Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera: A Mouth-Watering Recipe

If you’re a lover of authentic Mexican cuisine, then you’ll love this recipe for El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera! As a seasoned barista, I can attest to the fabulous taste and flavors of this classic Mexican dish, which has been perfected by the chefs at El Coyote Cafe – the oldest Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles.

This recipe is not only authentic but also incredibly delicious. It is made with corn tortillas that have been dipped in a rich and spicy ranchera sauce and filled with sharp cheddar cheese, diced green chilies, and green onions. The enchiladas are then topped with more sauce and baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

At El Coyote Cafe, these cheese enchiladas are a customer favorite and are often served with rice and beans. The combination of textures, spices and flavors will make your taste buds dance in delight!

So why should you try this recipe? Well, whether you’re looking to recreate an authentic Mexican restaurant experience at home or just looking for a new way to spice up your dinner routine, this is the perfect recipe for you. It’s easy to follow, doesn’t require too much prep time, and the results are absolutely spectacular!

So let’s get started on crafting this fabulous recipe inspired by El Coyote Cafe – the oldest Mexican food restaurant in Los Angeles.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera
El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera

One word: authentic. If you’re craving for some authentic Mexican food, then this El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera Recipe is just the right meal for you! This fabulous recipe guaranteed by El Coyote Cafe, the oldest Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, has been around for more than 90 years, and it’s not hard to see why!

Made with perfectly dipped corn tortillas and generously filled with a blend of sharp cheddar cheese, diced green chilies, onions, and spices such as oregano and garlic cloves, this cheese enchilada is a perfect treat for the taste buds. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, the enchiladas are topped with a rich ranchera sauce made with bay leaves, plum tomatoes, onion, and tomato puree- a sauce so flavorful that your taste buds will explode with delight!

Plus, this recipe offers you flexibility in how you’d like to customize your enchiladas – whether it’s adding a little shredded chicken or beef for protein or swapping the cheese filling out for some tinga de pollo (spicy chicken), the possibilities are endless!

So why settle for those bland pre-packaged enchiladas when you have a chance to experience authentic Mexican enchiladas rancheras? With El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera Recipe’s heritage recipe and rich flavors, there’s no going wrong!

Ingredient List

 Satisfy your Mexican food cravings with these cheesy enchiladas!
Satisfy your Mexican food cravings with these cheesy enchiladas!

Before we dive into making these El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera, let’s gather all the ingredients we will need. In this recipe, we will need ingredients for the enchiladas themselves as well as for the ranchera sauce which will top them off. Here’s the list of everything you’ll need:

For the Enchiladas:

  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Ranchera Sauce:

  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 canned stewed tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make these enchiladas truly special, be sure to use the freshest and most authentic ingredients you can find. Also, be aware that this recipe calls for sharp cheddar cheese – it is what gives these enchiladas their signature tangy flavor!

The Recipe How-To

Gathering the Ingredients

Before we start cooking, we need to gather all the ingredients listed below. Double-checking that you have everything will help you save time during the process.

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ medium diced onion
  • 1 can of tomato puree
  • 1 cup of canned stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped pickled peppers or canned diced green chilies
  • ½ a medium diced green pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • A cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese for filling

Preparing The Ranchera Sauce

Ranchera sauce is the standout ingredient in this recipe. It’s the perfect balance between tomato and pepper, bringing depth of flavor and a touch of heat to the dish.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add finely chopped onion and minced garlic to the hot oil and cook for two minutes or until they are tender.
  3. Pour in the rube-red tomato puree, canned stewed tomatoes, pickled pepper or green chilies, and diced green pepper.
  4. Add one bay leaf and half a teaspoon of oregano to the mix.
  5. Salt it to taste.
  6. Let the ranchera sauce boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer covered for about ten minutes.

After simmering, remove the bay leaf with a pair of tongs before using.

Making The Enchiladas

Once you’ve made your tasty ranchera sauce, these delicious cheese enchiladas come together pretty quickly.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pour some cooking spray into an ovenproof baking pan.
  3. Warm each tortilla quickly in a dry skillet before dipping in warm ranchera sauce.
  4. Spoon two tablespoons of shredded sharp cheddar cheese inside each tortilla going from one end to another end and roll as snugly as possible.
  5. Place them seam-side down in your greased baking pan side by side .
  6. Once all enchiladas are filled and rolled up tightly in one layer, ladle remaining warm ranchera sauce generously over enchiladas making sure that every inch is smothered with it.
  7. Finish by sprinkling a bit more shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top so that it melts while cooking.

Now it’s time to pop your tray into your preheated oven until bubbly hot for approximately fifteen minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Rancheras with freshly cooked rice on the side topped with diced fresh green onions along with sour cream dollop, if desired.


