Rojas To Rancheras: Exploring 10 Types of Mexican Enchiladas

Enchiladas have a rich history rooted in Mexico. The origins of enchiladas can be traced back to pre-Columbian times, when the Aztecs used tortillas as a staple food. The practise of rolling tortillas around various fillings can be traced back to Aztec times. The indigenous people in the Valley of Mexico region enjoyed corn tortillas folded or rolled around small fish. During the Spanish conquest, Europeans, including Hernán Cortés, were treated to a feast in Coyoacán that featured foods served in corn tortillas.

The term "enchilada" originates from the Nahuatl word "chīllapītzalli," combining "chilli" and "flute." In the 19th century, enchiladas were mentioned in the first Mexican cookbook, "El cocinero mexicano" (1831), and Mariano Galvan Rivera's "Diccionario de Cocina" (1845), documenting their significance in Mexican cuisine. 

Enchiladas evolved as a way to repurpose leftover tortillas by filling them with ingredients like meat, beans, sauces, and cheese. Over time, enchiladas became ingrained in Mexican culinary traditions and gained regional variations, reflecting the diverse flavours and ingredients of different areas. Today, enchiladas are not only a popular and beloved dish in Mexico but also a symbol of Mexican gastronomy worldwide, showcasing the country's vibrant culinary heritage and the art of combining flavours, fillings, and sauces.

Top 10 Types of Enchiladas

An enchilada is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a tortilla, typically corn, that is filled with various ingredients such as meat, cheese, beans, or vegetables. The filled tortilla is then rolled or folded and usually topped with a savoury sauce, such as red or green chilli sauce, and garnished with cheese, onions, or cilantro. Enchiladas are often baked or fried and served as a flavourful and satisfying meal in Mexican cuisine.

Enchiladas Rojas

These classic Mexican enchiladas are made with a vibrant red sauce typically created from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and various spices like chilli powder or chipotle. The sauce provides a spicy and tangy flavour that coats the tortillas and any fillings, such as shredded chicken, cheese, or beans.

Enchiladas Verdes

Salsa Verde Enchiladas are a traditional Mexican dish where enchiladas are smothered in a green salsa crafted from tomatillos, chilli peppers, coriander, parsley, onions, garlic, and oregano. These enchiladas are filled with tender shredded chicken, generously covered with tangy salsa verde, and topped with shredded cheese, onions, and coriander. Some variations include a dollop of sour cream for a creamy balance to the salsa's acidity. The zesty and tangy taste of these green enchiladas perfectly complements fillings such as shredded pork, chicken, or cheese.

Enchiladas Suizas

Enchilada Suiza features enchiladas generously topped with a luscious sauce made from milk or cream. Its origins can be traced back to the renowned Sanborn restaurant in Mexico City. The name "Swiss" enchiladas pays homage to the Swiss immigrants who introduced dairy-based sauces to Mexican cuisine. This style of enchiladas is distinguished by its creamy and cheesy sauce, skillfully crafted with tomatillos, cream, and melted cheese, which beautifully complements fillings such as tender chicken or savoury cheese.

Enchiladas de Mole

Enchiladas de Mole are a tantalising Mexican creation, featuring corn tortillas filled with a variety of ingredients, commonly chicken and crumbled cheese. These enchiladas are generously smothered in a traditional mole sauce, which is a complex blend of chocolate, chilli peppers, nuts, seeds, and spices. The tortillas are fried to perfection, then dipped into the warm mole sauce, imparting a rich flavour.

Once filled with the delectable chicken and cheese, additional mole sauce can be spooned over the enmoladas for extra indulgence. Served with a garnish of sliced onions and chopped coriander, this dish showcases the ingenious use of leftover mole sauce for a delightful new meal.

Enchiladas Poblanas

Originating from the Puebla region, these enchiladas feature a mild yet flavourful sauce made from roasted poblano peppers and cream. The creamy sauce adds a smooth texture to the dish, which is typically filled with shredded chicken, pork, or beef and topped with additional cream and cheese.

