Chicken Enchilada Recipe with Canned Chicken (Stove-top Casserole)

Looking for a quick and easy meal? Learn how you can cook amazingly delicious recipes using canned chicken. This pantry enchilada chicken skillet dinner is a super easy to make stovetop casserole and budget-friendly. A perfect dish you can quickly put together for a weeknight family dinner. This Chicken Enchilada skillet dish is simple to follow and tasty to the core. It’s loaded with cheese, zesty enchilada sauce, and juicy chicken. Enjoy!

Pantry Enchilada Chicken Skillet Dinner Recipe

Do you ever ask, “What can I make with canned chicken?”

I think many people see canned chicken and do not know what to do with it other than make chicken salad sandwiches. As a result, I feel like canned chicken is often overlooked and not as popular as canned tuna, the chicken of the sea. I can understand why canned chicken might be less popular when fresh chicken is inexpensive, readily available, and relatively easy to cook, and tuna is none of those things. However, I do think there are some great uses for canned chicken, and it can make for some quick and tasty meals like this one! If you are ever wondering what you can make with canned chicken, here are some other recipes and ideas.

Easy Dinner with Canned Chicken

Don’t you love pantry dinners? You know the ones. Those dinners you can make on the fly when you haven’t had a chance to go to the store, and your fridge is bare. My pantry is always packed full of canned goods like chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tuna, a few types of beans, rice, pasta, and corn just to name a few. With those pantry staples, I can always figure out something to whip up for dinner. It’s the same situation when it comes to this delicious, spicy enchilada with canned chicken recipe!

Pantry Enchilada Chicken Skillet ingredients

Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a couple of cans of everything you need for this chicken skillet recipe to keep on hand for busy days. (If you’re like me, pretty much every day is a busy day!) This chicken enchilada skillet is so good, and no one will guess that you didn’t slave away in the kitchen to make it or that you used canned chicken.

delicious and easy chicken enchilada rice dinner

Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients used to make these easy and delicious chicken skillet enchiladas.

Chicken: For this recipe, I used canned premium chunk chicken breast. Canned chicken is pretty similar to boiled and pulled chicken. It is tender and will fall apart once it is mixed with the rice and sauce. This is why you end up with nice little bits of moist and tender shredded chicken throughout the dish.

Rice: I use white rice because it tastes great and absorbs all that enchilada sauce flavor. In case you were wondering, white rice is milled rice that has had the husk, bran, and germ removed. This improves the rice’s flavor, texture, and appearance while also extending the shelf life of the grain and enhancing its digestibility.

Cheese: this recipe used Pepper Jack, or a Mexican blend of shredded cheese. This cheese blend is designed to melt on anything hot, and it blends beautifully and quickly. Did you know, the protein found in cheese particularly strengthens muscles? Cheese also contains magnesium which improves your immune system function, maintains muscle & nerve function, and promotes a healthy heart rhythm. I tell myself these health facts before I load up my enchilada skillet with extra cheese so I don’t feel guilty!

Corn: canned whole kernel yellow & white corn is naturally sweet and has helps give the dish the corn flavor you would normally get from the corn tortillas.

Jalapeno: It is a very hot green chili pepper, used especially in Mexican-style cooking it enhances the taste and makes it spicy and delicious. This recipe uses canned jalapeños which are a little milder than fresh and add some nice vinegar tang to the dish.

Enchilada sauce: Enchilada sauce is a flavorful sauce made from chilis, spices, herbs, tomato, and chicken or vegetable broth. It can be made either as a red sauce with tomatoes and red chilis or as a green sauce with tomatillos and green chilis. Both red and green enchilada sauces are great and both work well with this recipe.

Enchilada Skillet Modifications and Substitutions

The best thing about panty dinners is they are easy to modify and change based on what you have on hand. Here a couple recommendations of ways you can adapt this recipe based on the ingredients you have in your pantry.

  • You can use brown rice instead of white rice, just remember the brown rice might need a 1/2 cup more chicken broth and take an extra 5-10 minutes to cook.
  • You can use leftover rotisserie or chicken breast, shred them and use them instead of the canned chicken. In the summer we often grill extra chicken breasts to use for meals throughout the week. This is a great way to use leftover cooked chicken.
  • You can use green enchilada sauce instead of red enchilada sauce.
  • You can use canned black beans or pinot beans in addition to or instead of the corn. Just rinse the beans before adding.
  • For a vegetarian version, you can use canned beans instead of canned chicken. I also like to add some frozen spinach when making a vegetarian enchilada skillet.
  • Top with some fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice for extra flavor.

