King Ranch Casserole

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Are you ready to try the best chicken casserole ever? This King Ranch Casserole features tantalizing Tex-Mex flavor mixed with cheesy and creamy layers.

King Ranch Casserole

While it may have its roots in Texas, this King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a beloved dish everywhere in the South. It’s bound to show up at any potluck you attend, but it’s easy to see why. It’s cozy, comforting, and oh-so-delicious, with creamy Tex-Mex layers sandwiched between corn tortillas and lots of cheese. Sounds like Southern comfort food heaven, right?

Another reason this is the best chicken casserole ever is that it requires minimal prep and makes the ideal family-friendly weeknight dinner. You can even make it the night before and store it in your fridge to pop in the oven right before supper.

Recipe ingredients for King Ranch Casserole

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped green chilies
  • Cream of chicken
  • Cream of mushroom
  • Shredded cheese
  • Corn tortillas (or you can use pieces of flour tortilla if you prefer)
  • Chopped onions
  • Spices: chili powder, pepper, salt, and garlic powder.

add oil to the skillet

Pour a little bit of oil in a large skillet, about two tablespoons.

add your onions to skillet.

Add in your onions…

brown the onions

and saute those, stirring often, until browned a bit.

Then dump in your chilies, cream soups, drained tomatoes, and chicken.

Then dump in your chilies, cream soups, drained diced tomatoes, and shredded chicken.

add salt pepper garlic and chili powder

Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder.

stir up the ingredients for your King Ranch Casserole

and stir.

Cook this on medium heat until heated through and bubbly – usually just a few minutes.

Tear half of your tortillas up into little pieces and layer them in the bottom of a 9x13 dish.

Tear half of your corn tortillas up into little pieces and layer them in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

spread half the chicken mixture and cheese over the chips.

Spread half of your chicken mixture over the tortilla strips and sprinkle with half your shredded cheese.

add more tortilla pieces and the next layer of chicken mixture.

Add the rest of your corn tortillas, all torn up. Then glob the rest of your chicken mixture over that and smear it around…

add the rest of your cheese

and more cheese!

Lots of folks make their King Ranch casseroles in three layers, but I just do two. If you wanna do three go right ahead. Whatever cranks yer tractor. Two does it for me!

Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and your stomach is growling from the smell. Top with some chopped cilantro when you’re ready to serve.

King Ranch Casserole cooked in baking dish.


Yum di di dum dum yum yum yum!!


  • Casserole leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
  • You can freeze the entire unbaked casserole for up to one month. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then cook as instructed above. Alternatively, cooked casserole servings will last in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave.

Recipe Notes

  • In this casserole, you can use any kind of chicken, including boiled chicken breast, canned chicken, or whatever leftover chicken you have in the fridge. Today I used rotisserie chicken and it was fantastic, but I also sometimes buy a 10-pound bag of leg quarters and boil them until done. Then I shred all of the chicken and freeze in small portions to toss in casseroles, dumplings, and stews.
  • You can use any combination of condensed soup varieties. Go for only cream of mushroom or chicken, or use other flavors like cream of celery or cream of onion.
  • If you’d like your King Ranch Casserole to have a little crunch, substitute the corn tortillas for crushed tortilla chips or Doritos.
  • Instead of cheddar cheese, sprinkle your casserole with Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese instead.
  • You can also add more veggies to your chicken mixture, like green bell pepper.
  • For another creamy layer addition, serve your casserole with a scoop of sour cream.
  • If too spicy, substitute chili powder for cumin for a less heated taco seasoning option.

Recipe FAQs

Why is it called King Range Chicken Casserole?

While its name comes from King Ranch, one of the country’s largest ranches, there’s actually no direct connection between this Tex-Mex casserole and the ranch.

Can I make this casserole the night before?

Yes! You can assemble this casserole in a baking dish the night before, store it in the fridge, and then bake it when you get home. 

Can I use fat-free cream of chicken or cream of mushroom?

Yes, you can use fat-free versions. If you are watching your fat intake for health reasons I actually strongly recommend it. Just always check with your health professionals if you are making any substitutes due to health.

What do you serve with King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

While this casserole is a meal in itself, you can serve it alongside other Southern favorites, including cornbread, corn salad, fresh green beans, and three-bean salad. You can also serve it with a simple refreshing salad like this Greek cucumber salad or some tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole.

Is King Ranch Casserole gluten-free?

Yes, this King Ranch Casserole recipe is naturally gluten-free, thanks to the corn tortillas. 

Here are other casserole recipes you may enjoy:

Canyon Casserole

Cabbage Casserole Recipe Oven or Slow Cooker

Cornbread Casserole Recipe Simple and Savory

Sloppy Joes Casserole Deep Dish Recipe

scoop of King Ranch Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Known as the best chicken casserole ever, this King Ranch Casserole features tantalizing Tex-Mex flavor mixed with cheesy and creamy layers.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 ounce can diced green chilies
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 - 14 corn tortillas six-inch
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • Place oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute over medium heat until onions are lightly browned.
    1 onion, 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Add rotisserie chicken, cream soups, chilies, tomatoes, and all seasonings. Stir and cook over medium heat until bubbly.
    2 cups shredded cooked chicken, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 4 ounce can diced green chilies, 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Tear tortillas into small pieces. Place half of the torn tortillas in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the chicken mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Top with remaining tortilla pieces, remaining chicken mixture, and remaining cheese.
    12 - 14 corn tortillas, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned around the edges.
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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