Are you a fan of Mexican cuisine? People have often worried about which is the Best Cheese for Enchiladas. There’s something special about the combination of flavors and textures that make up an enchilada – from the zesty salsa to the soft tortilla, it’s hard not to love.
But if there’s one ingredient that really makes or breaks your dish, it’s definitely cheese. And while different cheeses can create interesting variations on this classic meal, selecting the right one for your recipe is essential.
So let’s explore some of the best cheeses for creating a heavenly plate of enchiladas!
What Is Enchilada?
This popular Mexican dish is made with corn tortilla filled with various ingredients, such as shredded meat, cheese, or vegetables.
The stuffed tortillas are subsequently rolled and positioned in a baking dish, where they are smothered in a rich and flavorful sauce, typically made from diced green chilies, tomatoes, or tomatillos.
The dish is baked until the sauce has soaked into the tortillas and the flavors have melded together. Finally, enchiladas are often garnished with additional toppings like sour cream, avocado, fresh cilantro, and green onions, adding a layer of flavor and texture to this mouthwatering meal.
Do Traditional Enchiladas Have Cheese?
Traditional enchiladas are known for their rich and flavorful combination of ingredients. While cheese is not a mandatory component in all traditional enchilada recipes, it is often used to enhance the overall taste and texture of the dish.
This Mexican food use of cheese can vary based on personal preferences and regional influences, with some recipes featuring a generous layer of melted cheese on top or incorporating it within the filling. Even better when combined with guacamole.
Do Mexicans Use Flour or Corn Tortillas More?
Mexicans use flour and corn tortillas, but corn tortillas are more traditional and commonly used in Mexican cuisine. Corn tortillas have a long history in Mexico, dating back to pre-Columbian times. Nonetheless, flour tortillas are more favored in some regions of Mexico, like the northern states.
What Are the Best Cheeses to Use in Enchiladas?
Here are some popular cheese options with their distinct characteristics:
Cheddar cheese is a versatile and widely available option that melts well and offers a sharp, tangy flavor. Opt for a medium or mild cheddar for a more balanced taste.
A favorite for many Mexican dishes, Monterey Jack, is a moderately soft cheese with a gentle flavor., and creamy taste. It melts quickly, providing a gooey, satisfying texture in enchiladas.
This traditional Mexican cheese has a smooth, buttery flavor and an excellent melting quality. It’s perfect for those seeking an authentic taste in their enchiladas.
Like mozzarella, Oaxaca cheese is known as “quesillo” and Mexican string cheese. It has a mild flavor and a soft, melty texture, which works well in enchiladas.
A fusion of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, Colby-Jack offers a milder taste than cheddar and melts well. It’s creamy texture and subtle flavor make it a crowd-pleaser.
Although it doesn’t melt as smoothly as other cheeses, it adds a fresh, crumbly texture to enchiladas. It’s often used as a garnish rather than a main ingredient.
Pepper Jack is an excellent choice for those who enjoy a spicy kick. It’s made from Monterey Jack cheese infused with jalapeño peppers, offering a creamy texture with a hint of heat.
This cheese is known for its strong, salty flavor and crumbly texture. While it doesn’t melt like other cheeses on this list, Cotija can be sprinkled on top of enchiladas as a garnish or mixed with other melting cheeses to provide a contrasting taste and texture.
Queso Quesadilla Cheese
This creamy, smooth, and meltable cheese is perfect for creating an irresistible filling and topping, giving you a deliciously gooey texture in every bite.
What Kind of Cheese Does Mexican Use in Enchiladas?
When creating mouthwatering cheese enchiladas, Mexican enchiladas are typically made with a shredded Mexican cheese blend that perfectly balances flavors and textures.
This blend typically consists of shredded cheeses such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, asadero, and queso quesadilla, which combine to create a rich and gooey filling in authentic cheese enchiladas.
What Can Be Used Instead of Mozzarella for Enchiladas?
If you’re looking for a substitute for mozzarella cheese in your enchiladas, several options can provide a similar taste and texture.
One popular alternative is Monterey Jack cheese, which has a mild flavor and melts quickly, making it an excellent choice for achieving that cheesy texture. Another option is cheddar cheese, which has a sharper taste and can add a bit of tanginess to your enchiladas.
