My steak enchiladas are a zesty homemade take on a favorite south-of-the-border entree, loaded up with fresh, colorful ingredients. Filled with tender and juicy marinated flank steak, sweet corn, and a blend of three cheeses, these enchiladas are smothered in a smoky, homemade chipotle enchilada sauce plus extra cheese, then baked to hot, bubbly perfection!
Smoky Steak Enchiladas At Home
Whenever we head out to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, I always seem find myself with the dilemma of which delicious and zesty entree to order. With so many colorful and flavorful dishes, it's far too difficult to decide… especially when I'm super hungry!
One entree that's always a challenge for me to pass up when it's on the menu is steak enchiladas, and the saucier and cheesier they are, the better.
But with a tasty cut of beef and a few more simple ingredients, this delectable entree can easily be prepared in your own kitchen, complete with a mildly spicy homemade enchilada sauce to smother everything in!
My enchiladas recipe calls for lean and flavorful flank steak that's seared to a juicy, medium-rare, along with sweet corn kernels, a creamy and pungent three-cheese blend, plus fresh cilantro.
Filled, rolled, and topped with more enchilada sauce and extra cheese, these homemade enchiladas are baked to hot, ooey gooey deliciousness, then finished off with a sprinkle of Cotija and extra cilantro for zippy bite!
My Steak Enchiladas Recipe with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Friends, for me, nothing beats a homemade sauce, especially an enchilada sauce that's meant to have deep, earthy flavor.
There's just something about using good quality ingredients, lots of spices and seasonings, and allowing the sauce to gently simmer on my own stovetop to rich, aromatic perfection.
A homemade enchilada sauce should have layers of zesty, vibrant flavor, with a hint of smoky spiciness and kiss of sweetness, and my recipe here has all of the above...
Prepared with onions, garlic, organic canned fire roasted tomatoes, spices, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, my enchilada sauce is simmered up in right around 15 minutes, ready to smother those smoky steak enchiladas with.
For the filling, I love lean, tender flank steak, and marinate that briefly before very quickly searing it in a hot grill pan or skillet to medium-rare doneness.
And when a sprinkle of sweet corn kernels, Mexican three cheese blend and fresh chopped cilantro is rolled up into a sauce-coated corn tortilla along with that steak, and result is bite after bite of savory-smoky bliss!
Here's a sneak peek at my steak enchiladas recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I marinate my flank steak in spices and seasoning for at least 20 minutes (can be done overnight).
- While the steak marinates, I prepare my homemade enchilada sauce, and keep it warm.
- When the steak is well marinated, I sear it off in a hot skillet or grill pan to medium-rare doneness. Once the steak is done, I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it into small, bite-sized pieces.
- To assemble my steak enchiladas, I prepare a large baking dish, then add some of the warm enchilada sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, reserving the rest for dipping the corn tortillas in.
- Next, I warm up a batch of corn tortillas in the microwave to make them more pliable for rolling, dip each in the enchilada sauce (both sides), add all the ingredients, then roll them up. I place each enchilada into the baking dish seam-side down.
- To finish, I pour more homemade enchilada sauce over top of the rolled enchiladas, top with more three cheese blend, and bake for 20 minutes until hot, melted, and bubbly.
- Before serving, I garnish with extra cilantro, some Cotija cheese, plus a few roasted pumpkin seeds for flavor and crunch.
by Ingrid Beer
These zesty steak enchiladas are filled with marinated flank steak, corn, and cheese, then smothered in a homemade chipotle enchilada sauce!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 649 calories (per 2 steak enchiladas)
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Steak Enchiladas Ingredients:
- ¾ pound flank steak
- Black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Olive oil
- 12 corn tortillas (I use “Mission” brand “super soft” variety)
- 3 cups 3-cheese Mexican blend (cheddar, jack and mozzarella cheeses), divided use
- 1 cup organic corn
- ½ cup very roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided use
- ½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish (optional)
Chipotle Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 3 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 (14.5 ounce) cans organic, fire roasted and diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 to 2 whole chipotle peppers, depending on desired level of spiciness
- 1 heaping tablespoon adobo sauce (the sauce that the chipotles are packed in)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt (or to your taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your steak enchiladas ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place the steak in a medium sized bowl, and add a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, the ground cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil. Rub the seasoning into the steak, and allow it to marinate while you prepare the enchilada sauce, or for at least 20 minutes.
