Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I never knew such a dish like this existed until my good friend, Suzie, sent it to me with the note that she makes it all the time for her family and they love it. Considering Suz has soon-to-be four kids under the age of four (yes, you heard me right) and has time to make this AND her kids like it, I knew I had to try it.

Wow. WOW! Who knew that the flavors of chicken enchiladas would pair so perfectly with pasta. I mean, seriously, people, this was one of the most unique, delicious pasta dishes I’ve had in a long time. It was just what I needed to change up pasta since we eat it so often and get tired of it the same ol’ way.

I had two 10-year old girls over at my house (being my Mommy’s Helpers – love that!) the night I made this and I could tell when they sat down to dinner they were extremely skeptical. However, that soon ended because each of them had thirds. Success. This will definitely be making it into our dinner rotation when the standard pasta dishes are getting a little boring. My husband and I were fighting (I won!) over the leftovers the next day for lunch.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

What To Serve
Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}
Fresh, seasonal fruit
Steamed veggie or something like this Skillet Squash Medley

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Yield: Serves 6-8

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Plan Ahead: the recipe calls for cooked chicken so use leftovers or plan enough time to cook the chicken beforehand.


  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4-ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used mild)
  • 2/3 cup red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
  • 1 can large black olives, cut in half
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • 16-20 oz. penne pasta (Depending on how “saucy” you want the pasta)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives.
  2. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don’t boil!).
  3. Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

Recipe Source: adapted from my friend, Suzie

105 Responses to Chicken Enchilada Pasta

  1. Gina says:

    This would be even more awesome adapted to a skillet or dutch oven one pot dinner. I was wondering if you have a recommendation for the amount of liquid needed for a pound of pasta? I will be trying this as soon as I purchase the green enchilada sauce. I will try to post about the one pot experiment. As long as I don’t overdue the liquid, it should turn out fine. Reading the recipe has made me drool already.

    • Mel says:

      Probably right in the range of five to six cups or so. It really depends on the brand of pasta and how long it needs to cook. Good luck! Sounds like a fun experiment.

  2. Sofaia says:

    Mel, I have had my eye on this recipe for a long time. This week I have a work potluck & have decided to take this dish- I’m so excited!. I’m planning to make the sauce, keep it separate from the pasta, and heat the sauce in a crockpot the next day then add the pasta to heat through. Do you think this would work or do you have a better idea? By the way, thank you-thank you-thank you- for all the wonderful recipes! I can read your blog & recipes all day.

  3. Jen Marie says:

    I made this for the second time. It is incredibly tasty and easy to make. If you have raw chicken, it will take about an hour to start and finish.

  4. Kami says:

    This was pretty easy and I had high hopes…but it was not well received by my kids. Hubby said it was okay. Won’t make again. Tip, though: go easy on the chili powder. I did less than half and it still had a little kick.

  5. Annalisa says:

    We love this pasta!

  6. Rachel says:

    I make this all the time for the family, we love it! I always buy one of the cold roasted chicken usually southwest flavored when I plan for this meal makes it an easy dinner to get ready.

  7. Sujoomama says:

    OMG….how can I even begin to thank you for such a terrific outcome? You know the feeling when you see your kids delight in eating, that they don’t dilly dally around at the table, fiddling with everything in sight except their food…and then asking for thirds (yes, not seconds, but thirds!!) This was delicious! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I made this without the sour cream and cheese in one pot with the chicken….and kids L-O-V-E-D it!!! I made another pot for me, as I am a veggie and followed the recipe, again no sour cream, but yes, I did add the cheese!!! 😀 (Don’t get me wrong, I love sour cream, grew up on it as a staple! LOL) So yummy! Kids asked me if they could have it again tomorrow! After a long day, I was expecting to come home and have to cook for like 3 hours…but, that didn’t happen because it was MELSKITCHENCAFE.COM to the rescue!!!!! Thanks Mel!

