King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken casserole layered with corn tortillas, Mexican cheese, sour cream and shredded chicken. This makes a great make ahead freezer meal and is a crowd favorite! The best thing about this recipe is that it’s made from scratch! No canned soup required. This is the best king ranch chicken casserole you will ever have!

Looking for more Mexican Inspired Recipe? Try my Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken or my Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole!

King Ranch Chicken | chefsavvy.com

I was first introduced to King Ranch Chicken at my mother in law’s house. I was blown away by the creamy, cheesy chicken casserole that was full of flavor. How have I not had this before? Since then I have made this easy king ranch chicken recipe dozens of times. 

This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is super easy to throw together that’s why I love it so much. This recipe uses leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken, jared salsa, seasonings, sour cream, onions, garlic and diced green chilies.

The best thing about this king ranch chicken recipe is that it’s made from scratch! No canned soup required.

Every time I make this king ranch chicken casserole recipe I always double it. One for dinner and one to pop directly into the freezer. This casserole freezes really well and makes a great make ahead meal!

What is King Ranch Chicken?

King Ranch Chicken is comfort food at it’s finest! This tex mex casserole originated from Texas and has been a potluck go-to for many years! This casserole is known for using canned soup and rotel tomatoes. I stayed away from the canned soup and instead used sour cream for the creamy factor! I also use jared hot salsa over rotel tomatoes for extra heat and extra flavor!

King Ranch Chicken Casserole | chefsavvy.com

Ingredients

The full ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.

  • Onion & Garlic: Use diced yellow or red onion!
  • Cooked shredded chicken: You can use either cooked shredded chicken thighs or chicken breasts. You can also use rotisserie chicken. I like this recipe for making shredded chicken.
  • Salsa: Use your favorite type of jared salsa. I like to use hot for a little kick!
  • Sour cream: Is what gives this dish a creamy texture. You can also use greek yogurt for a healthier swap.
  • Green chilies: Don’t worry about these adding heat they are very mild and have a great flavor.
  • Shredded cheese: I like using the 4 cheese Mexican blend. However pepper jack, Monterey jack, cheddar or Colby jack can all be used.
  • Corn tortillas: Are cut into smaller pieces then layered between the filling. You can also use flour tortillas!
  • Bell pepper: Adds a pop of color! Red, yellow or green can be used. You could also do tri color!

Learn how to make King Ranch Chicken | chefsavvy.com

How to make King Ranch Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add in onion and bell pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes or until softened and golden brown. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • To a large bowl add sautéed peppers, onions and garlic, chicken, sour cream, salsa, green chilies, cilantro, chili powder and cumin.
  • Cut the tortillas into smaller pieces.

Assemble:

  • Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with 3/4 cup of the cheese and a layer of cut tortillas. Repeat two more layers. Spread the last 1/4 of chicken filling and remaining 3/4 cup of cheese on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

What to serve with King Ranch Chicken

Optional Toppings

  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream or greek yogurt for a lighter option
  • Pico de gallo
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced red onion / sliced radish
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced or pickled jalapeños
  • Black olives

King Ranch Chicken Recipe | chefsavvy.com

Storage, Freezing and Reheating Instructions

  • Store: Leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Unbaked or baked casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. If freezing unbaked I like to wrap the whole casserole dish in aluminum foil.
  • To reheat from fridge: Either microwave or heat in a skillet with a splash of water and cover until heated through. You can also reheat the baked casserole back up in the oven covered at 350 degrees until heated through.
  • To reheat from frozen: Allow the casserole to thaw out overnight then bake as directed.

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes you can make this the day of and keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until it’s ready to bake. You can also freeze it and reheat when you are ready to serve!

King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe | chefsavvy.com

Here are more Easy Casserole Recipes to make!

King Ranch Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8

King Ranch Chicken casserole layered with corn tortillas, Mexican cheese, sour cream and shredded chicken. This makes a great make ahead freezer meal and is a crowd favorite! The best thing about this recipe is that it's made from scratch! No canned soup required. This is the best king ranch chicken casserole you will ever have!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cooked and shredded chicken thighs (you can also use leftover rotisserie chicken)
  • 16 ounces sour cream (about 2 cups)
  • 16 ounces jarred salsa, use either hot, medium or mild (I used hot)
  • 4.5 ounces chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 12 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (about 3 cups)
  • 15 corn tortillas

Instructions

Media:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add in onion and bell pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes or until softened and golden brown. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • To a large bowl add sautéed peppers, onions and garlic, chicken, sour cream, salsa, green chilies, cilantro, chili powder and cumin.
  • Cut the tortillas into smaller pieces.

Assemble

  • Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with 3/4 cup of the cheese and a layer of cut tortillas. Repeat two more layers. Spread the last 1/4 of chicken filling and remaining 3/4 cup of cheese on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Nutrition Facts
King Ranch Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 535 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 129mg43%
Sodium 886mg39%
Potassium 647mg18%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 1574IU31%
Vitamin C 28mg34%
Calcium 425mg43%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Tex Mex
Keyword: Comfort food, King Ranch Chicken Casserole, Leftover rotisserie chicken, Winter Recipes

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