This easy beef enchilada casserole is seasoned with classic Tex-Mex spices, enchilada sauce, and salsa. It's layered with corn tortillas and cheddar cheese and ready in 30 minutes - so what are you waiting for? These lazy enchiladas are the easiest ever!
Why You'll Love This
Here in the south, we are all about a casserole! They are the ultimate comfort food. Plus, casseroles are usually enough food to feed a crowd or at least to have leftovers for another day.
By the way, the leftovers are fantastic the next day 🙂
With all the classic flavors of a traditional enchilada but with less prep time, your whole family will want these enchiladas for dinner on a regular basis.
Some may call these lazy enchiladas because you don't fill and roll each individual tortilla, and that's OK! Hey, when you are trying to get dinner on the table with little prep time, then this recipe is for you!
Make these super easy carne enchiladas on Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo (any time is the right time for these!).
Why This Recipe Works
Recipes for beef enchilada casseroles are sometimes more complicated than they need to be, but this one is a quick and easy meal. It's layered much like a lasagna - tortillas strips, meat sauce, and cheese. Repeat.
The enchilada sauce is blended in with the ground beef, so there's no need to pour sauce over the "filling." In fact, just about all the ingredients are pretty much mixed together for the ultimate easy dinner recipe. Plus, it's amazingly delicious!
After baking, take a big spoonful and plop it on your plate (cutting the tortillas into strips makes scooping out the cooked casserole much easier and less messy). Serve with traditional sides like sour cream, guacamole, sliced jalapenos, or diced tomatoes.
Ground beef - For a change of pace, you could use ground turkey or even shredded beef, pork, or chicken.
Salsa - This adds lots and lots of flavor and great texture if you choose the chunky version. Because we're using salsa, there's no need for diced green chilis unless you just want to use them as a topping.
Corn tortillas - I highly recommend corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas simply because they add such a nice corn flavor and they hold up better (they don't get mushy or gummy).
Red enchilada sauce - This is one of the key ingredient flavors for enchiladas so I don't recommend substituting anything else for this one. As far as the best canned enchilada sauce, we happen to be hooked on Rosarita Enchilada Sauce. Not too hot and not too mild!
Shredded cheddar cheese - Use Mexican cheese blend or colby jack if you prefer.
Dried seasonings - This recipe uses a combination of classic Mexican seasonings such as cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cilantro, salt, and pepper. It's a delicious seasoning combination, however, if you prefer to use pre-made taco seasoning mix, that's cool. Use about 2 tablespoons of the mix.
How to Make It
These ground beef enchiladas are super easy to make thanks to layering the tortillas (hence the name - lazy enchiladas!
Step 1: In a large pan, cook the ground beef and drain off the grease.
Step 2: Add the salsa, enchilada sauce, water, and all the spices and seasonings. Stir well. Taste test and add more salt if desired. Simmer 5 minutes.
Step 3: Slice the corn tortillas into 3 strips each. This step is why we may refer to this as lazy enchiladas if you don't have the time to stuff and roll each tortilla!
Step 4: Spray a 1.5-quart casserole dish with non-stick spray (or 8-inch square pan). Add half the sliced corn tortillas, half the meat sauce, then the cheese.
Step 5: Repeat layer of tortilla strips, meat sauce, and cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
You see my Google Web Story for tips on how to make Lazy Beef Enchiladas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Besides things like sour cream, guacamole, sliced jalapenos, or diced tomatoes, you can also serve with refried beans or Spanish rice. Another side dish idea is corn salad.
Yes, you can use either corn tortillas or flour tortillas. However, I feel corn tortillas hold up better than the flour ones which may get soggy.
Yes, this is a great make-ahead meal! Assemble recipe as directed. Bake, then let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, uncover and bake as directed.
I highly recommend using corn tortillas for casseroles such as this. They stand up better and won't get soggy when they absorb any liquid.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use an airtight container for best results. I like this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco. Available now on Amazon.
Yes, this is a great freezer-friendly meal and great for meal planning! After baking the casserole, let it completely cool off (or freeze before you bake it).
Wrap the casserole dish with plastic wrap first, then aluminum foil.
Label it so you'll remember when you placed it in the freezer (freeze for up to 3 months).
When ready to eat it, thaw the frozen enchiladas overnight in the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and re-cover with the foil. Bake as directed although you may need to bake longer since it's cold and maybe still partially frozen. Plan on at least 30 minutes of bake time!
- Cutting the tortillas into strips before preparing this layered enchilada casserole makes it much easier to scoop and serve. Stack the tortillas and use a pizza cutter to slice them.
- To double the recipe, use a 9" x 13" baking dish, and bake as directed.
- Use shredded chicken for an amazing chicken enchilada casserole.
- Add in more ingredients! Try a layer of drained corn or black beans.
More Tex Mex Recipes to Try
If you tried this recipe, please rate it and leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you!
Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole - Lazy Enchiladas
- Large Saute Pan
- measuring cup(s)
- measuring spoons
- Casserole dish
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¾ cup salsa
- 10 ounces red enchilada sauce
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 10 white corn tortillas
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese use more cheese if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 1.5-quart round casserole dish with non-stick spray (or 8-inch square pan).
- Slice the corn tortillas into 3 strips each. TIP: stack the tortillas and use a pizza cutter to slice them. This step is why we may refer to this as lazy enchiladas if you don't have the time to stuff and roll each tortilla!
- In a large saute pan, cook and break up the ground beef until no longer pink. The texture should be finely ground (no big chunks of meat). Drain off the fat.
- Add the salsa, enchilada sauce, water, and all the spices and seasonings. Stir well. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Taste test and add more salt if desired.
- To the casserole dish, add half the sliced corn tortillas, half the meat sauce, then the cheese. Repeat layer of tortilla strips, meat sauce, and cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
This recipe was originally published in 2020 and was updated in 2022.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.