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baked meatball chicken enchiladas

Cheesy Baked Chicken Enchilada Meatballs are perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner at home. Served in homemade authentic-style red enchilada sauce all cooked together with plenty of cheese and loaded with fresh toppings. Crunchy lettuce, onions, cilantro, avocado and crispy tortillas make for a super tasty Mexican inspired meal.

baked meatball chicken enchiladas

This dish is super saucy and it’s got a bit of a kick from the dried chiles but it’s super delicious and well balanced from the cheese and toppings and the addition of tomatoes into the sauce. Inspired as a fun way to switch up meatballs and pasta, it’s super filling on it’s own with the addition of some fresh crusty bread to soak up that sauce, you really don’t need a side. It makes roughly 14-15 minutes meatballs so it doesn’t serve a lot of people if portions are 5 meatballs per person for a complete meal. For larger families or groups, we definitely recommend adding an extra pound of ground chicken. 

chicken enchilada meatballs in sauce

crispy tortilla topping

IT’S ALWAYS IN THE SAUCE

I always try and make sauces from scratch or at least almost and somewhat homemade. I aimed for as authentic as I could with the ingredients I had on hand and taking cooking time into consideration. I typically buy the dried chiles from Amazon and they delivery within a few days. There’s enough for quite a few recipes and they aren’t too expensive. For anyone who cooks a lot from scratch and loves Mexican foods these are worth the buy and come in handy a lot. From doing research and watching tons of Tik Tok videos, I see a lot of people use what I find is an outrageous amount of chiles in their sauces. Like 6-8 Guajillos and a few Ancho or Pasilla chiles. I tend to be more on the conservative side and just use 1-3 so that the batches I order last me quite a while and I find the flavors are enough and it’s pretty spicy with just a small Amount. I’ve tested the sauce with and without the tomatoes, it isn’t as traditional but it definitely helps to round out the flavors and brings a nice balance plus helps to thicken the sauce a little bit better. I’ve left some notes in the bottom of the instructions if you can’t source some chiles or prefer to use store bought as a quicker alternative. 

baked meatball chicken enchiladas

THE TOPPINGS

I always love a lot of toppings to boost freshness and flavor and create a well rounded dish. It’s pretty boring with just sauce and cheese and the toppings make it look so fun and pretty and more whole.  I stuck to authentic toppings such as crispy romaine lettuce, onions, cilantro, avocado and added the tortilla strips to mimic the corn shell and give it some crunch. The toppings can be added overtop and then served divided into portions or they could easily be served family style/ built your own where each can grab the toppings they like if your sitting around the table. 

baked meatball enchilada topping close up

plated meatball chicken enchiladas

We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it on Instagram! We love to see what you come up with. #thecommunalfeast Follow along our social media account on instagram for quick videos on how our recipes come together.

baked meatball chicken enchiladas
Yield: 15

Baked Chicken Enchilada Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Cheesy chicken enchilada meatballs served in homemade red enchilada sauce and loading with fresh toppings. Crunchy lettuce, onions, cilantro, avocado and crispy tortillas make for a super tasty Mexican inspired weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground chicken
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/3 cup Monterey Jack, shredded
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • tajin
  • toppings: romaine lettuce, diced onions, cilantro, avocado, mexican crema or sour cream
  • Enchilada sauce:
  • 1 dried ancho chili
  • 2-3 guajillo chile peppers
  • 4 dried chile de Arbol
  • water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 14oz can san marzano tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium size pot filled with water to a boil. Use kitchen scissors to cut the tops off the chiles and remove all the seeds. Add the dried chiles for the enchilada sauce and let those simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. For the meatballs: combine ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, and spices. Mix until just combined using your hands. Use a large cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs into even sizes. Coat your hands with a touch of olive oil and roll them out into even round balls. Transfer the meatballs into a large baking dish lightly coated with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Enchilada sauce: to a blender, transfer the mexican chiles, pour in 1/3 cup of the water from the pot, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer to remove any extra seeds and skins that didn't blend well. You should be left with 1 1/2 cup of red sauce.
  5. Once the meatballs have finished their initial bake time, combine the cream and the red sauce together and pour overtop the meatballs. Cover with foil and bake the meatballs another 10 minutes in the sauce. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cover with the shredded cheese. Return to the oven one last time, cooking uncovered for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  6. To make the crispy tortilla topping: cut the corn tortillas into quarters and cut into little strips. Heat a skillet with olive oil. Once hot, add the tortilla strips, season with some tajin and stir occasionally until crispy. About 3 minutes.
  7. Serve topped with shredded lettuce, diced onions, chopped cilantro, avocado, jalapenos and drizzle with crema.

Notes

Enchilada sauce: if you don't have dried mexican chiles on hand easy substitutions are ancho chile powder or smoked paprika dried ancho chili) chipotle peppers in adobo which is easily found in grocery stores and thai bird chiles in place of arbol chiles which are quite spicy. Of course another option is to use store bought sauce as an alternative.

plated meaball chicken enchiladas

Baked Chicken Enchilada Meatballs

Dinner

November 11, 2021

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