  8. Veronica says:

    I made this last night for my family of 4 (sans the red peppers and adding a can of black beans). It was so very, very good. My husband was skeptical but was ultimately won over by the flavors. My teens declared this a do-over-meal and my husband and I fought over the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  9. katz says:

    Any idea how much chicken you use? 11/2 cups, 2 cups? Thanks!

  10. Chicken Enchilada Pasta | Another Bite Please says:

    […] slightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – she adds red peppers and black olives so feel free to toss those in if you […]

  11. Ellen says:

    Woops, I meant the “Sesame Noodles with Peanut Sauce.” It has been renamed the “Chicken Peanut Sauce” dish by my kids! 😉

  12. Ellen says:

    This is another family favorite! I made it for the second time last night and it was gobbled up by all. We love enchiladas, but sometimes it’s a such a drag to make the actual enchilada…this is a perfect blend of flavor and speediness in the kitchen–which always makes this mom happy! Thanks, Mel. (We’ve added this to our list of loves: Smothered Pork Chops, Chicken with Peanut Sauce, and Poor Man’s Stroganauff!)

  13. Annie says:

    So after reading all the comments, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with this recipe. I’m so glad I made it! We loved it… And other than picking a few things out, my 5 year old even enjoyed it! I used light sour cream and costco canned chicken (didn’t plan enough ahead), and it was still great. We will totally make thi again! Like other readers, I should have probably halved it. It makes a lot! Thank so much!

  14. Jennifer Smith says:

    Love this! Had 3 servings tonight!

  15. Mel says:

    Hi Darci – glad you are enjoying the recipes! Unfortunately, I don’t think this recipe would freeze very well, based on the dairy and pasta. However, it’s worth a try if you really want to test it out. Good luck if you do!

  16. Darci says:

    I just recently discovered your website & have already tried 2 recipes & have plans to try a multitude more. 🙂 This is one recipe I have made, and yummmm! It turned out very yummy, but made SOOO much more than I was anticipating! Would this recipe freeze well?

  17. Jennifer Smith says:

    I love this! Love it. Crave it. Did I mention I love it!

  18. Christal says:

    I just cooked this and it was a nice change,very good and I even left out the green enchilada sauce(not by choice) I will add that next for sure!

  19. […] Enchilada Pasta (Community Group Meal) - –Comfort food! The sauce was so […]

  20. Judy says:

    Made this the other night and loved it. Earlier in the day I started your sweet and spicy chicken in the slow cooker and used that for the chicken. It was so good!

  21. Laura says:

    I just made this for dinner and It was amazing!! Thank you so much for putting it up.

  22. Zim says:

    I just made this recipe for the 2nd time and it is wonderful! The first time I left out the black olives (I ran out) and it was good but this time I included it and it really rounded out the flavor. Thank you for another fantastic recipe. 🙂

  23. AJ says:

    Made this tonight, and it was fantastic! Can’t wait to share the recipe with my friends at work!! I just made your spicy southwest chicken wraps last week, and they were awesome too! So glad I found your site! 🙂

  24. Jennifer Smith says:

    This is sooooo good. I had it for lunch and then found myself standing at the fridge with my fork at 8pm lifting the lid on the leftovers…after I had well exceeded my calorie count for the day. Darn you Melanie…I thought I could only be tempted by chocolate!

  25. n82 says:

    Just a quick question…

    Do you think substituting the sour cream for either greek yoghurt or plain whole milk yoghurt would work?


  26. […] Served w/crumbled tortilla chips and plain yogurt. -Chicken Enchilada Pasta (Community Group Meal) - -Run Down: Whole Family Loved it! Must make again. Used 2 chicken breasts. After mixing […]

  27. n82 says:

    Ok this was just too delicious. My family loved it, esp. my 1 year old!!! Please make this! You won’t regret it. As perfect as this recipe is the only thing that id maybe change is add more red pepper.

    Thank you for another wonderful recipe. We will be making this regularly.

  28. n82 says:

    Hi Mel, for the green chilli enchilada sauce can I use Herdez Salsa Verde or is that something different? I couldn’t find the green chilli enchilada sauce in my grocery store.

