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Enchiladas potosinas get their beautiful color from chile-infused dough wrapped around creamy queso and spicy salsa. Every bite is full of delicious Mexican flavors!
Using specific cooking techniques, this dish tastes as unique as its 100-year-old history!
Table of Contents
This tasty dish might be our favorite recipe we’ve made yet (and we don’t say that lightly). Crispy fried dough infused with sweet, smoky flavors and stuffed with vegan cheese and salsa.
What’s not to love?!
What are enchiladas potosinas?
If you know much about Mexican cooking, you’ll know most regions have their own versions of similar foods. Enchiladas are one of those dishes.
Enchiladas potosinas is a regional dish that originated in the small state of San Luis Potosí (more on this in the history section).
They go through an interesting method of preparation, and the overall look could be considered an empanada, quesadilla, or enchilada. But, since the origin story considers these crispy half-moons to be enchiladas, that’s what we’re going with!
This dish takes on a characteristic red-orange hue from chiles being infused right into the corn dough. This not only makes for beautiful enchiladas, but it also provides a specific taste that makes them so special.
Once the dough is made, it’s flattened into tortillas and warmed on a pan (like a quesadilla). Then, it’s loaded with fillings, folded over (like an enchilada or quesadilla), and lightly fried (like an empanada).
What you’ll end up with is a crispy, crunchy, cheesy, and flavor-packed pocket that you have to experience at least once in your life!
As mentioned above, enchiladas potosinas get their name from the state of San Luis Potosí — the place they were created. This is how the story goes:
In the early 1900s, a woman living in the town of Soledad de Graciano Sánchez (neighboring San Luis Potosí City) made and sold tortillas as a way to earn money for her family.
She would regularly take her corn into the local molino (the mill) to grind her corn into fresh dough. One day she went to pick up her dough, but it had a red-orange hue due to the contamination of red chiles accidentally mixing into it!
Unable to return the dough, the woman continued to make her tortillas with this red dough. It turned out to have an unusual, but delicious flavor.
Customers started raving about the flavor and asked her to make more! So, she experimented with different creations and began stuffing these tortillas with cheese and other fillings.
Many years later, this creation was coined “enchiladas potosinas” and can be enjoyed as a staple dish in San Luis Potosí and around the rest of the country.
Enchiladas potosinas are best served immediately after cooking with an ice cold cerveza or agua fresca (like agua de Jamaica).
The most common form you’ll see is a filling of cheese and toppings of crema, lettuce, cotija, and fresh onions.
But, these vegan and gluten-free enchiladas can easily be customized with various fillings and toppings (find more ideas in the key ingredients section).
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
What it is: often confused with corn flour, masa harina is quite different. Arguably the most utilized ingredient in Mexican cooking, masa harina is made from corn after it goes through nixtamalization. In this process, corn is soaked in an alkaline solution (like lime water), then cooked, rinsed, and ground into flour for various recipes.
Taste: when mixed with water and cooked, masa harina morphs into a soft texture with a slightly sweet flavor synonymous with Mexican cooking. Fresh corn tortillas are essential in this recipe.
Health: because masa is made from corn, it’s naturally gluten-free. It also contains fewer calories than wheat and is filled with nutrients like calcium, B-vitamins, and zinc.
Where to buy: the most popular brand is Maseca, but there are tons of other brands too. You can find masa harina online, and it’s also available at most larger grocery stores in ethnic or international aisles.
For more information, check out our detailed guide on masa harina.
Taste: adding a sweet, fruity, and slightly smoky flavor, guajillo is one of our favorite red chiles to cook with! Once mixed with the masa, they turn the dough into a beautiful red-orange hue. Either guajillo or ancho varieties work best in this recipe.
Health: most health benefits of chile peppers come from the powerful compound capsaicin. Not only is capsaicin responsible for the spiciness in chiles, but it has also been shown to reduce hunger, increase metabolism, and help with lowering blood pressure!
Adding different fillings to an enchiladas potosinas recipe can really change the overall flavor. Here is a list of ideas that taste great together:
- Queso fresco (or cotija) and salsa (as in this recipe)
- Vegan mozzarella
- Papas con chorizo
- Mushrooms and onions
This is definitely not an exhaustive list since you can use whatever you have in your kitchen to create a delicious meal!
