Ask me and I will swear up and down that I crave variety in my diet. Feed me a plate of Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas, however, and I’ll insist that I never want to eat anything besides Mexican food ever again.
Enchiladas are a recipe I could make every week. In addition to being a member of the illustrious Tex-Mex genre—a food family that I never grow wearing of cooking or eating (Instant Pot Enchilada Casserole, Taco Pasta, Mexican Stuffed Peppers, Instant Pot Refried Beans, Crockpot Stuffed Peppers, and Mexican Shrimp being but a few late examples)—enchiladas are easy to make, taste fantastic leftover, and can be made healthy with a few simple swaps that don’t sacrifice their flavor.
Although enchiladas are well-established here—my grammy’s Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas were the first recipe I ever posted, and we’ve had enchilada spinoffs ranging from Chicken Enchilada Skillet, to low carb Zucchini Enchiladas, to Vegetarian Enchiladas with butternut squash, to even VEGAN Enchiladas (shockingly good)—it recently caught my attention that I didn’t have a basic, red-sauce chicken enchilada recipe.
Today is the day!
Ever since making these Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken Tacos, I’ve become such a fan of cooking chicken in the Instant Pot. It’s completely hands-free and the chicken comes out perfectly moist every time. It’s also easy to customize the chicken with different spices.
You can set the chicken cooking in the Instant Pot, then tidy your kitchen and prep your enchilada toppings while you wait for it to finish.
Better yet, make a batch of this 15 minute homemade red enchilada sauce. Certainly you can make these Instant Pot chicken enchiladas with canned sauce, but once you taste this from-scratch version (and simultaneously discover how quick it really is to make), you won’t want to go back.
This is the Instant Pot that I own and love—it would be worth investing in just to make shredded chicken (and I have a complete guide to everything you need to know to cook perfect Instant Pot chicken too). If you’d rather cook your chicken in the slow cooker, check out this post on Crock Pot Shredded Chicken.
The filling for these Instant Pot chicken enchiladas is easy to scale, so feel free to double up. The leftover chicken freezes beautifully and can be used for more recipes that enchiladas. Be sure to check out a few of the fun ideas I have for you below.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas
These healthy chicken enchiladas are a total snap. Season and sear the chicken, add your enchilada sauce, and you’re practically done!
- Chicken. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which we always have on hand. You also could make this recipe with chicken thighs.
- Spices. Cumin and chili powder are the star Mexican spices here.
- Red Enchilada Sauce. The chicken pressure cooks in the sauce, for max Mexican flavor.
- Greek Yogurt. My secret to making creamy Instant Pot chicken enchiladas that are still reasonably healthy. With its velvety texture and light tang, Greek yogurt makes this recipe taste similar to Instant Pot sour cream chicken enchiladas, but it’s lower in calories and higher in protein.
- Monterey Jack Cheese. In our house, it’s not enchiladas unless there is cheese! This lighter recipe uses a moderate amount, but you’ll still feel fully satisfied. Feel free to try pepper jack if you’d like to make the enchiladas spicy.
- Corn Tortillas. The classic tortilla for chicken enchiladas. Heat them first for the best flavor.
Season the chicken, rubbing to coat.
Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the oil. Add the chicken and let sear until browned on each side, then remove it to a plate.
Turn off your Instant Pot, and add a splash of water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any stuck-on bits of food. Return the chicken to the pot and top with part of the enchilada sauce.
Cook on manual (high) pressure for 8 minutes, venting immediately afterwards. Remove the chicken, then turn the Instant Pot to saute. Simmer the cooking liquid until thickened.
Shred the chicken and warm the tortillas in the oven
Place the chicken back into the Instant Pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Add green onions, yogurt, and cheese.
Fill the tortillas with the chicken mixture, roll to close to form the enchiladas, and arrange the enchiladas in a baking dish. Add the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese over the top.
Bake until hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining green onions over the top, and serve with toppings. ENJOY!
- Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas Verde. Swap green enchilada sauce for the red enchilada sauce. For bonus verde flavor, stir 1 (4-ounce) can of diced green chilis into the chicken filling.
- White Chicken Enchiladas. Check out my Butternut Squash Spinach Enchiladas, which have a white sauce. You could add shredded chicken to this butternut squash filling if you like.
