November 30, 2023Review Recipe
Table of Contents
I don’t think anything smells better than this King Ranch chicken casserole cooking in the oven. The Texas-inspired classic comfort food is the perfect dish. Loaded with layers of tortillas, chicken, cheese, and creamy gravy, it’s a guaranteed family favorite.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole Ingredients
This mouthwatering creation is packed with flavors that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
With tender chunks of chicken, layers of tortillas, crisp veggies, and a cheesy sauce, this casserole is a true winner.
- 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of chopped sweet yellow onion
- 1 chopped bell pepper (any color, I used a red bell pepper)
- 1 (10.5-ounce) can of cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 1 (10.5-ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 1 (10-ounce) can of mild Rotel, undrained
- 3 cups of shredded cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 12 soft taco-size corn tortillas, quartered
- 4 cups of freshly shredded Colby and Monterey jack cheese (divided into 1½ cups and 2½ cups)
Substitutions And Additions
CHICKEN: You can substitute shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken for the boneless skinless chicken breasts in this delicious recipe.
BELL PEPPER: You can use any color of bell pepper that you wish in this Tex-Mex dish.
CHEESE: You can substitute pre-shredded cheese for freshly shredded cheese, but it will not be as creamy.
Pre-shredded cheese adds a preservative coating to the cheese and has a powdery texture.
SPICY: To add a bit of a kick, use spicy Rotel tomatoes instead of mild, and pepper jack cheese instead of the milder cheese the recipe calls for.
SEASONINGS: Don’t hesitate to play with the seasonings.
Add a pinch of smoked paprika for a smoky depth, some cumin for a hint of earthiness, or crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat.
CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP: If you’re looking for a lighter option, consider using cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup as a substitute for cream of chicken soup.
TORTILLAS: The recipe typically calls for corn tortillas, but you can experiment with flour tortillas or whole wheat tortillas for a slightly different texture and flavor.
ONIONS: If you’re not a fan of onions or want to reduce their intensity, you can use finely chopped leeks or shallots as a milder alternative.
CILANTRO: If cilantro isn’t to your liking, fresh parsley or chives can be used as a milder herb option.
How To Make This King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe
You’ll first sauté the veggies and mix them with the chicken and sauce before you layer the tortillas with the casserole filling and cheese.
Once baked, you’ll end up with a cheesy, gooey, and hearty meal.
OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS
This dish can be assembled up to a day before baking. Cover in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the fridge overnight.
Take out about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, and let it come to room temperature.
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
STEP TWO: Add the olive oil, chopped onion, and chopped bell pepper to a four to five-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Saute for five to seven minutes or until the onions and bell peppers are softened. Remove from the heat.
STEP THREE: Whisk in the undiluted cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and the undrained Rotel. Whisk until well combined.
STEP FOUR: Stir in the shredded chicken and chopped cilantro.
STEP FIVE: Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half of the quartered corn tortillas.
A pizza cutter is a great way to easily cut the corn tortillas into quarters.
STEP SIX: Spoon half of the creamy chicken mixture over the bottom layer of corn tortillas.
STEP SEVEN: Sprinkle one-and-a-half cups of the shredded cheese over the chicken layer.
STEP EIGHT: Layer the remaining corn tortillas over the cheese layer.
STEP NINE: Spread the remaining chicken filling over the corn tortillas.
STEP TEN: Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the chicken mixture.
STEP ELEVEN: Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve while hot.
Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your casserole as the suggested cooking time approaches.
How To Serve
This tasty dish is the perfect choice for busy weeknights.
For an even heartier meal, serve the casserole over a bed of cooked white or brown rice.
Transform the casserole into taco filling. Spoon the creamy mixture into soft tortillas, add your favorite toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and grated cheese.
Create a Mexican street food-inspired spread by serving the casserole alongside elote, grilled Mexican street corn.
When To Serve
WEEKNIGHT DINNER: King Ranch chicken casserole is a convenient and hearty option for a family meal.
FAMILY GATHERINGS: When you’re hosting a family get-together, whether a casual Sunday dinner or a holiday celebration, this dish can serve as the centerpiece.
POTLUCK OR PICNIC: Its portability and the fact that it can be served hot or at room temperature make it a convenient and tasty option for sharing.
MORE CASSEROLE RECIPES
This dish would make a great make-ahead meal. Just prep it and stick it in the freezer for a busy day when you don’t have time to make something elaborate.
MAKE AHEAD: If you’d like to prepare this casserole in advance, you can assemble it up to a day ahead of time.
After layering all the ingredients in your casserole dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to enjoy it, simply follow the baking instructions in the original recipe.
IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers of this easy casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze this baked casserole for up to one month. Allow the casserole to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
REHEATING: To reheat your King Ranch chicken casserole, there are a couple methods you can choose from:
- OVEN: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the casserole in an oven-safe dish. Cover it with aluminum foil to prevent drying, and bake until heated through, approximately 20-30 minutes.
- MICROWAVE: For quick individual servings, microwave on a microwave-safe plate covered with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Heat in one to two-minute intervals until hot, stirring in between to ensure even heating.
Why We Love This Recipe
There are plenty of reasons to love this casserole recipe:
FLAVORFUL: This casserole is a burst of Tex-Mex flavors that meld together perfectly.
ONE-DISH WONDER: It’s a time-saver with easy cleanup, making it ideal for weeknight meals.
LEFTOVERS THAT SHINE: It reheats beautifully, ensuring that you can enjoy its savory goodness for days to come.
Layers of hearty but simple ingredients, all smothered in sauce, make this gooey comfort food an obvious choice for a quick and easy meal option. With plenty of zesty Tex-Mex flavors, this family-friendly King Ranch chicken casserole will surely be a winner.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The original King Ranch chicken recipe is named for King Ranch in Texas, one of the largest ranches in the United States.
The dish itself doesn’t have any known ties to the ranch, but it certainly has plenty of Tex-Mex flavor.
While it has plenty of flavorful ingredients, this easy recipe is perfectly kid-friendly and isn’t spicy at all.
You can assemble this dish up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking and serving.
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King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
- 1 chopped bell pepper, any color (I used a red bell pepper)
- 10.5 ounces cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 10.5 ounces cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 10 ounces mild Rotel, undrained
- 3 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded and cooked
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
- 12 soft taco-size corn tortillas, quartered
- 4 cups freshly shredded Colby and Monterey jack cheese, divided into 1½ and 2½
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Add the olive oil, chopped onion, and chopped bell pepper to a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions and bell peppers are softened. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the undiluted cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and the undrained Rotel. Whisk until well combined.
- Stir in the shredded chicken and chopped cilantro.
- Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half of the quartered corn tortillas.
- Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the bottom layer of corn tortillas.
- Sprinkle 1½ cups of the shredded cheese over the chicken layer.
- Layer the remaining corn tortillas over the cheese layer.
- Spread the remaining chicken mixture over the corn tortillas.
- Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the chicken mixture.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve while hot.
- This dish can be assembled up to a day before baking. Cover in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the fridge overnight. Take out about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, and let it come to room temperature.
- A pizza cutter is a great way to easily cut the corn tortillas into quarters.
- Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your casserole as the suggested cooking time approaches.
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