How To Make Chicken Enchiladas in 20 Minutes

Before I get to the recipe, I should warn you that it is spicy with the jalapeños. That’s just right for me but not so much for kids. If you want to make it mild, just use canned diced green chiles instead of jalapeños, and be sure to use mild enchilada sauce. Now, let’s get this Chicken Enchilada started!

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Keep your pantry stocked with all the ingredients you need for this delicious and easy chicken enchilada rice dinner!

Canned Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole

  • Total Time: 30 minutes


Units Scale
  • 14.5 ounces reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup white rice uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 15 ounces canned whole kernel corn drained
  • 12.5 ounces canned chicken breast drained
  • 10 ounces canned mild enchilada sauce divided
  • 4 ounces canned diced jalapenos drained
  • handful monterey jack or Mexican blend cheese shredded


  1. Bring chicken broth and chili powder to a simmer in a 12” skillet with a lid over medium heat. Stir in rice, reduce heat to low, and cover.
  2. Cook rice approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in corn, chicken, jalapenos, and about half the enchilada sauce. Replace lid, return heat to medium, and cook for approximately five minutes longer or until heated through.
  3. Stir mixture well, and sprinkle cheese over the top. Drizzle desired amount of remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese (you don’t have to use the whole can), replace lid once more, and heat a few more minutes until cheese is melted.


For a mild dish, be sure to choose mild enchilada sauce, and substitute diced green chiles for the jalapenos.

You may optionally place cheese-covered skillet under a hot broiler to get the cheese brown and bubbly, but the stovetop works just fine.

  • Author: Andi
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Dinner, Poultry, Rice Bowls

Nutritional Information of Chicken Enchilada Recipe

Per serving

Calories459 kcalCarbohydrates55 g
Protein32 gFat12g
Saturated Fat2 gPotassium1519 mg
Iron6.1 mgSodium1101 mg
cholesterol56.3 mgFiber5 g
Sugar16 gVitamin A1035IU
cholesterol73 mgCalcium138 mg

Why You Will Love this Recipe!

  • This family-friendly dish can be easily scaled up to feed a large group of people and features tender shredded chicken, a savory enchilada sauce, and plenty of cheese.
  • The entire recipe may be put together in advance and baked when you want to eat something delicious.
  • It does not require you to roll enchiladas which can take time and be pretty messy. You simply make everything in a skillet and substitute canned corn and rice for the tortillas. Who doesn’t love a good skillet casserole?

How to Store?

If you prepare it more than a week in advance, you may freeze it; otherwise, just keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it. The entire dish can be prepared in advance and baked when you’re ready.

Make-Ahead: Wrap the enchiladas with plastic wrap gently. Keep chilled for up to 24 hours. Remove the plastic wrap before baking, cover, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

To Freeze: Wrap aluminum foil and plastic wrap tightly around the enchilada casserole or place in an airtight container. They will keep 3 months in the freezer. Remove the plastic wrap before baking, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until the food is well hot.

Quick enchilada history lesson

The practice of rolling or folding food into maize tortillas is thought to have started in Aztec times. Since then hundreds of distinct variations of enchiladas have established themselves as traditional fare in various parts of Mexico and other Latin American nations (such as Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala). Naturally, enchiladas have also gained enormous popularity in the United States, particularly in New Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. The word “enchilada” means “season with chili” which is a great way to describe the dish as well.

With soft white rice, shredded cheese, canned jalapeños, and a red enchilada sauce, this particular chicken enchilada dish resembles Tex-Mex and New Mexican dishes more than an authentic enchilada recipe. Because this recipe is a quick pantry meal we used canned corn and rice instead of corn tortillas and cooked everything in a skillet on the stove-top. It is like a delicious chicken and rice enchilada casserole. But trust me, it tastes great and has all that amazing enchilada flavor. This chicken enchiladas skillet is simple to prepare and delicious, and it will also freeze well for an easy lunch on a busy day. Rice and homemade refried beans or a simple salad or coleslaw are the best sides to enjoy with skillet enchiladas.

Enjoy Your Mexican Dinner!

Finally, it’s your time to share your experience with this recipe and all your thoughts on it. So, tell me everything in the comments section: What do you think about the Chicken Enchilada Skillet? Did your kids enjoy this dish? Additionally, did you go for the main recipe or did you improvise? If so, what did you add and what was your final result?

Also, please, do not hesitate to ask any further questions on this recipe in the comments too. I will make sure to answer you as soon as possible! Last but not least, here are a few other dinners that put canned ingredients to good use!

Andi Gleeson, food blogger

Andi Gleeson

Andi Gleeson is a passionate blogger and mom based in San Francisco who focuses on easy and delicious dinner recipes.

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