If you looking to add a few more authentic Mexican recipes to your cookbook, take a look at this authentic enchilada recipe. Enchiladas rojas is one of those dishes that are cooked differently in every home. Each cook has his/her own recipe, so this is my own version based on my mom’s way of cooking enchiladas Mexicanas.
In my hometown, it is common to have enchiladas for breakfast or brunch and served with a slice of semi-dried salted meat known as “Cecina”. They are topped with crumbled fresh cheese and chopped white onion.
This plate served family-style has a variety of enchiladas with:
- Red enchiladas
- Green enchiladas
- Pipian enchiladas
- Salsa roja
- Cream salsas
In my hometown of Tampico, Tamps, they are served at the restaurant El Huasteco.
Enchiladas Rojas: Authentic Enchilada Recipe
Now, enchiladas rojas can be made using many different types of peppers and with spices or without spices.
In México, there are a handful of dishes known as ‘Enchiladas Rojas’, like the famous ones from Zacatecas using only ancho peppers. My favorite is the ‘Enchiladas Placeras’ sold at the plaza in Morelia, Michoacán with a side dish of cubed carrots and potatoes.
There’s also the spicier version of enchiladas rojas from the Huasteca region of San Luis Potosí, using dried árbol peppers. After asking several cooks about their preferences on peppers for the sauce, most of them shared that they use a combination of ancho and guajillo peppers in their enchilada sauce.
As for assembling the enchiladas, some just fold the tortillas in half and others roll them up using shredded cooked chicken as a filling.
It really comes down to preference.
Red Enchiladas Recipe
This recipe I am about to share is my mother’s enchiladas rojas recipe. It's been in my family for many years and we have always enjoyed just the way it is but this time around, I decided to change it up a bit and make it more of my own.
Here is a list of ingredients you will need:
- Guajillo peppers (seeds removed)
- Ancho peppers (seeds removed)
- Garlic cloves (chopped)
- Mexican oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded beef pork or chicken (optional)
- Fresh cheese crumble
- White onion (finely chopped)
- Vegetable oil
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed above, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!
How To Make Homemade Enchiladas Rojas
To make things easier for you, I am going to breakdown the directions to this recipe into sections.
Make The Enchilada Sauce
Let's start first with the enchilada sauce.
- Slightly roast the peppers in a hot griddle.
- Once the peppers are roasted, place them in a saucepan with water and turn the heat to medium.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove and let them cool down first. Then, drain the peppers and place them into the blender along with the garlic cloves.
- Add ½ cup of clean water and blend until you have a smooth sauce. Season with the oregano, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
Prep The Corn Tortillas
Now, let's move on to prepping the corn tortillas for this enchilada recipe.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees to keep the enchiladas warm while you finish assembling them.
- Add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce (see how to make it above) and place it in the frying comal-pan or skillet.
- Briefly fry them for a few seconds on both sides and place the fried tortillas in a dish.
Assemble The Red Enchiladas
Lastly, it's time to assemble the enchiladas!
- To assemble the red enchiladas, place the meat filling in the center of the tortilla, and fold it just like in the pictures above.
- Repeat this step until you have run out of meat filling and corn tortillas.
- Sprinkle the enchiladas with the cheese crumbled and chopped onions.
- Add the garnish of your choice and enjoy!
Make The Garnish (Optional)
If you decide to add the potatoes and carrots as a garnish:
- Peel the potatoes and carrots, cut them into cubes, and boil until almost tender but still firm. Then, drain and let them cool.
- Use the same frying pan where you fried the enchiladas to lightly fry the potatoes, adding a little more oil. The potatoes and carrots will be coated with some of the sauce sticking to the frying pan.
- Season with salt and garnish your delicious red enchiladas with cheese.
Cooking Notes and Suggestions
- Play around with the number of peppers you add. You can play around with a number of peppers by using more ancho peppers than guajillo or visa versa for a change in the flavor profile of these enchiladas rojas.