If you’re new to Mexican cooking, one thing to know is that toppings are crucial to add extra flavors and textures over simple dishes. Here are a few of our favorites to serve on enchiladas potosinas:
- Shredded lettuce
- Cotija cheese
- Fresh white onion
- Queso fresco
- Salsa roja
What toppings do you like to use? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions about this enchiladas potosinas recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: de-stem and seed the guajillo chiles, then add them to a pot of water with the tomatoes, tomatillos, and serrano peppers. Bring the pot to a low boil, then reduce the heat to simmer until the chiles are soft.
Step 2: separate the guajillo chiles from the other vegetables and add them to a blender with enough water to mix. Blend on high until you have a smooth paste.
Step 3: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Then, add in 1 ½ cups of very warm water and a few scoops of the guajillo chile paste.
Step 4: knead the dough to form a ball that’s quite moist, but not coming off on your hands too much. Keep rolling and pressing for a few minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl and set it aside.
Step 5: drain and transfer the cooked tomatoes, tomatillos, de-stemmed serrano peppers, a tablespoon of guajillo paste, and a pinch of salt to a food processor or blender. Mix your salsa on high until smooth.
Step 6: heat a little olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Sauté the diced onions for a couple of minutes, then add in the minced garlic. Cook for another few minutes, then slowly pour the salsa in through a mesh strainer and bring it to a low boil.
Step 7: simmer the salsa to bring out the flavors, stirring frequently. Remove the salsa from heat, allow it to cool, then mix it with crumbled queso fresco or queso cotija.
Step 8: if you have a tortilla press, cut a zip lock bag or wax paper into 2 pieces that will fit into the press (one for each side of the dough).
Step 9: start breaking off pieces of the dough (this recipe makes ~12). Roll each piece of dough in between your palms until smooth. Open the press and place a ball of dough in the center on a piece of plastic. Place the other plastic piece on top and close the press down to flatten the dough.
Step 10: if you don’t have a tortilla press, place your ball of dough between the same 2 pieces of plastic on your counter. Press the tortilla down with the bottom of a baking dish, plate, or rolling pin to flatten it.
Step 11: heat a skillet over medium, then add the tortilla and cook on the first side. Take it off the stove, add a scoop of filling to the uncooked side, wet the edges with water, fold the tortilla in half, and pinch the edges to seal it.
Step 12: add the folded tortilla back into the pan and cook it on each side for another few minutes. Remove it from the heat and continue this process with the rest of the tortillas.
Step 13: once they are all cooked, heat some oil in the same pan to shallow fry the enchiladas until golden brown. Transfer the cooked enchiladas to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Step 14: serve your enchiladas potosinas while warm with toppings like shredded lettuce, cotija cheese, Mexican crema, and diced white onion. Happy eating!
Enchiladas potosinas are great to make in advance to help speed up your cooking time. Follow these simple guidelines to keep your enchiladas around for longer!
You can store these enchiladas in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. To keep them fresh for longer, make sure to use an airtight container.
If you decide to prep a big batch or have lots of leftovers, enchiladas potosinas store well in the freezer.
Once the enchiladas have cooled to room temperature, wrap each one individually and transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
Our favorite method of reheating enchiladas potosinas is to fry them again for 1-2 minutes on each side until crispy again.
If you want to warm them in the oven, bake them at 325 degrees F until they’re warm all the way through.
If you’re feeling a little lazy (don’t worry, we’ve been there), microwave your enchiladas in 30-second bursts until they’re warmed all the way through. This isn’t our preferred method, but it works in a pinch.
If you know you’re making this for a family dinner or party, we suggest prepping your filling 1-3 days ahead of time.
We don’t recommend making the masa too far ahead of time since it can dry out and it’s extremely quick to whip together.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while creating this enchiladas recipe for you:
- Don’t overfill. It may seem tempting, but the enchiladas are much easier to fold when you don’t overfill them.
- Add a little water to the edges. To create the best seal, run around the tortilla edges with add a little water before pinching them together.
- Use an oil thermometer. To reduce the chances of burning your enchiladas, you can use an oil thermometer.
