Last week I got a message from a reader, Holly, looking for a from-scratch version of a bubble up casserole. If you’ve never heard of bubble ups before, they’re basically a casserole made out of store bought biscuit dough mixed with some sort of sauce, cheese, and other add-ins, that are then baked until everything is fluffy, gooey, and soooo delicious! There are several versions of this classic casserole, but they all used canned biscuit dough, which is what Holly was looking to avoid. Finding a homemade alternative sounded like a fun challenge, so I set out to make my own Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole.
Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole
The Hybrid Biscuit
My original test was with my 5-ingredient Freezer Biscuit dough, but that proved to be a little too delicate and crumbly. Store bought canned biscuits have a more elastic texture, almost like a yeast dough, so I created a hybrid yeast biscuit that ended up working quite well! They’re tender, but have enough strength to hold up to the extra ingredients in the casserole. They do take some time, though, so this definitely isn’t a convenience recipe like the original bubble up casseroles.
The last thing I want to address before jumping into the recipe is that after reading through several other bubble up casserole recipes, it seems people often have trouble with the biscuit dough baking all the way through in the center of these bubble up recipes. One key is to choose a dish that is slightly larger so the mixture is not piled in too deep. If the mixture is too thick or deep in the dish it takes longer to heat through and for the biscuits to cook.
Second, cover the dish with foil to hold in the heat as it bakes. This will heat the center faster, which is where most people find the biscuits to be unbaked. Lastly, keep in mind that every oven varies, as does every baking dish, so you may need to lengthen or shorten baking time to get your biscuits just right.
Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.05)
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour ($0.02)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder* ($0.30)
- 1 cup water ($0.00)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.11)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.01)
- salt, to taste ($0.02)
- 1/4 cup hot water ($0.00)
- 1 tsp active dry or instant yeast ($0.09)
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting) ($0.06)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 2 tsp baking powder ($0.08)
- 1 tsp sugar ($0.01)
- 1 cup heavy cream ($0.95)
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped** ($1.75)
- 1 15oz. can can black beans, drained ($0.59)
- 1 cup cheese, shredded ($0.94)
- 2 green onions, sliced ($0.25)
- Begin the biscuit dough first, so it can rest for one hour. Dissolve the yeast into 1/4 cup hot water. Let that sit for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Finally, add the heavy cream and yeast water, and stir until a sticky ball of dough forms.
- Dust the sticky dough with flour and then turn it out onto a well floured surface. Knead the dough for about three minutes, adding flour as you go to keep it from sticking. Form the dough into a ball, place it back in the bowl, cover it loosely with plastic, and let it rest for one hour.
- In the mean time, make the enchilada sauce. Add the oil, flour, and chili powder to a small sauce pot. Whisk the ingredients together and place over a medium burner. Allow the mixture to begin to sizzle and bubble, and continue to cook and whisk for about one minute.
- Carefully whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer again, at which point it will thicken. Remove it from the heat and add salt to taste.
- Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the cooked chicken. Add the enchilada sauce and stir them together until everything is coated.
- After the dough has been resting for one hour, begin to preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat an 8x11" or 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a well floured surface. Press it down into a circle or rectangle, and then cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. Add the pieces to the bowl with the chicken, beans, and enchilada sauce, and carefully fold them together until evenly combined and coated in sauce.
- Spread the dough mixture into the casserole dish and make sure it's in an even layer across the bottom. The mixture should not be piled too thick. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the center is baked through.
- Add the shredded cheese, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Top with sliced green onions just before serving.
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How to Make Bubble Up Casserole – Step by Step Photos
Begin with the biscuit dough because it does need to rest for about an hour. Dissolve 1 tsp active dry or instant yeast in 1/4 cup hot water. Let that sit for a few minutes. This won’t get nice and frothy because there isn’t any sugar or flour in that water for the yeast to feed on. You’re really just looking to wake it up and rehydrate it.
While the yeast is sitting, combine 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp sugar in a large bowl. Stir them together until they’re evenly combined.
Add the yeast water and 1 cup heavy cream, then stir until it forms a sticky dough.
Dust the sticky dough with flour so you can scrape it out of the bowl and onto a well floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, adding a little flour as you go to prevent sticking. You want to just develop the gluten in the dough a little, but not enough to make it tough. It won’t look smooth like a nice bread dough, and that’s okay. Place the dough ball back into the bowl, cover it loosely with plastic, and let it rest for about an hour.