Substitutions and Variations

Hola amigos! Are you ready to spice things up? Let’s talk about some delicious substitutions and variations you can try with El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera recipe.

Firstly, if you want to switch up the type of cheese you use, go for it! While sharp cheddar cheese is the traditional choice, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack would also work well. For a more smoky flavor, try adding some crumbled queso fresco or even a little bit of smoked gouda.

If you don’t have green peppers handy, diced bell peppers or even poblano peppers would be great substitutes. Similarly, if you don’t have any stewed tomatoes in your pantry, crushed canned tomatoes mixed with a bit of tomato paste can be used as a suitable alternative.

Want to add a little more heat to your enchiladas? Go ahead and add some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a smoky-spicy flavor. You can also top your enchiladas with sliced jalapeños for an extra kick.

For a vegetarian option, omit the ground beef and use diced mushrooms or zucchini instead. To make these enchiladas gluten-free, swap out the corn tortillas for gluten-free ones.

Lastly, if you’re feeling creative and want to try something new, swap out the enchilada sauce for salsa verde or even mole sauce for a unique twist on this classic dish.

Remember amigos, there’s no right or wrong way to make these enchiladas. Just let your taste buds guide you and have fun experimenting with different flavors and ingredients!

Serving and Pairing

Now that your Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera are ready to go, let’s talk about how to serve them and what drinks to pair them with. This delicious recipe is a classic Mexican dish that can be served on its own or as part of a larger spread. Here are some ideas for serving and pairing your enchiladas:

Firstly, let’s talk about the sides that go along with your enchiladas. Since they are quite filling on their own, I recommend serving them with simple sides like rice and beans or a fresh salad. These classic Mexican staples will provide a nice balance to the rich flavors of the enchiladas without overpowering them.

Since this recipe is topped with melted cheese and a flavorful ranchera sauce, you’ll need something to quench the spice on your palate. A cold Mexican beer is a great choice, with its crisp and refreshing taste that complements spicy food perfectly. Or if you prefer something stronger, try pairing your enchiladas with a classic margarita, which is perfect for cutting through the richness of the cheese and sauce.

When serving your Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera, don’t forget to add some colorful toppings like diced green onions, sour cream, or sliced jalapenos. These can add even more flavor and texture to an already fabulous dish!

Finally, this recipe pairs well with other classic Mexican dishes like guacamole, salsa, and cheese quesadillas. If you’re feeling extra hungry, why not make an enchilada casserole or chicken enchiladas? The possibilities are endless!

In conclusion, this El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera recipe is versatile enough to be served on its own or as part of a larger Mexican-themed meal. With simple sides, refreshing drinks, and plenty of toppings, it’s sure to be a hit with all your friends and family. So go ahead and indulge in this fabulous recipe from one of Los Angeles’ oldest Mexican food restaurants – El Coyote Cafe.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

Ah, one of the most dreaded parts of cooking: storing, reheating, and making-ahead. But fear not, as a barista turned recipe maker, I have some tips and tricks for ensuring that your El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera Recipe maintains its flavors and textures even after being refrigerated or frozen.

First off, if you plan on making these enchiladas ahead of time, you can assemble the dish without baking it. Cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap, then with foil so that no air can escape. You can store it in the fridge for up to two days or freeze it for up to three months. When ready to bake, thaw the enchiladas overnight in the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and foil, and then bake them according to the recipe instructions.

If you are planning to serve leftovers from a freshly made batch, simply store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When reheating these enchiladas, I recommend placing them in an oven heated at 325°F covered with foil to prevent drying out while still heating through.

But let’s say you have already baked more than you can eat – leftovers are always great as a quick meal another day! The enchiladas typically last about 4-5 days when stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once its time for your leftover feast, place them into individual portions and microwave them for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

In conclusion, El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera Recipe can be assembled ahead of time or stored after cooking without losing out on their authentic Mexican flavors. With these tips for make-ahead meals and storing leftovers like a pro can save plenty of time while still savoring Coyote Mexican Grill Cantina’s cheesy goodness whenever you please!

Tips for Perfect Results

If you want to achieve perfection when making these Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera, here are some tips that can help take your dish to the next level.

Firstly, when cooking the tomato puree and canned stewed tomatoes with the onions, bay leaves, garlic cloves, oregano, and green pepper, it is essential to use a heavy-bottomed saucepan that can withstand the high heat. Doing so will ensure that the sauce cooks evenly and does not scorch at the bottom of the pan.

Next, after dipping the corn tortillas in the warm enchilada sauce, it’s crucial to shake off any excess sauce before filling them with cheese. This tip helps prevent sogginess and ensures that each bite delivers optimal flavor.

Another important tip for perfect results is to use sharp cheddar cheese instead of mild varieties. The sharpness adds an extra depth of flavor that complements the richness of the enchilada sauce.