For a more authentic Mexican touch, consider using queso blanco, queso fresco, or queso de bola, all traditional Mexican cheeses.
What Is the Best Gooey Cheese for Enchiladas?
The best gooey cheese for enchiladas combines Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese. Monterey Jack provides creaminess and mild flavor, while cheddar adds a sharper taste and enhances the cheesiness.
How to Roll Enchiladas Without Breaking the Tortillas?
To roll enchiladas without breaking the tortillas, follow these simple steps: First, ensure your tortillas are fresh and pliable. If not, you can soften them by briefly warming them in a dry skillet over medium heat, wrapping them in damp paper towels, and microwaving them for 20-30 seconds. Lightly fry corn tortillas in very hot oil.
Next, lay out the tortilla on a clean, flat surface. Spread a spoonful of your filling evenly across the lower third of the tortilla. To prevent overstuffing, use about 1/4 cup of filling per tortilla. Begin rolling the enchilada by folding the bottom edge of the tortilla over the filling.
Tuck the edge under the filling and roll tightly until the enchilada is completely wrapped. Place the rolled enchilada seam-side in a baking dish to keep it secure. Continue with this method for the rest of the tortillas and filling, ensuring sufficient space between each enchilada in the dish to avoid them sticking together.
Restaurant Style Cheese Enchiladas
Indulge in the rich and savory flavors of restaurant-style cheese enchiladas right in the comfort of your own home.
First, warm up some soft corn tortillas, spoon some shredded cheese in the center, then roll them up tightly.
Arrange the rolled tortillas seam-side down in a baking pan before smothering them in the delectable homemade red sauce. Sprinkle more cheese on top for an extra-cheesy finish; diced onion, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and diced tomato bake until bubbly and golden brown.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Preparing a delicious homemade enchilada sauce is easier than you might think! With a scrap, you can create green enchilada sauce and red enchiladas sauce to elevate your favorite Mexican dishes.
Green Enchilada Sauce: This green sauce is made from tomatillos, diced green chilies, diced onion, garlic powder, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt.
Red Enchilada Sauce: This red sauce is made from dried red chilies, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, sugar, and chicken broth.
Ditch the canned enchilada sauce options and treat yourself to a flavorful, authentic homemade sauce that will impress your family and friends.
What Is a Substitute for Chili Powder in Enchilada Sauce?
If you don’t have chili powder on hand for enchilada sauce, you can use a combination of other spices as a substitute.
Mix paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper (adjust the cayenne amount to your desired spice level.
How to Make Cheese Enchiladas?
Preheat your oven and prepare a casserole dish with a thin layer of your favorite enchilada sauce to make delicious cheese enchiladas. In a separate bowl, combine diced tomato, diced onion, green onions, and shredded cheese, and add shredded chicken for extra flavor.
Lay out each tortilla and fill it with the rustic cut blend of cheese mixture, then roll them up tightly, and add homemade red sauce, ensuring that the excess sauce stays inside. Place the rolled enchiladas seam-side down in the casserole dish, close together to keep them from unrolling.
Pour remaining enchilada sauce all over the filled tortillas ensuring they are well coated. Sprinkle some chili powder, remaining cheese, and diced onions on top, then bake until the cheese is melted. This simple and speedy cheese enchilada recipe is ideal for whipping up any day of the week.
How to Avoid Soggy Enchiladas?
To avoid soggy enchiladas, follow these simple steps: First, pre-cook your tortillas by lightly frying them in oil for a few seconds on each side. This process creates a barrier that prevents the sauce from soaking through.
Next, use a thicker sauce or reduce your sauce to make it less watery, as thinner sauces tend to seep into the tortillas and make them soggy.
While you assemble enchiladas, apply a thin sauce coating on the base of your baking dish before placing the rolled tortillas, but be mindful not to overdo it. Finally, bake your enchiladas at a higher temperature, around 375°F (190°C), to ensure the sauce thickens and the edges of the tortillas become crispy.
What to Serve With Cheese Enchiladas?