- Gather and prep all of your chipotle enchilada sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the sauce, place a non-stick pot over medium heat, and add in about 2 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the chopped onions, and allow them to sweat for about 2-3 minutes. Next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, stir, and allow it to cook for about a minute.
- Add in the cans of fire roasted tomatoes (juices and all), plus the chipotle peppers and the adobo sauce, and stir to combine.
- Add in the brown sugar along with the remainder of the ingredients, including the cilantro, and stir to combine well. Adjust the heat to medium or medium-high, and allow the sauce to simmer, fairly vigorously, for 15 minutes without a lid.
- Using a hand-held immersion blender (or even a regular blender if you don't have an immersion), puree the sauce until smooth and silky, then check to see if you need any additional salt or pepper. Keep the sauce warm.
- To grill the steak, place a large non-stick grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat, and allow it become hot. Once hot, drizzle in a touch of oil, then add the steak in, allowing it to sear on that first side for about 4 minutes. Turn the steak and allow it to sear on the other side for about 3-4 more minutes. Remove from pan and allow it to rest for about 10-15 minutes (the steak will be medium rare).
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and have a large (roughly 9” x 13”) baking dish on hand.
- Slice the steak against it's grain, then cut it into small, bite-sized pieces, and set aside for a moment.
- Add about 1 cup worth of the warm enchilada sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, and spread it out evenly. Then, add about 1 ½ cups of the warm sauce to a shallow dish, as you will use this to coat the tortillas in before filling them.
- Separate out 1 ½ cups worth of the 3-cheese blend, and set it aside to keep as the melty topping. The remaining 1 ½ cups will be for the filling.
- Just before assembling the enchiladas, soften the corn tortillas in order to make them pliable: wrap a batch of 6 tortillas in warm, damp paper towels, and microwave for 45 seconds (you will steam the remaining batch once these are filled).
- To assemble, take one warm tortilla from the stack in the microwave (keep the rest in there), and dip it in the warm sauce in the shallow dish, coating both sides to moisten. Then, on a plate or cutting board, fill the tortilla by sprinkling about a heaping tablespoon worth of the cheese, a small sprinkle of the steak, then a small sprinkle of the corn, finishing with a pinch of the cilantro leaves (take care not to overfill the enchiladas, or they may be too difficult to roll, and be too big).
- Gently fold the tortilla over, then slowly and carefully roll it closed, then set it seam-side down in the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat the process until all enchiladas have been assembled, placing them in a single layer in the baking dish.
- Pour as much of the enchilada sauce as you'd like over all of the assembled enchiladas (you may end up with a little extra sauce), then top with the remaining 1 ½ cups of cheese you set aside. Bake the steak enchiladas for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are hot and soft.
- Once out of the oven, finish by sprinkling over the crumbled Cotija cheese and the rest of the chopped cilantro leaves, and garnish with a few pumpkin seeds, if using. Serve with some rice and beans on the the side, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for my Steak Enchiladas recipe:
- Flank steak, a tender, juicy cut of beef: While you can use any flavorful cut of steak for these steak enchiladas (ribeye and sirloin, for example), I'm opting for flank steak here because it's lean, takes on the flavor of the marinade terrifically, and is quick to sear up to medium-rare doneness in just a few minutes. Take care to slice it against the grain for best results, then cut into bite-size pieces.
- Homemade enchilada sauce, or good quality store-bought: Because so much of the zesty, smoky flavor of these steak enchiladas comes from the homemade enchilada sauce I'm using, I highly encourage you to prepare and use that to smother over these steak enchiladas (the flavor far surpasses sauce from a jar!). But if you're looking for a short-cut, or need to save some time, then choose a good quality enchilada sauce with lots of flavorful ingredients as a substitute.
- Make ahead and bake off later: To prep these steak enchiladas for the next day, simply prepare the sauce, allow it cool, then proceed with dipping and filling the corn tortillas and placing them into the prepared baking dish. Do not add the additional enchilada sauce over top at this point, as the enchiladas will get a bit too soggy and may break down. Wait to add the additional enchilada sauce over top, plus the cheese topping, just before baking.
Hungry for more zesty recipes? Check out these Steak Tacos, Pork Chili Verde, this Mexican Lasagna, this Mexican Chicken Soup, this Mexican Pizza, or these Street Tacos!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2014, and has been updated with even more love!
Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen
Thank you for sharing this!
The Cozy Apron
Julie, it was my pleasure!