- Only add one kind of pepper to the enchilada sauce. You can even make the enchilada sauce using just one of the peppers in the recipe until you find the taste that you and your family enjoy better.
- Not sure what to use for cheese? For the cheese crumbles, I recommend using cotija cheese or queso fresco as it adds a salty creaminess to the enchiladas.
- Don't add too much oil. When frying the corn tortillas, make sure to add slowly add in the vegetable oil as needed. Too much oil will make for a soggy tortilla.
- Need a shredded beef or chicken recipe? For this red enchiladas recipe, I recommend using this shredded beef recipe or this shredded chicken tinga recipe for the filling.
- Use veggies instead of meat for the filling as a vegetarian option. If you prefer a more veggie-based filling, I recommend making some creamy potatoes with poblano peppers or some nopales a la Mexicana.
What To Serve With Mexican Enchiladas
In my household, I like to serve these enchilada rojas with a side of:
More Mexican Recipes To Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe for enchiladas rojas, take a look at some of these other authentic Mexican recipes:
- Oxtail Beef Stew With Poblano Peppers
- Mexican Ropa Vieja
- Homemade Tacos Al Pastor
- Arroz Con Pollo
- Shrimp Cocktail with Habanero Sauce Recipe
Please leave us a comment done below and tell us all about it!
Enchiladas Rojas Recipe
- 4 guajillo peppers seeds removed.
- 4 ancho peppers seeds removed.
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Mexican oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups of shredded beef pork or chicken (optional)
- 1 ½ cup of fresh cheese crumble
- ½ cup of white onion finely chopped
- ⅓ cup of vegetable oil
- 2 cups of pre-cooked diced potatoes and 2 cups of pre-cook diced carrots.
- Finely shredded lettuce or cabbage and radishes
- Let's start first with the enchilada sauce. Slightly roast the peppers in a hot griddle, pressing them flat with the help of a spatula. Make sure NOT to burn them. This step takes a few seconds on each side of the peppers.
- Once roasted, place them in a saucepan with water and turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes or when they look soft.
- Remove saucepan from stove and let them cool for another 10-15 minutes. The pepper skins should look soft.
- After the resting period, drain the peppers and place in the blender along with the garlic cloves. Add ½ cup of clean water and blend until you have a smooth sauce. If necessary, strain the sauce into a large bowl using a fine strainer. Season with the oregano, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, just to keep the red enchiladas warm while you finish assembling them. Add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil little by little as needed. To much oil will get a soggy tortilla.
- Dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce to lightly coat each side.
- Place it in the Frying Comal-pan or skillet and briefly fry a few seconds on both sides. Add more vegetable oil to the skillet as needed. Place fried tortillas in a dish while you make the rest of the tortillas to keep warm in the oven.
- To assemble the red enchiladas, first, place the filling in the center of the tortilla and fold it. Sometimes I place a meat filling into the center of the tortilla and then roll it, like in the pictures above.
- Sprinkle the enchiladas with the cheese and onion. Add the garnish of your choice and enjoy!
- If you decide to add the potatoes and carrots as a garnish: Peel potatoes and carrots, cut into cubes and boil until almost tender but still firm. Then drain and cool.
- Use the same frying pan where you fried the red enchiladas to lightly fry the potatoes, adding a little more oil. The potatoes and carrots will be coated with some of the sauce sticking to the frying pan. Season with salt and garnish with cheese.
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I made the sauce according to the recipe, but found it to be very bitter and one-dimensional. I ended up adding tomato paste, lime juice and sugar to cancel out some of the bitterness. It was nice with homemade corn tortillas, braised pork shoulder, and queso fresco.
There are two reasons why a dried pepper sauce could be bitter. One is if the peppers are let on the griddle for too long and they burn, even a little longer than needed they will burn and be bitter. Another reason is if the pepper used to make the sauce is old. One way to find out if the peppers are old is when they break easily and crumbled easily. Dried peppers are still good to cook when they are a little bit pliable.
Thank you for the recipe! They taste just like my grandma’s enchiladas. I have to make then again today.