New Mexico claims ownership to the creation of stacked red chile cheese enchiladas. Instead of rolled, fried tortillas are stacked with a mixture of ground beef and melted cheese. In traditional New Mexico style, the enchiladas are then topped with a fried egg. Stacked enchiladas are guaranteed to bring your taste buds alive with true Southwestern charm.
Last week I was talking with a coworker about dinner plans and she mentioned she was making her specialty, Stacked Enchiladas. “Stacked Enchiladas?” I asked.
The explanation revealed that her father is from New Mexico and this was his specialty and she’s made it hers.
This recipe isn’t for casserole style baked enchiladas, where tortillas are layered with ingredients, nor are these enchiladas rolled and baked like these traditional Red Chile Enchiladas.
These enchiladas are stand alone corn tortillas that are fried and layered with enchilada sauce, ground beef and cheese.
Once stacked, the enchiladas are then baked long enough to simply melt the cheese and bring the ingredients together.
New Mexico Stacked Enchilada purists always top the dish with a fried egg cooked sunny side up or over medium.
Let’s take a look.
Why Is This Method Easier?
Common in New Mexico, stacked enchiladas are a dish you need to try. Rolling and stuffing traditional baked enchiladas can be an event. These stacked enchiladas are more of an easier no-fuss, quick-fix experience.
The corn tortillas stay crispy in spots and soft and chewy in others by absorbing the sauce and the juices from the ground beef and fresh tomatoes.
And there’s that ooey-gooey cheesy part. The strong Southwestern flavors of this wonderful creation are truly enhanced by the creamy sunny side up egg.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Red Chile Sauce or Red Enchilada Sauce
- Diced fresh tomatoes (optional)
- Ground Beef
- Sweet Onion
- Shredded Lettuce (for garnish – optional)
- Hatch Chile Peppers
- Oil for frying tortillas
- Yellow Corn Tortillas
- Shredded Cheese: I like to use a blend of cheddar and white melting cheese. Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack and Muenster are good choices here.
Ingredient Subs and Substitutions
- Enchilada Sauce: If you don’t want to make your own homemade enchilada sauce, purchase canned. Purchasing one 19-ounce, or two 10 ounce cans will give you plenty of sauce.
- Tomatoes: If fresh tomatoes are out of season, use Cherub cherry tomatoes. Don’t substitute canned tomatoes for fresh. Canned tomatoes, even drained will offer too much liquid, causing the tortillas to become soggy. Omit tomatoes in this case.
- Ground Beef: Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken in place of the ground beef. Shredded chicken will also work like a charm here. Or omit the meat entirely and make these vegetarian stacked enchiladas. You can also substitute black beans for the ground beef.
- Tortillas: I prefer yellow corn tortillas for this recipe because they’re sturdier and have a more defined corn flavor. You can substitute white corn tortillas if you don’t have yellow.
- Shredded Cheese: To make this recipe even easier, grab a package of Mexican blend shredded cheese at the grocery store.
Step by Step Instructions
Looking around on the web I found several versions of Stacked Enchiladas. Many don’t use ground beef, just cheese and the red chile sauce. Here’s what I did using my friend Jennifer’s method:
Step 1: Heat a fry skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the ground beef and onions. Add a couple of pinches of chili powder to the ground beef to add a kick of flavor. Cook until ground beef is just starting to lose its pink color. Add the chopped chiles and stir until chiles are warm and ground beef is no longer pink.
Step 2: The corn tortillas for are handled a bit differently than rolled and baked enchiladas. We’ll skip the step of dipping the fried tortilla in the enchilada sauce, and simply fry the corn tortilla. I like to use my omelette pan. Heat the pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil and heat until the oil is shimmering. One by one, place the corn tortillas in the hot oil and cook for 30 seconds. No need turn them. Once you see bubbles starting to form on the tortilla (see photo of the tortilla in the pan above), using a spatula, remove the tortilla to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
Step 3: Start building the stacked enchiladas.Using an oven proof pan, start by placing enough of the ground beef, onion and chile pepper mix on a corn tortilla. Then add 1/4 cup red chile sauce or enchilada sauce.
Step 4: Finish by adding a good handful of grated cheese and a sprinkle of chopped tomato. Repeat with one more layer. Add cheese and sauce to the top of the third tortilla. These stacked enchiladas are ready to bake just long enough to melt that cheese. Use a comal or a baking sheet.
Step 5: In the meantime, fry two eggs to sunny-side up stage.
Tips and Tricks
These stand alone enchiladas are easy to customize and personalize. Switch things up and add sliced radishes, chopped cilantro. Add corn and even black beans to make this a vegetarian stacked enchilada dinner. A drizzle of sour cream will make this a Tex-Mex version.
There are two reasons for this. Either your oil is not hot enough, or you’re not cooking them long enough. I always lose or sacrifice a couple of tortillas during this process. Play with the heat until the tortilla fries just enough to be almost crispy in 30 seconds.
I recommend that you assemble and bake these enchiladas when you’re planning on eating them. Storing fried tortillas can turn them soggy or rubbery. If you’re making red chile sauce or homemade enchilada sauce, that piece of this meal most certainly should be prepared ahead of time.
Recipe for New Mexico Stacked Enchiladas
If you’re looking for fresh New Mexico cuisine, I hope you give this Stacked Enchilada recipe a try. And if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating.
Your feedback is valuable to me for developing future recipes. And if you have a favorite stacked enchilada recipe or method, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
Serve this hearty fiesta style meal alongside Salsa and chips.
More Enchilada Recipes
- Yucatan Pulled Pork Enchiladas
- Baked Chicken Enchiladas with Tomato Jalapeno Cream Sauce
- Red Enchiladas, Street Style
- Chili Truck Stop Enchiladas
And if you’ love Mexican food as much as we do, don’t miss my Mexican Food and Southwest Recipes Category. You’ll find lots of fun recipe to spice up your meal plans, including the most popular on my site for Hatch Green Chile with Pork.
New Mexico Stacked Enchiladas
- 2 cups New Mexico Red Chile Sauce or Enchilada Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef browned
- 1 cup sweet onion chopped
- 4 Hatch green chile peppers roasted, peeled and chopped. Or 1-4 ounce can chopped Hatch chile peppers
- 2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese
- 2 tomato chopped
- chopped lettuce for topping
- 6 yellow corn tortilla
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil canola oil works well here
- 2 eggs fried over easy or over medium
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown ground beef and onion in a fry pan until done. Drain excess grease, stir in the Hatch Green chile and set aside.
- In a fry pan, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. The oil should be hot enough that the tortillas bubbles as its lowered into the oil. Fry corn tortillas one at a time 30 seconds each. Place tortillas on a plate that's been lined with a paper towel. Place another paper towel on top of the tortillas as you cook them to help keep them warm.
- To build the enchiladas. In an oven proof dishes, I use my Comal, place one tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup ground beef and 1/4 cup New Mexico Red Chile Sauce and a good sprinkle of the shredded cheese and fresh tomato. Place a tortilla on top of of that and another layer of the ingredients. Place the third tortilla on top and sprinkle with cheese and sauce. Use three tortillas for each stack.
- In the meantime, fry two eggs until over easy.
- Bake or broil until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately topped with more fresh tomato, chopped lettuce and fried egg. If you want add a dollop of sour cream to the top and diced raw onions (after baking)
- This served the two of us with plenty of leftovers.
Stacked Enchiladas …They’re what’s for Dinner.