How many calories are in enchiladas?

Enchiladas are a popular Tex-Mex dish that can be filled with various ingredients like cheese, beans, meat, or veggies. But with all those yummy fillings packed into a tortilla and smothered in sauce and cheese, it’s easy to wonder just how many calories are in an enchilada.

What Are Enchiladas?

Enchiladas are made by filling corn or flour tortillas with various fillings, then rolling them up and covering them with a chili pepper sauce and cheese. There are many variations, but the most common enchilada fillings are:

  • Cheese – Usually a Mexican cheese like queso fresco or Oaxaca cheese
  • Shredded chicken
  • Shredded beef
  • Refried beans
  • Vegetables like spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.

The enchiladas are then smothered with salsa roja (red enchilada sauce), salsa verde (green enchilada sauce), mole sauce, or another type of chili-based sauce. Finally, they are topped with melted cheese like Monterey Jack, cheddar, cotija, or queso fresco.

Enchiladas can be served as an entree or appetizer. They are commonly topped with garnishes like sliced onions, cilantro, guacamole, and sour cream.

Calories in Different Types of Enchiladas

The number of calories in an enchilada can vary greatly depending on the fillings, tortilla, and toppings used. Here are some estimates for different common enchilada types:

Cheese Enchiladas

  • 1 small cheese enchilada (with cheddar): approximately 90 calories
  • 1 medium cheese enchilada (with Jack cheese): approximately 145 calories
  • 1 large cheese enchilada (with queso fresco): approximately 250 calories

Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 small chicken enchilada: approximately 120 calories
  • 1 medium chicken enchilada: approximately 200 calories
  • 1 large chicken enchilada: approximately 300 calories

Beef Enchiladas

  • 1 small beef enchilada: approximately 130 calories
  • 1 medium beef enchilada: approximately 220 calories
  • 1 large beef enchilada: approximately 350 calories

Bean Enchiladas

  • 1 small bean enchilada: approximately 100 calories
  • 1 medium bean enchilada: approximately 170 calories
  • 1 large bean enchilada: approximately 270 calories

Veggie Enchiladas

  • 1 small veggie enchilada: approximately 80 calories
  • 1 medium veggie enchilada: approximately 130 calories
  • 1 large veggie enchilada: approximately 200 calories

As you can see, fillings like meat, cheese, and beans add more calories than veggie fillings. The size of the tortilla also impacts the calories – smaller corn tortillas have fewer calories than larger flour tortillas.

Calories in Enchilada Components

To get a better idea of total calories, let’s look at the main components of enchiladas individually:


  • 1 (6-inch) corn tortilla: approximately 60 calories
  • 1 (10-inch) flour tortilla: approximately 150 calories

Fillings (per 1/2 cup serving)

  • Shredded cheddar cheese: approximately 220 calories
  • Shredded chicken: approximately 190 calories
  • Shredded beef: approximately 230 calories
  • Refried beans: approximately 120 calories
  • Vegetable fillings like spinach: approximately 20 calories

Sauces (per 1/4 cup)

  • Red enchilada sauce: approximately 50 calories
  • Green enchilada sauce: approximately 25 calories
  • Mole sauce: approximately 90 calories

Cheese Topping (per 1/4 cup)

  • Shredded cheddar: approximately 110 calories
  • Shredded Monterey Jack: approximately 110 calories
  • Queso fresco: approximately 100 calories

So for a medium chicken enchilada made with 1 flour tortilla, 1/2 cup shredded chicken, 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar, the total calories would be around:

  • Flour tortilla: 150 calories
  • Chicken filling: 190 calories
  • Enchilada sauce: 50 calories
  • Cheese topping: 110 calories

Total: Approximately 500 calories

What Impacts the Calories in an Enchilada?

As you can see from the breakdown above, several factors influence the calorie count of an enchilada:

  • Tortilla size – Smaller corn tortillas are lower in calories than large flour tortillas.
  • Filling – Ingredients like cheese, beef, beans pack in more calories than veggies.
  • Sauce – Thicker, creamier sauces add more calories than tomato-based sauces.
  • Serving size – The more enchiladas, the more calories.
  • Toppings – Ingredients like avocado, sour cream, extra cheese boost calories.

