The Tortilla Mistake You're Making When It Comes To Enchiladas

With so many steps in the process of making your enchiladas, it's easy to overlook a detail that could drastically improve the end result of your dish. Although enchiladas are a fairly wet dish overall, they can quickly cross the threshold from saucy to soggy. The easiest way to prevent that from happening? Add in a simple step that you may use when making tacos, but likely forget to do when whipping up enchiladas: Make sure to fry your tortillas briefly before incorporating them into your dish.

What happens when you fry your tortilla for a hot second? It absorbs some of the oil you cook it in, which means it's less likely to soak up any other liquids later on. This allows you to keep the structural integrity of your tortilla intact, without it becoming so stiff that it rejects your delicious sauce completely. Plus, any sugars it contains will slightly caramelize in the pan, adding a light sweetness and a tasty depth of flavor. All of this leaves you free to make your enchiladas sufficiently saucy, without turning them into a sloppy mess.

To dry or not to dry?

The key to making tortillas that serve as a functional barrier against sogginess, yet still absorb a little sauce and maintain structural integrity, is to only fry them for only a short period of time. If you want to go with a traditional version of enchiladas (aka similar to how they're whipped up in Mexico), select corn tortillas over flour. Then turn a pan with oil to medium-high heat and slide your tortillas in, allowing them to fry for about 10 seconds on each side. When doing this, it's essential to let your oil warm up before adding in anything else — after all, a cold pan won't do much to fry tortillas. When you're done, they should be golden and crispy, but still nice and bendy.

Once your tortillas have been fried, the question becomes: To dry or not to dry? If you're trying to stay away from extra grease, go ahead and pat yours with paper towels. However, tortillas in general don't absorb tons of oil, which is why it's still possible to make them nice and saucy after frying — so if you skip this step, you likely won't regret it. And if you really want to go the extra mile, you can dip your stack in your sauce after it comes off of the stove. This allows the sauce to evenly coat each tortilla, meaning you can pour less over the top if you prefer.