This Enchilada Skillet with ground beef and black beans is just as tasty as classic enchiladas but so much easier to make. It’s ready in a fraction of the time, making this a perfect busy weeknight dinner.
While I absolutely love good old fashioned Ground Beef Enchiladas, they do take some work. So when the craving hits but I don’t want to spend hours making them, this effortless enchilada skillet recipe comes to the rescue! It’s one of our favorite easy Mexican recipes, and I always serve it up with some Mexican Rice and Mexican Street Corn Salad for a quick meal that’s not short on flavor.
What’s in an Enchilada Skillet?
Simple ingredients, incredible flavor. That’s what this dish is all about!
Ground beef – I use 85/15 for good flavor without a ton of the fat. Use whatever you have on hand, just be sure to drain as much grease as possible and season after draining.
Black beans – They aren’t usually a part of traditional enchiladas, but in this enchilada skillet, they add substance and heartiness.
Corn – adds texture and a hint of sweetness.
Enchilada sauce – the base for the sauce is red enchilada sauce. Use the mild or hot, it’s your call.
Corn tortillas – Cut into strips, and softened in the sauce instead of rolling, rolling, rolling. Easy peasy.
Cheese – I used a combination of sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Shred off the block whenever possible.
Toppings – green onions, sliced olives, sour cream.
Tips for Cooking Ground Beef
While ground beef is very forgiving, there are a few things to remember.
Hold off on seasoning until the end. If you season while the beef is cooking, when you drain off the grease you’ll drain the seasoning off with it.
Use the right fat content. For a skillet meal like this, use 85/15 or even 90/10 ground beef. You”ll be adding a lot of flavor with seasonings, so you don’t need the fat to flavor it as much, and if you’re adding a liquid, that will keep it juicy. For something like meatloaf or hamburgers, you can go with a high fat content, like 80/20. You need the fat to keep the meat juicy, and a lot of it will cook off so your finished dish isn’t super greasy.
How to drain ground beef. The easiest way to drain ground beef is to use paper towels. Grab about 5-6 paper towels and some tongs. Turn off the heat and carefully tilt the skillet to the side while pushing the meat to the other direction. Grab the paper towels with the tongs, and use them to soak up as much grease as possible. Have a trash can or a bowl nearby to drop the soaked towels in. If you don’t want to use this method, you can simply spoon the beef onto a paper towel lined plate then wipe out the skillet and replace the beef.
How to Make Easy Ground Beef Skillet Enchiladas
Crumble the beef in a skillet and cook until it’s lightly browned and no longer pink. Drain all of the grease off, then season with salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. You could also use real onions and garlic and cook those with the meat, but we’re going for simplicity here so the powdered works fine.
Stir in enchilada sauce and black beans, and bring to a boil. Simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes.
Cut the corn tortillas into bite-sized strips and add those to the skillet, stirring to incorporate and evenly coat with the sauce. Sprinkle pepper jack and cheddar cheese on top and add green onions and sliced olives. Replace the lid and simmer for several more minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.
Make Ahead – I don’t really recommend making this ahead of time. It’s such a simple recipe that only takes about 20 minutes. If you need to prep ahead of time, you can cook the ground beef, sauce and beans, but don’t add the tortillas or cheese. Do that just before serving.
Storage – Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave.
Freezing – You can freeze skillet enchiladas for up to 3 months. However, because the corn tortillas are softened they may become mushy when reheating. If you want to make this ahead and freeze, add the tortillas and cheese when reheating.
Melt olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (cast iron is preferred). Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling with a spatula as you go, until meat is no longer pink. Drain the grease and return beef to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, enchilada sauce and black beans. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn.
Stir in the corn tortilla strips so they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle cheese, green onions and olives on top, then replace the lid. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until cheese has completely melted.
To serve: scoop into bowls with a scoop of sour cream, serve with Mexican rice or cauliflower rice, or stuff into tortillas.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.