While the dough is resting, begin the enchilada sauce. Add 1 Tbsp each of vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder. Whisk them together over medium heat and allow it to begin bubbling and sizzling. Continue to cook and whisk for about one minute.
Carefully whisk in 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. Allow the mixture to come back up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken. Remove the enchilada sauce from the heat and add salt to taste (between 1/4-1/2 tsp).
Add two cups cooked chicken to a bowl along with a drained 15oz. can of black beans. Pour the enchilada sauce over top and then stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in sauce.
After the dough has been resting for an hour, begin to preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat a 2 qt. casserole dish with non-stick spray. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it down into a circle or rectangle.
Cut the dough into small bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch pieces).
Add the dough pieces to the bowl with the chicken, beans, and enchilada sauce, and carefully fold them in until everything is evenly combined and coated in sauce. Spread this mixture into your prepared casserole dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the biscuits in the center are cooked through. One way to tell it’s done all the way through is that the center should be puffed up as much as or more than the outer edges. Also, it should not be jiggly when you poke at it with your finger. How’s that for technical language? 😅
Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheese over top, then back to the oven for another 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!
Finally, top the Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole with sliced green onions just before serving.
Trying this tonight!
btw- I LOVE that casserole dish!!! Do you mind sharing where it’s from???
Thank you! I think it was from cb2.com, although it was a few years ago so I’m not sure if they still carry it. :)
The feedback from my husband was that it seemed like a lot of work for me and that the bread bits didn’t have much taste. The same ingredients would have tasted better if served with tortilla crips.
This was delicious! Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow. I added a chopped red bell pepper and a handful of spinach that I cooked briefly on the stove. The biscuits did taste like biscuits. I liked how pillowy they were. When tasting just the enchilada sauce, it seemed spicy, but when eaten all together at the end it was fine.
Long time listener, first time commenter. We are trying to work out if we can make this a “long life” recipe and our major snag is the heavy cream. I’m just wondering if coconut cream could replace the heavy cream? Love your work!! Thanks!!
Hi Becca! Unfortunately I haven’t tried making the biscuits with coconut cream replacing the heavy cream. I think I’ve seen vegan bloggers make biscuits that way in the past, but I’m not sure if it’s a 1:1 sub or if any other changes need to be made to make it work properly. So I guess that’s all to say that without testing it out I unfortunately can’t offer any good guidance with that swap. But if you do decide to experiment and try it, please let us know how it works!
Our household really enjoyed this recipe as comfort food. This is also a very dynamic recipe, as it can be used to make enchilada pizza by rolling out the biscuit dough into a crust, adding sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, and bits of chicken. The only real changes I made were adding a tsp(ish) of unsweetened cocoa powder to the sauce as well as an equal amount of sugar. Over all, this recipe was a wonderful foundation for many dishes to come. Thanks for the inspiration!
Could I replace the heavy cream with non-fat (drained) greek yoghurt?
No, unfortunately that probably wouldn’t work here.
I’m running short of $ this weekend and don’t want to buy a chicken. However, I do have a half lb of frozen hamburger in the freezer.. if I cook it up with a little spice do you think that will be an adequate substitute?
I think that would be pretty tasty. :)
Pretty good! I substituted store bought biscuit dough due to stress and budget constraints and some of them were kind of runny. Might be caused by not cooking long enough but shouldn’t be anything a little extra time in the oven won’t fix.
I have to say from a graphic design perspective how pleasing it is to read these recipes! They are lovely, and I so enjoy your icons, font choices and amazing photos. Thank you for making it a treat to figure out food!
(and for the amazing selection of recipes, of course!)
This was AWESOME!!!! I recommend keeping a little extra enchilada sauce to pour over the leftovers before reheating. Everyone was asking what I had brought for lunch and wanted some :)
This was a great dish! My only issues were that my enchilada sauce did not thicken even though I followed the recipe for it and directions exactly. To fix this I mixed flour and water in a separate bowl until smooth and stirred it into the sauce while it was over heat until I got the desired thickness. This worked really well. I will be making this again! My tweak was I added a tablespoon of sour cream to the sauce mixture after it was mixed with the beans and chicken. Yummy!
Do you think you could bake this in a covered dutch oven or would a glass casserole baking dish be the best option?
I think a Dutch oven would work just as well. :)