How do you Make Enchiladas not Soggy?

Last Updated on June 12th, 2023

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For most that have enjoyed this Central American dish, the ingredients on the inside are flavored with enchilada sauce, while the outside is smothered in various types of chili sauce. 

Makes it sort of difficult for the dishes to remain in form for longer than a few hours. The key is in how the tortilla is made and prepared.  

Originating from the time of the height of the Aztec and Mayan Empires, Enchilada is similar to the papadzules, which consisted of a corn tortilla dipped in pumpkinseed, rolled in chopped boiled eggs, and smothered in a tomato chili sauce. Sounds familiar, but no cigar. 

baked enchiladas in a tray kept on wooden thing - How do you Make Enchiladas not Soggy?

Why does it Happen?

The issue comes from when an enchilada begins to absorb the sauces around them, which points to the importance of cooking the tortillas correctly. 

Most recipes call for a prep cooking step that browns the tortillas to a golden-brown consistency, which takes away the porous portions that would otherwise be absorbing the liquids from the enchilada and chili sauces. 

Another method would be to forgo the smothering chili sauce on the outside, which will then remove half of the ingredients that would cause sogginess. Then again, you could use corn tortillas, which will have an easier time not absorbing moisture. 


Will Enchiladas get Soggy if Made Ahead of Time?

This will depend on the means by which the premade enchiladas are prepared. If un-smothered, these burrito cousins will be able to stay structurally sound for longer. 

That being said, the chili sauce that is needed for smothering can be added later, preferably at the time of consumption; also best if kept in a separate container until the dish is served. 

In another situation, if you add the smothering sauces too early, there will be an additional risk of the dish becoming soggy; Normally, the inner fillings will not penetrate the pre-cooked tortillas, keeping all that delicious enchilada goodness inside. 


How Do You Fix a Soggy Enchilada Casserole?

The quickest way would be to empty the contents of the enchiladas into a skillet or mixing bowl, similar to the one in which the filling was originally made. 

This way, you can refresh the ingredients, maybe even add some citrus to liven up the previously used ingredients and refill freshly prepared tortillas to be ready for the next enchilada meal. 

Another way for someone to ‘fix’ the damaged enchilada is to repurpose the fillings and create a casserole from the resulting enchilada ingredients. Then next time, take more time in preparing and selecting the correct type of tortillas for enchilada dishes. 


How to Make Enchiladas Properly?

The first step is to select the right type of tortilla, quite possibly the most important ingredient, which will determine the type of fillings and smothering sauces that can be used for the dish. 

From there, you will want to heat the tortillas, cooking them to a nice golden brown, to which you add the filling. 

Fillings can be made with meat, beef (shredded or ground), chicken, and all kinds of other proteins to pair with the traditional enchilada sauces and other filler ingredients. 

Wrap these in the tortilla and place them into a baking dish. If serving, immediately cover in the chili smothering sauce. Otherwise, sprinkle cheese and add light amounts of chopped chilis. 


Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Be patient with the process. Being hasty can lead to burning or the enchilada tortillas ripping. Instead, take a second to make the tortillas just right. Enchiladas are not burritos or tacos and are not designed to be picked up and eaten with the hands. 

In most cases, the enchilada is smothered in sauce in just about all recipes, which requires the dish to be eaten with utensils. 

Choosing thin tortillas, which work for light burritos or soft tacos, are going to fail and likely tear apart when smothered in chili sauce. Go ahead and go with the thicker flour brads or a hearty corn tortilla to ensure a solid hold on the filler ingredients. 


Final Thoughts on How do You Make Enchiladas not Soggy

Food is a universal language, as music and art do. It teaches through taste buds, the generational teachings on how to prepare foods, and how stories of reminiscent times can be shared. 

The tastes and smells and the techniques in which the meal is prepared tell a story of cultural heritage; even the cookery used tells a story. 

Enchiladas have roots in the ancient history of the Central American region, dating back to the times of the Omatí, Mexica, and during the height of the Aztec empire. 

If you have a moment, think about the dish you recently enjoyed or might be preparing or preparing to eat; ever wonder where the recipe comes from and who invented it?


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