Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats


Last year I shared a recipe for Pizza Zucchini Boats and I knew it wouldn’t end there. This year I’ve made a zucchini boat I like even more – these unbelievably delicious and perfectly flavorful Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats! With these you save on carbs by swapping out the classic tortilla wrapped enchiladas with hallowed out zucchini boats instead. I was actually really surprised myself by how much I truly loved these! I was so skeptical at first and I thought there’s no way I could ever trade in a classic, cheese loaded, pure comfort food enchilada for a healthier version. Indeed was I wrong.

Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking Classy

The key with these is making sure you find wide zucchini, otherwise you won’t be fitting very much filling in them. Trust me you will love this filling so you’re going to want to be able to load them up. You might look a little crazy at the store digging through the zucchini for 5 minutes looking for the wider ones but it’s worth it :). Also key to these is Ancho chili powder, please don’t just swap it out with more regular chili powder – like I used to be guilty of doing. It has a more robust depth of flavor and really just makes these, plus I’ve been adding it to everything lately. You’ll have no problem using it up.

If you like Southwestern and Mexican flavors you simply have to try these! I don’t think I could talk them up enough, you just need to see for yourself. They’ll make you believe healthy eating is very doable. I loved them so much that I made them again the next day for my sisters family and she was wiping the sauce clean from her plate. Who knew? Zucchini enchiladas are a thing and they are amazing!



Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking Classy Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking ClassyChicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking ClassyChicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking ClassyChicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking ClassyChicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats | Cooking Classy


Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats

4.67 from 9 votes

Yield: 8 zucchini boats, about 4 - 6 servings


  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (from about 1 lb)
  • 4 medium zucchini (2 1/2 lbs), sliced in half through length*
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (be sure they are chopped fine or they won't cook through)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • For serving: diced Roma tomatoes , chopped cilantro, chopped yellow onion (optional), light sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. Brush tops and bottoms with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and place in two baking dishes (I used a 13 by 9 and a 9 by 9). Bake in preheated oven until zucchini is nearly tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot add onion and saute 3 - 4 minutes until soft. Add garlic and saute 10 seconds longer. Remove from heat, pour in tomato sauce, ancho chili powder, chili powder, cumin and paprika. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the water and cornstarch until well blended then pour into tomato sauce mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, stirring frequently. Allow to gently boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in shredded chicken.
  3. Remove zucchini from oven and spoon chicken mixture into zucchini. Sprinkle tops with corn and then cheese blend. Return to oven and bake 5 - 10 minutes longer until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender. Serve warm topped with diced tomatoes and cilantro, and optional onion and sour cream.
  4. *Look for zucchini that is wider and more uniform in width.
  5. Recipe source: Cooking Classy


  • Laura (Tutti Dolci): These boats look so good, I love this low-carb way to get my enchilada fix! :) June 27, 2015 at 6:32pm Reply

  • Cooking with Munira: wow, you just gave me my next recipe to do ! thanks ! love the photos ! June 28, 2015 at 5:06am Reply

  • Gina: These look delicious! My family is trying to eat more vegetarian. Do you think these would still work if I subbed black beans for the chicken? Thanks! June 28, 2015 at 11:27am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes I think that would be fine. I hope you love them! June 29, 2015 at 10:49pm Reply

  • Karina: Thanks for the recipe! I’d love to try making these, I really like how I wouldn’t have to serve veggies with them! June 29, 2015 at 4:13pm Reply

  • SaraLily: Holy Guacamole! These look amazing. I will definitely be making next week for dinner!! =D July 6, 2015 at 6:39am Reply

  • Janet: These look great! Just wondered – are you basically just scooping out the seeds from the middle of the zucchini, or are you scraping out everything leaving that 1/4″ rim to create boats? Do you just discard all the zucchini you scraped out? July 8, 2015 at 7:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I recommend saving it for another use. I like to cook it then add a little butter, s and p and parmesan. It’s mostly the seed area but also a little bit of the flesh of the zucchini. July 8, 2015 at 11:50pm Reply