More Ways to Use Instant Pot Enchilada Chicken
- Enchilada Chicken Rice Bowls. Top a bowl of white or brown rice with the enchilada chicken, Instant Pot Black Beans, veggies, and some avocado for an easy and tasty meal.
- Enchilada Chicken Quesadillas. Add the chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, and your choice of veggie in a quesadilla.
- Enchilada Chicken Nachos. For the ultimate party food, serve the chicken on top of tortilla chips with cheese, corn, black beans, or whatever other toppings you enjoy.
- The Best Smothered Fries. Use this chicken to make next-level Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Sweet Potato Fries.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat enchiladas in a baking dish that’s loosely covered with foil in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave until hot.
- To Freeze. Store leftover enchiladas or shredded chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Make Ahead. These enchiladas can be assembled and stored unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months. Add the red sauce and cheesy topping right before baking so they don’t become mushy. If the enchiladas are frozen, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.
Recommended Tools for Making This Recipe
- Instant Pot. Using the Instant Pot makes cooking the chicken so easy!
- Baking Dish. This baking dish is beautiful and perfectly sized for this recipe.
- Measuring Cups. I love that these are microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best, most accurate way to determine if your chicken is done cooking.
If your house loves Mexican food as much as ours does, then I suspect you’ll want these Instant Pot chicken enchiladas on your regular menu too.
If you try the recipe, please leave a comment, and if you enjoyed it, a 5-star rating too! This is so helpful and meaningful to me. Thank you!
Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts* (about 3 breasts)
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
- ½ cup water
- 2 ½ cups homemade red enchilada sauce or 2 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce, divided
- 12 corn tortillas
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or nonstick cooking spray
- 1 small bunch of green onions chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt plus additional for serving
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar jack cheese divided
- For serving: chopped fresh cilantro sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, anything you like!
- Season both sides of the chicken with the chili powder, cumin salt, and pepper and rub to coat.
- Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the oil. Once hot and shimmering, add the chicken breasts in a single layer. Sear on each side for 2-3 minutes, just until brown (the chicken does not need to be cooked through). Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Turn the Instant Pot OFF. Splash the water into the pot and with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape up any stuck-on bits of food. Return the chicken to the pot, then pour a generous ½ cup of enchilada sauce (that’s about half of a 10-ounce can) over the top of the chicken.
- Lock the lid in place. Cook on manual (high) pressure for 8 minutes. As soon as the time is up, vent immediately. Carefully open the lid. Check the chicken for doneness. It should register 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (if it is not done, reseal and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes as needed; I find that if the chicken is at 160 degrees F, covering it and letting it rest for a few minutes will bring it to temperature.) Remove the chicken to a plate. Turn the Instant Pot to saute and bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Let simmer until the liquid thickens and reduces by roughly half, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Shred the chicken, either with two forks on the plate or place the whole breasts back into the Instant Pot after the sauce has thickened and use a hand mixer on low speed to shred it directly in the Instant Pot.
- While the chicken cooks, prepare the tortillas. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the tortillas between two baking sheets, arranging them in a single layer. Brush the tops of the tortillas lightly with oil or them spray with nonstick spray. Flip and repeat on the other sides. Bake on the upper and lower racks, just until the tortillas are warm and pliable, about 3 minutes. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Move a rack to the center of the oven and leave the oven heated.
- Place the shredded chicken back into the Instant Pot (if it is not added already) and stir to coat with the sauce. Stir in half of the green onions, the Greek yogurt, and 3/4 cup Monetary Jack cheese.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce (or the second half of the 10-ounce can) into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread into a thin, even layer. Fill each tortilla with a heaping 1/4 cup of the chicken filling, roll to close, then place it at one end of the pan, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, lining them down the pan as you go (you also can tuck some enchiladas along the sides if they don't all fit down the center). Pour the remaining 1 ¼ cups enchilada sauce (or the remaining 10-ounce can) over the top of the tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Monetary jack cheese.
- Bake the enchiladas until warmed through and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining green onions over the top. Serve hot with desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat enchiladas in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave until hot.
- TO FREEZE: Store leftover enchiladas or shredded chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: These enchiladas can be assembled and stored unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months. Add the red sauce and cheesy topping right before baking so they don't become mushy.
- *To use chicken thighs: reduce the Instant Pot cook time to 6 minutes.
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