How many calories are in a plate of cheese enchilada?

Quick Answer

The number of calories in a plate of cheese enchilada can vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion size. However, on average, a single plate containing 1 or 2 large cheese enchiladas made with corn tortillas may contain 500-800 calories. The calories come mostly from the tortillas, cheese, sauce, and any additional toppings or fillings.

Calories In Cheese Enchilada Ingredients

Cheese enchiladas are composed of several main ingredients that contribute to the total calorie count:

Corn Tortillas

– One 6-inch corn tortilla contains around 60 calories.
– Enchiladas recipes call for 6-12 corn tortillas depending on size, which adds 360-720 calories.


– Cheese is high in fat and calories. 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese has about 110 calories.
– A plate of enchiladas can have 1/2 to 1 cup of cheese or 220 to 440 calories from cheese alone.

Enchilada Sauce

– Red enchilada sauce is made from chiles, spices, onions, garlic, and oil. 1/4 cup contains around 60 calories.
– Drizzled over an entire plate, enchilada sauce may add 150-200 calories.


Some common enchilada fillings and their calorie values:

– Shredded chicken – 1/2 cup = 140 calories
– Ground beef – 1/2 cup = 130 calories
– Refried beans – 1/2 cup = 120 calories
– Sauteed veggies – 1/2 cup = 60 calories

Any additional fillings beyond cheese will add more calories to the enchiladas.


Optional toppings can also boost the calories:

– Sour cream – 2 tbsp = 60 calories
– Guacamole – 2 tbsp = 50 calories
– Pico de gallo – 2 tbsp = 10 calories
– Lettuce – 1/4 cup = 2 calories

Sample Calorie Count For Common Enchilada Recipes

Here are some examples of the total calorie counts for different cheese enchilada recipes:

Enchilada Recipe Calories (for 1 large plate)
2 corn tortilla enchiladas with cheese filling and red sauce 500 calories
2 corn tortilla enchiladas with ground beef, cheese, and sauce 650 calories
3 small corn tortilla enchiladas with chicken, cheese, light sauce 750 calories

As you can see, calories quickly add up with each additional tortilla, hefty additions like meat, extra cheese, and generous drizzles of sauce. Lighter versions with just a few small tortillas, veggies, and minimal cheese and sauce provide closer to 500 calories.

Factors That Increase Calories in Cheese Enchiladas

Several factors impact the number of calories in a plate of cheese enchiladas:

Tortilla Type and Size

– Flour tortillas have more calories than corn. A 6-inch flour tortilla has about 100 calories compared to 60 for corn.
– Larger tortillas mean higher calories. Tortillas used for enchiladas range from 6 to 10 inches across.
– More tortillas bulk up the calories. Some recipes call for up to 12 tortillas.

Amount of Cheese

– Cheese packs a lot of calories. Limiting to 1/4-1/2 cup per enchilada controls calories.
– Full-fat cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso fresco are higher in calories than reduced-fat types.
– Cheese fillings and toppings quickly multiply calories.

Type of Sauce

– Creamy cheese sauces add more calories than red enchilada sauce.
– Homemade red sauces made with lots of oil or thickened with flour boost calories.
– Drizzling sauce over the entire plate gives a bigger calorie boost vs. spooning over each enchilada.

Meat and Other Fillings

– Fattier meats like ground beef or pork bulk up calories more than chicken or shrimp.
– Beans, rice, veggies, and cheese add modest calories, but multiple fillings add up.
– More fillings mean more calories than cheese only.

Added Toppings

– Toppings like avocado, sour cream, extra cheese and heavy sauce increase calories.
– Going light on toppings avoids excess calories.

Portion and Serving Size

– Making more enchiladas and having a larger portion drives up calorie count.
– Restaurants sometimes serve up to 4 large enchiladas per plate.
– Sticking to a reasonable 1-2 enchilada portion limits calories.

