This recipe for Enchiladas Rojas features white beans, cheese and tender smoked pork covered in a spicy red enchilada sauce. It’s an easy, freezer-friendly casserole your family will love!
When you have leftover meat in the fridge, an enchilada recipe is the perfect Mexican meal to make with it. All you have to do is shred the meat, roll it up into tortillas, cover them with red or green enchilada sauce, add some cheese and they’re ready to bake!
Now, I make enchilada recipes many different ways, using whatever meat I have on hand at the time. Because honestly, there isn’t a set in stone recipe for them. Even in Mexico, every cook puts their own unique twist on the dish.
You can make them very straight-forward, using simple prepared meats like shredded rotisserie chicken for green chicken enchiladas. Or, get fancy and make mole negro enchiladas. It’s completely up to you to decide how much time you want to put into preparing them.
Enchiladas Rojas, or red enchiladas Mexicanas, are very much like the other enchilada varieties. The only “requirement” is that the sauce be red. The nice thing is, the filling can be almost anything. From chicken, beef or pork, to seafood or vegetarian fillings, like beans and cheese.
For my recipe, I use shredded smoked pork shoulder. The smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the spicy heat in the red enchilada sauce.
You should know, my version of pulled pork enchiladas is not authentic. In fact, because of the ingredients, it’s almost a Tex-Mex enchilada recipe. If you want to use ingredients that are more authentic Mexican, by all means, go for it!
For example, I used canned white beans instead of using pintos, and shredded cheddar cheese instead of a Mexican melting cheese like asadero (also known as Oaxaca cheese).
Rather than using authentic enchilada sauce that’s made with roasted chilies, I decided to make my quicker version of red enchilada sauce. You could even use canned enchilada sauce if you’d like.
If you’d like to soak dried beans and then cook them yourself, they’ll have a better consistency, otherwise, canned beans are perfect.
How to make enchiladas rojas
- Prepare the meat, beans, and sauce.
Start by shredding your meat. If you’re using smoked pork shoulder, be sure the meat is cool before you shred it.
If you want to use homemade enchilada sauce, you’ll need to make that, and the same goes for the white beans.
Make ahead tip:
The shredded pork, enchilada sauce, and white beans can all be made up to 5 days in advance of assembling the enchiladas rojas. You can make them even further ahead by making and then freezing them.
- Make the filling.
This step is pretty self explanatory; just combine the meat, beans, and other ingredients filling together in a large mixing bowl.
- Fill and roll the tortillas.
How to roll enchiladas
Rolling enchiladas isn’t difficult at all, but follow these tips to ensure that the filling doesn’t fall out.
- Warm the tortillas.
Warm tortillas are much easier to roll than when they’re cold or room temperature. You can either fry each side in a dry skillet for about 30 seconds, or heat the entire batch at once in your microwave or oven.
- Don’t use too much filling.
Place the filling in the center of each tortilla, being sure not to overfill them. About 1/3 cup filling for each red enchilada is plenty. If you use more than that, the tortillas will either tear or not hold together.
- Wrap the tortilla over the filling.
Wrap the sides of the tortilla toward the center. Roll one end of the tortilla all the way over the filling and tuck it in. Roll that section all the way to the other end of the enchilada.
- To prevent the enchiladas from sticking to the casserole dish, start by placing some enchilada sauce into the bottom.
- Want saucy enchiladas? Feel free to use extra enchilada sauce on top. Another option that many people choose is to dip the tortillas into enchilada sauce before filling and rolling them.
- Cover the pan during the final 15 minutes of cook time. I find this to be the best method for super cheesy topped enchiladas. If you cover the pan right away, the cheese sticks to the foil as it melts. Or, if you don’t cover the pork enchiladas at all, the cheese can end up burnt.
Cool the casserole before freezing. This is very important.
If you freeze the pork enchiladas before the filling is cool, you’ll end up with ice crystals forming inside of your tortillas. Freezer burned food is edible, but it lacks flavor, and that’s no bueno.
What to serve with pulled pork enchiladas
The side dishes for your meal could be anything from authentic Mexican dishes to Tex-Mex favorites.
Beans – Because the red enchiladas already have beans in them, you may not feel like serving more on the side. But, if you do, great options are borracho beans, charro beans, or authentic refried beans.
Rice – If you want to serve rice, you could stick with the red theme and serve arroz rojo (Mexican red rice), or go green with arroz verde. Or, for a classic Spanish touch, make my yellow rice recipe.
Salads – One of my favorite sides to go with enchiladas rojas is rajas con crema – strips of poblano chiles in a heavenly cream sauce! Otherwise, you might enjoy a side of cowboy salsa, otherwise known as Texas caviar.
No matter what you serve, this meal is one that I hope you’ll love and make often. Enjoy!
This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Nov. 12, 2013, was updated with new content on Jan. 4, 2022.
Enchiladas Rojas (Red Enchiladas)
- Mexican crema
- chopped cilantro
- This recipe makes 16 enchiladas rojas. You can bake them in four small 8×8" baking pans (great for freezing), or two 9×13" pans. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pour 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce into the bottom of each small pan, or 1 cup sauce into each large pan.
- To a large mixing bowl, add shredded pork, half the shredded cheese and the beans. NOTE: If using canned beans, include liquid from one can and drain the other. If using fresh cooked beans, also add 1/2 cup enchilada sauce to the bowl.Use a spoon to stir ingredients in bowl to combine.
- Divide the mixture evenly between 16 tortillas. Place filling in center of each tortilla.Fold sides inward, over the filling until they meet in the center. Fold bottom up and over the filling, then roll. (See image.) Place enchiladas seam side down into pans, 4 per pan for small pans, or 8 per larger pan7.
- Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce and cheddar cheese. If desired, cover and freeze pans of unbaked enchiladas for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator before baking.Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake addition 10 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- Serve 1-2 enchiladas rojas per person, with optional garnish of drizzled Mexican crema and chopped cilantro on top.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.