When assembling the enchiladas, be sure to roll them tightly and place them seam side down in your baking dish. This technique helps keep the cheese from spilling out while also allowing for more even cooking.

Lastly, if you prefer a thicker sauce for your enchiladas, you can opt to reduce the amount of water in the recipe or remove it altogether. This modification will give your sauce a richer flavor and consistency.

By using these tips, you’ll create Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera that will rival those served at El Coyote Cafe, Los Angeles’ oldest Mexican restaurant. Whether enjoyed as a simple weeknight dinner or as part of a festive fiesta with friends and family, this fabulous recipe will not disappoint.


As we near the end of this recipe article, you may have a few lingering questions about these delectable cheese enchiladas ranchera. In this section, I will be answering some commonly asked questions to ensure that your experience with this dish is as perfect as possible. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the FAQs!

What kind of cheese do Mexican restaurants use for cheese enchiladas?

If you’re curious about the most common cheese used in Mexican cuisine, then Cotija cheese would be my top recommendation. It’s a favorite and widely used cheese in many recipes, from enchiladas and tacos to soups and salads. It’s a white and crumbly cheese that closely resembles the taste and texture of feta. So if you’re interested in exploring the bold and exciting flavors of Mexican cuisine, you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on Cotija cheese.

What cheese melts the best for enchiladas?

When it comes to choosing the perfect cheese for enchiladas, it is important to consider both the melting quality and flavor. For an optimal flavor and melting experience, I would recommend using a shredded Mexican cheese blend. To ensure a delicious and well-rounded taste, look for a rustic cut blend of four cheeses, including Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Asadero, and Queso Quesadilla Cheese. Choosing a cheese blend with these four varieties is sure to satisfy your taste buds and make your enchiladas irresistible. So, go ahead and sprinkle that cheesy goodness all over your favorite enchilada recipe!

How did the Mayans make enchiladas?

Centuries ago, specifically during the preclassical period (around 2000-250 BC), the Maya people who lived in the Yucatán Peninsula have a known practice of dipping corn tortillas in pumpkin seeds. They would then wrap them around a chopped, hard-boiled egg and cover them with a flavorful tomato sauce.

What are enchiladas Rojas made of?

Get ready to taste the flavors of Mexico with my enchiladas rojas recipe! This dish is bursting with colors and flavors, featuring corn tortillas soaked in zesty salsa and filled with juicy jackfruit and crumbly queso fresco. You can personalize your enchiladas with toppings like crisp lettuce, spicy radish, and savory onions, as well as a generous sprinkle of more cheese for a mouthwatering finish. Join me on a culinary journey to Mexico and learn how to make this delicious and satisfying dish!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera Recipe is a delicious and authentic Mexican dish that should be on everyone’s menu. Whether you’re looking for a tasty meal to serve your family or inviting friends over for a fiesta, this recipe is sure to please.

With its flavorful combination of cheese, corn tortillas, green chilies, and ranchera sauce- it brings a taste of Los Angeles’ oldest Mexican food restaurant El Coyote Cafe into your home. Plus, with the various substitutions and variations offered- you can make it your own.

So what are you waiting for? Start preparing the best homemade enchilada recipe that your guests won’t forget anytime soon. With these tips and tricks at hand, you will be able to impress everyone with an authentic and delicious Mexican meal. And don’t forget- the perfect margarita will add up to the festive vibe.

Make it now and spread the joy in every bite!

El Coyote Cafe Cheese Enchiladas Ranchera Recipe

Fabulous recipe from the El Coyote Cafe, the oldest Mexican food restaurant in Los Angeles. I’m posting it exactly as I got it, but we usually make a great big 13 x 9 pan of the enchiladas (just keep rolling them up until your pan is full) and double the ranchera sauce. It looks like way too much sauce, but it cooks down in the oven and the flavor is fantastico!

Ranchera Sauce

  • 1 lb canned stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 green pepper, Chopped


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (or you can get a bigger can and cut them in strips)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
  1. Instructions for Sauce:
  2. Quickly saute onion and garlic.
  3. Add the rest of ingredients and bring them to a rapid boil.
  4. Simmer for one hour.
  5. Instructions for Enchiladas:
  6. In a heavy skillet, heat vegetable oil until very hot.
  7. Dip tortillas in oil to soften.
  8. Fill tortillas with approximately 1/8 cup grated cheese and 1 T chopped onion.
  9. Roll stuffed tortillas and place in baking dish.
  10. Cover enchiladas with sauce.
  11. Top each enchilada with 4 strips of Ortega Chili.
  12. Sprinkle 3 T. shredded cheese over each enchilada.
  13. Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  14. Top with dollop of sour cream and garnish with green onions.
Main Course
< 4 Hours, Brunch, Cheese, Low Protein, Mexican

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