Cooking Guide

3 Best Chicken For Enchiladas: Can Enchiladas Be Made Of Chicken?

Enchiladas are a delicious dish that can be enjoyed at home or in a restaurant.

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Although beef is a traditional meat filling, you can use chicken too.

In order to make the best chicken enchiladas, you will need a good cut of chicken for your filling.

We will walk through the tips to choose chicken for enchiladas and the best cuts of chicken that are ideal for this recipe.

How to choose chicken for enchiladas?

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When it comes to Mexican cuisine, enchiladas are one of the iconic dishes.

Authentic Mexican enchiladas are often made from beef, but chicken is considered a healthier option for the filling that also offers a new flavor profile.

So how to choose a good cut of chicken for enchiladas?

Let’s take a look at the following criteria when shopping for chicken:

1.     Using a whole chicken is more economical and more flavorful

You can buy a whole chicken and use parts of it for enchiladas.

Although a whole chicken costs more than a single cut of chicken, it is actually cheaper per pound.

Using a whole chicken for a roasting recipe can result in a juicier and more flavorful taste.

You can serve the whole roasted chicken as the main course for your family dinner, and the leftovers can be used to make enchiladas the next day.

2.     White meat and dark meat chicken both work for enchiladas

Keep in mind that both white meat and dark meat chicken can be great for enchiladas.

It all comes down to personal preferences to opt for a cut of white meat or dark meat chicken, like chicken breast or chicken thighs.

White meat chicken is leaner and healthier because it contains very little fat, but it comes with a milder taste.

Meanwhile, dark meat chicken is juicier, richer, but also fattier.

3.     Look for a fresh cut of chicken without any sign of spoilage

Another tip for choosing chicken for enchiladas is to look for a fresh cut of chicken.

Your chicken should never be frozen before to ensure the freshness and sweetness in the taste of the meat.

The chicken cut shouldn’t have any sign of spoilage like a watery texture, dark spots on the surface, or an unpleasant smell.

4.     You can buy pre-ground chicken to save time and effort

Chicken fillings for enchiladas can be made from a whole cut of chicken that is slow-cooked and pulled apart, or cooked ground chicken.

Therefore, if you want to save some time spent in the kitchen, try buying fresh pre-ground chicken from a grocery store, butcher shop, or supermarket.

3 best chicken for enchiladas

Now, let’s see what cut of chicken can be used for enchiladas:

1.     Whole chicken

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Many people might think using a whole chicken for enchiladas is a waste.

However, in fact, buying a whole chicken is a more economical way because it is cheaper per pound indeed.

A whole chicken should be roasted or baked and served as the main course, while some small cuts of it or leftovers can be used for enchiladas.

By doing this, you can even have two different delicious dishes from one chicken.

2.     Chicken breast

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Another cut of chicken that can be great for enchiladas is chicken breast.

You should opt for boneless, skinless chicken breast so that it is easier to handle, quicker to cook, and healthier due to the low-fat content.

Chicken breast can be simmered and pulled apart, or ground with some additional fat trims for a juicier texture.

3.     Chicken thighs

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If you want a more affordable cut of chicken for your enchiladas, chicken thighs are a good choice.

This dark meat cut is juicier and more flavorful even when you use a boneless, skinless cut of it.

The bottom line

In conclusion, there are three main cuts of chicken that are best for enchiladas.

You can use baked or rotisserie whole chicken, or cut-up chicken like a boneless, skinless cut of chicken breast or chicken thigh.

Chicken can be served pulled apart or ground for enchiladas’ fillings.

To get started on making some chicken enchiladas of your own, you can use leftover roasted chicken for your very first recipe.

Don’t forget that fresh free-range chicken is always a better but more expensive choice than a commercial factory-raised chicken.

Good luck with your choice!

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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