King Ranch Chicken Casserole

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  • This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is packed with incredible Tex-Mex flavors and of course loads of cheesy goodness. It’s perfect for a family dinner and can be made ahead of time.

    overhead of king ranch chicken casserole with cheese and green onions

    A King Ranch Casserole is the perfect addition to any dinner table and a tasty, creamy Mexican comfort food. This family favorite is great for lunches and can be frozen!

    My family and I are massive fans of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It is always a constant request from family and a huge hit with all of our friends. We may not be from Texas, but we sure do love this King Ranch Chicken Casserole.

    The casserole is layered with a homemade gravy, cooked chicken, cheese, and tortillas for a Mexican lasagna effect. The flavor comes from a blend of Tex-Mex inspired spices, but still kid-friendly and not too spicy.

    close up of king ranch chicken casserole in a serving dish

    What is King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

    Easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a classic Texas casserole, with layers of cooked chicken, cheese, tortillas, and homemade gravy. The name originates from the historic King Ranch in Texas.

    Traditionally, this chicken casserole is made with canned condensed soup, but I decided to make a homemade gravy that is creamy and packed with flavor.

    angle of melted cheese on a king ranch chicken casserole

    How to Make King Ranch Casserole

    Begin by seasoning and cooking your chicken breasts in a large pan over medium heat. While the chicken is cooked, chop your bell peppers, and onion. Once the chicken is cooked on both sides, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

    spoon dipping into king ranch chicken casserole

    In the same pan you cooked the chicken in, add all your chopped veggies and cook over medium heat until soft. Once soft add in the flour and chicken broth to create the creamy gravy. Once the gravy is thickened add in your spices and adjust to taste.

    Now, combine the gravy, chopped cooked chicken, sour cream, drained diced tomatoes, cream cheese and cheddar cheese then stir to combine. The mix will be thick.

    king ranch chicken casserole on a white plate with sour cream and salsa

    In a 13×9 inch pan spread a thin layer of the chicken gravy then put torn tortillas over the top. Repeat this layering of gravy and tortillas three times then top with a generous amount of shredded cheese.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and enjoy topped with green onion, cilantro or avocado.

    Tips for making the best casserole

    Save Time: If you are looking to cut down on some prep work for this King Ranch Casserole you can use rotisserie chicken.

    Layer it Up: Personally, I like to tear up my tortillas and layer the chicken casserole so you get bites of tortillas in each bite. Alternatively, you can lay the tortillas whole and create more of a Mexican lasagna effect. Also if you are not a fan flour tortillas you can swap in corn instead.

    king ranch chicken casserole with green onions

    Healthier Swap: Okay, so this King Ranch Chicken is by no means a meal fit for a diet. But, if you wish to make it a tad healthier you can swap out the sour cream for Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt instead.

    Storing leftover chicken casserole

    Store leftover king ranch casserole in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat, place a serving of casserole on a microwave safe plate and heat for 30-60 seconds.

    Alternatively, you can place the entire chicken casserole back into the oven at 350 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes until bubbling.

    king ranch chicken casserole for pinterest

    Can this Chicken Casserole be frozen?

    Yes, the casserole can be frozen. Prep the recipe according to the post instructions, but instead of baking you can cover and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    When ready to bake it let the chicken casserole come to room temperature then follow the recipe baking instructions.

    Is King Ranch Casserole Spicy?

    I would say the spice level of this casserole is mild. The peppers add a touch of spice, but nothing that would burn your lips.

    Of course you can pump up the spice level if you wish by adding in some diced jalapeno, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper.

    Will kids enjoy King Ranch Chicken?

    Well, if they are anything like mine they will devour it! There is loads of melty cheese, chicken, and tortillas in the chicken casserole, which are all wins for most kids.

    If you have a picky eater on your hands you could lessen the amount of bell peppers you add in or leave them out all together.

    cheesy king ranch chicken casserole for pinterest

    Here are more delicious dinner options:

    Smothered Chicken Burritos
    Cheesy Smothered Chicken Burritos are an easy one-dish weeknight meal made with gooey cheese, green enchiladas sauce, shredded chicken and fresh toppings.
    Pork Chili Verde
    Chile Verde- green chile with tomatoes and spices served over a giant burrito, eggs, refried beans or in tacos. www.savoryexperiments.com
    Pork Chili Verde is a wonderful mixture made up of green chilis, tomatoes and spices, best served over giant burritos, eggs, refried beans or in tacos. 

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    4.89 from 9 votes

    King Ranch Chicken Casserole

    This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is packed with incredible Tex-Mex flavors and of course loads of cheesy goodness. This simple recipe is perfect for a family dinner and can be made ahead of time.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time45 mins
    Total Time1 hr
    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Keyword: king ranch chicken casserole
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 289kcal
    Author: Caitlyn Erhardt

    Ingredients

    For Topping

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, season both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper and paprika. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Place chicken in the heated skillet and cook chicken 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
    • While the chicken is cooking, chop your peppers (be sure to remove the seeds and ribs from inside), and onion. Once the chicken is cooked on both sides, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
    • In the same pan you cooked the chicken in, add butter then all your chopped veggies and cook over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes stirring occasionally. While the veggies are cooking, chop the cooked chicken into small pieces or shred.
    • Once the veggies are soft add in the flour and stir until dissolved. Next, add chicken broth to create the creamy gravy. When the gravy is thickened add in cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper (optional) and adjust to taste.
    • Drain the juice from the canned diced tomatoes and green chilies. Now, combine the gravy, chopped cooked chicken, sour cream, diced tomatoes and green chilies, cream cheese and cheddar cheese then stir to combine. The mix will be thick.
    • In a 13×9 inch pan spread a thin layer of the chicken gravy mixture then put torn tortillas over the top. Repeat this layering of gravy and tortillas three times then top with Mexican shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the center rack until bubbling and enjoy topped with green onion, cilantro or avocado. Enjoy!
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!

    Notes

    ● Store leftover King Ranch Chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
    ● You can use either flour or corn tortillas for this casserole. Personally, I enjoy flour but either work great.
    ● To make the chicken casserole spicier you can add in some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes or diced jalapeno pepper.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 901IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 245mg | Iron: 1mg

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