King Ranch Chicken Casserole! This cheesy, creamy casserole is made with layers of crispy corn tortillas, cheese, and a creamy chicken mixture loaded with bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles! Perfect for potlucks or family get togethers!

Plate loaded up with a helping of King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Garnished with sliced green onion and a lime wedge. What is King Ranch Chicken? 

This classic southern casserole recipe started in Texas!  This classic has earned a spot in most people’s heart thanks to its easy recipe, its comforting nature, and its ability to feed the masses. 

Although its namesake is the King Ranch, the largest Ranch in all of Texas, there’s no history linking the cheesy, creamy casserole to the ranch itself. In fact, there’s no written history of where the casserole DID come from. But Texans happily claim it as their comfort food mascot. 

White Casserole dish filled with layers making a King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Layers of tortillas and melted cheese shown on the top.

How to make King Ranch Chicken Casserole from scratch:

To get started, let’s talk about the traditional way of making this casserole dish. Leftover chicken is typically mixed with some cream of mushroom soup, rotel, and layered with tortillas. Easy enough right? BUT! We’re going to make this without the cream of mushroom soup.

So let’s talk about how to make this King Ranch Casserole without canned soup!

How to make King Ranch Casserole without canned soup:

To make this casserole we will be making our own version of a condensed soup, without using a can! To do this we will make a basic roux.

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Once melted add the onion, and bell peppers. Cook until the veggies are tender.
  2. Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir to coat the veggies in the seasonings.
  3. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet. Stir to coat the veggies in the flour, will end up with a thick paste. Cook for a couple minutes to ensure the flour is cooked.
  4. Pour in the broth and stir. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring and let simmer while stirring for about 2-3 minutes until thick.

Remove from the heat and use this mixture to continue making the casserole! No canned soups needed!

Casserole dish filled with King Ranch Chicken, showing a slice missing and layers of tortillas with a creamy chicken mixture, strings of cheese connecting it all.

Tips for making King Ranch Chicken Recipe:

  • Use corn tortillas. I think traditionally it would be made with flour, but I love using corn tortillas. The flavor and texture is perfect for casseroles! 
  • Fry the tortillas briefly before layering. This is the same thing I do when making enchiladas. A brief frying in a small amount of oil in a cast iron skillet helps bring out the flavor of the tortilla and helps them hold up a bit more against the liquid of the casserole so they’re not mush. 
  • Use leftover or rotisserie chicken. Having shredded chicken on hand makes this recipe come together quick and easy! 

Make king ranch chicken casserole in a slow cooker:

This casserole recipe can be made in a slow cooker! To do that simply follow the instructions, but instead of layering the casserole in a dish, put the layers into your slow cooker. You can also make it easier to dish and serve by cutting the tortillas into smaller bite size pieces, about 1 and 1/2 inch squares. 

Set this to low and let heat for about 1-2 hours. Everything is already cooked, so it’s just a matter of warming it all the way through and giving the tortillas a chance to soften. 

Preparing the King Ranch Chicken Casserole in the slow cooker is a great way to prepare and serve this dish for a potluck or group setting. 

Layers of king ranch chicken dished onto a plate showing melted cheese, layers of tortillas and a creamy chicken mixture with tomatoes, peppers and chiles.

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole! This cheesy casserole is basically a Texan lasagna! Layers of crispy corn tortillas, cheese, and a creamy chicken mixture loaded with bell peppers, tomatoes, green chiles, chili powder and cumin! Perfect for potlucks or family get togethers!

King Ranch Chicken Casserole


  • Author: Serene
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x

Description

King Ranch Chicken Casserole! This cheesy casserole is basically a Texan lasagna! Layers of crispy corn tortillas, cheese, and a creamy chicken mixture loaded with bell peppers, tomatoes, green chiles, chili powder and cumin! Perfect for potlucks or family get togethers!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium sized onion)
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (approx. 1 medium bell pepper)
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper (approx. 1 medium bell pepper)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cup chicken broth (can sub with mushroom broth or veggie broth)
  • 110 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles (drained)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 lbs shredded chicken
  • 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 18 corn tortillas (can use white or yellow)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Optional Topping
  • cilantro
  • sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Once melted add the onion, and bell peppers. Allow to cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned.
  3. Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir to coat the veggies in the seasonings.
  4. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet. Stir to coat the veggies in the flour, will end up with a thick paste. Cook briefly for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the broth and stir. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring and let simmer while stirring for about 2-3 minutes until thick. Remove from heat, allow to cool for about 2 minutes and stir in the diced tomatoes with green chiles and the sour cream. Stir to combine. Add the shredded chicken and stir until mixed. Set aside.
  6. Pour the canola oil into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is heated carefully lay the tortillas in the oil in batches, cooking until just browned on each side. Remove from oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towels to catch the remaining oil.
  7. Once all tortillas are browned layer 6 tortillas on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer the tortillas to cover as much of the dish as possible. Top with half of the chicken mixture then one third of the cheese. Repeat by layering 6 more tortillas, the remaining half of the chicken mixture, and one third of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas and the rest of the cheese.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. 
  9. Remove from the oven allow to cool for several minutes then serve warm. Can serve with additional sour cream and fresh cilantro.
  10. Enjoy some traditional Mexican Rice and Beans as a side dish! Serve and enjoy!

  • Category: main dish
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 416
  • Sodium: 713 mg
  • Fat: 28 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 29 g
  • Cholesterol: 96 mg

Keywords: King Ranch Chicken, King Ranch Chicken Casserole, Casserole recipe,