Creamy and cheesy King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a Southern staple that makes the most comforting meal ever! With melty cheese, chicken, and southwest ingredients add a lot of flavor to this easy casserole with minimal work.
The Best King Ranch Casserole
This is as comforting as dinner can get! You get the delicious layers of chicken, creamy soups, cheese, and tortillas, all seasoned to perfection. If you are on the search for a simple dinner that tastes great, I highly recommend you make this for your family at least once.
We are a taco and quesadilla-loving household. Traditional tacos get boring sometimes, and that’s okay! This is where meals like this King Ranch casserole come in. It combines flavors like chili powder, cumin, diced tomatoes with chiles, with cream of mushroom soup to give you a brand-new dinner to add to your weekly rotation.
What is King Ranch Casserole?
If you have never heard of King Ranch casserole, you are likely not from the south! This old-fashioned recipe originated in Texas and it gets its name from King Ranch, which is one of the largest ranches in the United States. There are no real ties to the ingredients used, but this casserole brings together delicious Tex-Mex flavors to bring you a warm, bubbly, and cheesy dinner.
This casserole is full of flavor and comfort. The creamy sauce is rich and flavorful, and the chicken and vegetables are tender and juicy. The corn tortillas add a nice crunch, and the melted cheese is gooey and delicious. This casserole is sure to be a hit at your next potluck or family dinner.
What You’ll Need
I love using canned soups for quick meals. They add the perfect amount of creaminess and flavor. The spices add a Tex-Mex flair, too! This is a cheap and tasty meal that you can make on a budget.
- Shredded Chicken Breast: You can cook chicken breast in a large skillet over medium-high heat and shred them yourself or purchase a cooked rotisserie chicken. Chicken thighs are a cost effective choice in a pinch.
- Cream of Chicken Soup
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Sour Cream
- Rotel: I use the original Ro-tel with green chilies, but there are other varieties that you can use as well if you prefer.
- Onion: I recommend yellow or white onion over red for the best flavor.
- Red Bell Pepper
- Shredded Colby Jack Cheese – cheddar cheese can also be used.
- Seasoning: Chili Powder, cumin, salt and black pepper.
- White Corn Tortillas: These will be cut into bite-sized pieces to be added to the casserole.
How to Make King Ranch Chicken Casserole
There’s no precooking with this recipe! All of the ingredients are combined, layered, and baked to perfection! It’s perfect when you just don’t have enough time to stand in front of your stovetop.
- Prep Oven and Baking Dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine Creamy Ingredients and Veggies. To a large bowl, add cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, rotel with green chiles, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Layer. Evenly layer half of the tortillas on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Add Chicken and Soup. Spread half of the chicken on top of the tortillas and pour half of the soup mixture on top of the chicken. Then, sprinkle half of the shredded Colby jack on top.
- Repeat the Layers. Repeat the process, starting with the tortillas and ending with the shredded cheese.
- Cover and Bake. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the Foil. Take the foil off the baking dish and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Cool and Serve. Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Variations and Tips
- Cheese – feel free to replace the Colby jack cheese with shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey jack or any Mexican blend cheese.
- Tortillas – replace the tortillas with tortillas chips.
- Rotel – replace with your favorite salsa recipe.
- Toppings – this is great with toppings like sliced avocado, additional sour cream, jalapenos, etc…
- Serving – serve with a side salad like black bean and corn salad or a side dish like Mexican rice, Jalapeno Coleslaw, Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice, Mexican corn bread, Mexican Corn, and finish it off with some Fried Ice Cream!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Place leftovers of this king ranch chicken casserole into an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I recommend reheating it in the oven in a baking dish for best results. A microwave can be used but I don’t find the texture to be as pleasing.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes! Allow the prepared ranch chicken casserole to cool completely before covering the pan and storing it in the freezer. It will keep for up to 1 month. Feel free to do the same with leftovers, too!
Transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw about 1 day in advance. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking, and you’re ready to go!
More Casserole Recipes
- Cowboy Casserole
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Philly Cheesesteak Casserole
- Taco Tater Tot Casserole
- Ham Casserole
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- 2 Cups Cooked Chicken Breast shredded
- 1 10 ounce can Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1 10 ounce can Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 10 ounce can Rotel
- 1 small Onion chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 2 Cups Colby Jack Cheese shredded
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 10 White Corn Tortillas Torn Into Bite-Sized Pieces
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Greatest a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, Rotel, diced onion, diced red bell pepper, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Layer half of the white corn tortillas on the bottom to the greased 9×14-inch baking dish.
- Spread half of the shredded chicken evenly over the tortillas.
- Pour half of the soup mixture over the shredded chicken.
- Sprinkle half of the shredded colby jack cheese on top.
- Repeat the layers – torn white corn tortillas, shredded chicken, soup mixture, and shredded colby jack cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is melted and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
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- This King Ranch Chicken Casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For leftovers, you can reheat the casserole in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through.
- Feel free to adjust the spice level by adding more or less chili powder.
- If you prefer a milder version, you can use diced tomatoes instead of Rotel.
- Serve this casserole with your favorite side dish, such as rice or green salad, for a complete meal.