King Ranch Chicken Casserole has it all! It’s creamy, full of Tex-Mex flavor, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser. There’s a reason this easy casserole recipe is so popular!
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I think King Ranch Chicken Casserole ranks right up there with Green Bean Casserole and Cheesy Potato Casserole when it comes to all-time favorite casserole recipes. This is one of those dinners you’ll find yourself making again and again, and it’s no wonder why—it’s creamy, cheesy, and has all those Tex-Mex flavors everyone loves.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole is an easy-to-make dish made with chicken, cheese, tomatoes, green chiles, and a creamy sauce. The original recipe dates back to the 1940s and can be found in cookbooks from King Ranch in Texas.
Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe
While there are various versions of this casserole today, the traditional recipe consists of cooked chicken (typically shredded or diced), cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, canned tomatoes with green chiles, and a variety of spices. The mixture is layered with cheese and tortillas before being baked until hot and bubbly.
Like my Dorito Chicken Casserole, this dish is an ideal comfort food dish that can feed a crowd; it’s also perfect for potlucks and family get-togethers. Or, just make it for a weeknight and have enough leftovers for the next day! Because so many of the ingredients are canned and packaged, this is the kind of dinner that comes together lickety-split. We love that!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Vegetable oil – Canola oil is fine, too.
- Onion – Any variety will work here.
- Green bell pepper – For a little more heat, substitute a poblano or Hatch chiles.
- Cooked shredded chicken – Rotisserie chicken is perfect here, or use leftovers from my Instant Pot Whole Chicken.
- Condensed cream of chicken soup
- Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles – If you can’t find Rotel, just buy diced tomatoes and a can of green chiles.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro – Not a fan of cilantro? No worries! Omit it or substitute thinly sliced green onions.
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded Mexican style cheese – Some recipes call for cheddar cheese, so feel free to swap that in if you’d like.
- For a spicier version of King Ranch Chicken Casserole, add hot diced green chiles or jalapeños, or use pepper jack cheese for the topping.
- Add cooked crumbled bacon to the casserole—because everything’s better with bacon!
- Substitute cream of mushroom soup for the cream of chicken soup for a subtle mushroom flavor.
How to Make King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- Prepare: Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Cook the onions and pepper: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until softened.
- Finish the sauce and chicken: Reduce the heat to low, then stir in the chicken, soup, Rotel, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook until everything is heated through, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and cilantro.
- Assemble: Arrange half of the tortillas on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by half of the chicken mixture and half of the shredded cheese. Repeat with another layer of the tortillas and chicken, ending with the remaining cheese.
- Cook: Bake your King Ranch Chicken Casserole for 30 to 35 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is completely melted. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve.
Want to add some crunch on top? Add Fritos, tortilla chips, or ranch Doritos. It’s not traditional, but it is delicious!
How to Store Leftover King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Leftover King Ranch Chicken Casserole can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat the casserole in a 350ºF oven until it’s warmed through, or simply warm it up in the microwave.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole can be served as a main dish accompanied by simple sides like a green salad, Mexican corn, steamed broccoli, or homemade cornbread. I like offering additional topping options too, like salsa, sour cream, sliced green onions, and picked jalapeños.
King Ranch chicken is named after the King Ranch, a large ranch located in South Texas. The recipe originated on the ranch and became popular throughout the state, before becoming a nationwide sensation!
Yes, you can make this casserole up to one day in advance. Just assemble the casserole, cover with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. When it’s dinner time, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before baking according to the recipe instructions.
Yes, you can freeze the casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 to 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 2 10.5 oz cans condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 10 oz can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
- 12 to 14 corn tortillas torn into large pieces
- 3 cups shredded Mexican style cheese
- Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. Preheat an oven to 350 F.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, then add the chicken, canned soup, Rotel, garlic and onion powder. Stir together and cook until everything is heated through, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, then mix in the sour cream and cilantro.
- In the prepared baking dish, arrange half of the tortillas, followed by half of the chicken mixture. Top with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat with another layer of the tortillas and chicken, ending with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until heated through and the cheese is completely melted. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.