I love enchiladas. I almost always order them at a Mexican restaurant. I've made them at home a few times with a recipe that's delicious, but it's not the same as what I'm getting at a restaurant. The main difference seems to be that the recipes I've seen call for putting some sauce in a casserole pan, adding the enchiladas, and then adding more sauce and cheese before baking. This always comes out soggy. It's still good, but it's not the same as I'm getting in a restaurant (or on my recent trip to Mexico), which seems more like they just broil the enchiladas for long enough to melt the cheese.

I guess the question(s) fall a couple of different ways: Is this the right way to be making enchiladas? What are the restaurants doing that is different? Are there different styles of this dish that explain the discrepancy?

  • do the restaurant ones have sauce on the top? Or do they just put some cheese on and whack it under the grill?
    – Sam Holder
    Jul 27, 2010 at 13:45
  • I've had them both ways, but I'm more interested in with sauce as it ends up being a more interesting and complex flavor.
    – yossarian
    Jul 27, 2010 at 14:11

11 Answers 11


Usually when I've made them I just put sauce on top, not on the bottom, and just down the middle so the edges are exposed. And I make the sauce on the thick side so it is not too watery.

I bake them in the oven too, and they are never too soggy, but you could just grill to minimise the sauce absorption.

I've heard that corn tortillas are more resistant to going soggy than flour ones, but couldn't comment from experience.

  • 2
    I do the same, just putting the sauce on the top, although it is helpful to lightly grease the dish that you are cooking the enchiladas in to avoid them sticking.
    – Ian Turner
    Jul 27, 2010 at 14:00
  • Doesn't do any good to put the sauce on top before baking cause it all runs down to the bottom of the pan while baking and gets soggy.
    – user24391
    Apr 14, 2014 at 4:39

Two things: (1) Pass the tortillas through hot oil first, for just a few seconds. That will soften them and also "waterproof" them. It is the traditional technique. (2) Consider making them on a griddle instead of in the oven; preheat the sauce and the filling, soften the tortilla, fill, heat for just a few more seconds, place on top of the sauce on a preheated plate.

  • This didn't work for me at all. :o(
    – yossarian
    Aug 2, 2010 at 17:32
  • 3
    Which, number (1) or (2)? Aug 3, 2010 at 5:29

For me the key is to use corn tortillas's, not flour tortillas. The flour ones break down and get very soggy, and the corn ones hold up much better in the casserole dish.

  • 1
    Source/brand matters a lot too: I recently bought some yellow corn tortillas without noticing an 'extra soft' label on the package.They basically dissolved when I cooked them. -Disaster. Jul 25, 2013 at 14:46

I know this is a very old thread, but I'll throw in my 2 cents as I've been trying to solve this problem with mushy enchiladas for a long time!

I think it was maybe last year when I read America's Test Kitchen (they have a show on PBS) reviews of corn tortillas. One thing they mentioned was that in their testing of numerous brands, they found one that didn't turn to mush when making enchiladas, and the secret was that it was a corn tortilla, but it had added wheat gluten as an ingredient. This made all the difference in the world. Now, I can't remember the brand that it was, but I never did find it anyway. What I did find in months of searching was that both La Tortilla Factory and Trader Joe's make corn tortillas with added wheat or wheat gluten. I can buy the La Tortilla Factory white corn tortillas at my Kroger. These turn out fantastic enchiladas, with no mushiness whatsoever. I highly recommend!

The way I heat them is from a tip I saw somewhere online. I have a heated skillet that I spray with Pam, but you could use oil as well, and I first dip the corn tortillas in water for just a second, then throw on the hot skillet to warm and soften, one at a time. Works great for making enchiladas.

Hope this helps!


When I make enchiladas, I try not to soak the tortillas too much. I used to use do that, and it resulted in soggy enchiladas as well.

What I've done that has worked for me is to use just enough sauce to cover the tortillas barely, and then broil them for about 5 minutes to heat the sauce, and tortilla, and melt the cheese. This has resulted in more restaurant-esque enchiladas coming out of my own kitchen.

I've never had anyone complain!

  • 2
    Catbert (evil director of HR): "I haven't listened to a single complaint." Jul 27, 2010 at 16:24

Authentic enchiladas are never made with flour tortillas, only corn! Running the tortillas through the hot oil is the traditional way of prepping them for the sauce, but I use a spray oil and set them on a griddle for a few seconds each side. Maybe a minute total. And yes, enchiladas are made differently depending on what region of Mexico the recipe comes from.


To avoid sogginess the restaurant that I worked at, and probably all others, avoid baking sauce on the enchiladas in a dish. Cook and heat you're assembled enchiladas in the oven but here's the key. Serve onto the plate DRY and scoop Hot enchilada sauce on top as your serving. That's what the restaurants do. Especially as there's no way to keep Mass amounts of enchiladas you plan to sell and serve all day in a casserole dish and it's impractical to cook Per order.

IF you want that homestyle, soaked in, cooked together flavor and texture use the TINIEST bit of sauce while baking them just a splash to keep them moist. But the more you add the soggier!


what works good for me (when using flour) is to fill the enchiladas roll em put in pan and bake (without sauce on top) till the tortillias get a little brown on the edges and just barely starting to crisp. Then sauce the top and put on the cheese and bake till cheese is melted. They always come out perfect. With corn i do the same thing but lightly brush with oil before rolling. Hope this helps. Either way you get enchiladas YUM!


I am Mexican American. I've been making these my whole life. I started by watching my mom who is Mexican.

First, if you want them to be authentic by definition, don't ever use any modern ingredients such as spray oil. It does make a big difference and also makes them modernized or Americanized and that is not authentic. Use lard or vegetable oil in a pan to firm up the tortilla and make a shield from moisture, but don't do 30 seconds, you have to keep them in there a little bit longer to where they're almost crispy up a little bit (but not too crispy). Make sure they can be rolled without making a crunch sound, that is too long.

I recommend to go to either one of these three places to get tortillas, where they are made fresh daily:

  • a tortilleria
  • a panaderia
  • a taqueria

Get thicker ones, but don't get Salvadoran ones as they are too thick.

  • Also you can use flour tortillas it won't hurt not but those fry much less time wise in the oil but if you like flour tortillas I recommend ''flautas'' they are so good!! Nov 14, 2015 at 7:02

I'm amazed nobody has brought this up, but... another issue is you are not really making enchiladas, you're making an "enchilada casserole" or "bake" or some other thing.

Original enchiladas began with warmed tortillas, which were then either A) lightly fried in oil then dipped in the sauce or B) dipped in a sauce and then lightly fried in oil and then stuffed, plated, served and eaten with accompanying typicals (rice, beans, onion, cilantro, salsa)... When you do it this way, there is way less time for things to get soggy, and no baking involved whatsoever.


Tejano here.

My top recommendation is that you get a masa mix from the local super market and try making your own corn tortillas from scratch. The final result is incomparable.

My second recommendation is that you try Sonoran style enchiladas. I grew up on the rolled style of enchiladas, and I have to say that I personally feel the Sonoran style is superior.

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