Lower Calorie Enchilada Options

There are some easy ways to lighten up enchiladas if you are trying to watch your calorie intake:

  • Use corn instead of flour tortillas
  • Choose vegetable fillings like spinach, zucchini, mushrooms
  • Use chicken or shrimp instead of higher calorie beef
  • Use tomato-based sauces instead of cream-based
  • Go easy on the cheese and other high-calorie toppings
  • Order or make smaller sized enchiladas

Healthy Vegetable Enchilada Recipe

Here is a recipe for lighter veggie enchiladas using a few simple ingredient swaps to cut down on calories:


  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place 1/6 of the veggies into each tortilla then roll up.
  3. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish then place rolled tortillas seam side down.
  4. Top with remaining sauce then sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and cheese is melted.
  6. Remove from oven and top with desired garnishes like cilantro, salsa, Greek yogurt, etc.

This veggie version saves you around 200 calories per enchilada compared to beef and cheese versions. Plus you get an extra helping of healthy nutrients from the zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms.

How Many Calories Per Serving?

The number of enchiladas considered a single serving can also impact your calorie total. Here are some common serving sizes and calorie estimates:


  • 2-3 small enchiladas = approximately 300-400 calories

Entree/Main Dish

  • 3 medium enchiladas = approximately 500-700 calories

Large Entree

  • 4-5 large enchiladas = approximately 800-1000 calories

If you are having enchiladas as your main meal, 3 medium beef or chicken enchiladas served with rice and beans would provide a satisfying entree containing around 700-800 calories.

Nutrition Facts for a Typical Enchilada Meal

To get a full nutrition breakdown, here are the approximate numbers for a typical plate of 3 chicken enchiladas (with flour tortillas, cheddar cheese, and salsa), served with 1/2 cup Spanish rice and 1/2 cup refried beans:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 760
Fat 18g
Carbs 93g
Protein 41g
Sodium 1280mg
Sugar 5g

As you can see, a typical enchilada meal gives you a good amount of protein and carbs, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals from ingredients like corn, beans, tomatoes, and peppers. Just watch your saturated fat, sodium, and sugar intake if you have specific dietary needs.

Are Enchiladas Healthy?

While enchiladas can be high in calories, fat, and sodium, they can actually be fairly healthy depending on the specific ingredients used. Some benefits of enchiladas can include:

  • Protein – Fillings like chicken, shrimp, and cheese provide protein to help build muscle.
  • Complex carbs – The tortillas and beans supply energy-sustaining carbohydrates.
  • Fiber – Ingredients like beans, veggies, and whole grain tortillas provide fiber to support digestion.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, corn, and other veggie toppings have vitamins like C, K, folate, and minerals like potassium.

Overall, enchiladas can be part of a healthy diet when prepared with nutritious ingredients like veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Be mindful of excessive calories, salt, saturated fat, and sugar when dining out or selecting packaged enchiladas.

Tips for Enjoying Enchiladas While Managing Calories

Here are some final tips for enjoying delicious enchiladas without going overboard on calories:

  • Fill up on veggies – Load your enchilada with nutrient-dense vegetables to add volume and cut calories.
  • Use small tortillas – Petite corn tortillas can save 50+ calories compared to large flour tortillas.
  • Easy on the fatty toppings – Limit high-calorie extras like sour cream, guacamole, extra cheese.
  • Choose tomatillo or red chili sauce – They have fewer calories than cream-based sauces.
  • Balance with non-starchy sides – Fill up on greens, tomatoes, cucumber to balance the tortillas.
  • Watch portion sizes – Stick to 1-2 enchiladas if trying to manage calories.

With smart adjustments and moderation, you can satisfy your cravings and love the flavor of enchiladas without going overboard on calories. Experiment with lighter ingredients and find healthy recipes that let these Mexican favorites maintain a healthy place in your diet.

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