This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a classic Texas dish that can be found at just about any potluck, pitch in or church gathering in the Lone Star State. It also makes a simple family dinner! Layers of tortillas are baked with tons of gooey cheese, chicken, vegetables and spices for a kid friendly, Tex-Mex meal any night of the week!
Why You Will Love King Ranch Casserole
- EASY – With just a few common pantry staples, I’ll bet you already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen! And it just takes a couple minutes to throw together and get in your oven!
- GREAT TO FEED A CROWD – Great for pitch ins, potlucks or any party where you need to feed a larger group. This recipe is easy to double too!
- TOTAL COMFORT FOOD – This is just, real, simple down home cooking!
Why Do They Call It A King Ranch Chicken Casserole?
I did some research on how exactly this casserole got it’s name. There IS a large, famous ranch in Texas called the King Ranch. But no one seem to be entirely sure if this recipe was born by those that lived on the ranch, or if someone just named it after the ranch because they thought is sounded cool. Everyone DOES agree that this recipe seemed to develop in the 1950’s, after the war and when Campbell’s soup was devising ways for housewives to make dishes simpler and easier. This is why you will see TWO cans of soup in this recipe!
How To Make a King Ranch Casserole
For step-by-step instructions, check out the printable recipe card below. But here is what you’ll need to get started:
- Vegetable oil
- Small onion, chopped
- Red bell pepper, diced
- Jalapeno pepper, deseeded and diced
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Chicken breast, cooked and shredded
- Cream of chicken soup
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Diced tomatoes with green chilies
- Flour tortillas, quartered
- Monterey jack cheese
Best Chicken To Use For This Recipe
- ROTISSERIE CHICKEN: This is the method we most recommend, simply because it’s the easiest! Grab a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store and just pull the meat off of it.
- BOILED CHICKEN: This is also pretty easy! Simply boil the chicken for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature says 165. Then use a fork to pull the chicken apart after it cools enough to handle.
- CANNED CHICKEN: I actually LOVE canned chicken and use it several different recipes. It would work fine here.
Can You Freeze King Ranch Chicken Casserole?
Yes. You can freeze this dish. First, let the dish completely cool at room temperature. Then wrap it in aluminum foil and/or a freezer bag. Make sure to label it and date it. It should be good in your freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw out out in your refrigerator overnight and heat as instructed on the recipe card.
Notes, Tips and Variations
- EASY SHREDDED CHICKEN- Want to save a little time? We love to pick up a Rotisserie Chicken from our local grocery store. Just use a couple of forks to scrape them off the bone for some perfect shredded chicken.
- ADD SOME HEAT?- Many brands that sell tomatoes with chilis (Rotel) have various levels of heat that you can buy, from mild to hot. You can certainly use this to adjust your spiciness. You could also add some chili powder as desired to this dish.
- USE AS A DIP?- I’ve even heard of some people using this dish as a dip or an appetizer. It would be delicious to dip some tortilla chips into!
- SUB TORTILLAS FOR CORN CHIPS: You can trade out the tortillas and layer taco chips in this casserole. The taco chips will soften, but still be a little firmer than the tortillas, which would give this a nice texture.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for King Ranch Chicken Casserole. If you are looking for more casserole recipes, check out:
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper deseeded and diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups chicken breast cooked and shredded
- 1 10.75 ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 1 10.75 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 8 8- inch flour tortillas quartered
- 2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 13x9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and sauté until tender.
- Add the chicken, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Stir to combine. Heat until simmering, then remove from stovetop.
- Layer half the tortillas in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the soup mixture and half the cheese. Repeat to create another layer, ending with a layer of cheese on top.
- Cover the casserole and cook for 30 minutes, then remove cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes.