Elements of a great recipe for enchiladas

June 25, 2017 (Last Updated: June 19, 2017) - As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

As previously announced, we are going to take a deep dive into enchiladas. We will be showing our best recipe soon enough, but I think it is important to take a minute and look at the elements of an enchilada. Here is a list of elements that make a great recipe for enchiladas.

Hero Image – Chicken Enchiladas flickr photo by alanagkelly shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license


One of the biggest differences between a burrito and an enchilada is the tortilla. In a burrito, the tortilla is flour and in enchiladas, corn. And it is not just corn, enchiladas are made from Masa Harina which is a specialized kind of corn flour. It is different than cornmeal or normal corn flour.. But we will look at that in an upcoming post on making our own from-scratch tortillas.

A great tortilla is an important part of any great recipe for enchiladas and being able to execute a great enchilada is an exercise in beauty. Without the tortilla, it just is not an enchilada.

Enchilada Sauce

The word enchilada originates from the word enchilar , which literally translates to “to season with chili” and the sauce should always do this in a recipe for enchiladas. The sauce is one of the main ways to provide variation. Most enchilada sauces contain tomato, but it is not necessary. By definition of the word enchilar, all contain chili or spices of some sort.

Great enchilada sauce can be simple and elegant or the equivalent of Chotchkie’s flair. It adds an important element to the dish and provides an opportunity to really add flavor to the dish.

Enchilada filling

Beef, pork, chicken, beans, potatoes, veggies… any of these are acceptable, but there must be some seasoning and thought around the cut of meat or the veggies to make a great enchilada. For the purposes of Ramshackle Pantry, I am going to be focusing on shredded beef and have found a killer recipe that I will share.


I don’t think that cheese is technically an essential ingredient in a traditional enchilada recipe. I do, however, view it as a must have in my recipe for enchiladas. You need cheese on a taco either, but what fun is that? If I am making any Mexican dish, there is a pretty good chance that cheese is going to be invited to the party, as well.

Ingredient recap on great recipe for enchiladas

The essential ingredients in my recipe for enchiladas are a great tortilla, enchilada sauce, filling, and cheese. Is your mouth watering yet, because mine is and I want some enchiladas! Stay with us as we look into the history and start publishing some great recipes.

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    Tomato enchilada sauce recipe - Ramshackle Pantry
    July 12, 2017 at 5:02 am

    […] enchilada’s sauce really can add depth and flavor. As previously mentioned, the word “enchilada” originates from the word “enchilar”, which literally translates into […]

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