This article was updated on 8th August 2023 for clarity and to incorporate new insights.
Who doesn’t love enchiladas? Rich, saucy, and majorly cheesy. But what do you do with your leftovers?
To help you avoid soggy tortillas, rubbery cheese, and dried-out fillings, I tested four different ways to reheat enchiladas. In a rush?
The best way to reheat a single enchilada is in a skillet. Heat a greased skillet over medium-high heat and put the enchilada in cheese-side up. After a few minutes, sprinkle water in the pan and ‘steam’ the enchilada for 2 minutes to melt the cheese. To reheat a full tray of enchiladas, use an oven.
How I tested reheating enchiladas
I cooked up two batches of my favorite chicken enchiladas (here’s the recipe if you’re interested!), and kept the leftovers in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I tested four different reheating methods:
- A skillet: Best method and no soggy tortillas.
- The oven: Good results for large quantities.
- The microwave: Convenient but soggy tortillas.
- An air fryer: Quick and crispy cheese.
Reheating enchiladas in a skillet
Time: 6-8 minutes
- Cover the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer of oil and heat it over medium-high heat.
- Add the enchiladas to the pan (cheese side up) and heat them for 3-4 minutes, or until you notice the bottom of the tortilla turning crispy.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water around the enchilada (avoiding direct contact) and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes to allow the enchilada to steam.
- Once heated through, serve your enchilada immediately.
Steaming your enchilada after crisping its base will ensure that the center warms evenly and that your cheese stays gooey and delicious. Whatever you do, don’t flip the enchilada over in the skillet because the cheesy top layer will stick to the pan.
Thicker enchiladas with dense fillings can take longer to heat through in the middle. For these, I recommend using medium heat instead to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn before the filling is hot.
Results: I loved this method for the crunch it added to the bottom of my tortilla and the slightly charred taste from the skillet. Best of all, my enchilada was warm throughout – nothing worse than a cold center.
Reheating enchiladas in the oven
Time: 12-20 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- If you’re transferring your enchiladas to a baking tray, preheat it along with the oven.
- Optional: warm your enchiladas in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
- Make sure your enchiladas are in an oven-proof dish and cover them tightly with foil.
- Bake them for 10 to 15 minutes (or 12 to 17 minutes if you haven’t microwaved them first).
- Uncover the baking tray and heat the enchiladas for a further 2-3 minutes.
Note: if you’re using a toaster oven, you can reduce the heating times by 3-4 minutes.
The length of time it takes to heat your enchiladas will vary depending on portion size and fillings. The time frames above are for a small portion, if you’re reheating a whole tray, it will take longer.
Microwaving your enchiladas first is a great way to speed up the process; it gives the filling a head start and makes sure there’ll be no cold middle.
The tip about preheating a baking tray will help ensure you don’t get soggy bottoms, but they definitely won’t be as crisp as the skillet method!
Results: My enchiladas tasted really good, but the tortillas let the side down slightly with a softer texture than I’d have liked. That said, for reheating big portions you can’t really beat the oven.
Reheating enchiladas in the microwave
Time: 1-2 minutes
- Place your enchilada on a microwave-safe plate and make some holes in the tortilla (for steam to escape) or cut it into quarters.
- Cover the plate with a splatter guard.
- Warm your enchilada in 30-second intervals until piping hot.
- Optional: crisp your enchilada for 2 minutes under your broiler.
- Let the enchilada rest for 30 seconds before serving.
Cutting your enchilada into smaller pieces (or poking holes in the tortilla) allows steam to escape and prevents the tortillas from getting too soggy.
Microwave time will vary depending on the size of your portion (and the power of your microwave). I advise cutting large portions into smaller sections for even heating.
Results: I won’t lie. This was my least favorite method. The enchilada was just about edible, and the filling stayed moist, but the cheese became rubbery, and the tortilla was soggy. Only use the microwave if you have no other option.
Reheating enchiladas in an air fryer
Time: 4-5 minutes
- Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
- To save on mess, line your fryer basket with parchment paper and place your enchilada on top.
- Heat for 4-5 minutes, or until warm to the center.
- Serve immediately.
Timing is everything with this method. Too short, and your enchilada will have a cold center. Too long, and you risk drying out the filling and burning the tortillas.
Optionally, blast your enchilada in the microwave for a few seconds before placing it in the fryer basket to ensure it heats up evenly (like I suggested with the oven). And don’t crowd the fryer basket. Smaller portions will heat more evenly.
Results: The air fryer is faster and more convenient than the oven, but the overall results were slightly drier. The cheese started to get crispy, but could easily burn if you have a thick enchilada.
How to store enchiladas
To store leftover enchiladas, first, wait for them to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer them to an airtight container lined with a piece of paper towel. Seal the container tightly and store them in the fridge for up to three days.
Lining the container with a paper towel absorbs excess moisture, helping avoid soggy and wet tortillas (although the best method to avoid soggy enchiladas is to freeze them).
An alternative way to store enchiladas is to cover the container you baked them in tightly with foil. Make sure the edges are closed so that air cannot enter the dish.
How to freeze enchiladas
Cool your enchiladas to room temperature, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. To avoid freezer burn, add a layer of foil around the wrapped enchiladas, or place them in a zip-lock bag with the air removed. Alternatively, you can freeze them in foil trays.
Freeze them for up to 3 months.
How to thaw enchiladas
The best way to thaw enchiladas is to let them defrost slowly in the fridge overnight. But I actually recommend reheating them straight from frozen because the defrosting process can make them very soggy.
How to reheat frozen enchiladas
To reheat frozen enchiladas, set your oven to 375°F (190°C) and warm the enchiladas, covered with foil, for 30 to 40 minutes. Then, remove the foil cover and heat them for a further 10 to 15 minutes. If they’re not warm yet, consider raising your oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
To speed up the process, you can microwave the enchiladas for 2 minutes on 50% power before placing them in the oven.
How To Reheat Enchiladas [Tested Methods]
- 1 spray cooking oil
- 1 portion enchiladas
- 1 tsp water
- Cover the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer of oil.
- Set your stove to a medium-high heat and add your enchiladas to the pan.
- Heat them for 2 to 4 minutes, or until you notice the bottom of the tortilla turning crispy.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water around the enchilada (avoiding direct contact).
- Cover the pan for 2 minutes to allow the enchilada to steam.
- Once heated through, serve your enchilada immediately.