- Press a few at a time. Only press 1 or 2 tortillas at a time so they don’t dry out while you’re cooking the others.
- Add fillings off the stovetop. To prevent a frenzy, once the first side of the tortilla is cooked, remove it from the stove before adding the fillings.
🍴 Tasting notes
Enchiladas potosinas is our favorite meal to make for lunch or dinner. We know you’re going to feel the same way too. They’re:
If you try these vegan enchiladas, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Mixing bowls
- 2 Roma tomatoes ($0.32)
- 1 tomatillo ($0.06)
- ¼ small white onion, diced ($0.06)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.08)
- 1-2 serrano peppers ($0.04)
- ¼ tsp salt, or to taste ($0.01)
- 1-2 tsp olive oil ($0.04)
- ½ recipe queso fresco ($1.40)
- 5 guajillo chiles ($0.20)
- 2 cups masa harina ($0.25)
- ¼ tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1 ½ cups warm water ($0.01)
- ½ cup neutral oil ($0.36)
- Shredded lettuce
- Queso cotija
- Diced white onions
- Mexican crema
- De-stem and seed the guajillo chiles. Add them to a pot of water with tomatoes, tomatillo, and serrano peppers. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the chiles are soft.
- Separate the guajillo chiles from the other vegetables and add them to a blender with ½ cup of water. Mix on high until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the masa harina and salt, whisking to incorporate. Then, add in 1 ½ cups very warm water and 3 tbsp of the guajillo chile paste.
- Knead the dough to form a ball that's quite moist, but not coming off on your hands too much. Keep rolling and pressing for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Cover and set aside.
- Drain and add the cooked tomatoes, tomatillo, de-stemmed serrano peppers, 1 tbsp guajillo chile paste, and a pinch of salt to a food processor or blender. Mix on high until smooth.
- Heat about 1-2 tsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Sauté the diced onions for 2-3 minutes, then add in the minced garlic. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, then slowly pour the salsa in through a mesh strainer and bring it to a low boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the salsa from heat, allow it to cool, then mix it with crumbled queso fresco.
- If you have a tortilla press, cut a zip lock bag or wax paper into 2 pieces that will fit into the press (one for each side of the dough).
- Start breaking off pieces of the dough (~ 50g each). Roll each piece of dough in between your palms until smooth. Open the press and place the ball in the center on a piece of plastic. Place the other plastic piece on top and close the press down to flatten the dough.
- If you don't have a tortilla press, place your ball of dough between the same 2 pieces of plastic on your counter. Press the tortilla down with the bottom of a baking dish, plate, or rolling pin to flatten.
- Heat a skillet over medium, then add in the tortilla and cook on the first side. Remove from heat, add a scoop of filling to the uncooked side, wet the edges with water, fold the tortilla in half, and pinch the edges to seal it.
- Add the folded tortilla back into the pan and cook on each side for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and continue this process with the rest of the tortillas.
- Heat ~½ cup neutral oil in a pan over medium. Shallow fry the enchiladas in batches of 3-4 until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Serve while warm with toppings like shredded lettuce, cotija cheese, crema, and diced white onion. Happy eating!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty ways to use corn tortillas, check out our:
- Vegan empanadas for a similar dish made with crispy tortillas surrounding delicious and melty fillings.
- Sweet potato quesadillas to try a cheesy, nutrient-dense meal made with fresh and tender corn tortillas.
- Quesabirria tacos for oyster mushroom and cheese-stuffed tacos loaded with flavor and dunked in a savoury broth.
- Enchiladas verdes for fresh corn tortillas wrapped around creamy refried bayo beans and served with a zesty green sauce.
- Enchiladas rojas for classic red enchiladas stuffed with jackfruit and dairy-free cheese.
We recommend cooking enchiladas potosinas as outlined in our recipe card, but you can cook them for longer in the dry skillet for an oil-free version.
If your dough is cracking, it’s either too dry or you’ve left it out for too long. Try making just 1-2 at a time and working fairly quickly while cooking them.
Since enchiladas potosinas are made with masa harina, they are gluten-free. Just ensure your fillings don’t contain any gluten.