Cooking chicken enchiladas in a crockpot is a convenient and easy way to prepare this delicious dish. You can set it up in the morning and come back to a warm, fragrant kitchen in the evening. In this article, we will cover every detail of how to cook chicken enchiladas in a crockpot from scratch. We will guide you through every step of the way, starting with the ingredients needed and all the way to serving and storing leftover enchiladas. So, grab your apron and let's get started!
Ingredients needed for chicken enchiladas in crockpot
The first step in preparing chicken enchiladas in a crockpot is to gather all the ingredients. Here's what you will need:
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 1 can of tomato sauce (8 ounces)
- 1 can of diced green chilies (4.5 ounces)
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend)
Once you have gathered all the ingredients, the next step is to prepare the chicken. You can either cook the chicken in a separate pan or directly in the crockpot. If you choose to cook the chicken in a separate pan, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. If you choose to cook the chicken directly in the crockpot, place the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot and season with salt and pepper.
After the chicken is cooked, shred it into small pieces using two forks. Then, add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced green chilies, and chicken broth to the crockpot. Stir everything together until well combined.
Next, dip each tortilla into the sauce mixture and fill with the shredded chicken. Roll up the tortilla and place it seam-side down in the crockpot. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and chicken until all the tortillas are filled and rolled up.
Finally, sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the enchiladas. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot and enjoy!
Preparing the chicken for crockpot enchiladas
The next step is to prepare the chicken. You can use either chicken breasts or thighs, depending on which you prefer. Start by trimming any excess fat and cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the minced garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, and dried oregano and cook for another minute or so until fragrant. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides.
Making the enchilada sauce from scratch
The enchilada sauce is what gives the chicken enchiladas their distinct flavor. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced green chilies, and chicken broth. Add the cooked chicken and onion mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
Assembling the enchiladas in the crockpot
Now it's time to assemble the enchiladas in the crockpot. Start by spooning a layer of the chicken and sauce mixture onto the bottom of the crockpot. Take a tortilla and spoon some of the chicken mixture onto it. Roll it up and place it seam-side down in the crockpot. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, packing them tightly into the crockpot until all the chicken mixture is used up.
Setting the cooking time and temperature for chicken enchiladas in crockpot
Set the crockpot to cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. The cooking time will depend on your crockpot and the size of the chicken pieces. If you're using chicken breasts, they may cook faster than chicken thighs. You can check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of a chicken piece. It should read 165°F (74°C).
How to know when the chicken enchiladas are done
Once the chicken enchiladas are done, they should be bubbling and the cheese on top should be melted and golden brown. You can also test them by inserting a knife or fork into the center of an enchilada. If the chicken is cooked through and the tortilla is soft and pliable, they're ready to eat!
Tips for serving and storing leftover chicken enchiladas
Once the chicken enchiladas are done, serve them hot with your favorite toppings such as avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, place them in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes.
Variations on crockpot chicken enchiladas recipes
If you want to mix things up, there are many variations you can try. You can swap out the chicken for beef, pork, or shrimp. You can also add beans, corn, or rice to the filling. And if you like it spicy, you can add jalapenos or cayenne pepper to the enchilada sauce.
Frequently asked questions about cooking chicken enchiladas in a crockpot
Q: Can I use flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas?
A: Yes, you can use flour tortillas if you prefer. Keep in mind that they may make the enchiladas a bit more filling and heavy.
Q: Can I use pre-cooked or shredded chicken?
A: Yes, you can use pre-cooked or shredded chicken to speed up the cooking process. Just skip the step of cooking the chicken in the skillet.
Q: Can I freeze cooked chicken enchiladas?
A: Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken enchiladas for up to 3 months. Make sure they are wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and stored in an airtight container.
Cooking chicken enchiladas in a crockpot is a great way to enjoy a flavorful and filling meal with minimal effort. Follow our step-by-step guide and you'll have a delicious dinner on the table in no time!