  29. Leah Slater says:

    I just made this tonight. It was amazing. Everyone love it, even my kids. I was a little hesitant to try it but your recipes have always been so good. It was a hit I loved it too. I left out the red peppers and only used 1 can of green sauce (I didn’t realize it called for 2)so I added a little more red sauce. It will definately be added into our dinner rotation!!!

  30. Mona says:

    Hi there… I am new to your blog and made this for dinner tonight. It was truly delicious and the whole family enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes! Thanks!!

  31. Reyna says:

    I have to admit–when I first saw this recipe I thought, “Uh…I think these are worlds that should not collide…” But I love Mexican food. And I have a family member who loves pasta, and because I’m the one doing all the cooking ’round here, I usually win–and we eat far more Mexican food than pasta! But I started thinking that this just might be the win/win I’ve been looking for. Well, I’m pleased to report that EVERYONE loved it, and we were all fighting for the leftovers. I had a friend over the next day for lunch and she was in love with it too. Adding this to my arsenal for good!

    • Mel says:

      Reyna – well, I’m glad despite your allowable skepticism that you liked the finished product. I agree, I wondered if enchilada and pasta should ever go together but we ended up loving it as well (and it makes an appearance often on the dinner menu).

  32. Martha says:

    I made this for dinner last night everyone loved it. It got the do over vote, so that means it’s a keeper. Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend!

  33. I made this and it was AMAZING! I left out the olives because sadly, I live with an olive-hater. And I used only red chile enchilada sauce because its’ my favorite (and I smuggled some back from my last trip to Texas in my suitcase ).
    Also, in case anyone is wondering, I successfully halved the recipe to serve two.

    Thanks for yet another perfect delicious recipe, Mel! 🙂

  34. Heather says:

    Made this one tonight. It was delicious! I helped myself to seconds- and am already looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow and excited to share with co workers too! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  35. Gia says:

    I’ve just recently found your blog and I love it! I have so many recipes bookmarked to try out. This was the first one I thought I would try, and am so glad I did. It is fabulous! My hubby was skeptical, but he really liked it too …even my pickiest eater liked it. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  36. Chavah says:

    This was soooo good! My kids and hubby really liked it. I had leftovers and had some friends over the next day—they loved it and wanted the recipe. Thanks again for another great dinner!

  37. Looks great! 🙂 Can’t wait to try it!
    Check out our early customer Deals!

  38. Melanie says:

    Jocelyn – isn't this recipe a gem? I'm glad that it worked out for your family…thanks for letting me know!

  39. Jocelyn says:

    Melanie – this is a hidden little treasure of a recipe. I have tried a few others on your blog and you never seem to fail me. This is OUTSTANDING. My husband and son both think so as well. The only thing I did different was add 1 10 oz can of green and 1 10oz can red salsa. Just cause' I didn't see it called for two green. But it still came out great and loved the kick from the chili powder! THank you.

  40. Melanie says:

    Gina – when I first read your comment I was worried because I was afraid you didn’t like but I was relieved to read further and see that you did. Thanks for letting me know!

  41. Rebekah says:

    This was delicious – even after I accidently poured in the whole can of red enchilada sauce instead of just 2/3 cup…! My husband said “PLEASE keep this recipe!!”

  42. Melanie says:

    Rebekah – wow, whenever my husband says that, I know it’s a keeper. I’m glad that was the response with this one. Thanks for letting me know!

  43. Gina says:

    Hi Melanie

    I made this the other night thinking this is not going to taste that great but OMG, it was DELICIOUS!!! My husband kept saying, wow, this is really good over and over again! I agree 100 percent. All of your recipes have been a success!

  44. Melanie says:

    Traci Elizabeth – oooh, a pizza casserole sounds awesome. I’ll have to try that. I’m glad you liked this enchilada pasta…thanks for letting me know!

  45. Traci Elizabeth says:

    We loved this recipe!!! I make the same sort of thing called pizza casserole, with penne, tomato sauce and pizza toppings!! Great recipe! Thanks!

