KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE — Tortillas, chicken, peppers, cheese and a creamy sauce are layered together in this crowd-pleasing Southwest casserole.
This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is one of our family’s favorite dishes. I once fed it to a couple of hungry young men and they suggested I open a restaurant! I don’t know many restaurants that serve casserole, but it is good.
I did a bit of research into the recipe’s origins and discovered that while there is a King Ranch in Texas, they don’t claim to have come up with the recipe.
Everyone in the family loved this recipe. It is definitely going into our regular menu rotation. ~ Melissa
I do know that true King Ranch Chicken calls for corn tortillas, but I’m the only one in the family who likes them, so I use flour instead.
Of course, if you wanted to make a gluten-free version of this casserole, corn tortillas would be the way to go. We like a bit of extra heat, so I sometimes replace the green pepper with a diced jalapeno or two.
And of course, a rotisserie chicken is one of my favorite time-savers when I make this meal. I also love that I can prep it early in the day and then just pop it in the oven when it’s time to make dinner.
No matter what kind of tortillas you use, when you layer them with tender chicken, peppers, cheese and a creamy sauce, you have a winner!
I made this recipe exactly as directed except I used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and I used canned chicken breast. It was absolutely delicious and so easy and quick to make! ~ Maria
This is one of my go-to recipes when I’m craving comfort food. No matter how often I make this casserole, my family looks forward to it, and I rarely have leftovers.
Just a note: the original recipe calls for 2 cans of diced tomatoes and green chilies. I find that one is plenty, but feel free to add another if you like a saucier casserole.
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Here’s what you’ll need to make King Ranch Chicken Cassserole
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Produce: onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic
- Chicken broth
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Cream of chicken soup
- Canned diced tomatoes and green chiles
- Spices: salt, oregano, cumin, chili powder
- Cheddar cheese
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Tortillas, chicken, peppers, cheese and a creamy sauce are layered together in this crowd-pleasing Southwest casserole
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
- 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
- 8-10 (8-inch) flour tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breasts until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and shred into bite size pieces.
- Melt butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until tender. Add bell peppers and garlic, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes more.
- Stir in chicken broth, both soups, diced tomatoes and green chilies, salt and spices. Return the shredded chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until mixture is heated through.
- Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the bottom of the pan to coat.
- Layer with half of the tortilla strips.Top with half of the chicken mixture and 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers once (tortilla strips, chicken mixture, cheese).
- Cover and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for and additional 5-10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 614Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1284mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 49g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from myrecipes.com.
IT IS REALLY MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU USE CORN TORTILLAS, ALSO CUTS DOWN CALORIES. THIS IS A RECIPE FROM THE EARLY DAYS LIKE MIGAS, THAT USED UP WHAT YOU HAD ON HAND. COOKED OVER A CAMPFIRE, FILLING AND CHEAP BUT THERE HAS BEEN A LOT ADDED. I PUT IN CARROTS & CELERY & THE PEPPERS BECAUSE THE KIDS LIKED IT (HIDDEN VEGGIES) YOU CAN ADD THE CORN, THEY DID, IF THEY HAD ANY. NOW IF YOUR COOKING IN A DUTCH OVEN I WOULD USE VELVEETA CHEESE, IT CAN STAND UP TO THE MIXING BETTER THAT GRATED CHEESE, JUST MELT IT SLOWLY, THEN ADD YOUR ROTEL CHILIS. I HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO ADD MUSHROOMS BUT IT CLEANS OUT THE FRIDGE AND EVERYBODY LIKES IT. YES, THERE
IS A KING RANCH AND I GREW UP 30 OR SO MILES FROM THERE. IT IS TRULY WORTH READING ABOUT &
THE RUNNING W HAS A BIG PLACE IN TEXAS HISTORY…ANNIE HOFFMAN
I don’t see where you add the chicken in the instructions. Do you add it to the soup mixture? Recipe calls it a chicken mixture so I am guessing that the chicken is added after it’s shredded. Yes?
You add the chicken after every thing is well mixed so it can start absorbing the flavor. The torn up corn
tortillas are tricky, adding them too soon they get mushy, add them too late they are dry lumps in the mix
So for 1st time cooks of this wonderful recipe I would add some, see how they do, 15 minutes then add more and finally add the rest. check them and see what works for you. I give mine about 20 minutes be-fore turning into the baking dish for the final browning. also you can line your baking dish with the leftover tortillas, saves on scraping out a pan. THANKS FOR ASKING, ALWAYS ON HAND, ANNIE
Thanks Annie Hoffman for all your information but as you can see, Danelle rewrote the recipe to address my question. And I am far from a 1st time cook as I am 62 years old and as I am originally from SoCal, I cook a lot of Mexican inspired foods and I did not see the tortilla issue as, well being an issue. Maybe you should start your own food blog Annie. You clearly have lots to say.
I REALLY WISH I KNEW HOW TO DO THAT. Annie
Who doesn’t like a saucy casserole? 😉
Annie, it hopefully made you feel proud to “take over” Danielle’s blog instead of letting her answer the question. I, like another commenter am old enough to know how to cook (70 years old and a lot of experience) and do not feel the need to be “talked down” to. I am sure that a lot of “new cooks” did not feel comfortable with the lecture.
Danielle, Thank you for another version of the good old King Ranch Casserole. There are many versions and we can try them all and find out what suits each of our own liking. Your version sounds delicious and would love to have some right now. Again, THANK YOU!!!!
I think I’m missing something here – at what point do I add the tortilla strips? Your recipe stops at – a lightly greased 9×13 dish – nothing more! Please help – I want to make this within the next say or so!
I’m not sure what happened there, but you should be able to see the complete recipe now.
Everyone in the family loved this recipe. It is definitely going into our regular menu rotation.
Thanks so much Melissa!
Can I make this ahead?
I totally did my layers wrong…it reads a little confusing…but I’m excited to try it.
Omg. This is really good. I have made it as a “dip” with scoops tortilla chips for get togethers. I also added 4 oz of philly cream cheese to the soup mixture before adding the. Chicken.
Can this meal be baked when frozen or should it thaw prior to cooking
I usually thaw it, but I think you could bake it from frozen.
I have made this but never used flour tortillas but I don’t have corn ones so am doing to trying making with the flour ones I have on hand.
i made this and my husband LOVED it and so do I. Super easy, I added carrots and celery and used yellow and red peppers instead of green. Left overs were great with chips sort of as a dip. Flavors on day 2 were even better than day one. This is a new regular – thanks for sharing 🙂
Oh yeah, and we used corn tortillas but am anxious to try it with flour or even just tortilla chips
If you use corn tortillas, do you cook them prior in oil or just add them the same as flour?
I just add them the same as the flour.
I use Doritos instead of tortillas. But my problem is that I don’t know what to serve with it like a salad other than a lettuce salad. Can you help please?
Thank you for this delicious recipe! It is the best Mexican chicken casserole I’ve ever made and I’m a seasoned cook with four adult children (plus bonus children) and four grandchildren. The sauce flavor is outstanding! I’ll be making this again! Thank you so much!