How To Make Lower Calorie Cheese Enchiladas

Here are some tips for lightening up cheese enchiladas to lower the calorie count:

– Use smaller corn tortillas rather than large flour tortillas. Corn has fewer calories than flour.
– Limit to 2 smaller enchiladas per serving instead of 3-4 large ones.
– Fill with veggies like zucchini, spinach, black beans for the bulk instead of heavy meats.
– Use just 1/4-1/2 cup cheese and focus on fillings for more volume.
– Choose reduced-fat cheese like Fresco or part-skim mozzarella.
– Use fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for toppings.
– Boost flavor with spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic rather than extra oil, sauce, and cheese.
– Make own enchilada sauce from tomato sauce and limit oil.
– Spoon sauce over enchiladas rather than drowning the whole plate.
– Skip the fatty toppings and extra cheese, or use sparingly.

With some simple substitutions and smart portioning, you can enjoy cheese enchiladas for around 500 calories per serving, rather than 700-800 calories.

Nutrition Information for Cheese Enchiladas

While cheese enchiladas are high in calories, they can provide nutrition when made with wholesome ingredients like corn tortillas, beans, veggies, and real cheese. Here is the nutrition breakdown for a typical serving of 2 cheese enchiladas:

Calories and Macros

– Calories: 650
– Fat: 30g
– Carbs: 60g
– Protein: 30g

Vitamins and Minerals

– Calcium: 45% DV
– Vitamin A: 20% DV
– Vitamin C: 15% DV
– Iron: 15% DV
– Vitamin B12: 10% DV
– Potassium: 10% DV

Cheese provides calcium and vitamin A. Beans and veggies add fiber, vitamin C, potassium and iron. Going easy on fat and sodium keeps the nutritional benefits intact without excess calories.

Healthy Preparation Tips

You can tweak traditional cheese enchilada recipes to be more nutritious:

– Use whole grain corn tortillas. They have more fiber than refined.
– Load up on sauteed veggies like peppers, onions, spinach.
– Choose beans, brown rice, or veggie protein like soy crumbles.
– Use real cheese like cheddar or pepper jack for flavor over processed cheese sauce.
– Make enchilada sauce from scratch with tomato sauce, spices, and minimal oil.
– Bake instead of frying for less fat and calories.
– Serve with fresh toppings like cilantro, onion, avocado.

With smart preparation, cheese enchiladas can be a tasty main dish option that delivers ample nutrition along with great Tex-Mex flavor.

Are Cheese Enchiladas Healthy?

Cheese enchiladas can be a healthy option when prepared with care to control calories, fat, and sodium. The main considerations are:


Corn tortillas are healthier than flour. Look for whole grain when possible.


Real cheese provides more nutrition than processed cheese sauce. Opt for part-skim varieties and use modest amounts.


Veggies, beans and lean meats like chicken are far healthier than fatty ground beef.

Cooking Method

Baking avoids the extra fat and calories of frying enchiladas.


Make enchilada sauce yourself with tomato sauce, spices and minimal oil for the healthiest option.


Keep tortillas, cheese, and sauce portions moderate to limit sodium.

Overall, cheese enchiladas made with fresh ingredients, wise cooking methods, and reasonable portions can be a nutritious choice within a balanced diet.

Simple Healthy Cheese Enchilada Recipe

This easy recipe makes 2 servings of healthier cheese enchiladas:

– 4 corn tortillas
– 1/2 cup black beans
– 1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
– 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
– 1 cup enchilada sauce


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a small bowl, mash black beans lightly with a fork.
3. Lay out tortillas on a flat surface. Divide chicken and beans between them down the center.
4. Roll up tortillas around fillings and place seam side down in a baking dish.
5. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
7. Serve with any additional toppings like cilantro, Greek yogurt, avocado.

With just 500 calories per serving, these enchiladas are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Adjust fillings as desired for a healthy, delicious Tex-Mex meal.


A plate of cheese enchiladas can provide 500-800 calories depending on ingredients, cooking method, and portion size. Corn tortillas, beans, veggies, and moderate amounts of real cheese provide nutrition without excess calories. With some simple tweaks, cheese enchiladas can be a wholesome addition to a balanced diet in moderation. Focus on fresh ingredients prepared in a healthy way, and limit heavy additions like fatty meats, extra cheese, heavy sauce and fried preparation. One or two enchiladas made with care makes for a satisfying main dish that doesn’t break the calorie bank.

Leave a Comment