  • Kelly: what did you do with the scooped out zucchini? Do you have a recipe for that? Hate wasting food. July 8, 2015 at 2:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I actually just cooked mine the next day in a little water, then drained and added a little butter, some s & p and some parmesan. Also good with lemon juice/zest too. July 8, 2015 at 11:46pm Reply

    • Brandi: I added mine to the filling mixture. October 1, 2015 at 6:05pm Reply

  • Kerry: Are these good reheated? I’ve had issues in the past reheating zucchini and it becoming very watery. Perhaps taking away the seeds prevents this? Recipe looks delicious. July 9, 2015 at 8:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: We loved them reheated and they weren’t too watery. You could maybe even fully cook one pan if your worried about it, then the second pan you could under-bake slightly so you can rewarm the later. August 30, 2015 at 3:32pm Reply

  • cathy: sounds delicious. what cheeses do you use for the cheese blend? July 9, 2015 at 8:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I actually just used the pre-shredded stuff which I don’t do a lot but for a quicker meal I like to sometimes. A blend of monterey jack and cheddar would work great too though which I might try in the future. August 30, 2015 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Christie: I couldn’t find the ancho chili, but these were great with regular chili powder! July 10, 2015 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked them Christie! July 10, 2015 at 9:58pm Reply

    • cindy: Christie try Wholefoods, or any speciality grocer You can also make it yourself using the whole dried ones and the food processor. Than put what you do not use in a air tight jar for future use. August 18, 2015 at 10:57am Reply

    • Janmaus: Mail order–Amazon, Penzey’s, others. Some stores such as Whole Foods have it in their bulk spice section. McCormick sells it in some states, so ask your supermarket to order it. it’s fairly mild, and you can probably find lots of ways to use it. I have a chickpea salad that my family likes so much that I never let myself run out. And this zucchini recipe is brilliant–my son is only eating low carb, so I made some of these in rolled corn tortillas for the kids and the zucchini version for the grownups. Adding black beans sounds delicious for those of us who aren’t overly worried about the carbs August 10, 2016 at 7:06am Reply

  • paula: I added some cooked brown rice and just a bit of chicken broth before baking. So yummy! July 12, 2015 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Suzie: DELICIOUS! These were a BIG hit with my husband. Super good and easy to make. Will be in the rotation. Yes the Ancho chili powder makes a difference. July 16, 2015 at 11:12am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed them Suzie! Thanks for your review! July 16, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

  • Kari: i tried these and they were way too spicy I wonder if it’s because I used black beans instead of the chicken? July 21, 2015 at 6:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It could be the brand of chili powder you used – some tend to be a little spicier than others. Or it could just be that chili powder may in general may be on the spicy side for you when a fair amount is used so you could definitely just cut back on the amount next time. July 21, 2015 at 10:42pm Reply

  • Laura @ Decamp Studios: I love zucchini recipes for this time of year. Our garden is running over with them. Can’t wait to try this :) Thank you for sharing! July 30, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

  • Julie: Your zucchini boat recipes, the chicken enchiladas one and the lasagna one…could leftovers be frozen? Or at what stage could I freeze the boats? August 23, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

  • Jennifer H: I made these about a month ago. I have never made anything like these and they were delicious! I will definitely make them again and I will also try the other ones in the future! You are amazing! And then you make me look good for making your amazing recipes! =) hahah September 2, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

  • Berlena: My brother, Belvon, just sent me this recipe. It looks amazing. How did the black beans work instead of chicken? I am excited about making these zucchini boats tonight – some with chicken for my brother and some with black beans for me. Thanks for sharing!! October 31, 2015 at 11:40am Reply

  • Alyssa smart: Any idea what the average Calorie count would be for a serving? December 15, 2015 at 1:56pm Reply

  • Debbie: Made these for dinner tonight and we absolutely loved them. I had some of the stuffing left over so I’m gonna make a whole wheat burrito with it tomorrow for lunch. Thanks for the recipe. December 16, 2015 at 4:40pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed these Debbie! Thanks for your review! December 16, 2015 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Chelsea: These were wonderful! Adding to the dinner rotation! January 7, 2016 at 7:53pm Reply

