Born in Paris, his real surname was Philippe. He obtained his first success in collaboration with Charles Desnoyer in Émile, ou le fils d'un pair de France (1831), a drama which was the first of a series of some two hundred pieces written alone or in collaboration with other dramatists. He died in Paris in 1899.
Among the best of his works are Gaspard Hauser (1838) with Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois; Les Bohémiens de Paris (1842) with Eugène Grangé; with Mallian, Marie-Jeanne, ou la femme du peuple (1845), in which Madame Dorval obtained a great success; La Case d'Oncle Tom (1853); and Les Deux Orphelines (1875), perhaps his best piece, with Eugène Cormon. The story was adapted in 1921 by D.W. Griffith as the film Orphans of the Storm.
He wrote the libretto for Gounod's Le tribut de Zamora (1881); with Louis Gallet and Édouard Blau he composed the libretto to Massenet's Le Cid (1885); and, again in collaboration with Cormon, the librettos of Auber's operas, Le premier jour de bonheur (1868) and Rêve d'amour (1869). Other opera librettos include La rose de Terone (1840), Si j'étais roi (1852), Le muletier de Tolède (1854) (on which Michael Balfe's The Rose of Castille (1857) was based), and À Clichy (1854) by Adolphe Adam, Massenet's early Don César de Bazan (1872) and Hervé's La nuit aux soufflets (1884) He prepared for the stage Balzac's posthumous comedy Mercadet ou le faiseur, presented at the Théâtre du Gymnase in 1851. Reversing the usual order of procedure, d'Ennery adapted some of his plays to the form of novels.
In 2015 was founded the Society of Friends of Adolphe d'Ennery (Société des amis d'Adolphe d'Ennery) whose purpose is to promote Adolphe d'Ennery, study his work and put an online enriched encyclopedia about the author and his work.