Where Did Enchiladas Come From? 3 Interesting And Delicious Facts

Last Updated on April 9, 2022 by Guillermina

When answering the question ‘where did enchiladas come from’, we need to go back in time and review history. The first thing you should know though is that enchiladas are not new. These are delicious stuffed tortillas that are flavorful and easy to carry around.

Although a lot of Mexican and Tex-Mex food now has Spanish influence, enchiladas look very similar to what they first were. Throughout this blog, we will learn about where did enchiladas come from, the history, and how to cook these delicious meals.

What Are Enchiladas?

Enchiladas are stuffed or rolled tortillas with many ingredients, garnished with a hot chili sauce. Although it is likely that you have tried this recipe in Tex Mex restaurants, it is actually authentic Mexican and indigenous food!

There is no one way to have an enchilada. While some places you can order it with meat, you can add any item inside. Some people prefer to eat their enchiladas, for example, with only vegetables or beans.

 Are enchiladas Authentic Mexican?

The History Of Enchiladas; Where Did Enchiladas Come From

My favorite part about learning where did enchiladas come from is the history of these delicious treats. Enchiladas was first technically invented by the Aztecs, however, instead of enchiladas, the tortilla stuffed dishes were called chīllapīzzal.

Enchiladas have been around in Latin America, specifically regions of Mexico for thousands of years, but they have gone through a lot of significant changes! For example, these delicious meals were actually once made with a deep red and hot chili pepper paste. Wild peppers were ground up to create a paste and mixed.

This paste, along with vegetables and beans native to the area, were cooked inside of the corn tortilla. It was a process that surprisingly did not take long, making it a perfect meal. Although the Aztec nobles and royals loved and doted on these enchiladas, they were commonly consumed by everyone.

When the Spanish came, they grew just as fascinated by these delicious treats and started making their own. The Spanish took the idea of the enchilada wrap with beans and peppers, but instead of local vegetables stuffed it with cattle.

 history of enchiladas

During the time that they were taking over, the Spanish brought many cattle including cow and pig. This was the meat stuffed into the enchiladas, now sprinkled with cheese, a dairy product first brought to the Americas by the Spanish.

Although it is common to answer or hear the answer to the question ‘where did enchiladas come from’ as Mexico, it is more the indigenous people who once lived in Mexico that created the food and the Spanish who popularized it. Now, we eat this meal in restaurants with various sides and additional toppings!

How To Cook Enchiladas At Home

You would be surprised to find out that cooking enchiladas at home is easy and unique. After learning about where did enchiladas come from and the history of enchiladas, we can dive into the cooking section. So, how exactly do you make homemade scrumptious enchiladas?

I personally like low effort recipes, which includes my enchiladas. Although it is true that you can make your own tortillas, I buy them from the store and warm them up before use. If you purchase pre-cooked corn tortillas, you only need to make the stuffing as well as the sauce that goes on top.

 How did enchiladas originate?

First, choose the protein that you want to add inside and cook it. Although it is tempting to cook it inside of the enchilada roll (tortilla), this can actually cause problems as the oven and stove top may not produce enough heat to cook the inside without burning the outside.

Once you have your protein done, usually some form of meat like chicken or beef, you can then start on the sauce. I like making a red tomatillo chile sauce. It is spicy, easy to make in bulk, and perfect for storing over time!

Roll the stuffing inside of the tortilla and prepare the pan with the red chili mix and a small amount of vegetable oil. Place the gently folded enchilada into the sizzling pan and on low cook. If you would like to add garnish, this is the best time to do so. Some people enjoy adding shredded cheese as it melts on top.

3 Interesting Facts

Not only are you learning about where did enchiladas come from, but also unique and interesting facts about them. Listed below are three interesting facts about the history of enchiladas.

 When did enchiladas originate?

1. Recipe Dates Back Thousands Of Years

Did you know that the recipe to make a simple enchilada dates back to thousands of years? This was actually the time before Spanish conquistadores came to Mexico and Latin America. It is such an old recipe that enchiladas were one of the first recorded dishes.

The first Mexican cookbook was published in 1831. This same book features enchiladas with various ingredients like squash and beans.

2. Enchilada Comes From The Word Enchilar

In order to best understand this dish, it is important to know basic Spanish. The word Enchilada has heavy origins in the Spanish word ‘Enchilar’. This roughly translates to ‘to pepper yourself’. Usually, this word is used in Mexico when an individual reacts to hot and spicy foods!

This is likely to be the case because the first Enchiladas had a thick chili paste as well as many hot pepper fillings.

 where did enchiladas come from

3. Enchiladas Are Also Common In Costa Rica

Although we know that the Mayans used to make Enchiladas, so did many other Latin American indigenous groups! Costa Rica makes a similar type of Enchilada, but it is softer and more square in shape.


All in all, we hope that you learned where did enchiladas come from and more about the fascinating origin story behind them. Let us know your thoughts on where did enchiladas come from in the comments below!

Do you know anyone else interested in learning about Where did Enchiladas Come From? Let us know and share this blog post with them! It is empowering to learn about the history behind your favorite foods.


How did enchiladas originate?

The story is unclear, but from what we know enchiladas originated as a gift to the gods from the Aztecs! Then, the food became more for royalty and then everyone else.

When did enchiladas originate?

From what we know, enchiladas originated between the years of c.2000-250 BC. It is an old staple food!

Are enchiladas Authentic Mexican?

Enchiladas are authentically Mexican! They have a mixture of both indigenous and Spanish influence from the masa to the mixture inside.