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Enchiladas are so indulgent that eating them as a quick lunch or weeknight dinner seems almost sinful. With some meal prep, you can enjoy this Mexican treat whenever you like. While meal-prepping enchiladas does take time, your investment pays off in a healthy, comforting meal.
- How to Meal Prep Enchiladas
- 4 Tips to Meal Prep Enchiladas
How to Meal Prep Enchiladas
Your biggest concern when meal-prepping enchiladas (apart from your teen eating them all in one sitting) is preventing them from going soggy during storage. A torn tortilla with filling seeping out, topped with rubbery cheese, is a nightmare vision and one you can avoid.
- Do you want to meal-prep an entire casserole or single servings?
- Will you be heating the meal in the microwave or the oven?
- Do you want to reheat cooked enchiladas or bake uncooked frozen enchiladas?
My most crucial advice for meal-prepping enchiladas is to assemble and freeze the uncooked dish as a whole casserole. This approach ensures your enchiladas retain their firm texture and gorgeous, spicy flavor. Reheated cooked enchiladas often become soggy or rubbery, especially if reheated in the microwave.
1. Prepare the Tortillas
This step cannot be done in advance and must form part of the enchilada assembly process.
This is when you can take your first steps to avoid the dreaded soggy pre-prepared enchiladas.
Use Corn Tortillas
If you’re meal-prepping your enchiladas, choose corn tortillas. They are more traditional, have a more authentic flavor, and maintain their structure when rolled. This allows you to store them unbaked without breakages and seeping.
Fry Your Tortillas
Another fix for soggy tortillas is to fry them before rolling. This step involves frying the tortillas in any neutral oil for 10 seconds per side. Set the tortillas aside on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
The tortillas should remain pliable – don’t fry them until crisp and crunchy. The aim is to create a barrier to prevent too much filling and sauce from being absorbed.
Dip the Tortillas in Sauce
It may sound counterintuitive to dip tortillas to prevent sogginess. However, a quick dip ensures that the sauce’s flavor spreads without you having to pour it over once the enchiladas have been assembled.
2. Assemble the Enchiladas
Assembling enchiladas is like a production line, and having a couple of helping hands is a bonus.
I am all for getting the whole family involved in meal prep. It teaches youngsters how to cook, make healthy choices, and how much effort is involved in running a household.
- Thaw the sauce, filling, and cheese overnight (if you meal-prepped these a while ago).
- Prepare a casserole dish with non-stick spray or grease it thoroughly.
- Fry the tortillas and dip them in the sauce.
- Place ¼ to 1/3 cup of filling in each tortilla and roll them up neatly.
- Place the tortillas seam-side down in the dish. It’s okay if they fit side by side tightly.
Decide what happens next – like a choose your own adventure book!
3. Preparing Enchiladas for Dinner
Enchiladas are one of the healthiest Tex-Mex meals until you reach this point: you’ve got corn tortillas with a protein and veg filling. If you’re watching calories or want to eat less indulgently, don’t smother the tortillas in cheese and cream.
To serve the enchiladas immediately after assembly, follow these steps:
- Drizzle the enchiladas with extra enchilada sauce and top with grated cheese.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400⁰F until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warm and gooey.
- Serve hot with sour cream, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and tortilla chips.
4. Meal-prepping Precooked Enchiladas
When you know you only have access to a microwave for heating your lunch or have to eat it cold, it’s best to cook the enchiladas in advance.
- Assemble and bake the enchiladas as above, setting them aside to cool after baking.
- To store as individual servings, remove an enchilada (or two) from the pan and place it in a meal prep container, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap.
- If you’re storing the whole casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and crimp down the edges tightly, so they don’t dry out.
- Keep the enchiladas in the fridge for five days.
- If you want to freeze single servings, double bag the lidded, freezer-safe containers to prevent freezer burn.
- Keep the enchiladas in the freezer for three months.
- Thaw frozen enchiladas in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat individual enchiladas in the microwave for two minutes.
- Reheat the whole meal prep casserole in the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Meal-prepping Uncooked Enchiladas
The best way to meal prep enchiladas is to prepare a pan of filled tortillas and store it unbaked. This method ensures the best flavor and texture.
- Assemble the tortillas as above, placing them in the casserole dish.
- Do not add the enchilada sauce or cheese.
- Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and store in the fridge for two to five days. Remove from the fridge and bake as above.
- To freeze, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to three months.
- Remove from the freezer and top with enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake enchiladas from frozen, as they will retain their texture better.
- Bake the enchiladas for 35 to 40 minutes and serve as above.
It is possible to make single-serve uncooked enchiladas if you prepare two tortillas in their own disposable casserole dish. This is too fussy, so I make enchiladas for family meals, not individual lunches.
4 Tips to Meal Prep Enchiladas
The great advantage of meal-prepping enchiladas is that you can do as much prep as you choose: there are many points where you can store or freeze the ingredients you’ve prepped.
1. Make Enchilada Sauce
When you’re rushed and don’t have much time to cook, making enchilada sauce is about as likely as flying to the moon. By all means, open a can. Hear me out: while prepping veggies or ground beef, you can easily have a pot of sauce simmering away.
Homemade enchilada sauce is streets ahead of the canned stuff, transforming your enchiladas from tasty to spectacular.
Sautée a few cloves of minced garlic in olive oil. Add two diced chipotle peppers (I like the canned peppers in adobo sauce), a dash of adobo sauce, a large can of tomato sauce, and a cup of vegetable or chicken broth. Spice it up with oregano, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick.
Keep the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze until needed.
2. Prep Your Veggies
If you don’t already prep your vegetables for the week, consider having a washing, peeling, and chopping session as soon as you get home from the store. Having veg ready for snacking or cooking during the week is a massive time saver.
For enchiladas, you’ll need diced onions, tomato, and cucumber. Prepare the veg and store airtight in the fridge for up to a week.
3. Make the Filling
Another component of enchiladas that you can prepare in advance is the filling. Fill your enchiladas with a vegetarian bean mix, shredded chicken, or spicy ground beef.
Make an easy filling by frying some diced onion and minced garlic in olive oil. Add black beans, diced chicken or ground beef, and enchilada seasoning. You can buy this seasoning powder or add chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, onion powder, and salt to the pan.
Once the protein is cooked, add other vegetables, such as corn, spinach, or bell peppers. Cook until the mixture is thick and tender. It should not be watery. Allow the filling to cool and store it airtight in the fridge for several days. Freeze for up to three months.
When ready to use the frozen filling, thaw overnight in the fridge and use it within three days. Ensure your filling reheats to 165⁰F to avoid foodborne illnesses.
4. Grate Cheese
Another enchilada ingredient to prepare in advance is the cheese topping, usually cheddar or pepper jack.
Grating cheese can form part of basic meal prep. You can store grated cheese airtight in the fridge for a week. I avoid this one meal prep hack, as grated cheese won’t last a week in my house. I came home to my family sitting in front of the TV, eating cheddar from the Ziploc bag like Doritos!
To store grated cheese for the longer, double bag it in heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze it.
It is perfectly safe to freeze cheese, as you don’t lose any nutrients. Cheese can be frozen indefinitely, but it tends to clump after eight months and loses texture and flavor. However, the cheese will be excellent for an enchilada topping or a casserole.
While it does take time to prepare enchiladas, meal prep takes the sting out of it. Whether you prepare the ingredients in advance or bake the whole casserole, meal prep is an ideal approach to creating luscious enchiladas.
Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.