  • Jane Mahama: I am sorry to ask, what type of vegetable is Zucchini? January 15, 2016 at 5:16am Reply

    • Kathleen Smith: Courgette, a squash January 10, 2018 at 9:22am Reply

  • Sav: How do we need to cut the garlic? January 25, 2016 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Texas: Anyone tried these with ground turkey instead? Would that work? March 1, 2016 at 7:38pm Reply

  • Anna: Could I make them ahead of time and do the final baking when I am ready? These look like a great meal to take to a family since its all in one dish. March 4, 2016 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Gail: Looks delicious! Do you have the calories per boat? April 2, 2016 at 6:57am Reply

  • Tina: How long will they keep for? This would be good for my lunch through the week April 17, 2016 at 8:36am Reply

  • Valerie: The zucchini is too much work, it’s hard to find the right size. Just use a pepper, tomato, or a burrito bowl. June 16, 2016 at 8:15am Reply

  • Vanessa: How many calories approximately are in each zucchini boat? June 20, 2016 at 11:35am Reply

  • Christina: My husband says that they were “okay”… FYI he strongly dislikes zucchini… So that’s a complement. :)

    I think next time I will try adding a little bit of butter to the zukes while they bake the first time around….

    I will be trying the pizza soon. Thank you! July 17, 2016 at 7:23pm Reply

  • Cris: What is the nutritional information on this recipe ? carbs // calories // etc. Thanks. July 17, 2016 at 7:39pm Reply

    • Shyla D Pizurny: also wondering the carb count September 13, 2016 at 1:37pm Reply

  • Cheryl: My family gave this recipe 2 thumbs up. Since I have had chicken a lot lately, I substituted chorizo for the chicken. I must admit it was incredible. I love that the “base” of this recipe is a vegetable. It was filling, delicious and healthy. Five stars. July 19, 2016 at 5:57pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Cheryl! July 20, 2016 at 12:19pm Reply

  • Suzy Rohlin: My family really enjoyed this! Thank you so much. I did omit the water and corn starch I did not feel the sauce needed it. I look forward to try more of your recipes. July 20, 2016 at 3:09pm Reply

  • Samantha: I substituted salsa for the tomato sauce and think it tastes great, plus I think it fits better with the recipe name. July 27, 2016 at 4:08pm Reply

  • Eww: Wow, just made these for our dinner. So tasty, and easy to make. Thank you from Scotland x August 6, 2016 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Denise: Just made these tonight!! Even my picky husband enjoyed it!! I made them as is but think next time I will spice them up just a bit more… but overall a great recipe!!! August 30, 2016 at 10:09pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Denise! August 31, 2016 at 10:31am Reply

  • Pat Weler: I think you can make these all year long. We have a good supply of vegetables here in the states. I,however, will try these soon. Look to good to pass up. August 31, 2016 at 9:12pm Reply

  • Sarah: Do you have nutrition information for them? Macro nutrients specifically. September 7, 2016 at 4:30pm Reply

  • Sarah: what are the approximate macro nutrients for each of these boats? September 7, 2016 at 4:34pm Reply

  • Kathy: This recipe is so delicious! Just made it as a late dinner and it is going on my favorites list, thank you! September 9, 2016 at 9:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for reporting back Kathy – so glad you enjoyed it! September 14, 2016 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Heather: What side dish would you recommend serving with this? October 2, 2016 at 8:53am Reply

    • Kat: Salad….absolutely because anything else would just take away from the dish…! September 25, 2017 at 4:18pm Reply

  • Jill Zablotny: I just made these and they were absolutely delicious! This recipe is a keeper! Thanks so much! February 8, 2017 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Lina: Why do you cook the zucchini first in this recipe? In your recipe for lasagna boats, you assemble it all and then bake…can I do that with this recipe too? August 24, 2017 at 9:04am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I recommend waiting to add the chicken mixture until close to the end because otherwise the chicken will dry out from being over-cooked. I wish it didn’t require the pre-baking but it works best. August 24, 2017 at 3:55pm Reply

  • Zo: I love the recipe! I used the scooped out zuch instead of corn starch as my thickening agent. Came out awesome!

