Here's the Dish

Here's the Dish: Most-Requested King Ranch Chicken Casserole

By Charlotte on June 21, 2013 6:33 AM

I often turn to King Ranch Chicken Casserole when I want an easy meal. Besides being a top choice around our house, this classic casserole has a nice kick that makes it one of the most popular in Texas. Think Tex-Mex chicken lasagna with corn tortillas instead of noodles.

Super-easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole feeds at least 8 and makes fabulous leftovers.King Ranch Casserole-600.jpg

Named for a South Texas ranch that's one of the world's largest, this comfort-food delight has inspired many different recipes. I love this one because it's super easy, feeds at least eight, freezes like a charm and makes fabulous leftovers. Since it's always a hit, I've served it to everyone from my family to the Bunco girls with much success. That's probably because it's based on an idea from the pages of Southern Living.

Most recently, this go-to was the star attraction of our Mother's Day lunch. I was short on time that weekend because I was cohosting a baby shower Saturday morning and cooking for the family Sunday. Thank goodness, I remembered this crowd-pleaser. It saved me from spending the entire weekend in the kitchen!

I like using Bob's great grilled chicken in this recipe but any type of cooked white meat works (baked, boiled or deli). If you're anything like me, you'll probably have most of the other 11 ingredients on hand. I'm never without hot sauce (Bob and our son Cole are addicted to Cholula), salt, pepper, margarine, Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups, or cheddar cheese. We buy Rotel tomatos in bulk but, if you can't find them, use diced tomatoes and add some green chiles. I only had to pick up bell pepper, an onion and corn tortillas.

You need 12 simple ingredients to make this comfort-food classic (if you count salt and pepper).King Ranch Casserole Ingridients-600.jpg

Making this one-dish meal is super easy. You just use two forks to shred the chicken; then toss it with your favorite hot sauce. After sautéing the bell pepper and onion in margarine, stir in the chicken, salt, pepper, Rotel and soups. From there, you can move straight to layering corn tortillas, the chicken sauce and cheese in a 9"- x 13"-baker as you would if making lasagna.

That means you can have this simple-but-irresistible main dish in the oven in less than 30 minutes and serve it up about 45 minutes later. Or, if you like being a step ahead, bake it without adding the last layer of cheese, refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day.

Even better, with a main event like this, you don't need to plan a lot of extras. We enjoyed it with a Chipotle-Charged Salad (minus the chicken), warn corn tortillas, tortilla chips and guacamole with Texas Sheet Cake for dessert. Next thing I knew, everyone was talking about having this comforting casserole Christmas. Talk about a Mother's Day gift! There's no better compliment than getting such a request. 


Most-Requested King Ranch Chicken Casserole 

Serves 8 - 10

  • King Ranch Casserole-600.jpg3 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite hot sauce (such as Cholula, Frank's or Tabasco)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 1/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Top shredded chicken with hot sauce and toss to combine.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add green pepper and onion, sautéing till they start to get tender.

Turn off heat and blend in salt and pepper, chicken, tomatoes with juice, and soups.

Spray a 9"- x 13"--inch baker with a cooking spray like Pam. Put the following in the pan in this order:

Repeat everything except the cheese twice. Hold off adding the final layer of cheese (1 cup).

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or till hot. Top with the reserved cheese and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Crazy for Tex-Mex? You'll also enjoy:

Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends Little Secrets to Smoothing Lifes Panty Lines
Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

Continue Reading »

Playing Favorites

Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

Continue Reading »

Follow Us

Follow us on Twitter: @BoomerBrief 

and @CharlotteBoomer

Follow Charlotte on Pinterest:  Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Bob on Pinterest

Know someone battling cancer? Baylor Health Care System's Sammons Says... cancer blog is a great place to go for help. Here, you'll find information, resources, physicians, support groups and just about everything you need to help you navigate your way through this illness.

Now Trending 

We Like These Sites 

Senior Forums is a great place to get the news and share views on everything from hobbies and healthcare, to food, family & travel. 

Matt Drudge gets the goods and his site ain't bad either.

The Huffington Post is the gold standard of political blogs.

You don't have to live in Dallas to enjoy D Magazine.

More →