Here are some suggestions:
- Mexican Rice: A classic Mexican side dish, this flavorful rice is seasoned with tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and spices. It pairs perfectly with cheese enchiladas.
- Refried Beans: Creamy and rich, refried beans are a great accompaniment to cheese enchiladas. You can use canned beans or make your own from scratch using pinto or black beans.
- Guacamole: This creamy avocado-based dip adds a refreshing touch to any Mexican meal. Serve it with tortilla chips or as a topping for your enchiladas.
- Pico de Gallo: A fresh and zesty salsa made from chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice. Pico de gallo adds flavor and color to your enchilada meal.
- Corn Salad: A light and refreshing side dish, corn salad combines sweet corn kernels, bell peppers, onions, and cilantro in a tangy lime dressing.
- Cilantro Lime Rice: Add a citrus twist to your rice side dish by cooking it with lime juice, zest, and fresh cilantro. This bright and flavorful rice complements the richness of cheese enchiladas.
- Grilled Vegetables: For a healthier side, serve your cheese enchiladas with an assortment of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and onions.
- Flour Tortillas Chips and Salsa: Offer a variety of salsas, like tomato-based, green tomatillo, or mango salsa, alongside crispy tortilla chips for guests to snack on while enjoying their enchiladas.
- Chopped Salad: A chopped salad with ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, and avocado, dressed in a zesty lime vinaigrette, provides a refreshing counterbalance to the rich cheese enchiladas.
- Sour Cream or Crema: A dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema on top of your cheese enchiladas adds a cool and creamy contrast.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Storing and reheating leftovers can be a simple process when done correctly. First, ensure the leftovers have cooled to room temperature before storing them.
Frozen enchiladas to preserve their flavor and texture is a great idea. Simply wrap individual portions of enchiladas in aluminum or plastic foil and place them in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag before storing them in the freezer.
To reheat the frozen enchiladas, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and remove the plastic wrap or foil. Position the enchiladas in a baking dish and use aluminum foil to cover them, ensuring they don’t become dry. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.
The Best Mexican Restaurants for Delicious Enchiladas
Here are some of the best Mexican restaurants to satisfy your taste buds:
La Taqueria (San Francisco, CA): This iconic San Francisco taqueria is known for its mouthwatering enchiladas. With various fillings to choose from, their enchiladas are smothered in a rich and flavorful sauce that will leave you wanting more.
Guelaguetza (Los Angeles, CA): Guelaguetza is an award-winning Oaxacan restaurant that serves up some incredible mole enchiladas. Their homemade mole sauce perfectly blends sweet and savory, making it the ideal topping for their tender and flavorful enchiladas.
El Charro Café (Tucson, AZ): Established in 1922, El Charro Café is the oldest Mexican restaurant in the United States. Their enchiladas are a must-try, with options like the Enchiladas del Norte, which features shredded beef or chicken and their signature enchilada sauce.
Fonda San Miguel (Austin, TX): This upscale Mexican restaurant offers a variety of enchiladas, including the Enchiladas de Mole Poblano and Enchiladas de Salsa Verde. Each dish is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and topped with their respective signature sauces.
Nutrition Facts Cheese Enchiladas
Here is a general overview of the homemade cheese enchiladas nutrition facts,
- Calories: 320
- Total Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 10g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 45mg
- Sodium: 650mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 25g
- Dietary Fiber: 3g
- Sugars: 3g
- Protein: 12g
- Vitamin D: 0.5mcg
- Calcium: 300mg
- Iron: 1.5mg
- Potassium: 200mg
Best Cheese for Enchiladas (Overview)
When making the perfect enchiladas, choosing the cheese is an important step. There will undoubtedly be something for everyone, with all the varieties readily available.
Monterey Jack, Cheddar, queso fresco, mozzarella, and feta cheese are all excellent choices for adding an extra flavor boost to your dish. Each one offers its unique texture and taste that pairs perfectly with the flavors of enchiladas.
Not only are these types of cheeses delicious, contain vital nutrients and minerals, making them a superb addition to any meal. Regardless of the variety of cheese you select, adding it to your enchiladas will surely make for a delicious meal that your family and friends will love.