King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Crown Your Dinner Table with Royalty – King Ranch Chicken Casserole Extravaganza!

Embark on a culinary journey fit for royalty with our King Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe. Hailing from the heart of Texas, this dish is a true Southern comfort classic. Layers of succulent chicken, creamy sauce, and the perfect blend of Tex-Mex flavors make this casserole a regal delight. Join us as we unravel the secrets to crafting a dish that’s not just a meal but a feast fit for a king or queen.


For the Chicken:

  1. Chicken Breast – 3 cups, cooked and shredded: Tender, shredded chicken is the heart of this casserole.
  2. Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons: For sautéing the chicken and infusing it with flavor.
  3. Chili Powder – 1 tablespoon: Adds a Tex-Mex kick to the chicken.
  4. Cumin – 1 teaspoon: Enhances the earthy tones in the dish.
  5. Garlic Powder – 1 teaspoon: Infuses the chicken with aromatic goodness.
  6. Salt and Pepper – To taste: Season the chicken for a perfect balance.

For the Casserole:

  1. Yellow Onion – 1, finely chopped: Adds a sweet and savory depth to the dish.
  2. Red Bell Pepper – 1, diced: Brings vibrant color and a hint of sweetness.
  3. Green Bell Pepper – 1, diced: Adds a fresh, crisp texture.
  4. Corn Tortillas – 10, cut into strips: The classic Tex-Mex layer that binds the casserole.
  5. Tomato Paste – 1/4 cup: Intensifies the tomato flavor in the sauce.
  6. Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies – 1 can (10 ounces): Infuses the dish with a zesty punch.
  7. Chicken Broth – 1 cup: Creates a luscious sauce for the casserole.
  8. Sour Cream – 1 cup: Adds creaminess and tang to the dish.
  9. Shredded Cheddar Cheese – 2 cups: Melts into a golden blanket of gooey goodness.
  10. Monterey Jack Cheese – 1 cup, shredded: Complements the cheddar for a perfect cheese blend.
  11. Cilantro – 1/4 cup, chopped: Fresh cilantro for a burst of herbal flavor.

For Garnish:

  1. Sliced Jalapeños, Avocado, and additional Cilantro: Optional toppings for those who like it spicy and fresh.


Cooking and Shredding the Chicken:

  1. Sauté the Chicken: Heat olive oil in a skillet, add shredded chicken, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the chicken is well-coated and infused with flavors.
  2. Set Aside: Once cooked, set the seasoned chicken aside for layering.

Preparing the Casserole Layers:

  1. Sauté the Vegetables: In the same skillet, sauté onions, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper until softened and aromatic.
  2. Add Tomato Paste: Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, allowing it to deepen in color and flavor.
  3. Incorporate Diced Tomatoes and Broth: Add diced tomatoes with green chilies and chicken broth. Simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.
  4. Stir in Sour Cream: Lower the heat and fold in sour cream until well combined. This creates the luscious, creamy base for the casserole.
  5. Layer Tortilla Strips: In a greased casserole dish, layer half of the tortilla strips, followed by half of the shredded chicken and half of the sauce mixture. Repeat for a second layer.
  6. Top with Cheese: Sprinkle a generous layer of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese over the casserole.

Baking the Casserole:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Bake Until Bubbly: Bake the casserole uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Garnishing and Serving:

  1. Add Fresh Cilantro: Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the hot casserole for a burst of freshness.
  2. Top with Optional Toppings: Serve with sliced jalapeños, avocado, and additional cilantro for those who like to customize their dish.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Spicy Upgrade: For a spicier version, add a can of diced jalapeños to the sauce or layer thinly sliced jalapeños between the casserole layers.
  • Vegetarian Twist: Substitute the chicken with black beans or your favorite meat alternative for a hearty vegetarian option.
  • Mushroom Magic: Sautéed mushrooms add a savory umami element to the vegetable mix.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

  • Replace tortillas with low-carb alternatives or omit them altogether.
  • Use a keto-friendly thickener for the sauce, such as xanthan gum.
  • Opt for a higher fat content in the cheese and sour cream.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Choose low-carb tortillas or use thinly sliced zucchini as a noodle replacement.
  • Replace the tomatoes with diced bell peppers for a lower-carb option.
  • Use a low-carb chicken broth or make your own to control the carb content.

As you serve up slices of this King Ranch Chicken Casserole, you’re not just presenting a meal; you’re offering a taste of Southern comfort and Tex-Mex warmth. Share this hearty dish with loved ones, and let the layers of flavor speak for themselves. Here’s to the joy of cooking, the richness of Texan tradition, and the satisfaction that comes from a well-executed casserole fit for a king!