good braise, you don't want it fully immersed in the cooking liquid. See recipe notes in the recipe card below for Slow Cooker and Instant Pot directions.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat then turn the heat down low and simmer, covered for 3 - 3 ½ hours. The meat should gently fall apart with a fork when it’s done. (See the recipe notes for putting it in the slow cooker.)
Open the lid and carefully shred the beef with two forks. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lime juice, taste the dish, and season with more salt as needed.
Stuff and Bake
Heat a large cast iron skillet or another dry skillet over medium-high heat. Warm each tortilla for 30 seconds on each side before stacking them on a plate. Alternatively, warm them all in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
Tip: Warming the tortillas makes them more pliable to roll and work with. Choose your favorite way to soften tortillas for enchiladas.
Fill the center of each tortilla evenly with the shredded beef and 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas tightly and place seam side down in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top of the enchiladas and top everything with the remaining cheese.
Bake the enchiladas for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove them from the oven and serve them warm with as many toppings as you’d like.
Authentic enchiladas use corn tortillas, but it comes down to personal preference when you're making them at home. Corn tortillas hold they're shape better when they're rolled and they're gluten-free. Flour tortillas are larger and usually a bit thicker.
Frying enchiladas in oil is twofold: it makes them more pliable for rolling and the oil creates a barrier to prevent the tortillas from becoming soggy.
- Add some green chiles inside the enchiladas with the beef.
- Fill the enchiladas with beef and black beans for added fiber.
- Roll them up or serve them with Mexican rice or cilantro lime rice.
- Swap the chuck roast for ground beef if you're short on time.
How to Prevent Soggy Enchiladas
- Cook the filling thoroughly: Make sure that the beef filling is cooked completely, and any excess liquid is drained off.
- Use good quality tortillas: Choose tortillas that are fresh and made with good quality ingredients. Tortillas that are too thin or have been sitting on the shelf for too long may easily fall apart.
- Heat the tortillas: This will help to make them more pliable and less likely to tear or fall apart. For added protection, fry them in oil to create an added barrier to the liquid.
- Don't overfill them: A good rule of thumb is to use about ¼ cup of filling per tortilla.
- Add the sauce just before baking: Don't add the sauce until just before baking, giving the sauce less time to soak the tortillas.
Make Ahead and Storage
- Make ahead: Prepare the filling in advance and store it in an airtight container or cover with aluminum foil. Then fill and bake the enchiladas when you're ready to eat.
- To store: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container or cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To reheat: Reheat the enchiladas from the fridge on a baking sheet at 350°F until warmed through. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
- To freeze: Let the pan cool to room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container and have them as a freezer meal for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then follow the steps to reheat.
This post is sponsored by The Ohio Beef Council. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to brands like them who believe in our recipes, so we can keep sharing them free of charge.
Visit www.OhioBeef.org, and follow the Ohio Beef Council on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for beef nutrition facts, cooking tips, recipes and to meet Ohio’s beef farming families. Use #OhioBeef to share photos of your beef dishes this Cinco de Mayo!
More Mexican-Inspired Beef Entrees
Beef is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. From family dinners to backyard barbecues, it’s a crowd-pleaser that is sure to make your Cinco de Mayo celebrations a hit! Try more of our Mexican-inspired beef dinners:
- Easy carne asada tacos
- Sweet potato beef taco skillet
- Mexican beef and rice
- Taco stuffed sweet potatoes
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
Shredded Beef Enchiladas
- 2-3 lb chuck roast cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons EACH: chili powder and dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon EACH: kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ½ cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons lime juice 2-3 limes
- 2 cups homemade or store-bought enchilada sauce divided (Note 2)
- 12-15 corn or flour tortillas 6-7 inch size (Note 3)
- 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese
- Toppings: sour cream, avocado, cilantro, shredded lettuce, jalapeño, cotija cheese, chopped onions, pico de gallo, black olives, guacamole, chopped cilantro
- Dutch Oven (Note 1 Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
- 9x13 inch baking dish
Make the Shredded Beef
- Mix together the spice seasoning in a medium bowl. Pat the beef try and use your fingers to rub the spice mix evenly into all sides of the beef.
- Add the oil to the bottom of a dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, work in 2 batches to sear each side of the beef until it’s crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a cutting board or place.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze the pan. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine.
- Place the meat back into the pot in a single layer. The meat should sit just above liquid line. For a good braise, you don't want it fully immersed in the liquid. Bring it to a boil over high heat then turn the heat down low and simmer, covered for 3 - 3 ½ hours. The meat should gently fall apart with a fork when it’s done. See recipe notes for putting it in the slow cooker.
- Open the lid and carefully shred the beef with 2 fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Taste and season with more salt as needed.
Fill and Bake Enchiladas
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with non stick spray and spread ½ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom. Set aside.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or another dry skillet over medium-high heat and warm each tortilla for 30 seconds on each side then stack them on a plate. Alternatively, warm them all in the microwave or fry them in oil (Note 4).
- To assemble the enchiladas, lay the tortilla flat on a clean work surface. Fill each tortilla evenly with the shredded beef and 1 ½ cups of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas tightly and place in the baking dish, seam side down.
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and top with the remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and serve warm with desired toppings.