  46. Melanie says:

    Hey Jenn – glad to hear it passed the picky child test!! That’s never a bad thing.

  47. Jenn says:

    It passed the pickiest child test in my house tonight! It made a ton (I probably should have halved the recipe).

  48. Melanie says:

    Katy – thanks for letting me know you liked it (and your husband too, hooray!).

  49. Katy says:

    We tried this last night and both really enjoyed it. My husband even commented that he liked it (that’s pretty huge around here).


  50. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – glad you liked this. Hope you were able have some as leftovers since you are right, it does make a lot!

    Staci – thanks for your comment. I’m excited you liked this meal, too!

  51. Staci says:

    I made this last night and now eating the leftovers. It is SO good!! This will be one of my regulars!

  52. Anonymous says:

    We made this tonight and loved loved it. So yummy, who would have thought of enchilada pasta! It does make a ton though

  53. Melanie says:

    Hey Lynn – I’m glad that this was a hit with your family. I love it when my husband utters those words of dinner being a keeper! Thanks for letting me know.

  54. Lynn says:

    This was dinner tonight, everyone loved it!!! My husband said it is a keeper. So it goes in my recipe book!!! Thanks…

  55. Melanie says:

    Leisel – talk about some major winging it on this recipe. I’m quite impressed! Thanks for all the detail. I’m glad your kids ate it and you can definitely claim your revision as your own unique recipe!

  56. Leisel says:

    Melanie- – – We loved it! Well, I should say the kids loved the recipe I came up with any ways. I told you it was a crazy day. I went to the pantry to grab my red enchilada sauce and I had none. Talk about your poor mother hubbard! So I ran to the freezer just hoping that I had some frozen homemade red enchilada sauce. I grabbed a red bag of something and started defrosting it,just hoping that it was enchilada sauce and not sweet and sour sauce. Oh yeah, it was what I needed. So then I ran back to the pantry to grab the green enchilada sauce and . . . you guessed it. . .had none. So I grabbed a perfect substitute- cream of mushroom soup! Oh come on, you would have come to the same conclusion if you were in my situation. Long story short, I also didn’t have the red bell pepper and I totally forgot to add the cheese and sour cream until after it was served and the kids had already eaten half! So if that counts as “your” recipe than it was excellent. Either way any recipe that can work around a few minor adjustments is a great recipe in my book! Thanks again for a great last minute idea!!!!!

  57. Melanie says:

    tabchoirfam – yes, it is 2 cans green enchilada sauce and 2/3 cup red sauce.

  58. Melanie says:

    Melanie – glad the recipe pleased the kiddo – that’s sometimes the most important part, right? Thanks for letting me know!

  59. Melanie says:

    Leisel – you are funny…so I’m dying to know what you thought. You better let me know either way!

  60. tabchoirfam says:

    Just checking – is it 2 whole cans of green enchilada sauce and 2/3 cup of the red sauce? Thanks!

  61. Melanie says:

    We ate this tonight for dinner and it’s so yummy. My four year old scarfed it down and kept saying how much he liked it. Thanks for sharing!

  62. Leisel says:

    Forgive me for being a little bit skeptical. . . but are you sure??? It just doesn’t sound right. I think I would have to turn this one down, but I’ve been playing all day(making some awesome cold process soap-no less) , don’t have my dishes done, and have nothing for dinner, so enchilda pasta it is!!! I’ll let you know what my crew of 8 thinks of it! They are the ultimate judges!!

  63. Romney Family says:

    I love your blog and have tried many of your recipes. My favorite being sweet and sour chicken. I saw this yesterday and knew I had to try it. I made it last night for dinner and wow it was amazing and my kids loved it. THanks for sharing all your great recipes!! Jessie

  64. Melanie says:

    D – did you try it? Hope you and the hubby liked it.

    Romney Family – thanks for letting me know you liked this. I’m glad it was a hit with your family.

  65. Melanie says:

    Jordan – I think the addition of black beans to this sounds absolutely fantastic! Then it would be even more enchilada-ish! Thanks for letting me know.