Looks fantastic!! Pinning this for later. I wished you had a "pin" button on the page, it would have had things easier. Thanks for the great recipe. I couldn't find it on your Pinterest page.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Sandy! There actually is a "pin" button next to the little "share" icons right below the recipe. Thank you so much for your comments! Hope you enjoy these...
This is such a beautiful post. Love this recipe. Pinned.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Jennie, so great to have you stop by! 😉 Thanks so much for your kind comments!
Our neighbors came over for dinner tonight, and we served these enchiladas. They were a huge hit for the three adults and two children around the dinner table. The enchilada sauce was wonderful, deeply flavorful and mildly spicy, and worked so well with the other components of the dish. I am certain that we will be making this recipe again. Thank you so much!
The Cozy Apron
That makes me so happy, Jessica! You don't hear much about "the neighbors" coming by for dinner these days anymore, and the thought of all of you enjoying this recipe truly touches me very much! So glad you all enjoyed these—thank you for sharing that!
This was an amazing recipe. My husband, Bill, was wondering why I would make such a spicy dish. As it turned out, I did not eat, but, Bill and Ty, our youngest, absolutely loved every bit of it. Ty does not like cheese but still ate 3. Thank you for the recipe. This is a do-over!!
The Cozy Apron
Wow, 3? Yeay! I love that. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comments, Hope! So glad your boys enjoyed these!
Very good but my peppers must have been extremely hot as I had to redo the sauce at a 1/4 to 1/2 spice level...and I love spicy...but there was no way. The dish was awesome though. Thanks for sharing!!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Lynne, sounds like they were very hot—yikes! Too bad you had to redo; but I'm glad that you adjusted the levels, and that you ended up enjoying the recipe after all. Thanks for stopping by to share with me!
So...I have a couple of thoughts about the sauce - especially for Lynne - about the sauce being way too hot. Here in my neck of the woods (CO), the only tomatoes with green chiles you can find in the grocery store are called Rotel tomatoes. There is no way anyone can eat what is essentially pureed rotel...and I say this as a bonafide chile head - as in I was putting jalapenos on my pizza and cheeseburgers when I was 12 years old. 🙂 So I used two cans of fire roasted tomatoes and one can of rotel. Seemed to be just about right. The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce did not yield near enough sauce to get a heaping tablespoon of the sauce, and not wanting to run back out to the store, I subbed some chile powder. Not the smokiness I would have liked, but it definitely helped to fill out the sauce. I used leftover smoked tri-tip for the steak and that was fabulous - the smokiness of the steak was balanced well by the sauce. It was a definite hit and a nice change of pace from the green chile sauce I usually make for tri-tip enchiladas. Thanks so much for the recipe!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Jan! Thanks of sharing all of that; so glad you made some substitutions to your taste. I appreciate your taking some time to stop by and share your experience with me, and I'm happy you enjoyed the recipe!
I just made these for my husband (we got married 10 days ago!). He just loves them! Too many Mexican recipes are just too bland for us - we live in Austin and can have the real deal on every corner. This was perfection! Thank you for sharing!!
The Cozy Apron
First and foremost, congratulations on your marriage! I'm so touched that you prepared this recipe for yourself and your hubby, and I'm honored that you considered this "perfection", especially since you do live in Austin where, certainly, there is LOTS of delicious Mexican food. Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your experience with me!
These were delicious! I shared the recipe with my daughters. Excited to try some of your other recipes.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Amy, glad you enjoyed! And I love it when my recipes are shared. I do hope you try some more recipes, so happy cooking to you! Thanks for commenting.
How long does the enchilada sauce stay good for in the fridge? What if I put it in the freezer? Excellent recipe!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Cori, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed! The sauce should keep well for about a week; but sure—feel free to freeze it, as I don't see why that wouldn't work! 🙂
Can you freeze these after prepping and before cooking? I’m trying to cook things for my family that I can double then freeze a portion for my parents. My mother had to have surgery for a serious broken leg and is the regular cook.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Shannon, I'm so sorry to read about your mom's broken leg...sending wishes for a speedy and complete recovery for her, your family's "regular cook"! In complete transparency, I have not frozen these; but I really don't see why that would not work. I would fill and roll them (don't top with the sauce), and then freeze. The sauce should work fine in a separate container or heavy duty ziplock bag (it would keep well even for a few days in the fridge no problem, but you could certainly freeze that too, and defrost along with the enchiladas.) I hope you all enjoy these if you end up preparing them. Happy cooking to you!