    On round two I used sofrito instead of tomato sauce and WOW. SO GOOD. September 23, 2017 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Lola Martinez: These were so easy and delicious! October 2, 2017 at 11:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked them Lola! October 2, 2017 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Denise: I made these for dinner. They were very tastey and had great presentation, but so overwhelmingly spicy hot. I wished I had sour cream on hand to cut the heat. Next time, I will reduce the chile powders by half. This will go into dinner rotation. October 10, 2017 at 8:48am Reply

  • Missy: These look so yummy but I am doing keto so the cornstarch and corn would have to be left out. Would the recipe still work without them? Also, could I just cook the zucchini flesh in with the filling so not to waste or would that overfill the boats? November 5, 2017 at 11:40am Reply

  • Laura Summers: This recipe is delicious! I’ve made it at least once a week since I found it. Wonderful! November 19, 2017 at 9:04am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura! November 20, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

  • Lindsey: Are these whole 30 approved? January 3, 2018 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Jill: Do you have the nutrition facts for this recipe? January 6, 2018 at 7:51am Reply

  • Stacey: Anyone have the nutritional breakdown for these? January 7, 2018 at 4:08pm Reply

    • Laura Summers: I plugged the recipe into MyFitnessPal and it gave this as the Nutrition info:

      Nutrition Facts
      Servings 8.0
      Amount Per Serving
      calories 181
      % Daily Value *
      Total Fat 8 g 12 %
      Saturated Fat 5 g 24 %
      Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
      Trans Fat 0 g
      Cholesterol 9 mg 3 %
      Sodium 485 mg 20 %
      Potassium 248 mg 7 %
      Total Carbohydrate 10 g 3 %
      Dietary Fiber 2 g 10 %
      Sugars 5 g
      Protein 17 g 35 %
      Vitamin A 11 %
      Vitamin C 36 %
      Calcium 1 %
      Iron 6 %
      * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA. March 1, 2018 at 9:24am Reply

  • SanDiegoK8: Suggest the carb/ protein/ fat/ calorie per serving be added to this recipe as this link is on Pinterest and many on the keto diet need this info. February 11, 2018 at 8:41pm Reply

  • Margeaux: These are yummy! To make my life easier, I got a whole, cooked rotisserie chicken and shredded it. February 15, 2018 at 7:45pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Best shortcut ever! Thanks for leaving a comment Margeaux! February 16, 2018 at 11:15am Reply

  • Pat: These are delicious but I sure wish there was some nutritional info available for my food diary. February 28, 2018 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Lisa: Why do you not answer the questions about the nutritional facts? March 4, 2018 at 6:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I have over 1300 recipes on here, all with questions – I do my best to get to as many of them as I can. :)

      I use for nutritional info and it works great! You can import any of my recipes over, quick and easy! March 6, 2018 at 6:00pm Reply

  • Louise Boudreau: I am a diabetic and always look for nutritional info for all cooking.Thanks to Laura Smith I found the info I needed for this delicious looking recipe. It would be great if it was included with the recipe. March 21, 2018 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Janet Griffiths: Oh my! These were freakin delicious 😋! Gotta say! Made exactly as instructed. Thank you. I bet the lasagne zuchinni boats are to die for too! April 9, 2018 at 8:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great feedback! April 12, 2018 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Donna: I liked them will for sure add more spice, heat
    My first time making anything like this
    Will make again.
    Thank you for sharing April 21, 2018 at 7:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you liked them Donna! And I’m with you I love heat but my kids not so much :). April 21, 2018 at 10:29pm Reply

  • Julie: Can these be made a day ahead? April 25, 2018 at 11:16am Reply

  • Donna Nichols: Loved this dish as did my husband
    Will for sure make again
    Thank you for sharing May 7, 2018 at 3:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you both enjoyed it! May 9, 2018 at 9:24am Reply

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