  66. Melanie says:

    Whitney R. – thanks for your sweet comment(s)! I’m glad you tried this and liked it. Thanks so much for letting me know! I love to hear when people have the same food “style” as me – makes me feel like I have friends everywhere!

  67. teresa says:

    this is so fun, what a great spin on pasta!

  68. Queen B. says:

    oooooooo suzie we love you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know…being on Mel’s blog is kinda like being on the Oprah sofa !
    Yea……….i’m going to try this……….

  69. Gina says:

    Another one to go on the menu! This looks delicious!

  70. Anonymous says:

    Ok, I made this for dinner tonight & my family loved it! Thanks for sharing, it will be in my dinner arsenal. 🙂
    Whitney R.

  71. D says:

    Sweet! We are making this tonight since I am in a pasta mood but DH is never in a pasta mood. He is always in a mexican food mood though so this is perfect and will make both of us happy! Thanks!

  72. Cara says:

    This looks really good! The enchilada and pasta combo is definitely unique!

  73. Chelsea and Cody says:

    Okay…this is why you are the bomb at food blogging. I read the title and thought…no way would my hubbs eat that, closed the window, then thought “hmm, I wonder if she can talk me into making it”. Guess what? Success on your part! It is now on my menu. You are amazing at making my mouth water!

  74. rachel says:

    Yummy! Two of my favorite things…Mexican food and pasta!!

  75. ARLENE says:

    Looks and sounds delicious!

  76. Jordan says:

    We made this for dinner tonight and OMG! It was so good! We omitted the olives (because my dad is not a fan) and added black beans. Yummy. I LOVE your blog and have loved everything I’ve tried. Keep them coming!

  77. Brittany says:

    Sounds yummy! I am going to make this for dinner tomorrow.

  78. camille says:

    I can’t wait to try this! These are all of my “standard” ingredients and it will be so fun to do something new with them! Thanks! I’ll let you know what we think!

  79. Valerie says:

    This sounds so easy and it looks full of flavor!

  80. Anonymous says:

    Hi Melanie!
    I just love your sweet & down to earth food blog. I have enjoyed several of your recipes- we cook in the same style, comforting & family friendly! I have shared your site with many of my friends too. This looks so yummy, I will be making this recipe tonight! I was actually going to make a mexican casserole but I didn’t have enough tortillas BUT I have penne pasta, yay!! Thanks Suzie!
    Whitney R.
    (mom of three)

  81. Suzie says:

    I feel so blessed Mel – that I made your blog!!

  82. Katie says:

    Oh yum, that looks soooo good, especially on a cold day like today!

  83. Jessica says:

    This looks so great! We make chicken enchiladas all the time so this would be a nice switch.

  84. Libby says:

    Wow! What an unusual combination. It looks really delicious though 🙂 I may have to give this a try.

  85. Risa says:

    okay I’m hungry and this looks good! I love enchiladas.

  86. grace says:

    glad you won the leftovers, melanie–this is definitely a dish for which I’d put up the fisticuffs.

  87. rickandangie says:

    Looks scrumptious, Mel! Can’t wait to try it…

  88. {Linds} says:

    Looks delish!! thanks!

  89. Megan A. says:

    This sounds so good!

  90. JoAnn says:

    Can’t wait to try this one! It seems like a good change-up when I don’t feel like filling tortilla shells.

  91. Kevin says:

    What a great way to enjoy chicken enchilada flavours!

  92. My Sister's Kitchen says:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of it before either but it sounds so good. Can’t wait to try it!

  93. Heidi says:

    Who would have thought? This looks great. I really need to try this one out!

  94. The Foys says:

    So, I make my shopping trips weekly and take my weekly menu to the grocery store with me on Mondays. I ALWAYS pull up this blog to pick almost all of my meals, and was so excited this morning when I got on and saw another recipe to try!! This looks SO GOOD and already want to eat it (it’s 7:35 a.m.!). Thanks Melanie!

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