Copycat Carlos O’Kelly’s Enchilada de Monterrey Recipe

Enchiladas are a popular Mexican food dish, similar to burritos, except enchiladas are usually baked, smothered in sauce, and must be eaten with a fork. One of the tastiest enchilada recipes comes from Carlos O’Kelly’s, a chain Mexican restaurant in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. They’re famous for their queso and their salsa, but they have lots of other delicious options. In this Copycat Carlos O’Kelly’s Enchilada de Monterrey, you’ll learn how to make your own version of this dish.

First, you’ll cook the chicken thighs, and then you’ll prepare the enchilada filling. You might notice that this recipe takes quite a bit of time. Don’t let that discourage you. most of the time is spent allowing the chicken flavors to marinate. Try to leave it in the fridge for eight hours, but if you can’t wait that long, give it at least three hours. The enchilada sauce is fairly simple- you’ll just add the ingredients to a pot and let them simmer. Once all of the components are ready, you’ll fold the ingredients into large flour tortillas and drench them with the sauce. Allow them to cook for about 25 minutes, and then top them with cheese and sour cream.

This savory, flavorful Mexican dish will be a big hit, and you’ll likely have sauce leftover for another meal.

Copycat Carlos O'Kelly's Enchilada de Monterrey

Copycat Carlos O'Kelly's Enchilada de Monterrey

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 8 hours
Servings 8
Calories 550 kcal


For the Enchilada Filling

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tbsp Better Than Bouillon base
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 4 oz diced chiles
  • 1 cup reserved chicken broth
  • 8 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 large flour tortillas

For the Cheese Enchilada Sauce

  • 1 can nacho cheese sauce
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 4 oz diced green chiles
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup reserved chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream


For the Filling

  • First, bring water to boil in a stockpot. Once it's boiling, add Better Than Bouillon base and stir to dissolve. Turn the heat to low and add the chicken. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the chicken temps are about 165 degrees. When the chicken is done, save 1.5 cups of the chicken broth for later. Drain the chicken and let it cool. Once the chicken is cool, roughly chop and pull the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • While the chicken is cooling, saute diced onion in oil for two minutes in a large skillet. Add garlic and saute until the onions are translucent. When the onions are translucent, add in the chicken, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, oregano, and cumin. Cook on medium for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the salsa, chiles, and one cup of the reserved chicken broth. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. (Refrigerate the remaining broth for tomorrow.) Place the chicken mixture into a large covered bowl and refrigerate overnight (or at least three hours).

For the Enchilada Sauce

  • In stock pot, add all of the enchilada sauce ingredients, and whisk them together until they're blended. Heat on medium-high for 10 minutes until it's simmering, stirring often.

Putting Together the Enchilada de Monterrey

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stock spray. Lay out a large flour tortilla and spoon in 1/3-1/2 cup of chicken mixture. Top it with 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Then fold the ends and roll it like a burrito. Place it in a baking dish. Repeat with each tortilla.
  • Pour the enchilada sauce over the burritos, and top them with the remaining shredded cheese. Save the leftover sauce for dipping chips later.
  • Bake the enchiladas for 25 minutes. Top with sour cream, diced green onions, and diced tomatoes.


  • There will likely be a lot of cheese sauce. You can use the leftovers on tacos, fajitas, salads, or even use as a chip dip.
  • If you don't want to wait the full 8 hours to let the flavors marinate, at least give it 3 hours.

If you liked this Copycat Carlos O’Kelly’s Enchilada de Monterrey, and now you’re craving Mexican food, we’ve got you covered. Check out our post on the Top 10 Best Mexican Fast Food Joints.

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