King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Main dish


Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a beloved dish deeply rooted in Tex-Mex cuisine, offering a creamy, cheesy, and comforting taste that has made it a staple in many households. This casserole combines layers of tortillas, shredded chicken, vegetables, cheese, and a creamy sauce, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal. Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or any gathering, this recipe is easy to make and can be adapted to fit various dietary preferences. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to prepare King Ranch Chicken Casserole, along with tips for customization and serving.


3 cups shredded cooked chicken: You can use rotisserie chicken or boil and shred chicken breasts.

1 medium onion, chopped: Adds a slight sweetness and texture.

1 bell pepper (red or green), diced: Brings color and a mild flavor to the dish.

2 cloves of garlic, minced: For an aromatic base.

1 can (10.5 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup: Acts as a thickener for the sauce.

1 can (10.5 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup: Adds depth and richness.

1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained: Introduces a mild spice and tang.

2 teaspoons chili powder: Provides warmth and spice.

1 teaspoon cumin: Adds a smoky, earthy flavor.

12 corn tortillas, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces: Forms the layers of the casserole.

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese: Adds a creamy, melty texture.

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Prepare the vegetable mix: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until they are soft, about 5 minutes.

Combine soups and spices: In a large bowl, mix the condensed cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, diced tomatoes and green chilies, chili powder, and cumin. Stir in the sautéed vegetables. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Layer the casserole: Spread a thin layer of the soup mixture at the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas, followed by a layer of chicken, then sprinkle with cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with a generous layer of cheese on top.

Bake: Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Serving: Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving. This allows it to set, making it easier to cut into portions.

Tips and Variations:

Make it healthier: Substitute the condensed soups with homemade white sauce and use low-fat cheese.

Add veggies: Mix in spinach, corn, or black beans for extra nutrition and flavor.

Spicier version: Include chopped jalapeños in the vegetable mix or use a spicier variety of diced tomatoes and chilies.

Serving suggestions: Serve with a side of guacamole, sour cream, and a fresh green salad for a complete meal.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole is not only a comfort food favorite but also a versatile dish that welcomes customization. Whether you’re looking to stick to the classic recipe or adapt it to fit your dietary needs, this casserole is sure to please a crowd with its creamy, cheesy goodness and rich flavors.

Storage and Leftovers:

One of the many charms of King Ranch Chicken Casserole is its ability to taste even better the next day, making it a perfect dish for leftovers. To store, simply cover the baking dish with foil or transfer the casserole to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or covered in the oven at 350°F until thoroughly warmed.

Freezing for Later:

King Ranch Chicken Casserole freezes exceptionally well, making it a fantastic make-ahead meal. To freeze, prepare the casserole but do not bake. Wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed, adding an extra 10-15 minutes to the baking time if needed.

Cooking Tips:

Shredding Chicken: For ease and convenience, use rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken. If cooking chicken specifically for this recipe, consider seasoning it with a bit of the chili powder and cumin used in the casserole for added flavor.

Tortillas: Corn tortillas are preferred for their texture and ability to hold up in the casserole. If you prefer, flour tortillas can be used, but they may result in a softer texture.

Cheese Varieties: While cheddar cheese is traditional, feel free to experiment with other types like Monterey Jack, Colby, or a Tex-Mex blend for different flavors and melting qualities.

Serving Ideas:

To elevate your King Ranch Chicken Casserole dinner, consider these additional serving suggestions:

Cilantro Lime Rice: A refreshing side that complements the richness of the casserole.

Cornbread: Perfect for scooping up any sauce and adding a sweet counterpart to the spicy flavors.

Pickled Onions or Jalapeños: Add a tangy crunch that cuts through the creamy, cheesy layers of the casserole.

Customization Ideas:

The beauty of King Ranch Chicken Casserole lies in its versatility. Here are a few ideas to customize the dish to your taste:

Meat Alternatives: For a vegetarian version, substitute the chicken with a mix of beans, lentils, or a meat substitute. You can also use turkey as a lighter alternative.

Spice Level: Adjust the spice level to suit your preference by modifying the amount of chili powder and adding or removing spicy elements like jalapeños or cayenne pepper.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free condensed soups and corn tortillas to make this dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole embodies the comfort and warmth of home-cooked meals, with its layers of flavor and texture. Whether served at a casual family dinner or a special gathering, it brings people together, offering a taste of Tex-Mex cuisine that’s hard to resist. By following this guide and adding your personal touches, you can create a memorable meal that’s both delicious and satisfying.


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