Enchiladas Rancheras

The rustic flavours of these stovetop-cooked enchiladas are drenched in a tomato-based ranchera sauce, which is seasoned with onions, garlic, and various spices. It is filled with shredded beef or chicken, topped with melted cheese, and garnished with fresh herbs. Enchilada Ranchera is served with guacamole, sour cream, or sides like rice and beans. It is garnished with chopped onions and coriander leaves for added freshness.

Enchiladas Coloniales

Originating from Chihuahua, enchiladas coloniales are a Mexican specialty. Fried tortillas are topped with shredded chicken and a flavourful sauce made with chilli peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Folded, topped with sour cream and cheese, then baked to perfection. Serve with red or black beans for a traditional touch.

Enchiladas Michoacanas

Originating from the state of Michoacán, these enchiladas are characterised by their bright red colour and unique flavours. The sauce is made from a combination of dried chilli peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and spices. Fillings can include cheese, potatoes, or pork, resulting in a delicious and satisfying dish.

Enchilada Regia

Enchilada Regia is a traditional Mexican delight filled with abundance. Corn tortillas are dipped in a flavourful sauce made with ancho chilli peppers, onions, and spices like cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg. The filling boasts a combination of chorizo and cooked, shredded pork shoulder. After being dipped in the warm sauce, the tortillas are loosely rolled with the meat mixture and served with the remaining sauce. Garnished with queso fresco, capers, olives, and thinly sliced onions, these regal enchiladas are a true culinary treasure.

Enchiladas de Camarones

Savour the delights of Enchiladas de Camaron, a beloved Mexican dish for seafood enthusiasts. Succulent shrimp, seasoned with garlic, onions, and spices, are rolled into tortillas. A zesty seafood sauce, crafted with tomatoes, lime juice, and chilli peppers, adds a tangy and refreshing flavour.

These fried tortillas are filled with shrimp, corn, onions, chillies, tomatoes, and coriander, creating a delicious combination. Popular in the North Pacific and Gulf regions of Mexico, these rolled tortillas are best served adorned with crema Mexicana, avocado slices, and grated cheese. Seafood lovers will find this dish truly satisfying.

Enchilada De Roja Recipe 


    12 corn tortillas

    2 cups of cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or pork (or your preferred filling)

    1 cup of shredded cheese (such as queso fresco or Monterey Jack) 

    1 medium onion, finely chopped 

    1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro 

    Vegetable oil for frying 

    Salt to taste 

For the Red Enchilada Sauce: 

    4 dried ancho chilies 

    2 dried guajillo chilies 

    2 cloves of garlic, minced 

    1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

    1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano 

    2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth 

    Salt to taste 

For Garnish: 

    Mexican crema, or sour cream

    Chopped onions 

    Chopped fresh cilantro 


Prepare the Red Enchilada Sauce: 

    Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chilies. 

    Toast the chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few seconds on each side until fragrant. 

    Place the toasted chilies in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes until softened. 

    Drain the chilies and transfer them to a blender. Add minced garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. 

    Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the chilli mixture and cook for a few minutes. 

    Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth and simmer for about 10–15 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Adjust the salt if needed. Set aside. 

Prepare the Enchilada Filling: 

    In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or pork with half of the chopped onions, half of the chopped cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Mix well to incorporate the flavours. 

Assemble the Enchiladas: 

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 

    In a skillet, heat a small amount of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. 

    Dip a corn tortilla into the red enchilada sauce to coat both sides. 

    Place the sauced tortilla in the hot skillet and cook for about 10–15 seconds on each side until it becomes soft and pliable. 

    Transfer the tortilla to a plate and spoon a portion of the filling into the centre. Roll it up and place it seam-side down in a baking dish. 

    Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and filling until the dish is filled with enchiladas. 

    Pour the remaining red enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas, ensuring they are well coated. 

    Sprinkle the shredded cheese and the remaining chopped onions over the top. 

Bake and Serve: 

    Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 15–20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

    Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. 

    Garnish the enchiladas with Mexican crema or sour cream, chopped onions, and fresh cilantro. 

    Serve the enchiladas warm, accompanied by Mexican rice, refried beans, and guacamole. 

Enjoy the delightful flavours of authentic Mexican enchiladas with this traditional recipe!