All the flavor of chicken enchiladas – the easy way! Slow cooked chicken enchilada bowls pack in all the goodness of chicken enchiladas, but with a fresh twist. Nutritious and quick to prep, these crockpot chicken enchiladas are sure to be a new favorite!
We’re all about “bowl” meals right now. They’re a fun way to let your kids “create their own” meal – and sometimes all kids need is a different presentation to try something new. Toppings are the best!
We especially love that these chicken enchilada bowls are slow cooked! Just throw everything in before the craziness of the day starts and dinner is ready when you are. This recipe is designed to be a dump-and-forget dream, with no extra prep required.
Plus, we threw in a few extra veggies, so you don’t even have to worry about a side. Red pepper, corn, black beans, and avocado round this meal out nicely.
A few words on enchilada sauce
Now, about the enchilada sauce. I opted for store-bought because I wanted this meal to be as quick and easy as possible. At the store, I searched for the enchilada sauce with lowest sodium content. Most of the sauces contain 15-20% of your sodium intake in just 1/4 cup and that just wouldn’t do. I ended up going with El Pato brand, which only contains 6% of your sodium intake per 1/4 cup.
Homemade is always a good idea, if you have time. If you’d like a homemade enchilada sauce, check out Melissa’s red enchilada sauce at Bless this Mess. I hear it’s pretty stellar! And make a double batch to freeze for later while you’re at it.
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Bowl How-To
Begin by prepping your ingredients. Mince the garlic and finely dice the red bell pepper and half onion – at least, I like them finely diced. You are welcome to have them bigger if you like.
Next, spray or otherwise grease your slow cooker, then pour in the onions. Add your chicken and cover it with 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce. Now add in your diced tomatoes. I recommend draining off some of the liquid just to keep the mixture from becoming soupy, but even if you keep it you’ll be okay.
Now sprinkle on your spices and salt and dump in your remaining ingredients: corn, beans, and sweet red pepper. Finally, pour on about a cup of enchilada sauce and give it a quick stir.
Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker on “low” for about 7-8 hours. When you’re ready, use a big spoon to mix everything up and mash the chicken into chunks or shreds. If you really want to you can take the chicken out and shred it with forks, but I found it worked at least as well to just stir and prod at it. And I don’t like the mess of digging chicken out, personally.
Serve layered on top of a corn tortilla and/or brown rice. Top with cilantro, avocado, extra sauce (this is where that extra 1/2 cup comes in), and cheese. If you really want to go crazy add some sour cream too!
Note: I know brown rice does add some complication to this recipe because of the time it takes to cook. If you want to serve these bowls with brown rice but can’t cook it right then, you have a few options.
- Cook it up the night before or morning of and reheat it right before dinner.
- Make a bunch at once and freeze batches, then reheat as needed.
- Use minute brown rice (it’s just as good for you).
- Even try using something like quinoa that cooks quicker if you are time-constrained.
- And honestly, you can just eat it with the tortillas if you want!
Optional BONUS RECIPE for leftovers!
One of the best parts of this meal is that it makes so much! So, we had leftovers. I made them into a chicken enchilada casserole – yum!
To start, I layered a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a small casserole dish (basically, whatever size will fit the amount of leftovers you have). Then I covered the bottom with corn tortillas (ripping into pieces as needed). Next I layered a little rice and lots of slow cooked chicken enchilada filling, covered in a couple more spoonfuls of enchilada sauce and cheese. Finally, I put tortillas on top again, covered in a little more sauce and some more cheese!
You can either refrigerate this casserole and bake it in a few days, or you can freeze it to use within the next few months. Just make sure it’s well sealed if you’re opting for freezing.
For fridge casserole, bake at 400* F for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and heated through. For freezer, take straight from the freezer and bake at 400* F for 40-50 minutes. Again, this will vary based on your oven and the size of casserole, so just keep your eye on it.
Voila! One large meal, or two-in-one! We hope you love these slow cooker chicken enchilada bowls.